"Windows is not activated" removal instructions
What is "Windows is not activated"?
The "Windows is not activated" scam is used to trick people into believing that the Windows Operating System is not activated. Scammers promote the scam using a deceptive website that looks similar to a system information window. Most users are forced to visit these websites due to potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) installed on their systems. Unwanted apps cause redirects to untrustworthy websites, feed users with ads, and collect various browsing-related data.
As mentioned above, the "Windows is not activated" scam is displayed on a website that appears like a basic system information window seen on Windows 10 operating systems. This website asks users to sign-in to a system by providing a username and password. Therefore, it is very likely that this website steals entered information. Furthermore, visitors are urged to contact "online support" via the telephone number (+1-888-295-3918) provided. Note that Microsoft has nothing to do with this website. Scammers use deceptive sites to trick people into purchasing dubious products or services. In this case, a Windows activation key. If contacted, note that these particular scammers will try to sell you dubious software. Scams such as "Windows is not activated" are used to extort money from people and, therefore, you should never trust these websites. The best option is to ignore them simply by closing the site. If a deceptive website cannot be closed in the normal way, use Task Manager and terminate the entire browser task (process) or restart the computer. Furthermore, do not restore the closed session, since this will reopen the same deceptive website.
Typically, installed potentially unwanted apps cause redirects to deceptive (scam) websites. These PUAs often feed users with intrusive ads and record data relating to browsing habits. They deploy coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and other intrusive ads that are displayed using tools that enable placement of third party graphical content on any site. Therefore, they conceal underlying content. Clicking ads of this type can lead to redirects to dubious websites or they can run scripts that download/install unwanted, potentially malicious applications. In addition to these annoying, intrusive ads, most PUAs gather browsing-related data (IP addresses, geo-locations, search queries, URLs of visited websites, etc.). They also collect personal, sensitive information. PUAs developers share the details with third parties (possibly, cyber criminals) who misuse them to generate revenue. Thus, having data tracking apps installed might cause privacy issues, problems with browsing safety, or even identity theft.
|Name||"Windows is not activated" 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 Malwarebytes.
The internet is full of deceptive websites that extort money from visitors in one way or another. Some examples of other websites of this type are Activate Your Windows Now, This Computer Is Blocked, and Microsoft Authorised Device Care. Generally, these websites trick people into purchasing unnecessary software or purchasing online technical support (the assistance of 'technicians'). PUAs have a similar purpose: developers promote them as legitimate tools capable of providing useful features and tools, however, installing and using them leads only to problems such as redirects to deceptive websites, and so on.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Unwanted apps are usually installed through intrusive ads or when installing software (typically, freeware). Software developers often use "bundling", a deceptive method used to trick people into downloading/installing potentially unwanted applications together with other software. They achieve this by hiding PUAs in "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings or options of the installation or download set-up. They do not disclose information regarding the presence of these bundled apps. Note, however, that inadvertent installations (or downloads) are usually caused by users who do not check settings or skip download/installation steps.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Download all software using official and trustworthy sources (websites) only. Do not use third party downloaders, installers, unofficial websites, and other dubious tools. Install (and download) software patiently, check available "Custom", "Advanced" settings of the installation/download set-up. Deselect offers to install additionally-included, unwanted apps and only then finish the installation or download process. Note that not all displayed advertisements can be trusted - many redirect users to dubious, deceptive websites such as gambling, adult dating, pornography, and so on. If you continually experience unwanted redirects (or intrusive ads), PUAs might be installed on the browser or operating system. Check the list of installed extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons on your browser, and programs on your computer. Remove any unwanted, unknown apps immediately. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
The appearance of "Windows is not activated" pop-up (GIF):
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Windows is not activated"?
- 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 7 users:
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:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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 "windows is not activated" 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 "windows is not activated" 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 "windows is not activated" 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 "windows is not activated" 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove "windows is not activated" virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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