How to uninstall WinOptimizer

Also Known As: Ashampoo WinOptimizer FREE
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

WinOptimizer removal instructions

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 unwanted application

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.

Threat Summary:
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)

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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 Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Appearance of WinOptimizer application (GIF):

Appearance of WinOptimizer PUA (GIF)

Installation setup of WinOptimizer application:

WinOptimizer PUA installation setup

Website promoting WinOptimizer application:

Website used to promote WinOptimizer PUA

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Quick menu:

Removal of potentially unwanted applications:

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.

WinOptimizer adware uninstall via Control Panel

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:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing rogue extensions 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 rogue extensions from Internet Explorer step 2

Optional method:

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.

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 rogue extensions 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 and remove them.

Removing rogue extensions from Google Chrome step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ashampoo winoptimizer free, 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 rogue extensions 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 on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.

Removing rogue extensions from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Optional method:

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, 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 (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the ashampoo winoptimizer free, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the 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 ashampoo winoptimizer free from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Ashampoo WinOptimizer FREE QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ashampoo WinOptimizer FREE on your mobile device.
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