Written by Tomas Meskauskas
Damage level: High
Smart HDD - how to remove?
Smart HDD is a fake system optimizer, which pretends to scan your computer hardware (hard drive, RAM, etc.) for issues. This program is similar to previously discovered fake system optimizers including System Check, System Fix, System Restore, and many others. These programs differ from the most common misleading applications that attempt to scare you into believing that your computer has security issues; Smart HDD attempts to convince computer users that their computer hardware has malfunctioned and they could lose their stored data. This rogue program is distributed by cyber criminals who employ various misleading methods to install their fake system optimizers on the computers of unsuspecting Internet users. The most common ways of proliferating fake system scanners such as Smart HDD are through spam campaigns, hijacked websites, and Trojans.
Examples of fake messages generated by Smart HDD:
Your computer is in a critical state. Hard disk error detected. This can lead to hard disk failure and potential loss of data. It is highly recommended that you repair all found errors to prevent loss of files, applications and documents stored on your computer.
Hard drive boot sector reading error. During I/O system initialization the boot device driver might have failed to initialize the boot device. File system initialization might have failed because it did not recognize the data on the boot device.
System blocks were not found. This has most likely occurred because of hard disk failure. This may also lead to a potential loss of data.
Error 0x0000002E - DATA_BUS_ERROR The Stop 0x2E message is typically caused by failed or defective RAM (including motherboard, Level 2 cache, or video memory), incompatible or mismatched memory hardware, or when a device driver attempts to access an address in the 0x8xxxxxx range that does not exist (does not map to a physical address).
When installed on your computer, Smart HDD performs a 'hardware scan' and displays a list of supposedly detected issues with your hard disk drive (HDD) and RAM. The report will also mention that you could lose your data. The scanning process is called S.M.A.R.T Check, and the results window is similarly named S.M.A.R.T Repair. To repair the 'detected' errors, you will be encouraged to buy a license for Smart HDD. Do not consider purchasing this program, it is a scam. Internet criminals designed this program to scare you into believing that you could lose the information stored on your computer, and with the intention of selling you a license to repair the hardware issues that do not actually exist. The system scan results displayed by Smart HDD are falsely generated. The program does not block your Internet access or execution of legitimate Windows programs, so the removal process of Smart HDD is straightforward. Follow the information provided to remove this fake system optimizer.
Screenshots of the rogue system optimizer, Smart HDD:
Smart HDD virus removal:
After the fake system check performed by Smart HDD, click 'Repair 7 Issues', and in the opened window, choose 'I already have an activation code. Click here to activate', and then enter this information:
Registration E-mail: mail (at) email.com
Activation Key: 15801587234612645205224631045976
Now download and install the spyware remover, which will completely remove this fake system optimizer from your computer.
If you cannot download or run the spyware remover, try running the registry fix (link below). It enables execution of programs. Download the registryfix.reg file, double click it, click YES, and then OK.
Smart HDD virus removal instructions (on infected computer):
If you were unable to remove Smart HDD using the removal tools, you can follow these removal instructions, performing some steps manually, to help the removal process.
1. Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
Here is a video diaplying how to start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Windows XP users:
Windows Vista / 7 users:
Windows 8 users:
2. Open Internet Explorer, click Tools and select Internet Options. Select "Connections".
3.Click LAN settings, if 'Use a proxy server for your LAN' is checked, uncheck it and press OK.
4. Download legitimate anti-spyware software to fully remove Smart HDD from your computer.
6. After removing Smart HDD, reset your Hosts file. Do not skip this step, since this fake program modifies your Hosts file and you will encounter browser redirect problems.
The Hosts file is used to resolve canonical names of websites to IP addresses. When it is changed, the user may be redirected to malicious websites, despite observing legitimate URLs in the address bar. It is difficult to determine if a website is genuine when the Hosts file is modified. To fix this, please download the Microsoft FixIt tool that restores your Hosts file to the Windows default. Run this tool when downloaded and follow the on-screen instructions. Download link below:
Other tools known to remove Smart HDD:
Smart HDD is a typical fake system optimizer program, which attempts to scare computer users into believing that their computer hardware has issues that may lead to a potential data loss. This program does not block your Task Manager or execution of installed Windows programs, so the removal process is straightforward. Ignore the information displayed by Smart HDD and remove it from your computer immediately.
The fake antivirus programs (also known as "rogue antivirus programs" or "scareware") are applications that tries to lure computer users into paying for their non-existent full versions to remove the supposedly detected security infections (although the computer is actually clean). These bogus programs are created by cyber criminals who design them to look as legitimate antivirus software. Most commonly rogue antivirus programs infiltrate user's computer using poop-up windows or alerts which appear when users surf the Internet. These deceptive messages trick users into downloading a rogue antivirus program on their computers. Other known tactics used to spread scareware include exploit kits, infected email messages, online ad networks, drive-by downloads, or even direct calls to user's offering free support.
A computer that is infected with a fake antivirus program might also have other malware installed on it as rogue antivirus programs often are bundled with Trojans and exploit kits. Noteworthy that additional malware that infiltrates user's operating system remains on victim's computer regardless of whether a payment for a non-existent full version of a fake antivirus program is made. Here are some examples of fake security warning messages that are used in Smart HDD distribution:
Computer users who are dealing with a rogue security software shouldn't buy it's full version. By paying for a license key of a fake antivirus program users would send their money and banking information to cyber criminals. Users who have already entered their credit card number (or other sensitive information) when asked by such bogus software should inform their credit card company that they have been tricked into buying a rogue security software. Screenshot of a web page used to lure computer users into paying for a non-existent full version of Smart HDD and other rogue antivirus programs:
To protect your computer from Smart HDD and other rogue antivirus programs users should:
- Keep their operating system and all of the installed programs up-to-date.
- Use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware programs.
- Use caution when clicking on links in social networking websites and email messages.
- Don't trust online pop-up messages which state that your computer is infected and offers you to download security software.
Symptoms indicating that your operating system is infected with a fake antivirus program:
- Intrusive security warning pop-up messages.
- Alerts asking to upgrade to a paid version of a program to remove the supposedly detected malware.
- Slow computer performance.
- Disabled Windows updates.
- Blocked Task Manager.
- Blocked Internet browsers or inability to visit legitimate antivirus vendor websites.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove Smart HDD from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on Smart HDD or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.