Home Tutorials How to Delete Harmful Files

How to Delete Harmful Files

Posted: June 6, 2006

Every program is made of individual files, whether or not it's a regular application or a parasite. Spyware programs use harmful files to install themselves and secretly collect personal information about you. Many spyware programs use your Internet connection to access your PC and hijack your browser, monitor your Web surfing habits, change your settings, and annoy you with pop-up ads.

You can delete spyware files two ways: manually, or with an anti-spyware program. To remove harmful files manually you must be familiar with computer technology. When you manually remove any computer file, there's a risk that the smallest mistake may destroy your PC, so choosing to use an anti-spyware program is by far the safest and quickest way you can delete harmful files. An anti-spyware program scans your computer, displays the suspected files, and allows you to decide what should be removed.

Learn how to remove unwanted harmful files and folders from your computer, even when they're hidden.

Delete Harmful Files Manually

Warning: Manually deleting malicious files is a difficult and risky. If you delete the wrong file, your computer may crash and important data may be lost. As a precautionary measure, please back up important files and set a System Restore point (click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore, and follow the on-screen instructions) or run a spyware check with a trusted anti-spyware program to automatically detect spyware.

Locate the harmful file

If you know the name of the parasite you want to remove or at least part of it, you should use Windows search tool to the exact file path of the parasite. To launch the Windows search tool, click the "Start" > "Search" > "All Files or Folders". Type the file name or its part to the field and locate where you want to search for it. Click on the drive, folder, or disk you wish to perform a search. It is recommended that you select "Look in: Local Hard Drives" or "Look in: My Computer" to get better results. Click on the "Search" button to start the search.

Search Harmful File

Make hidden files visible

If you don't know the exact spelling of a filename, but you have an idea where it can be located, you should try to find the file manually. Parasites tend to hide themselves so you will need to enable the functions that lets to display hidden and system protected files.

  1. First, you should start Windows Explorer. If the version of OS that you use is Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, click on the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options". In the "Advanced Settings" list find the title "Show hidden files and folders" and select it. It is recommended to remove a checkmark next to the line "Hide protected operating system files", in order not to affect the files from your OS.

    Search Harmful File

  2. There are cases that some files may still remain invisible. To see them, load the "Command Prompt", press the "Start" button on your taskbar and select "Run". In the emerged dialog, type in "cmd" and press enter or click "OK" button.

    Run cmd

  3. In the emerged window type "dir /A name_of_the_folder" in order to display all the files, including those that are hidden.

    View Folder Name

Delete the harmful file

You can delete the harmful file by using Windows Explorer or any other similar program that locates files and folders in your machine. You should also note that the Recycle Bin should be emptied before starting the removal procedure. The message may appear that the file is in use and is impossible to be removed. In this case, you should terminate the process which is associated with the file and then delete it.

In order to delete it, you should open the Windows Task Manager by pressing "CTRL + ALT + DEL" or "CTRL + SHIFT + ESCAPE". Look at the Processes tab and select the process that corresponds with the file and click on the "End Process" button.

Kill Process with Task Manager

It is possible that some processes will start just after you terminate them. To avoid that, you will need to reboot your machine into the Windows Safe Mode. When this mode is launched, the programs do not start automatically on startup, so it means that many system services can be easily terminated and harmful files can be removed.

The harmful file can also be located and removed by using the "Command Prompt". To find the location of the harmful file, type "cd name_of_the_folder" and invoke the command by typing "del name_of_the_file".

Delete File with Command Prompt.png

If you want to delete entire folder, use the command "rmdir /S name_of_the_folder".

Delete Folder with Command Prompt.png

If you feel that the listed removal procedures are too complicated and you still want to remove the harmful file, we recommend to download SpyHunter's spyware scanner.


  • Jopi says:


    The instruction is clear but when I followed it to delete TkBellEXe somewhere
    in C:\Program Files\Common Files\ Real\Update_OB ... , I was not able to
    do it.

    It is a Real Player spyware trying to install itself in my computer and being
    blocked by SpyBoat.

    I hate to be forced to use Real Player because of some audio I downloaded
    and could not play with alternatives!

    Is there any other way to take TkBellExe out?

  • ghostrider01 says:


    TkBellEXe is a process which belongs to Real Player. It may be that your anti-spyware program is not 100% reliable. If you want to be sure, you can try other free anti-spyware programs or scanners to make sure, that your computer isn't infected with spyware.

  • Josh says:

    i cannot delete a .dll file, the computer says that access is denied and i cannot find anything in the task manager to stop it from running. i use avg antivirus and everytime i click "heal" my comp restarts and the virus is still there. apperently i have trojan hores generic9.AKBO i need to know how to kill it! thanks

  • ghostrider01 says:


    First of all I suggest you to scan your computer with our free SpyHunter scanner. The scanner won’t remove, but will find the infected files and show their locations. Afterwards, boot your computer in Safe Mode and remove the files manually. Safe Mode should help you to remove .dll file too. Also, spyware is not the same like viruses. In addition to your antivirus software, I advice you to get a reliable antispyware program too, because not all antivirus programs catches spyware, malware and other parasites.

  • jibz says:

    i failed to delete smss coz of this other various called odinga

  • vizider says:

    very detailed with pixs. thanks a lot

  • nelboy says:

    I am trying to delete "wininet.dll" and "shlwapi.dll" from the System32 folder (as they are part of Vista Antivirus 2008 worm/trojan/{four-letter-obscene word!}) and I get "Access denied" returned. I have checked the process list and there are no processes associated with these files running; Also the PC is running in Safe Mode. I have also attempted to unregister the DLL's and recieved the message "shlwapi.dll was loaded, but the DllUnregisterServer entry point was not found. This file can not be registered".


  • Bill says:

    got vista antivirus 2008 I hope the instruction you published will help.

  • Jeanny says:

    I am experiencing the same problems as Nelboy. I've tried unregistering the DLL's, but my only response was that "shlwapi.dll was loaded, but the DllUnregisterServer entry point was not found."

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • Ryan MIller says:

    Hi, I understand the instructions, however, Advanced Antivirus is located in the Control Panel and it says "invalid parameters" when I try to enter that into the cmd. Thanks for your help!

  • prashanth says:

    I am trying to delete “wininet.dll” and “shlwapi.dll” from the System32 folder (as they are part of Vista Antivirus 2008 worm/trojan/{four-letter-obscene word!}) and I get “Access denied” returned. I have checked the process list and there are no processes associated with these files running; Also the PC is running in Safe Mode. I have also attempted to unregister the DLL’s and recieved the message “shlwapi.dll was loaded, but the DllUnregisterServer entry point was not found. This file can not be registered”.


  • prashanth says:

    I am experiencing the same problems as Nelboy. I’ve tried unregistering the DLL’s, but my only response was that “shlwapi.dll was loaded, but the DllUnregisterServer entry point was not found.”

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • spoiled says:

    this total secure 2009 anti spy ware is some bu****it. I'm not the most computer savvey person but it's giving me the flux. I've deleted it in the task manager and registry but it keeps coming back. and to make things worse, every time i try get on line or even attempt to go to a site to "remove" it manually it kicks me off. Even to the point where I can't get into my control panel or to search my computer's c drive. If i find the a** *ole who created this bogus site I'll kick his a** for all of us. In the mean time what can i do?

  • kiran says:

    m not able to remove my virus named autorun.inf..through this process..at the end after i hav typed in rmdir/s name f the file..it says like the process cannot access the file because it is being used by anotheer process..
    help me plz..!!!

  • J.R.Bijalwan says:

    i am not able to understand what is anti spam word

  • Joe says:

    my anti-virus can't remove virus from my computer named Trojan-GameThief.Win32.MultiFirst.h, it's located in C:\WINDOWS\System32\system.exe can anyone help?

  • Lala says:

    I downloaded the "Internet Antivirus Pro" and it turned out that it was a spyware or a virus. I followed the directions above and still it can't be deleted.. I tried the Command Prompt but it always says that "The system cannot find the file specified".. Can anyone help me?

  • air bed says:

    Thank you! I was having problems with a DLL file getting held up while booting Windows Vista. The information here helped a bunch!

  • virajith says:

    how can i delete smss.exe file ! its in the folder system32 i cant delete the folder and the task manager is not allowin to end the process ?????plz suggest

  • Marc says:

    try going into your system tools and do a "system restore"...I had m.exe...tried deleting it manually after I couldn't stop it in task manager....then I got the "blue screen of death" that I hadn't seen since Win95.

    I did a System Restore...went back 3 days...that fixed my problem completely!

  • Bob Chay says:

    I wish I understood all that stuff but i'm not a computer whiz > All I want to do is get rid of that annoying Antivirus 360 Please help me? Thanks Bob

  • Bob Chay says:

    Please help me remove Antivirus 360. Bob Thanks

  • Lili says:

    I'm with Bob Chay (December 11th, 2008 @ 7:13pm), please help me remove Antivirus 360. Out of nowhere it appeared and is claiming that I have a threat. I only installed Free AVG Anti-virus for protection and don't understand where this came from & am worried it is a virus. I should remove this correct? If so, how? Thank you.

  • oceane2388 says:

    I'm trying to remove the system security from my computer. I cant find it under my task manager. when I look for it in the cmd it's says that it has no label but gives me a serial number. I'm confused...please help me

  • james says:

    Bob Chay did you get rid of Antivirus 360 yet, I have it on mine now and it shows up on webpages at the top of the screen. I used smitfraudfix.com, its free, and it found many trogans and other shit which it removed. MY pc is faster now but that 360 pop up is still there.

  • ryan says:

    i need help in removing "Spyware Protect 2009"

  • gerlyn says:

    please help me to remove the spyware and adware on my pc

  • momo says:

    I agree with ALL of the above...somehow the Antivirus 360 has been downloaded to my computer...and I thought I finally got it all off, but when i try to search the net, it blocks certain sites...saying that this site might contain harmful stuff and i should ACTIVATE Antivirus 360 (HELL NO!!)..Please tell me what to do, or where I have gone wrong....


  • Jacqui blake says:

    I too have the Anti-virus 360 and how do I get rid of it and protect my computer from this happening again.


  • Herbert(SilverFOx27) says:

    Hi. I have a problem about this virus i hope you can help me about this.
    6jgup0b.cmd with scripted code of HEUR-DBLEXT 🙁

    everytime i open my c:/ it execute a open with.. program.

    i hope you will help me.. thanks a lot and more power.

  • madhu says:

    i have new problem in my own computer, all my word file has changed into exe file then not opened in ms word...
    if you have any solution please help me...........


  • GEND0T says:

    i cant delete a mswinsck.ocx file cause it says the process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process so how do i delete this

  • Jazmine says:

    Everything I do to remove Spyware Protect 2009 doesn't work!! Help me please I'm going crazy!!

  • ALLAN says:

    how can i activate system security i dnt have any visa or master card??

  • ALLAN says:

    help me..

  • Stacy says:

    Tried deleting iehelper.dll from the command prompt (c:\windows\system32>del iehelper.dll) The command prompt then tells me access is denied. What the heck do I do now?

  • Sanjeev says:

    Dear Sir,

    I found virus in my PC virus name database.exe how to delete it please sent instruction in my above mentioned email-id.

  • Josh says:

    I followed your instructions exactly, but when I try to delete entire folder it said it is being used by another process and will not delete.

  • r kumar says:

    Dear Friend Sanjeev,
    I also have this virus Database.exe in my PC. It is situated in a folder named system32 in C:\Program files. I suspect the folder is created by the virus itself. If you got to know its removal technique, kindly inform me at rkmr121@rediffmail.com

  • bboy says:

    total security problems....
    cant do anything
    cant run any .exe
    cant download programs quits in the middle
    cant access task manager or cmd promt.
    cant restart in safe mode...
    cant get into add remove
    cant set the computer back a few days
    im totally screwed...
    i can run searched look through my files..

    someone please help me

  • Sarah says:

    I have XRaila Odinga in my system drive files, how I located it; opened my computer, double clicked hard drive C: opened Windows folder, double clicked system32 then opened drivers and I found there a MS file which prompted me to suspect that it was a virus but un fortunately I have failed to delete it, because the error message I get is that it is being used by another program so kindly help me if you know how I can delete that file from drivers.

    thank you.

  • howard says:

    Most of these problems can be fixed if you will use system restore.
    If you do not know where that is, click on "start" and then click on "search".
    Type "system restore" in the space or block.
    This will show you where "system restore is at".
    Go there and click on it.
    Then go back about 1 week and start the restore process. Let the computer reboot and do its thing.
    Be patient, as this will take some time.

  • jefferson says:

    hi GUYs quick question ever heard of a file .0art ?
    i dont have the time to be searching for this file can anyone give me a hand i own a business who ever can help me ill let them try my new softwares for free thank you


  • jaffar says:

    hi guys
    i have a virus called win.exe and i cant remove it help

  • jaffar says:

    hi guys
    i have a virus called win.exe i cant remove it can anyone help

  • pauline smith says:

    please help someone get rid of alpha antivirus off my pc please help

  • pauline smith says:

    please help remove alpha antivirus

  • Eleazar Herrera says:

    when I turn off my pc using windows vista I get an error from a conime.exe program
    that has not loaded or initialized and while I try to delete that file on the windows-system32
    directory i get a message that it cannot be deleted because access is denied.
    How do I remove thhat thing?.

  • sijuade says:

    i dont want cyber security again

  • susan says:

    Can anyone help me get rid of security tools? I can't find the Application.Maybe_RogueAV

  • cindy says:

    how do i get rid of cyber security?

  • joshua says:

    i have security central and no matter what i try it will not go away.
    it shuts down my programs as soon as they are openedand will not let me access many of my programs such as itunes netscape or any anti spyware programs . i have tried what you said but its not making a dent

  • Ravenheim says:

    I got trojans/spywares/viruses, I got F-Secure 2010, and everytime I restart my computer,
    the viruses are there, in following files/folders:

    exploit.js.ms09002.a in C:\WINDOWS\System32\tmp.exe

    Trojan.Generic.2933369 in C:\WINDOWS\System32\dllcache\stub.exe (just noticed it)

    BehavesLike:Bat.sitehijack in C:\Windows\System32\launch.bat

    A generic trojan (i dont know the name) in C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS file is infected

    These viruses use following .vbs files in system32 folder: launch.vbs, s4c.vbs, F-Secure blocks access in them,
    annoying part: everytime i restart my computer, f-secure deletes one of the viruses, it comes back every restart
    i got to wait like 15 minutes till it gets deleted, rest it blocks. Can anyone help me?? I didnt get what to do in those steps... Message me ravenheim@hotmail.com if you know how can i remove them.

  • Joe says:

    RE: tkscsysguard

    I am trying to remove antivirus live.
    I discovered a suspicious file named tkscsysguard and I am not sure if this is indeed a part of antivirus live or if it is part of the operating system. For now I renamed it REMtkscysguard and await direction from your technitions as to rather I should delete it or not.
    Thanks very much for your assistance

  • spencer says:

    i need help with security tool it is this virus it wont let me do anythin above i didnt even install it it did it itself true story i didnt even see it coming i need help bad i will lose all my info

  • Eileen says:

    i can't get to the first step i did as it said but i can't find it. i think it's gone but if i restart the comp.the icons are back and personal security is back. can someone give me really easy instructions to rid of personal security. ihave no idea how i got it in the first place.

  • bryan says:

    I have a virus of some type and I can't even find it. It shows up for a second when I boot my system in a blank dos window with the file name c:windows/system32/startup.exe is this a problem that I caused or a virus/trojan. thanks

  • alok says:

    whn i open cmd prompt this is wriitten there
    c:\ documents and settings\ALOK KUMAR PATRA
    IF I WRITE here "splist" then the same splist is not internal or external directory command...........although i have installed splist and spkill
    plz help me now
    there is a file named wscntfy.exe which is a banker trojan.....
    plz help me soon

  • cindy says:


    i have security tool and i heard that it just a fake program,and yes it is. the thing is i cant remove this annoying
    popups .first it says i have 44 infections and then it said i have 34 and 23 and 50. i think it just giving me werid and radom numbers of infections. i need a more understanding infomation way to remove security tool.
    yes i do have spyware in my computer. so first i want to remove security tool and than help my computer to remove spyware. PLEASE I NEED HELP!! I WILL REALLY BE THANKFUL IF SOMEONE HELP!!

  • cherrika says:

    I got something came up on my screen about internet security 2010 how do i remove that i didn't download it not when i try to get on line it says all my sites are restricted please download your antivirus software what should i do

  • Lauren says:

    Hey y'all. I recently got vista antivirus 2008 & I tried everything to remove it but couldn't! Until today, I found a program that was recommended by my friend in Kansas who is a computer tech. It's call malwarebytes anti-malware. Best thing I've ever downloaded! lol you can go to download.com & get it from there. It's free & usually takes about two hours to scan thru your whole computer but once it's done it tells you everything it found (& you'll be surprised by what's on your pc) & then deletes it & restarts your pc & after it restarts everything is back to normal! Hope this helps the rest of y'all!

  • jmcdonald says:

    some how personal security got downloaded on my computer and i cannt get rid of it.I tried everything they say all files invalid cmd in run no. no task manager. help please

  • mohamed says:


  • Michael says:

    I was after a different file, logger.exe. I was able to delete it but not the logger.ddd , is there also a way to find out what they were using to send the information out with.

    Many thanks,

    Michael R.

  • wai says:

    hi i got a defence center virus i deletenearly everything but the file in the programs file when i try to delete it won't let me it say access denied last file defext.dll it just can't delete. Wat should i do to get rid of it?

  • robert says:

    well this is to all of u who have access denied... ur computer says ur an admin but ut not a full admin i suggest google searching how to become one but wen i did it involves gouing to cmd and putting in a certin code... but then (since i had the same problem most of u did) it was imediatly deleted because i was on the full admin profile. i would take the advise i have provided.. it might be useful
    click the start menu.
    In the bottom search bar type cmd (don't hit enter)

    cmd will show in the list on top .. right click on it and click to run as administrator

    the command panel will open
    type this command exactly as it appears here.. or just copy and paste it in the cmd panel

    net user administrator /active:yes

    hit enter and it should tell you it completed successfully.

    close the cmd panel and log off of windows.

    When you log back on you should have a new Admin log on.

    Log on as admin and try to run your program that way.
    here thats from a nerd website (the one that helped me)
    jst saying u do not lose ur files there jst in the other profile

  • Rich Blue says:

    Always use the Dos command and navigate to the root of the drive.
    Especially if you suspect a trojan.

    Run: cmd
    From that window, Type: cd\
    Then type: attrib
    Look for any .exe that is hidden, system and read-only. (SHR)
    Most certainly they are viruses or trojans.
    Some files at the root of C are supposed to be SHR - like Pagefile.sys...that's normal.
    So look to see if Autorun.inf exists and has attributes of SHR (System, Hidden, Read-Only.) located on the C drive.
    It will be a trojan launching point for sure.
    Type: attrib -s -h -r autorun.inf
    This resets the attributes and makes the file readable and deletable.
    Once you unhide it you can examine its contents.
    Type; type autorun.inf
    Read it and discover what program (.exe) file it is launching.
    You can now delete the autorun.inf file.
    Do the same attrib commands on the .exe it was trying to launch.
    Delete that .exe (or rename it)
    Reboot the computer and check it again.

    Use the same trick searching (SHR) files in Windows/System32 folder but be careful in what you do there.

    If you were infected, most likely the virus also ruined your ability to see hidden system files from Windows.
    To fix that you'll need to repair the Registry key for SupperHidden files. (and such)
    That is more involved so you should look up instructions to do that.

    You can also type "msconfig" from the run prompt to examine files being started from Windows startup.

    You should never auto launch any thumb drive either.
    Check the thumb drive the same way as described here with the Dos attrib command.

    I hope all this helps.

  • skariah says:

    security alerts may appear in your taskbar stating that your computer is being attacked or is infected. please
    need help.

  • RasmusDenmark says:

    Thanks dude.. 😛 -you saved my a**..

    i owe you one.. 😉

  • personal trainer Toronto says:

    Big fan of this site, a bunch of your posts have really helped me out. Looking forward to updates!

  • Luigi says:

    thanks for the help and malware spyhunter remover program

  • Hipolito M. Wiseman says:

    my computer kept freezing randomly. it was so annoying. had to take it to tech guy. paid 80 dollars for repair.

  • John says:

    That helped. I had several files that were opening at boot onto an app not letting me delete them.

  • Juliyana says:

    when we do installation of game program, windows 32 come out every time we turn on computer. Why that's happen?

  • Pie says:

    I followed your instructions but when I try to delete entire folder it said it is being used by another process and will not delete. Can you help me ? thank you before.

  • Tanna Coulson says:

    Do you recommend disconnecting your Internet connection while running an antivirus scan? The main reason I ask is temp files are continually being written to while browsing the Internet. Is it not feasible that some thing will get missed during the scan if you can't disconnect the connection?

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