Unable to Locate Windows License Key Scam

Also Known As: "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" virus
Type: Adware
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

Unable to Locate Windows License Key removal instructions

What is Unable to Locate Windows License Key?

Similar to Microsoft Warning Alert, Windows Health Is Critical, Ransomware Detected, and many others, "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" is a fake error message displayed by a malicious website. Research shows that users often visit this website inadvertently - they are redirected by potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that infiltrate systems without permission. In addition to causing redirects, PUPs diminish system performance, deliver intrusive ads, and record various user-system information.

Unable to Locate Windows License Key adware

This error claims that Windows license key file is not detected. It is also stated that this file might be deleted by malware (meaning that the system might be infected). Users are encouraged to immediately contact Windows Help Desk (via a telephone number ["1800-861-420"] provided) and resolve this issue. The aforementioned malicious website may appear similar to the System Information tab in Windows Control Panel. Therefore, although "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" may appear genuine, it is a scam and has nothing to with Microsoft (developers of the Windows Operating System). Cyber criminals claim to be computer technicians and generate revenue by tricking users into calling and paying for technical support that is not required. The so-called problems do not exist. These fake technicians usually demand remote access to users' computers. Once connected, they stealthily install malware and change system settings, and then, claim to "detect" even more issues and offer help for additional fees. Never attempt to call the aforementioned telephone number. Be aware also that some fake error-displaying websites (and potentially unwanted programs) stealthily run background processes (such as mining cryptocurrency). This misuse of computer resources results in a reduction in overall performance. Leave these websites immediately. The "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" error can be removed simply by closing the web browser or rebooting the system. As mentioned above, most PUPs deliver various malvertising ads (coupons, banners, pop-ups, etc.) These are delivered via tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site and often conceal underlying content of visited websites. Once clicked, these ads can redirect to malicious websites and run scripts that download and install malware. Therefore, even accidental clicks can result in high-risk adware or malware infections. Another downside is information tracking. Most potentially unwanted programs record information (such as IP addresses, URLs visited, queries entered into search engines, keystrokes, etc.) that might contain personal details. PUP developers later sell this data to third parties (mostly, for dubious marketing purposes), thereby putting your privacy at risk. For these reasons, uninstall all potentially unwanted programs immediately.

There are hundreds of potentially unwanted programs that share similarities. By offering various "useful features", they attempt to trick users into believing that these programs are legitimate and useful, however, the only purpose of all PUPs is to generate revenue for the developers. Only a small fraction provide the functionality promised - most are useless for regular users. Rather than providing "useful features", PUPs generally cause unwanted redirects (thereby promoting malicious websites), misuse system resources, deliver malicious ads (via the "Pay Per Click" advertising model), and record user-system information.

How did adware install on my computer?

In some cases, potentially unwanted programs have official download/promotion websites, however, they are usually proliferated using intrusive ads and via a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" - stealth installation of third party software together with regular (mostly free) apps. Developers are aware that users often rush the download/installation processes and skip steps. Therefore, they conceal all bundled programs. Rushing the download/installation processes and clicking ads, thus exposes systems to risk of various infections and compromises users' privacy.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent system infiltration by PUPs, be very cautious when downloading and installing software, and when browsing the Internet. Carefully analyze each window of the download/installation dialogs (especially the "Custom/Advanced" settings) and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. Note that third party download/installation tools are monetized using the bundling method (they promote third party software). Therefore, using these tools is very risky - download your software from official sources only and, preferably, using a direct download link. Most malicious ads appear genuine, however, they often lead to survey, gambling, adult dating, pornography, and other similar suspicious websites. If you encounter such ads, uninstall all suspicious programs and browser add-ons. The key to computer safety is caution.

Text presented within "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" pop-up:

We are Unable to Locate Windows License Key Data File. It has been deleted from your Computer. You may have visited Harmful Website recently which has downloaded the Ransomware in your Windows Computer due to which the License Key Data files is deleted. Your system is Automatically Locked To Prevent Important Data Loss. For Immediate Support Call Windows Help Desk at: 1800-861-420

This Build of Windows is Corrupted on [date]

Another variant of this scam (tech support scammers are using 001-800-630-3153 phone number):

windows license key data file scam variant 2

Appearance of this tech support scam pop-up (GIF):

windows license key data file scam appearance (GIF)

Quick menu:

Adware removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Unable to Locate Windows License Key adware uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.


Download remover for "Unable to Locate Windows License Key" virus
1) Download and install   2) Run system scan   3) Enjoy your clean computer!

By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Reimage.

Remove adware from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key ads from Internet Explorer step 1

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key ads from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "unable to locate windows license key" virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key  ads from Google Chrome step 1

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key ads from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the "unable to locate windows license key" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key ads from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing Unable to Locate Windows License Key ads from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with "unable to locate windows license key" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 3

  • If this didn't help, please follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "unable to locate windows license key" virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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