microsoft malicious software removal tool

Did I lose my photos?

Episode 1620

Joe from Brea, CA

Joe is a high school computer teacher, and he had scanned a bunch of photographs that he scanned on his computer. He took that folder and moved it to another folder, but it disappeared and was replaced with a file cabinet folder. Leo says that a CAB file is a compressed folder. He searched the entire computer for the folder, and it was gone. Fortunately, he had a backup. But what happened? A virus?

Have I been hacked?

:(

Episode 1617

Ross from Manhattan Beach, CA

Ross is worried he may have been hacked after searching for the Quicken Support number online and calling them. Could he have gotten a phony number? Leo says never Google phone numbers unless you go directly to their website. Leo says that hackers will buy ads for specific search error messages, and it could be that Ross had been compromised after giving them access to scanning the computer. Leo says it would be prudent to scan his system. Before doing that, since Ross is very savvy, he could do a search with Malwarebytes first. Ross did and found nothing. That's good news.

Why are my browsers crashing?

Microsoft Edge Browser

Episode 1541

Steve from Redondo Beach, CA

Steve is having trouble with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. After about 2 minutes, both apps crash. Leo says that it could be malware infecting his browsers. But more likely there's a render driver that both browsers use which is causing the crash when he visits certain websites. Leo recommends doing a thorough scan using Windows Defender, and he should also run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool from the command line. To get to that, he can press the Windows Key and type MRT. Leo also suspects that Java is broken.

Is it safe to update my browser to read an HTML file?

Episode 1335

Rick from Glendora, CA

Rick has a free file viewer, and it's asking to update the HTML. Leo says don't trust that. HTML is the language of the web and the browser reads it. He doesn't need a special "update" to view it. The first thing Rick needs to do is run Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. He can do this by pressing Windows Key + R, then typing "MRT" and hitting enter. He should do the full scan.

How do I reactivate Windows on my computer?

Episode 1268

Anne from Oceanside, CA

Anne had her computer repaired and now she's getting a popup asking her to activate Windows. Leo says that yes, she'll have to activate Windows because they probably reinstalled the entire OS. She doesn't have the key, though. Leo says that it's annoying that the manufacturer fixed the computer and they should have activated it for her. Leo suggests looking underneath the laptop and there should be a sticker that has her key on it. It will be 10 groups of 4 characters. There may also be a product service key.

How can I get rid of Dropper GEN?

Virus Detected

Episode 1154

Don from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Don runs Windows 7 on his laptop, and was running Avast AVS which found a "Dropper GEN" virus. Leo says it's a nasty trojan virus. It's a dropper package which goes out and gets more malware. So if it's a true dropper, Don has problems. Don should try running a second screening using Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool (Start-Run-MRT.exe-Enter). He could also try Eset's online antivirus screener as well, and Eset has a removal tool that also removes itself when it's done. Don tried running Kaspersky and it didn't' see it. Leo says that could mean it's a false positive.

Is Microsoft still updating XP or am I getting a virus?

Episode 1100

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark noticed that he got an update for Internet Explorer on Windows XP, but didn't think there was supposed to be anymore updates from Microsoft for Windows XP. Leo says that Microsoft did break its word, and they did release an update in May for Internet Explorer. It could simply be that the update didn't get applied, and it's still trying to run the update. It also could be that a hacker is posing as Microsoft to infect his system.