Unwanted pop-ups can be a pain. They’re bugging Gloria from San Antonio, who writes: “I keep getting a pop-up regarding PC Utilities – Pro-Optimizer Pro. It wants to clean 23934 items to optimize on my pc. Do you know whether this is a legitimate program and how much it costs? At this point, it does not mention a fee. I also keep getting a pop up ad for a free computer back-up program that supposedly is already available on my computer. I am leery about these pop up offers. Do you know whether this is legitimate? I use a Transcend external hard drive that I and it is constantly plugged in.”
Gloria, thanks for the great question. This is something that’s bugged computer users, probably since the beginning of the internet. These annoying pop-ups that claim that you have infections or spyware or whatever on your computer. Just to let everyone know… these notifications are NEVER legitimate. You’ll notice that they are never from Microsoft, or from any real anti-virus company (AVG, Norton, Avast, etc.).
PC Optimizer Pro is not the worst type of infection your computer can get. It’s not technically a virus or hostageware. It’s closer to adware than anything else. But don’t let that fool you. It can be bad enough. Among other things, it can hijack your search engine and desktop. You’ve already seen the annoyance that it causes while you’re using your computer. Essentially, what it does is to make up erroneous error screens like the one that you see above, suggests that you run their “free” detection program, and then hit you up to “buy” the full version in order to eliminate these made-up threats. The initial cost for this “program” is typically about $80. Sorry for all of the quotation marks, but you’re not really buying anything. The protection that this program offers doesn’t really exist.
SO HOW DID I GET THIS MESS ON MY COMPUTER?
There are a couple of ways that it may have happened. The most common is that you were out cruising the internet, possibly with no virus or spyware protection, and you stumbled across some bad website that simply loaded it on to your computer, or opened an e-mail that appeared to be from a friend, but was really the result of THEIR being infected. The other way is that you downloaded some piece of freeware that had this program attached as a “bonus”. Unfortunately, a lot of these freeware manufacturers are just looking for ways to monetize their freeware, and don’t look too closely at the programs that attach themselves to their work.
AND HOW DO I GET RID OF IT?
Well, the bad news is that PC Optimizer Pro can make it a bit of a nightmare to remove. The first step is to remove the program. In Windows 7, click the start button and then, in the search box, enter CONTROL PANEL. In 8, move your mouse to the right hand side of the screen to open the Charms, and enter CONTROL PANEL in the search box. In 10, click the Start button and then SETTINGS.
In 7 or 8, click PROGRAMS from the next window. In the search box in 10, enter PROGRAMS, and click on ADD OR REMOVE PROGRAMS.
Find and remove anything attached to PC Optimizer Pro and remove it.
Next, download and install a good cleaner, such as Adwcleaner and run it. This will remove any malicious programs related to PC Optimizer Pro.
Next, download Malwarebytes and run it to remove any additional junk left by the program. You can find these free downloads by searching Google for their names. They are good programs to have just in general.
Finally, get and run a reliable anti-virus program to make sure that it’s all gone.
I hope that this helps!
~ Randal Schaffer