What is WinOptimizer?
As its name suggests, WinOptimizer is software that supposedly analyzes and optimizes Windows computers. Like most programs of this type, it suggests that people can scan their computers for unnecessary files, registry entries and running services, invalid shortcuts, etc.
In fact, this program is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA), since developers distribute it through the set-ups of other programs. Commonly, users download and install PUAs inadvertently.
WinOptimizer is a legitimate application, however, there are many PUAs that are not. They might allow users to scan systems for various issues and errors, but they do not fix them. I.e., they generate fake results so that users believe that, by fixing the 'detected issues', they will improve computer performance.
The main purpose of this is to trick people into activating the software (paying for the 'full version'). PUAs are often distributed together with other apps of this type. Therefore, people often install more than one PUA through a single setup. Usually, the other apps are browser hijackers and adware-type apps.
Browser hijacking apps promote the addresses of fake search engines by changing certain browser settings. They also gather information relating to users' browsing activities (e.g., geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited pages, IP addresses, and other browsing data).
Note that the data is sold to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who misuse it to generate revenue in other ways. Some browser hijackers are capable of recording personal, sensitive details as well. Adware serves advertisements (e.g., coupons, banners, surveys, pop-ups, and others) that, when clicked, can open untrusted websites.
In some cases, they cause unwanted download/installation of PUAs by executing certain scripts. Therefore, if PUAs were installed together with WinOptimizer, they should be uninstalled immediately.
|Name||Ashampoo WinOptimizer FREE|
|Threat Type||PUP (potentially unwanted program), PUA (potentially unwanted application).|
|Functionality||WinOptimizer is advertised a tool that optimizes Windows computers.|
|Symptoms||A program that you do not recall installing suddenly appeared on your computer. A new application is performing computer scans and displays warning messages about 'found issues'. Asks for payment to eliminate the supposedly found errors.|
|Distribution Methods||Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers.|
|Damage||Monetary loss (unnecessary purchase of fake software), unwanted warning pop-ups, slow computer performance.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
PC Win Booster, Fast Computer and HomeGuard are examples of other programs that are categorized as PUAs. They supposedly fix errors, registry, remove unnecessary files and improve computer performance in other ways, however, they do not operate as advertised or fix any issues. They are designed only to generate revenue for the developers.
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
Developers often include PUAs into the various download/installation set-ups of other software as 'additional offers'. Typically, offers to download or install potentially unwanted apps can be declined through "Advanced", "Custom" and other similar settings.
Many users fail to check and change these settings before completing the process, thereby allowing PUAs to be downloaded and/or installed. PUAs are also installed through deceptive ads that run certain scripts, however, this happens only when people click them.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Do not download programs or files from unofficial websites, through Peer-to-Peer networks (torrent clients, eMule, and so on), via third party downloaders or installed through third party installers. You are strongly advised to download software only from official websites and via direct links.
Check all "Custom" and "Advanced" settings and decline offers to download or install additionally-included, unwanted software (PUAs). Do not click intrusive ads that appear on dubious web pages, since they can open dubious websites and cause unwanted downloads and installations.
Remove any unwanted extensions, plug-ins and add-ons installed on the browser, and programs of this kind installed on the 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.
Appearance of WinOptimizer application (GIF):
Installation setup of WinOptimizer application:
Website promoting WinOptimizer application:
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 WinOptimizer?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove malicious plug-ins 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 "WinOptimizer" (or "Ashampoo WinOptimizer FREE") and other 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:
At time of research, WinOptimizer did not install any unwanted browser extensions, however, some unwanted applications can be installed together with adware and browser hijackers. If you experience unwanted ads or redirects when browsing the internet, continue with the removal guide below.
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 ashampoo winoptimizer free, 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 ashampoo winoptimizer free, 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 ashampoo winoptimizer free 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 ashampoo winoptimizer free, 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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