Windows Virtual Protector
Written by Tomas Meskauskas
Damage level: High
Windows Virtual Protector removal instructions
What is Virtual Protector?
Windows Virtual Protector is a fake antivirus program, which blocks the users' desktop and reports non existent security infections in order to scare PC users into purchasing the 'full version'. This rogue software is created by cyber criminals who distribute it via infected email messages, malicious or hacked websites, and 'exploit kits'. After successful infiltration, this bogus program modifies the registry entries of an infected operating system, disables execution of the Task Manager and installed programs, and configures itself to start automatically on each system startup. To scare PC users into believing that their computers are infected with high-risk malware, Windows Virtual Protector generates various fake security warning messages.
Whilst this program may appear legitimate, in fact, it is an empty software shell that has no virus definition database or virus scan engine. It merely mimics the scanning of users' computers and none of the 'detected' security threats actually exist on the system. Paying for the full version of this rogue antivirus software is equivalent to sending your money to cyber criminals - you will lose your money and your operating system will remain infected with this fake security scanner. Windows Virtual Protector is a scam - do not trust the security scans or activate 'ultimate protection'. The correct way to deal with this program is to eliminate it from your operating system.
Windows Virtual Protector originates from a family of rogue security scanners called FakeVimes. Previous variants were named Windows Accelerator Pro, Windows Premium Shield, and Windows Efficiency Console. To avoid installation of such rogue security scanners, keep your operating system and installed programs up-to-date and use legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware programs. PC users should also avoid clicking online pop-up messages - informing them of supposedly-detected security infections and subsequently offering installation of antivirus programs. These fake online security scanners are widely used within many fake antivirus programs. If your computer is infected with Windows Virtual Protector, use this removal guide to eliminate this scam from your operating system.
Windows Virtual Protector blocking execution of installer programs:
- What is Virtual Protector?
- STEP 1. Virtual Protector removal - deleting proto-[random letters].exe file.
- STEP 2. Remove Virtual Protector using a registration key.
- STEP 3. Remove Virtual Protector using Safe Mode with Networking.
Windows Virtual Protector removal:
Complete these steps to access your desktop:
1. Wait until Windows Virtual Protector completes the fake security scan and click "Settings" (at the top of the main window).
2. Select "Allow unprotected Startup".
3. After selecting "Allow unprotected Startup", close Windows Virtual Protector.
4. Access "My Computer". Double click on "My Computer" icon.
5. Navigate to C:\Users\[YOUR USER NAME]\AppData\Roaming
6. Locate a file named "proto-[random letters].exe" and click your right mouse button over this file.
7. In the opened menu select "Rename". Change the file name of "proto-[random letters].exe" to "fake.exe".
8. After renaming the "proto-[random letters].exe" file, restart your computer. Next time the operating system boots, Windows Virtual Protector will be inactive and will not block access to the Internet.
6. Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove this rogue antivirus program 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.
Windows Virtual Protector removal using a registry key:
1. Click the question mark icon (at the top of the main window of Windows Virtual Protector) and select "Register".
2. In the opened window enter this registry key: 0W000-000B0-00T00-E0001
3. After entering this registry key, Windows Virtual Protector will behave as though it is removing previously-detected security threats and allow execution of installed programs. Note that entering this registration key will not remove this rogue antivirus program - it simply makes the removal process less complicated.
4. Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove Windows Virtual Protector from your computer.
Windows Virtual Protector removal using Safe Mode with Networking:
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.
Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Video showing how to start Windows XP in "Safe Mode with Networking":
Remove proxy settings from Internet Explorer. This rogue antivirus adds a proxy to the user's Internet connection settings in order to display various errors when the user attempts to access the Internet. To remove proxy settings: Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon. In the opened menu select "Internet Options."
In the opened window select "Connections" tab.
In the "Connections" tab, click on "LAN settings".
If "Use a proxy server for your LAN" is checked, uncheck it and click OK.
Download legitimate anti-spyware software to completely remove this fake antivirus program from your computer.
After removing this rogue software, you should reset your Hosts file. Do not skip this step since Windows Virtual Protector modifies your Hosts files and you will encounter browser redirect problems if malicious entries are not eliminated.
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 sites, despite seeing legitimate URLs in address bar. It is difficult to determine sites are genuine when the Hosts file is modified. To fix this, please download the Microsoft Fix It 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 Windows Virtual Protector:
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 Windows Virtual Protector 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 Windows Virtual Protector and other rogue antivirus programs:
To protect your computer from Windows Virtual Protector 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 Windows Virtual Protector from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on Windows Virtual Protector or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.