How to uninstall Pezi from a computer?

Also Known As: Pezi virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Severe

Pezi ransomware removal instructions

What is Pezi?

Pezi belongs to the family of ransomware called Djvu. It is designed to prevent victims from accessing/using their files by encrypting them, also, it changes the name of every encrypted file and drops a ransom note in each folder that contains encrypted data. Pezi renames encrypted files by appending the ".pezi" extension to their filenames. For instance, it renames "1.jpg" to "1.jpg.pezi", "2.jpg" to "2.jpg.pezi", and so on. Instructions on how to contact cyber criminals, size of a ransom and other details are provided in text files/ransom notes named "_readme.txt".

As explained in Pezi's ransom notes, victims cannot decrypt their files without a decryption tool and unique key that can be purchased only from cyber criminals behind Pezi/its developers. Decryption tools can be purchased either for $980 or $490, their price depends on when victims will write an email to or with the assigned personal ID in it. To be more precise, victims can purchase decryption tools cheaper (with a 50% discount) by contacting cyber criminals in 72 hours after ransomware attack. Also, victims are offered a free decryption of one file that does not contain any valuable information, that file can be sent to Pezi's developers before payment. Although, it is strongly recommended not to trust neither these or any other cyber criminals/ransomware developers. It is likely that they will not send/provide any decryption tool and/or key even after a payment. Simply said, victims who trust cyber criminals (pay them a ransom) tend to get scammed. Unfortunately, there are no other and free tools that could decrypt files encrypted by Pezi, at least not at the moment. In such cases the only way to recover file without paying any money (typically, in cryptocurrency) is to restore files from an existing data backup. It is worthwhile to mention that unencrypted files can be prevented from being encrypted by uninstalling ransomware from a computer. Although, files that are already encrypted remain encrypted even after its uninstallation. Simply said, by uninstalling ransomware from the operating system victims only prevent it from causing further encryptions.

Screenshot of a message encouraging users to pay a ransom to decrypt their compromised data:

Pezi decrypt instructions (_readme.txt)

More examples of ransomware are Unicorn, CovidWorldCry and Covm. Usually, victims of ransomware attack cannot access, use their files unless they encrypt them with a certain software and/or key. Typically, ransomware-type programs generate a ransom note (or notes) that contain instructions on how to purchase those tools and/or contact cyber criminals. Two main and most common variables are cryptographic algorithm (symmetric or asymmetric) that ransomware uses to encrypt data and price of a decryption. Unfortunately, it is possible to decrypt files without losing money only when ransomware has some bugs, flaws, it is not finished. Since it does not happen, it is recommended to always have data backed up and keep it on a remote server (like Cloud) or some unplugged storage device.

How did ransomware infect my computer?

Typically, malware (including ransomware) is distributed via spam campaigns, unofficial software activation ('cracking') tools, Trojans, unofficial software updaters and unreliable software download channels. It is being distributed through spam campaigns by sending emails that contain some malicious attachment (or web link that is designed to download infected files). In most cases cyber criminals attach malicious PDF or Microsoft Office documents, JavaScript or executable (.exe and other) files, and archive files like RAR, ZIP. Their goal is to trick recipients into opening them and, when opened, those files install some malicious program. Software 'cracking' tools are programs that supposed to activate licensed software for free (to bypass paid activation). Although, quite often they these tools are designed to install some malicious program and do not activate any installed software. Trojans, can cause damage when they are installed on a system. It is common that they are designed to cause chain infections/install additional malware. Untrustworthy software download sources like Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), freeware download or free file hosting websites, third party downloaders and other similar channels often are used to distribute malicious by disguising them as regular, legitimate. When users download and open them, they cause installation of some malware. Fake software updaters infect computers by installing malicious programs instead of updates or by exploiting bugs, flaws of outdated software that is installed on users computer.

Threat Summary:
Name Pezi virus
Threat Type Ransomware, Crypto Virus, Files locker
Encrypted Files Extension .pezi
Ransom Demanding Message _readme.txt
Ransom Amount $980/$490
Cyber Criminal Contact,
Detection Names Avast (Win32:CoinminerX-gen [Trj]), BitDefender (Trojan.GenericKDZ.67427), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/Kryptik.HDQL), Kaspersky (Trojan.Win32.Agent.xadvjs), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Cannot open files stored on your computer, previously functional files now have a different extension (for example, my.docx.locked). A ransom demand message is displayed on your desktop. Cyber criminals demand payment of a ransom (usually in bitcoins) to unlock your files.
Additional Information This malware is designed to show a fake Windows Update window and modify the Windows "hosts" file to prevent users from accessing cyber security websites (more information below).
Distribution methods Infected email attachments (macros), torrent websites, malicious ads, unofficial activation and updating tools.
Damage All files are encrypted and cannot be opened without paying a ransom. Additional password-stealing trojans and malware infections can be installed together with a ransomware infection.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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How to protect yourself from ransomware infections?

It is recommended not to open attachments (and website links) in irrelevant emails that are received from unknown, suspicious addresses. It is worthwhile to mention that most cyber criminals disguise their emails as important, official. Therefore, email contents should be opened only when there is no reason to believe that it cause any damage like installation of some malicious software. Furthermore, software and files should be downloaded from official websites and through direct links. Peer-to-Peer networks, unofficial pages, third party downloaders, installers and other similar channels can be and often are used by cyber criminals as tools used to distribute various malware. Installed software (and operating system) must be updated and/or activated with tools or implemented functions that are designed by official developers. No third party, unofficial tool is trustworthy. Moreover, it is not even legal to activate any licensed software with unofficial activation ('cracking') tools. One more way to keep computers safe is to regularly scan them for threats with a reputable anti-spyware or antivirus software. Such software should be always up to date. If your computer is already infected with Pezi, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this ransomware.

Text presented in Pezi ransomware's text file ("_readme.txt"):



Don't worry, you can return all your files!
All your files like photos, databases, documents and other important are encrypted with strongest encryption and unique key.
The only method of recovering files is to purchase decrypt tool and unique key for you.
This software will decrypt all your encrypted files.
What guarantees you have?
You can send one of your encrypted file from your PC and we decrypt it for free.
But we can decrypt only 1 file for free. File must not contain valuable information.
You can get and look video overview decrypt tool:
Price of private key and decrypt software is $980.
Discount 50% available if you contact us first 72 hours, that's price for you is $490.
Please note that you'll never restore your data without payment.
Check your e-mail "Spam" or "Junk" folder if you don't get answer more than 6 hours.

To get this software you need write on our e-mail:

Reserve e-mail address to contact us:

Your personal ID:

Screenshot of files encrypted by Pezi (".pezi" extension):

Files encrypted by Pezi ransomware (.pezi extension)

Screenshot of fake Windows update pop-up displayed during the encryption:

Fake Windows pop-up displayed by Pezi during the encryption

IMPORTANT NOTE! - As well as encrypting data, ransomware-type infections from the Djvu malware family also add a number of entries to the Windows "hosts" file. The entries contain URLs of various websites, most of which are related to malware removal. This is done to prevent users from accessing malware security websites and seeking help. Our website ( is also on the list. Removing these entries, however, is simple - you can find detailed instructions in this article (note that, although the steps are shown in the Windows 10 environment, the process is virtually identical on all versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system).

Screenshot of websites added to Windows hosts file:

Tro Ransomware adding websites to Windows Hosts file

There are currently two versions of Djvu ransomware infections: old and new. The old versions were designed to encrypt data by using a hard-coded "offline key" whenever the infected machine had no internet connection or the server was timing out/not responding. Therefore, some victims were able to decrypt data using a tool developed by cyber security researcher, Michael Gillespie, however, since the encryption mechanism has been slightly changed (hence the new version, released in August, 2019), the decrypter no longer works and it is not supported anymore. If your data has been encrypted by an older version, you might be able to restore it with the another tool developed by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie. It supports a total of 148 Djvu's variants and you can find more information, as well as download link and decryption instructions in Emsisoft's official page.

Screenshot of Djvu decryption tool by Emsisoft and Michael Gillespie:

Djvu ransomware decrypter by Michael Gillespie and Emsisoft

Additionally, Emsisoft is now providing a service that allows to decrypt data (again, only if it was encrypted by Djvu variants released before August, 2019) for those victims who have a pair of the same file before and after the encryption. All victims have to do is upload a pair of original and encrypted file to Emsisoft's Djvu decryption page and download the aforementioned decryption tool (the download link will be provided after uploading files). Note that the file processing may take some time so be patient. It is also worth mentioning that the system must have an Internet connection during the entire decryption process, otherwise it will fail.

Screenshot of Emsisoft's Djvu decryption service page:

Djvu ransomware decryption service by Emsisoft

Pezi ransomware removal:

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Quick menu:

Step 1

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Step 2

Log in to the account infected with the Pezi virus. Start your Internet browser and download a legitimate anti-spyware program. Update the anti-spyware software and start a full system scan. Remove all entries detected.

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, try performing a System Restore.

Video showing how to remove ransomware virus using "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" and "System Restore":

1. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears, and then select Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list and press ENTER.

Boot your computer in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

2. When Command Prompt mode loads, enter the following line: cd restore and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt type cd restore

3. Next, type this line: rstrui.exe and press ENTER.

system restore using command prompt rstrui.exe

4. In the opened window, click "Next".

restore system files and settings

5. Select one of the available Restore Points and click "Next" (this will restore your computer system to an earlier time and date, prior to the Pezi ransomware virus infiltrating your PC).

select a restore point

6. In the opened window, click "Yes".

run system restore

7. After restoring your computer to a previous date, download and scan your PC with recommended malware removal software to eliminate any remaining Pezi ransomware files.

To restore individual files encrypted by this ransomware, try using Windows Previous Versions feature. This method is only effective if the System Restore function was enabled on an infected operating system. Note that some variants of Pezi are known to remove Shadow Volume Copies of the files, so this method may not work on all computers.

To restore a file, right-click over it, go into Properties, and select the Previous Versions tab. If the relevant file has a Restore Point, select it and click the "Restore" button.

Restoring files encrypted by CryptoDefense

If you cannot start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking (or with Command Prompt), boot your computer using a rescue disk. Some variants of ransomware disable Safe Mode making its removal complicated. For this step, you require access to another computer.

To regain control of the files encrypted by Pezi, you can also try using a program called Shadow Explorer. More information on how to use this program is available here.

shadow explorer screenshot

To protect your computer from file encryption ransomware such as this, use reputable antivirus and anti-spyware programs. As an extra protection method, you can use programs called HitmanPro.Alert and EasySync CryptoMonitor, which artificially implant group policy objects into the registry to block rogue programs such as Pezi ransomware.

Note that Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes a "Controlled Folder Access" feature that blocks ransomware attempts to encrypt your files. By default, this feature automatically protects files stored in the Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Favorites, and Desktop folders.

Controll Folder Access

Windows 10 users should install this update to protect their data from ransomware attacks. Here is more information on how to get this update and add an additional protection layer from ransomware infections.

HitmanPro.Alert CryptoGuard - detects encryption of files and neutralises any attempts without need for user-intervention:

hitmanproalert ransomware prevention application

Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware Beta uses advanced proactive technology that monitors ransomware activity and terminates it immediately - before reaching users' files:

malwarebytes anti-ransomware

  • The best way to avoid damage from ransomware infections is to maintain regular up-to-date backups. More information on online backup solutions and data recovery software Here.

Other tools known to remove Pezi ransomware:

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 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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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Pezi virus 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 Pezi virus on your mobile device.
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