What is "Activate your Windows now"?
"Activate your Windows now" is just one of many fake messages displayed on various deceptive websites. In this case, it is a fake Windows Security alert message.
Generally, people do not visit these deceptive and untrustworthy websites intentionally - they are redirected to them by potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Typically, PUAs deliver intrusive ads and record data. Most users install these unwanted apps inadvertently.
According to scammers who designed the "Activate your Windows now" fake security alert (the fake message in the Windows Security pop-up window), the computer is blocked due to a 'system warning' state. Users are urged not to restart their computers or press any keys.
Scammers attempt to trick users into contacting "certified technicians" via the telephone number (+1-877-220-4850). They state that users must contact them to remove the "critical infection" - to resolve the problem that has supposedly affected the operating system.
Scammers behind the "Activate your Windows now" scam claim to be technicians (supposedly representatives of Microsoft), making the message seem like a legitimate security warning from Windows (they display a system information window). They also attempt to trick people into believing that their Windows Operating Systems are not activated.
Note that the pop-up window also contains "User name" and "Password" fields that must be completed. In this way, criminals attempt to acquire users' account credentials. Do not enter any details. Note that system warning information can be accessed only by the Windows Operating System, and not via any website.
These fake alerts are used by scammers to trick people into contacting them and paying for services (provided by "certified technicians") or purchasing software. Generally, scammers design these deceptive websites only to generate revenue by making users believe that there is a problem with their computers (that are apparently infected with viruses, and so on).
These fake messages should never be trusted. We recommend that you simply close the website that triggered the "Activate your Windows now" fake security warning. If it prevents you from closing it, use Task Manager and terminate the entire browser process or simply restart your computer. Do not return to this website or restore the previous session.
As mentioned in our introduction, potentially unwanted applications cause redirects to deceptive websites that display fake messages such as "Activate your Windows now". These unwanted apps also deliver intrusive ads and gather data. They trigger ads displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site.
Therefore, they conceal underlying content of any visited website. Do not click them, since they often redirect users to untrustworthy websites. Some might execute scripts that download/install other unwanted apps. Thus, clicking intrusive ads can lead to various system infections.
Furthermore, PUAs collect data relating to browsing activity such as IP addresses, search queries, geo-locations, URLs of visited websites, and personal/sensitive details. Developers share the data with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue. Thus, having these apps installed might lead to privacy/browsing safety issues or even identity theft.
|Name||"Activate your Windows now" virus|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud|
|Symptoms||Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of one's computer.|
|Distribution methods||Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
The main purpose of these deceptive websites is to trick people into contacting scammers who try to extort money from people by urging them to purchase software products or online technical services. All PUAs are similar - developers promote them as 'useful' and legitimate tools.
In this way, they trick people into downloading them. In fact, these apps provide none of the functionality promised. They are designed only to generate revenue for the developers and simply cause problems rather than giving any real value.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Some potentially unwanted applications have official websites, however, most users install them inadvertently by clicking untrustworthy, deceptive ads or when software developers use "bundling", a deceptive marketing method used by software developers to trick users into downloading/installing potentially unwanted applications together with other software.
Developers do not disclose information about the presence of unwanted apps in installation/download set-ups and hide them in "Custom"/"Advanced" options/settings. Furthermore, many users skip download/installation steps without checking settings, thus leading to PUA installations.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Avoid downloading software from untrustworthy and unofficial sources, using third party software downloaders, and so on. Use direct links, and official and trustworthy websites. Never skip download/installation steps without checking the "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings or options.
Deselect additionally-included, unwanted software, and only then proceed to the next step or finish the process. Many untrustworthy intrusive ads redirect users to dubious and potentially malicious websites (gambling, pornography, adult dating, and so on).
If you encounter these advertisements (or redirects caused by them), check installed applications (extensions, add-ons, and plug-ins) on your browser and remove any unknown/unwanted entries immediately. Also check the list of installed programs on your computer (operating system).
If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in "Activate your Windows now" pop-up:
The server ****** is asking for your user name and password. The server reports that it is from Your computer is blocked state SYSTEM WARNING: DO NOT RESTART YOUR COMPUTER OR PRESS ANY KEY UNTIL SAFE SIDE INSTRUCTIONS. For Safety instructions call immediately: +1-877-220-4850 (Toll Free), a windows certified technician will guide you safeguard your system.You must not avoid this warning, as this is critical infection immediately:
+1-877-220-4850 (Toll Free)
The appearance of "Activate your Windows now" pop-up (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Activate your Windows now"?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted applications:
Windows 11 users:
Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.
Windows 10 users:
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.
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
macOS (OSX) users:
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.
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 application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "activate your windows now" 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.
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.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the 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 and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "activate your windows now" virus, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the 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.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window, remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with "activate your windows now" virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the "activate your windows now" virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, 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.
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