How to remove computer viruses that change your file extension names
Computer viruses that change your file extension names can be a pest to remove. Luckily, this webpage will explain what happened to your file name and help you remove the computer virus from your computer.
If your file extension names have changed it is assumed that your computer is infected with ransomware that encrypted the files on your computer and added a new file name or file extension. Ransomware like Cerber and Zepto will change your file name to .cerber or .zepto. For example, test.txt would become test.txt.cerber or test.txt.zepto after infection. Other ransomware will additionally change file extension names to something else, including an email address or web URL. The use of file extension name changes in ransomware is very common. Your entire file name may also change during the infection to a random string of numbers and letters.
Ransomware that changes your file extension names typically leaves a ransom note as your desktop background, inside a web browser window, and/or in every folder it encrypts files in. The note details what happened to your files and will demand a ransom in order to decode or encrypt them by obtaining a password or key.
If your files are encrypted by ransomware you will not be able to access them for the time being. The ransomware will hold your encrypted files hostage and demand a ransom. Paying the ransom does not always work; It supports malware authors to continue what they are doing and it is not recommended to pay the ransom unless you are out of options.
In order to recover or decrypt your files you will need to find a free decryptor program developed by a trustworthy source that is compatible with your particular infection. Different types of ransomware use different decryptor programs to recover files. You can also use programs like Shadow Explorer or Recuva to restore encrypted or deleted files.
2. Run the program and start the Recuva Wizard.
3. Select All Files and click Next.
4. Select a file location. Click I’m not sure to search everywhere on your computer.
5. Click Start.
6. Select All Files with your mouse and click the Recover button. If you cannot restore your files with Recuva we recommend to try using Shadow Explorer to restore your files.
7. Download and Install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software to detect and remove malicious files from your computer.
8. Open Malwarebytes and click the Scan Now button – or go to the Scan tab and click the Start Scan button.
9. Once the Malwarebytes scan is complete click the Remove Selected button.
10. To finish the Malwarebytes scan and remove detected threats click the Finish button and restart your computer if promoted to do so.
11. Download and Install HitmanPro by Surfright to perform a second-opinion scan.
12. Open HitmanPro and click Next to start scanning your computer. *If you are using the free version you may chose to create a copy or perform a one-time scan.
13. Once the HitmanPro scan is complete click the Next button.
14. To activate the free version of HitmanPro: enter your email address twice and click the Activate button.
15. Click the Reboot button.
16. Download and Install CCleaner by Piriform to cleanup junk files, repair your registry, and manage settings that may have been changed.
17. Open CCleaner and go to the main Cleaner screen. Click the Analyze button. When the process is complete, click the Run Cleaner button on the bottom right of the program interface.
18. Go to Tools > Startup and search for suspicious entries in each tab starting from Windows all the way to Content Menu. If you find anything suspicious click it and click the Delete button to remove it.
19. Go to the Registry window and click the Scan for Issues button. When the scan is complete click the Fix selected issues… button and click Fix All Selected Issues.
The key to staying protected against future infections is to follow common online guidelines and take advantage of reputable Antivirus and Anti-Malware security software with real-time protection.
Real-time security software
Security software like Malwarebytes and Norton Security have real-time features that can block malicious files before they spread across your computer. These programs bundled together can establish a wall between your computer and cyber criminals.
- Backup your computer and personal files to an external drive or online backup service
- Create a restore point on your computer in case you need to restore your computer to a date before infection
- Avoid downloading and installing apps, browser extensions, and programs you are not familiar with
- Avoid downloading and installing apps, browser extensions, and programs from websites you are not familiar with – some websites use their own download manager to bundle additional programs with the initial download
- If you plan to download and install freeware, open source software, or shareware make sure to be alert when you install the object and read all the instructions presented by the download manager
- Avoid torrents and P2P clients
- Do not open email messages from senders you do not know