Is there a way to stop your Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or another browsing program that you might be using from spamming your screen with various aggressive ads, pop-ups, banners and annoying page-redirects? If this is the question that brought you to this page, then we might be able to help. The most probable reason for the ads invasion that might be happening on your monitor is not the infection with some sort of a nasty Ransomware or Trojan Horse-based virus, but the presence of a browser hijacker such as “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” on your default browser. You can easily spot such software because, the very moment it gets installed, it usually makes some changes to your default homepage, toolbar or search engine right away. It also starts to generate “Ads delivered by “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged”” all over your screen, regardless of whether you have an add-blocker or not. In the next lines, you can learn what else such a browser hijacker could do and how to safely remove its ads and uninstall its changes without causing harm to your system. Our “How to remove” team has prepared a detailed removal guide on that, but if you prefer to get rid of the nagging pop-ups and page-redirects immediately and without the need to tinker with your system, you can use the suggested “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” removal tool available below and eliminate the browser hijacker in just a few clicks.
Luckily, most browser hijackers are fairly easy to deal with because they do not belong to any malware category. Such pieces of software are created simply to advertise and to earn pay-per-click revenue from sponsored positioning of ads, tools, search engines, homepage domains and paid redirects. But the methods that they usually use in order to promote their sponsored content can oftentimes frustrate the majority of users. That’s why many people seek methods to uninstall the hijacker and save themselves from the aggressive marketing campaigns that are running on their screen.
Remove “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” Pop-up Scam
Android user, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.
Mac user, please use our Mac Malware Removal guide.
The following guide will help our readers get rid of the unpleasant “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” software. Follow the instructions and complete each step for best results. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them using our comment section down below.
Preparation: Entering Safe Mode and Revealing Hidden Files and Folders
Before you proceed with the actual removal instructions, you will need to take two extra steps in order to ensure that the guide has maximum effect.
For best results, we advise our readers to boot into Safe Mode prior to attempting to remove the virus. If you do not know how to do that, here is a separate How to Enter Safe Mode guide.
Also, in order to be able to see any potentially undesirable files, you should reveal any hidden files and folders on your PC – here is how to do that.
Removing “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged”
Step 1: Checking the Task Manager
Open your Task Manager by using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys and go to the Processes tab. Look for any suspicious processes. For example, any unfamiliar process that uses high amounts of RAM and/or CPU. If you aren’t sure if a certain process comes from malware, tell us in the comments.
Right-click on any process that you consider shady and select Open File Location. Delete anything from the file location of the process.
Step 2: Disabling Startup programs
Use the Winkey + R keyboard combination to open the Run search bar and type msconfig. Hit Enter and in the newly opened window, go to the Startup tab. There, look for suspicious entries with unknown manufacturer or ones that have the name “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” on them. Right-click on those, and select disable.
Step 3: Uninstalling unwanted programs
Go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Click on Installed On to sort the entries by date from most recent to oldest and look through the programs that come at the top of the list. Right-click on any entries that appear shady and unwanted and then select Uninstall to remove them from your PC. If you see the name “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” in the list of programs, be sure to remove the software without hesitation.
Step 4: Checking for shady IP’s
Open your Start Menu and copy-paste notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts in the search bar. In the notepad file, look below Localhost and see if there are any IP addresses there. If there are some, send them to us in the comments and we will tell you if you should take any action.
Step 5: Cleaning-up the browsers
You will also have to uninstall any undesirable browser extensions from your browser programs. Here’s how to do that for some of the more popular browsers:
Open Chrome and open its main menu. Go to More Tools > Extensions. Look through the list of extensions and uninstall any that you think could be suspicious. To remove them – click on the trash can icon next to each extension.
You can also use a specialized Chrome CleanUp tool if you cannot manually remove a certain extension. Here is an article where you can learn more about the CleanUp tool.
Open Firefox and go to its Menu. Select the Add-ons button.From the left panel, select Extensions and take a look at the different entries. Remove any of the that might be unwanted.
Once you open your IE browser, click on the Tools button at the top-right corner of the program and from the drop-down menu select Manage Add-ons. Check each one of the four different groups of add-ons and search for anything that seems undesirable. If you find anything, click on it and them select Remove.
Open the main menu of Microsoft Edge and go to Extensions. Find the extensions that you believe could be unwanted and right-click on them. Then, select Uninstall.
Step 6: Checking the Registry Editor
Open the Run search bar again and type regedit in it. Hit Enter and once the Registry Editor opens press Ctrl + F. In the search field type “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” and click on Find Next. Tell us in the comments if any results came up when you searched for “System Warning: Your Windows System is Damaged” in your PC’s Registry.
Step 7: Deleting recent entries
For this step, you will have to open your Start Menu and copy-paste the following lines, one by one:
Hit Enter after each one to open a file directory. In the directories, delete the most recent entries that you find there. In the Temp folder, delete all files.
Step 8: System Restore
In order to be fully sure that the unwanted software has been removed from your machine, you can also try using a Restore Point to roll back your system its last stable configuration. However, in order to do that, you would have to previously had had a restore point created. On most systems, such points get created automatically but this isn’t always the case.
- If you want to learn how to configure System Restore and how to manually create Restore Points, follow this link.
- Open your Start Menu and type System Restore.
- Click on the first result – a setup wizard should open.
- Read the brief description of the process and select Next.
- Now, choose a restore from the presented list. You can also check the Show more restore points option in order to reveal any other restore points that might be saved on your PC.
- Click on Scan for affected programs to see what programs will get deleted or restored after you use the Restore Point. (optional)
- Click on next and take and then select Finish.
- A warning window will appear telling you that once the process starts, it shouldn’t be interrupted. Select Yes and be patient as this might take some time. Do not do anything on your PC throughout the duration of the process.
Step 9: Windows Refresh/Reset
Use this method only if nothing else has worked so far as it is a last resort option. If you do not know how to do it, this separate guide will give you the information that you need.
Security issues you should be aware of
Despite not being as malicious as a Ransomware, a Spyware or another type of a nasty computer virus, a browser hijacker is still one of those apps that you most probably won’t want to keep on your computer. And the frequent ad displays and the uncalled for browser changes are not the only reasons for that. In the majority of the cases, during the time it operates on the system, this software is unlikely to provide you with any useful functionality which may be worth it to endure the frequent pop-up interruptions and automatic page-redirects. More often than not, however, you may have to face browser unresponsiveness, freezing of the screen, sluggishness and overall web surfing disturbances, which may greatly reduce the quality of the time you spend online. Another disturbing fact might be that the origin and the reliability of all the nagging banners, offers and links may also not be confirmed. This means that the software may not display both legitimate redirects and ads but also infected content, which might hide malicious threats from the ranks of Trojans or Ransomware. That’s why it might not be a good idea to click on and visit everything which the hijacker may prompt you to interact with.
Daniel Sadakov has a degree in Information Technology and specializes in web and mobile cyber security. He harbors a strong detestation for anything and everything malicious and has committed his resources and time to battling all manners of web and mobile threats. He has founded MobileSecurityZone.com, a website dedicated to covering the top tech stories and providing useful tips for the everyday user, in an effort to reach and help more people.