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What to Do if MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Will Not Run?

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/15/2010

Some malware can prevent antivirus and antimalware scanners from running a scan or even starting. This is because antimalware programs are being targeted by malware to prevent detection and removal of the infection. Read this article to find out what to do if MalwareBytes will not run.

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    Why MalwareBytes Won't Run

    MalwareBytes Anti-Malware and other legitimate or trustworthy antivirus and antimalware will not run if the computer is infected by malicious software targeting the antimalware scanner and remover. This situation occurs when the malware processes are actively running and are programmed to block some other specific applications from running or loading. Some malware will not only prevent launching the MalwareBytes application, but will delete the executable, mbam.exe. To solve this problem, follow the steps below to make MalwareBytes run and scan the computer.

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    Steps to make MalwareBytes Run

    The following steps are what you could use to allow MBAM to run again:

    • Download the already renamed mbam.exe from the authors’ website. Save this file in the directory of MalwareBytes e.g. C:\Program Files\MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware. It's best to download the renamed mbam.exe using another PC and transfer it using a flash drive.
    • If the malware has modified the Hosts file in Windows or if the browser will not run, you might not be able to visit antivirus or antimalware website, you can try to manually rename mbam.exe e.g. mytool.exe, explorer.exe, renamedscanner.exe, winlogon.exe. Note: It depends on what kind of malware or scareware program is installed. Example: You can bypass the rogue antispyware, "Security Tool", "System Security" or other fake scanners by renaming mbam.exe as winlogon.exe or explorer.exe only.

    After renaming mbam.exe or storing a renamed mbam.exe in its program’s directory, double-click the downloaded file or the renamed executable to start using MalwareBytes. Make sure to download the updates before running a quick or full system scan to take advantage of new or fixed definitions file.

    In some cases, MalwareBytes will not run after renaming due to the malicious processes that is preventing, not only MalwareBytes but any applications. Use Rkill or exeHelper to bypass or shutdown the malicious processes. You must not reboot the computer after using Rkill or exeHelper but immediately run MalwareBytes to update the definitions and proceed in scanning the computer. If Rkill and exeHelper will not help, try the following solutions:

    • If a browser will open, download Process Explorer to end the task of the malicious processes. Proceed to scanning the computer using MalwareBytes. If you are not sure which processes is malicious, do not even try to end any of the processes but proceed to next step.
    • Boot the computer to safe mode and try scanning with MalwareBytes.

    The above steps should be used if MalwareBytes is installed already on the PC. If the MalwareBytes installer will not run, you have to rename the installer before trying to install the program.

    If you succeed in cleaning the system using MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware, proceed to undo the changes you made by renaming back the executable to mbam.exe.

    If none of the above will help, you will need extra help by going to MalwareBytes free support forums. Register a free member account to start posting the symptoms of the infection and mentioning the methods or tools you’ve tried in solving the problem to running MalwareBytes.