Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Quits Scanning or Has Stopped Working
The widely used and free malware removal tool, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, assists with antivirus programs to remove or detect infections in Windows. However, you may receive an error message, “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has stopped working” during a system scan. Malwarebytes quits scanning when Windows Error Reporting tool or Problem Reports and Solutions tool has detected an application crash in Windows. To resolve the problem, try using any of the possible solutions in next sections of this article.
Exclude and Trust Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Files and Processes
Most antivirus and firewall software includes self-protection or tamper protection. With tamper or self protections enabled, the access to any protected or locked files in antivirus or firewall programs is prevented. Most antivirus software does not allow opening or accessing the quarantined items, except using its own quarantine manager. Also, an advanced firewall and antivirus program will prevent unauthorized changes made to the operating system or important programs. This is to prevent unwanted injection or modification in the critical system files or applications.
When you run a full system scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the scanner will run a deep system scan including the quarantine directory of the antivirus program and because of this, the antivirus program will prevent Malwarebytes from continuing what it is currently doing - to scan the contents of the quarantine folder which are locked and protected files. When the self-protection of security programs has prevented Malwarebytes from scanning, Malwarebytes quits scanning and the program will stop working. You will receive an error message such as:
“Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.”
“Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has stopped working. Windows can check online for a solution to the problem.”
To resolve the problem, you need to configure your antivirus and firewall software to exclude and trust the files and processes of Malwarebytes.
Look for the exclusion or ignore list option in the installed antivirus software and then add the following files as excluded, allowed or ignore list:
- mbam.exe, mbamgui.exe, mbamservice.exe, zlib.dll, mbam.dll and mbamext.dll - Located in the C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware folder.
- mbam.sys and mbamswissarmy.sys - Located in the C:\Windows\System32\drivers folder.
- If you are using Windows XP, add rules.ref in the exclusion list of your antivirus program. It’s located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware. For Vista and Windows 7 users, rules.ref is in C:\ProgramData\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware
If you are using a 64-bit edition of Windows to exclude the above files then it is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and C:\Windows\SysWoW64\drivers folders.
If you are using advanced firewall software, configure the program control or firewall rules to allow Malwarebytes to use the Internet connection. End-users of Internet Security suite software should do the same by adding all of the above files in exclusion lists and at the same time, allow Malwarebytes program to connect to the Internet as trusted program.
What if Excluding Malwarebytes Files Will Not Help?
In some cases, Malwarebytes quits scanning if there is an infection in Windows that can interfere or block the scanner from finishing a scan. It is
recommended to use an alternative scanner to verify the security status of the computer. Try scanning the computer using any of the following tools:
- Ad-Aware Free Internet Security
- EmsiSoft MalAware - Note that this scanner requires no installation.
- Spybot - Search & Destroy
- SUPERAntiSpyware Portable scanner - Like EmsiSoft MalAware, you don’t need to install SAS Portable to scan the PC.
- ESET Online Scanner
- Trend Micro Housecall
- Windows Live OneCare Safety scanner
- Hitman Pro
Please note a rootkit infection is not easy to remove using traditional antivirus or anti-malware program. Double-check that your computer is not infected by a rootkit or Trojan/rootkit by using the following tools:
- TDSSKiller by Kaspersky
- F-Secure Blacklight
- Sophos Anti-Rootkit
- Panda AntiRootkit - Alternative and official download location is in CNET Download.com
If any of the above tools found infection or security threats in Windows, allow the tool to quarantine or remove the infected files. Reboot the computer when done and try scanning again using Malwarebytes.
The PC is Clean but Malwarebytes Continues to Quit Scanning
If any of the above suggestions did not help and Malwarebytes still quits scanning or has stopped working, try using the troubleshooting method in this
- Locate the detection database of MBAM and delete it. The filename is rules.ref and it’s located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware folder. For Vista and Windows 7 users, rules.ref is in C:\ProgramData\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.
- Start MBAM and let it check for new detection updates.
- Run a full system scan using MBAM. If MBAM continues to stop working during a scan, note the path or location that is currently being scanned by MBAM but it freezes, stops or quits scanning. An example is the image at the right, where MBAM stopped working when scanning the log directory of Windows Live Mail.
- Reproduce the problem by running another full system scan using MBAM and verify that it quits scanning on the same path or location in Windows.
- Report the problem to Malwarebytes by registering a free forum account. Please mention in your initial posts the steps you’ve done and the path or directory when MBAM quits scanning, freezes or has stopped working. Unfortunately, the current version of MBAM does not allow users to manually exclude a file, processes or folder to scan that should help end-users in troubleshooting. The advantage of this decision by the vendor or its developers is to allow them to fix any reported problem instead. However, a troubleshooting method that allows you to temporarily ignore a path or folder should help in verifying the affected location that MBAM is having issues in scanning. This is why most antivirus vendor understands the importance of the said option, most importantly by system administrators in a business or corporate environment.
Image credit: Malwarebytes Forums - https://forums.malwarebytes.org