Essential Cleaner is a computer infection from the same family as MS Removal Tool. This infection is also categorized as a rogue anti-spyware program as it pretends to be an anti-virus program, but is actually a program that displays fake security alerts and scan results in order to make you think your computer is infected. Essential Cleaner is installed through the use of malware that will install the program onto your computer without your knowledge or permission. When installed, the infection files will be created in a random named folder in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, in XP, or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\, in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It will then be configured to start automatically when you login to your computer.
Once running it will scan your computer and state that there are numerous infections present, but will not allow you to remove them until you purchase the program. It is important to understand that Essential Cleaner is scripted to display fake scan results regardless of whether or not your computer is infected. Therefore, please do not be concerned if this program states you are infected. Essential Cleaner will also terminate any executables that you attempt to run in order to protect itself from being removed. When you attempt to run any program, it will terminate that program’s process and then display a message similar to the following:
Application cannot be executed. The file cmd.exe is infected.
Please activate your antivirus software.
Just like the scan results, this false warning should be ignored.
While Essential Cleaner is running it will also display fake security alerts and warnings from your Windows taskbar. These alerts are designed to scare you into thinking that your computer is severely infected and that you should purchase the program to protect yourself. The text of one of these alerts is:
Warning: Your computer is infected
Windows has detected spyware infection!
Click this message to install the last update of Windows security software…
Just like the fake scan results and warning messages, you should not be alarmed with this message as they just tactics that the malware writer is using to try and scare you into purchasing the Essential Cleaner program.
As you can see, Essential Cleaner was created solely to make you think that your computer is infected so that you will then buy the program. It goes without saying that you should definitely not buy Essential Cleaner, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a scam and a computer virus.