Windows Maintenance Guard is a rogue antivirus program from the same group of cyber criminals who created Windows Secure Web Patch. This malware is distributed via Trojan that can also install it without your approval. Once it is loaded, it will issue fake alerts stating that your computer is infected with viruses. This trick attempts to scare you and make you thinks that PC is severely infected. Then, Windows Maintenance Guard will begin to persuade you into purchasing a program that assures instant removal. Keep in mind that rogue programs are not capable of performing virus scan and removal. They are created primarily to mimic what real antivirus program does. Windows Maintenance Guard may scan the system but what you can receive is false detection. Rogue program is similarly incapable of protecting a computer against virus attack, thus, it is worthless.
During installation, Trojan will execute changes to your computer so that Windows Maintenance Guard will run on its own after your Windows log on. Them it launches a virus scan and reports so many infections that it cannot fix unless you are using a full version of Windows Maintenance Guard. You must know that even if the licensed version is in your possession, still you cannot remove the threats it identified. We need to mention once again that there are no threats other than Windows Maintenance Guard itself. Therefore, you must start running a virus scan on the computer with the help of genuine security program. Make sure that it has the most recent database so that your antivirus will leave no files of Windows Maintenance Guard.
|OS Affected||Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7|
What are the Symptoms of Windows Maintenance Guard Infection?
Once this rogue program enters the computer, it will run a virus scan just like other legitimate security program does. However, since Windows Instant Scanner is fake, it will produce fictitious results. Below is the screenshot image.
It will modify Windows Registry and add the following entries:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings “WarnOnHTTPSToHTTPRedirect” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegedit” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableRegistryTools” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System “DisableTaskMgr” = 0
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system “EnableLUA” = 0
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “net” = “u_2012-5-24_6”
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Settings “UID” = “mkmslopcmd”
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\advxdwin.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\SafetyKeeper.exe
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\titaninxp.exe
The threat will drop the following malicious files:
%AppData%\Protector-[random 3 characters].exe
%AppData%\Protector-[random 4 characters].exe
%CommonStartMenu%\Programs\Windows Maintenance Guard.lnk
%Desktop%\Windows Maintenance Guard.lnk
Follow these Procedures to Remove Windows Maintenance Guard
Procedure 1: Activate Windows Maintenance Guard and run virus scan
For users with technical skills in dealing with computer problems, executing this manual removal is enough to stop the malware. However, we highly recommend running anti-malware scan to remove other hidden files. For users who are not tech-savvy, you must skip this step. Start on Procedure 2 and proceed onwards. Automatic removal takes longer to accomplish but is less difficult to execute.
1. Please use the serial code below to activate Windows Maintenance Guard.
Once the rogue program has activated, you will regain access to Internet and needed tools like task manager and registry editor. Keep in mind that entering this code will not remove the malware. This step will just reverse all changes the rogue software has made to the computer.
Serial Code: 0W000-000B0-00T00-E0020
2. Next, we will try to remove Windows Maintenance Guard by running a virus scan under Safe Mode with Networking. To perform this task, please complete these procedures.
Start in Safe Mode with Networking (Windows XP/Vista/7 Instruction)
- Please restart the computer and just before Windows start, press F8 on your keyboard repeatedly. You will be presented with Advanced Options Menu.
- From the selections, choose Safe Mode with Networking. Please use keyboard's arrow up/down to navigate between selections and press Enter to proceed.
Start Windows 8 in Safe Mode with Networking
- Please restart the computer and as soon as it begins to start, please press Shift+F8 keys.
- Instead of seeing Advance Boot Options, Windows 8 will display Recovery Mode. Continue with the given steps until you reach Safe Mode function.
- Click on 'See advanced repair options'.
- Then, click on Troubleshoot.
- Next, please select Advanced options.
- On the next window, please choose Windows Startup Settings.
- Lastly, click on Restart button. Windows 8 will now restart and boot into Advanced Boot Option wherein you can run the system in Safe Mode with Networking.
3. Open your installed anti-virus programs and update it to the most recent version by automatically downloading necessary updates.
4. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all identified threats. Do not restart or turn off the computer after the scan process. You still need to run another scan. Please follow the next procedure.
Procedure 2: Scan and remove Windows Maintenance Guard files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
To remove Windows Maintenance Guard, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking on the button below. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.
1. After downloading, please install the program using the default settings.
2. At the end of the installation, please make sure that it will download necessary updates.
3. Once update has completed. The tool will launch.
4. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program.
Procedure 3: Run TrendMicro's Fake Antivirus Remover (ATTK) to check and delete any remnants of Windows Maintenance Guard.
As an added help to remove Windows Maintenance Guard, you can scan the computer with Fake Antivirus Removal Tool. This software is provided and distributed by TrendMicro. Follow this procedure to run a scan with this tool.
1. Download the package by clicking on the button below. This will launch a new browser window that contains further details about the tool.
2. Save the file to a location on your hard drive.
3. Browse for the location of the file and double-click to run. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, right-click on extracted file supportcustomizedpackage and click on Run as Administrator.
4. When program launch, it will run a command prompt to initialize, prepare components, and update the program.
5. Next it will open the graphical user interface (GUI) of Anti-Threat Toolkit.
6. Click on Scan Now. This operation will scan all Windows Maintenance Guard files and processes in your computer and display a list of result for possible Fake Antivirus program and malware that needs to be removed.
7. Tick all items that are detected by the program, and then click Clean. The tool will start removing Windows Maintenance Guard components from the computer.
8. If it asked you to restart Windows, please do so.
Procedure 4: Remove Rootkit Trojan with Avast aswMBR
A Trojan often drops malware using an advance technology known as rootkit. It hides the installation of Windows Maintenance Guard from your anti-virus program and injects malicious code to running Windows processes. To complete the clean-up process, you also need to scan and remove rootkit Trojan.
1. Download aswMBR from Avast server. Save it to your computer.
2. Double-click on the file aswMBR.exe to run the program.
3. If it prompts you to download the latest Avast! virus definition, please click Yes. This is necessary to identify most recent version of the Trojan as well as hidden files of Windows Maintenance Guard.
4. Click on Scan button to start checking your computer for presence of rootkit Trojan and other viruses. It will display a message "Scan finished successfully" when done.
5. Click Fix or FixMBR to start removing infection. If aswMBR contains the latest Avast! virus definition file, it will automatically clean infected files on your PC.
After removing Windows Maintenance Guard from your computer, the next move is to fix any damages caused by the infection. Most anti-virus programs are not designed to fix issues and errors initiated by Windows Maintenance Guard. This tool can do many things like repairing of modified winsock, hosts file, proxy, and file associations.
1. Download the program Windows Repair (All-In-One). This is a free tool. Download page will open on a new window.
2. Once downloaded, double-click on the file to launch the program.
3. When the program is running, please select Start Repairs tab. Then, click on Start button to see a list of repair options.
4. Windows Repair comes with pre-selected options. These are the common functions being affected by viruses and malware like Windows Maintenance Guard.
5. Click to Start to begin the troubleshooting procedure.
6. Once the repair has finished, the program may prompt you to restart Windows, please reboot the computer.
Protect your PC from Windows Maintenance Guard or Similar Attack
Turn On Security Features of your Internet Browser
Internet Explorer - Activate SmartScreen Filter
Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 has this feature called SmartScreen Filter. It helps detect phishing web sites and protect you from downloading malicious files online. You may have avoided Windows Maintenance Guard virus if this has been active on your PC. To turn on SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:
1. Please open Internet Explorer.
2. On top menu, select Tools (IE 9). For IE 8, please look for Safety menu.
3. Select SmartScreen Filter from the drop-down list and click on Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
4. Please restart Internet Explorer.
Google Chrome's Enable Phishing and Malware Protection
With Google Chrome's Phishing and Malware Detection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious. To enable Phishing and Malware Protection, please do these steps:
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Customize and control Google Chrome (3-Bars Icon) located on top right corner of the browser.
3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
4. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.
5. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Enable phishing and malware protection'.
6. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.
Mozilla Firefox - Block Attack Sites and Web Forgeries
Phishing and Malware Protection is a built-in feature on Firefox version 3 or later. It warns you when a page you are trying to visit contains phishing content or an attack site designed to drop threats on the computer. To help you keep safe while browsing the Internet using Firefox, please follow this guide:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. On top menu, click on Tools. Then select Options from the list.
3. Select Security and put a check mark on the following items:
- Warn me when sites try to install add-ons
- Block reported attack sites
- Block reported web forgeries