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How to get rid of ‘COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL’ malware?

By Emmanuel Seriki | January 8, 2020 |

greater than 15 minutes

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If you are continuously being directed to sites where ‘WINDOWS HEALTH IS CRITICAL’ or ‘COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL’ appears as a key sentence, then a malicious program is active on your computer or it has made changes to your PC’s settings to cause trouble. In this guide, we intend to examine the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL issue, which usually has something to do with malware.

What is the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message?

The COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message is a bogus alert designed to be shown in such a way to trick users into believing that something is wrong with their PCs. The message is not from Windows itself or Microsoft. Scammers or attackers are the individuals behind the alerts, which are fake in the real sense of it.

You might have seen something like this:

COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL.

Call Technical Support Immediately at +1-800-696-4076

The following data will be compromised if you continue:

  1. Passwords
  2. Browser History
  3. Credit Card Information

The virus is well known for complete identity and credit card theft. Further action through this computer or any computer on the network will reveal private information and involve serious risks.

Call Technical Support Immediately at:

OR

Windows / A problem has been detected.

*** STOP: 0xFFFFFFFF (0xFFFFFFFF, 0xUUUUUUUU, 0xUUUUUUUU, 0xUUUUUUUU, 0xUUUUUUUU).

COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL.

Please call technical support at: +46101388486 (toll free) to avoid system failure.

OR

A problem has been detected and your PC has been stopped to prevent damage.

0x0009AF8 DRIVER_IRQL PENDING OPERATION

COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL

RESTARTING THE COMPUTER MAY CRASH YOU SYSTEM DATA

Technical information:

***STOP: 0x00000D1 (0x000000c, 0x0000002, 0x00000000, 0xF86B5A89)

*** irql.sys – Address F86B5A12 base at F85B6000, TimeStamp 3dd9919eb

Beginning dump of physical memory…

Physical memory dump complete.

CONTACT MICROSOFT CERTIFIED TECHNICIAN

AT TOLL-FREE: 1-855-210-6024

To immediately rectify issues and prevent data loss or you can press the ESC key to quit this page at your own risk.

The message body typically includes other information or details that encourage you to contact a support number to fix the problem. Yes, the attackers want you to get in touch with them. They do whatever they can to scare users into calling one of the numbers or messaging the email addresses provided.

When an unsuspecting user contacts the attackers, the scammers pretend to be interested in helping them fix the issue. This way, they sell the victims unneeded support contracts and services. In some cases, the scammer does enough to convince the user to allow remote access to the affected computer.

Once remote access is obtained, the attackers take advantage of confidence tricks involving utilities and setups built into Windows, which they manipulate to gain the victim’s trust and ask him/her to pay for the supposed services that are being rendered. Sometimes, the scammers end up accessing the victim’s credit card account information and other sensitive details, which they use to steal funds or execute personal identity theft.

In case you are yet to figure it all out, then we have to spell it out for you: you must never try to make contact with the numbers or address provided in the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message. Whatever happens or whatever you do, you must avoid calling the phone number for support. The people waiting at the other end of the line are not Microsoft support staff but rather a group of scammers who are willing to employ every trick and go to great lengths to rob you of your money or anything valuable.

If you already made contact with the scammers (for any reason), then you must stop listening to them. Do not read their messages. Ideally, you should block them (wherever possible) to cut them off. Do not pay them or purchase anything from them.

What malware is associated with the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message?

The application that generates the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message is unlikely to be a virus in the real sense of it. We believe an adware-type program is responsible. The malicious program is probably running through an active component (usually active) that fires up the dialogs or windows where the message appears. If you see the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message on your browser, then the malicious program is likely to have made specific changes to your browser configuration or internet settings.

How did the malicious program find its way into my computer?

There is a reasonable chance the adware app ended up on your computer after you installed a supposedly harmless application. Some malware is commonly distributed through bundling, which is a deceptive software marketing method. Bundling allows for the stealth installation of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) with normal applications (known programs). In other words, through bundling, bad or problematic apps get to infiltrate computers without the affected users knowing anything about them.

Most users do not exercise enough caution or take the necessary precautions when they download and install applications, especially those from non-official sources. They typically do whatever they can to rush the installation processes and try to skip all the steps. Developers know that users are hasty, so they (the bad developers) conceal potentially unwanted programs within the Custom or Advanced settings (that define or determine the installation operations).

Users typically choose the easiest route or option, which means the lack of oversight allows for the installation of deceptive applications. Some of the deceptive applications then proceed to fetch and install malicious plugins or extensions, for example.

In the future, if you do not want your computer to end up being infested with rogue or problematic applications, you have to pay close attention to the options or parameters on the installation menu for programs. Ideally, you should go with the Custom or Advanced settings, follow all the steps or on-screen directions, and pay attention to all the tasks being performed (as they progress).

You must also decline offers to install additional programs (regardless of the stage you get such offers). You might have to click on the checkbox for extras to deselect them.

Nevertheless, you must learn and pay attention to all the essential security guidelines and recommendations. In the end, you (as an individual) constitute the best defense against threats. If a malicious program ever finds its way into your computer, you are likely to have played a major role in granting it access.

How to remove the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL pop-up from your screen?

If you are being bothered by the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL pop-up – which might not allow you to close your browser – then you have to force close the application or process responsible for the prompt. Start with the first procedure on the list and then continue with the rest (in that order) – if necessary.

  1. Use Task Manager to force close the malicious program:

From the Task Manager window, you will be able to put down the problematic application. Go through the steps below:

  • Do a right-click on the taskbar (at the bottom of your display) to see the context menu available and then select Task Manager. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut to fire up the Task Manager application quickly.

If the malicious program (or dialog) is preventing you from accessing standard setups or utilities in Windows, then you have to open the Task Manager app this way: Use the Ctrl + Alt + Del keyboard shortcut to get to the Windows pre-desktop screen. There, you must click on Task Manager (one of the options on the list).

  • Assuming you are now on the Task Manager window, you have to go through the items under the Processes tab.
  • Locate your browser process, click on it to get it highlighted or selected, and then click on the End task button (that recently appeared) to terminate the process.

If you see any process that should not be running, then you have to repeat the End task operation on it. The unknown process probably belongs to the malicious program, so you will do well to terminate proceedings for it.

Your browser window (or the problematic message dialog) is supposed to disappear – if you do everything correctly.

  1. Start your computer in safe mode:

Safe mode is a special troubleshooting technique through which you get to boot your computer while Windows loads a minimal set of drivers and startup programs (the fewest components needed). In the operating system environment provided by safe mode, third-party apps (or their processes and services) are not allowed to run at all. Only Windows-branded components (designed by Microsoft) are allowed to function in safe mode.

Since the OS environment in safe mode is as isolated as it gets from third-party influence, then you will find it easy to troubleshoot issues and fix problems. The malicious items currently plaguing your computer are also third- party programs, which means they will be unable to cause issues in safe mode. You will not see the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL dialogs or pop-ups, for example.

If your PC is overwhelmed by the malware associated with the false dialogs or if you cannot perform regular tasks on your computer (for any reason), then you have to boot Windows into safe mode. The resulting operating system will be your lifeline. There, you will be able to perform all the relevant tasks to get rid of the malware and fix the issues affecting your computer.

If you can still get to your desktop screen without much trouble, then these are the instructions you must follow to boot Windows into safe mode:

  • Use the Windows logo button + letter R keyboard shortcut to open the Run application quickly.
  • Once the small Run window appears, you have to fill the text box on it with the following code: msconfig
  • Give the Enter button on your machine’s keyboard a tap to force Windows to run the code (or click on the OK button on the Run window for the same outcome).

The System Configuration window will be brought up now.

  • Click on the Boot tab (close to the top of the window) to go there. Click on the box for Safe boot to get this option selected.
  • Click on the radio button for Network to select this parameter (under Safe Boot).
  • Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to save the changes you just made to your system’s boot configuration.

Windows is supposed to bring up a prompt now asking you if you want to reboot your PC.

  • Click on the Restart button to proceed.

Otherwise – if you want to save your work or perform important tasks before rebooting – then you have to click on the Exit without restart button. In that case, you will have to restart your computer on your own (perhaps, by accessing the Power options on the Windows Start screen and then clicking on Restart).

Your computer will reboot itself to go into the safe mode environment.

If you cannot get your device to boot normally or if you cannot perform tasks at all in the regular Windows operating system environment, then these are the instructions you must follow to enter safe mode:

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  • First, you have to turn off your machine (by pressing and holding the power button until it goes off, perhaps).
  • Now, you have to give the power button a tap to turn on your device. After it comes on, you have to press and hold the power button to force your machine to go off again.
  • Repeat the previous step at least two times.

The aim here is simple. We want you to interrupt or disrupt the regular Windows boot sequence consecutively. Your machine is programmed to initiate Startup Repair when Windows struggles or fails to boot normally. And yes, you need Startup Repair to come up.

  • On your third or subsequent attempt, you have to allow your PC to boot normally (do not press the power button again to put it off).

The Preparing Automatic Repair message should appear soon enough.

  • Now, you have to wait for Windows to diagnose your computer. Be patient. Pay attention to the processes as they play out on your screen.

You will be directed to the Startup Repair screen.

  • Click on the Advanced Options button to continue.

You will be directed to the Windows Recovery environment (beginning with the Choose an option screen).

  • Click on Troubleshoot. On the screen or menu that follows, you have to click on Advanced options.
  • Assuming you are now on the Advanced options screen, you have to click on Startup Settings to continue.
  • Click on the Restart button.

Your computer will restart. You will end up on the Startup Settings screen where a list of options will be displayed.

Press 5 (on your keyboard) to choose Enable Safe Mode with Networking.

Your PC will reboot and get into safe mode now.

How to remove the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL virus from Windows 10

How to get rid of the malicious program associated with the message

The next set of procedures will be focused on getting rid of the application that is causing the annoying or disturbing pop-ups, alerts, or dialogs to show up. We will also show you how to reverse the changes that the malicious program made to your browser settings.

  1. Uninstall the malicious program:

The malicious program is likely to be an application currently installed on your PC. Therefore, you can use the same uninstallation techniques or procedures (used on regular apps) to remove it. In Windows 10, you can uninstall an application through options or menu accessed from the Apps and Features screen in Settings or the Programs and Features screen in Control Panel. We prefer the latter; we will describe the instructions for that path only.

Go through these steps to uninstall the malicious program:

  • Use the Windows logo button + letter R keyboard shortcut to open the Run app quickly.
  • Assuming you are now on the small Run window, you have to fill the text box there with the following code: appwiz.cpl
  • Run the code by hitting Enter on your keyboard (or clicking on the OK button on the Run window).

You will be directed to the Programs and Features menu in Control Panel.

  • Go through the list of applications displayed carefully. Locate the application you suspect to be responsible for the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL messages.
  • Click on the problematic program to get it highlighted, right-click on it to see the available context menu, and then select the Uninstall option.

Windows is supposed to bring up the uninstaller or uninstallation wizard window for the app now.

Follow the directions on the screen carefully to remove the app.

  • You might have to check the program’s folder on your drive (on a File Explorer window, perhaps) and then delete all the files or packages that it left behind.
  • Do what you must to get rid of the malicious program components.
  • Close all the windows that you opened.
  1. Use a security tool to scan for and remove threats:

You might have stopped the main malicious program from operating on your computer (since you removed the parent program), but your work is far from done. You still have to check for other harmful items that might have been involved in causing the issues you faced. You cannot perform the task here manually (on your own). You will need a security utility to do the job on your behalf.

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If you have an antivirus, then you can use it. If you do not have any security utility that you can use, then you have to download and run Auslogics Anti-Malware. This application is a first-rate defense and protection program with a wide variety of scan functions, which you need to do the job here.

Anyway, these instructions cover almost everything on the threat detection and removal process:

  • First, you have to fire up the security utility. Once the program window comes, you have to go to its main menu or options screen.
  • Check for the scan functions. Select Full scan (or Complete or Total scan). Initiate the process.

Here, we want you to use the most comprehensive scan function for obvious reasons. You need the security application to check every item on your drive and go through every directory or folder. Yes, nothing should be left out in the scan for threats. The ideal scan option is probably one that takes the most time and uses up a considerable amount of resources.

  • After the scan is complete, you have to review the results.

The detected threats are likely to have been put in quarantine (or a similar section). Or you will have to click on a button to allow the security program to move the bad stuff to quarantine.

  • Now, you can get rid of the malicious items detected, especially if you are sure that they are harmful. Click on the Delete or Remove button.

If you believe there is a chance the security program made mistakes (by placing harmless or regular stuff in quarantine), then you will do well to leave the threats in quarantine and do further research online to confirm things. You will then decide what to do with them.

  • Here, assuming you are done with the threat removal operations, you have to close the security utility and then restart your computer.
  1. Reset/refresh your browser:

The procedure here applies to users whose browser settings were modified or altered by the malicious program associated with the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL message. You might be able to negate or undo the changes by removing the malicious extensions or plugins – which are still probably installed on your browser – but this operation is not foolproof in delivering the needed results.

Your browser might retain the old (bad) settings even after you get rid of the scripts or programs that made the changes in the first place. Therefore, the reset/refresh operation – which will force your browser to go back to the state it was in when you installed it – is the ideal fix here. You will end up losing some of your data (browsing history, cookies, and similar package groups or items) and personal settings (themes, homepage, preferred search engine, and so on). However, you will eventually come to realize that the projected loss is a small price to pay for redemption.

If you use Google Chrome, then these are the instructions you must follow to reset your browser:

  • First, you have to open Google Chrome by clicking on the browser icon (which should be on your taskbar) or the application shortcut (which should be on your desktop).
  • Assuming you are now on the browser window, you have to click on the menu icon formed from three dots arranged vertically (in the top-right corner of the window).
  • From the list of options displayed, you have to click on Settings.

You will be directed to the Settings screen or menu in a new tab.

  • Now, you must scroll down and then click on Advanced or Show advanced settings link (at the bottom of the page).
  • You have to scroll down again to get to the bottom of the page. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults.

Chrome is supposed to bring up a confirmation dialog now for the requested operation.

  • Click on the Reset button to affirm things.

Chrome will now work to restore your browser settings to their defaults. The application will restart once everything is done.

If you use Mozilla Firefox, then these are the instructions you must follow to reset your browser:

  • First, you have to open Mozilla Firefox by clicking on the browser icon (which should be on your taskbar) or the application shortcut (which should be on your desktop).
  • Once the browser window comes up, you have to click on the Firefox menu icon formed from three short lines arranged vertically (in the top-right corner of the window).
  • From the list of options that show up, you must click on Help to see another list. Now, you must choose Troubleshooting Information.

If you cannot access the Help menu in Firefox (for any reason), then you have to fill the URL field close to the top of the window with about:support and then give the Enter button on your keyboard a tap to run that code.

Assuming you are now on the Troubleshooting Information screen, you have to click on the Refresh Firefox button (in the top-right corner of the page) under the Give Firefox a tune-up section.

Firefox is supposed to bring up the Refresh Firefox dialog or window to get some form of confirmation for the operation.

  • Click on the Refresh Firefox button to affirm things.

Firefox will now act to restore your browser settings to their defaults.

  • You will probably have to click on the Finish button now. Firefox will restart itself.

Note: Firefox is likely to place your old Firefox profile data somewhere on your desktop (usually in a folder titled ‘Old Firefox Data’). If the reset operation did not do enough to fix the problems, then you might as well restore some of the information that you lost by copying or moving the relevant files from the old backup to the directory for the new profile.

On the other hand, if you do need the data for your previous profile and want nothing to do with it – especially if the reset operation delivered the needed results – then you will do well to delete the folder. The Old Firefox Data folder contains sensitive information, so it must not be left to linger.

To keep the length of this guide reasonable, we left out the descriptions of the reset/refresh operations for other browsers (Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and so on). You can check online for the required steps or details on resetting your preferred web browser.

Other things you might have to do to remove the COMPUTER HEALTH IS CRITICAL malware

  1. Use a bootable security utility to run scans for threats and remove malicious items.
  1. Use a bootable Windows media to refresh/reset Windows.
Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.

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