Fake Explorer.exe Virus Removal

Written by Robert Bailey
The real explorer.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called “Windows Explorer”. Explorer.exe from Microsoft is an important part of the Windows operating system, however, criminals create malware such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection.
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What is Explorer.exe process?

If your computer is very slow and there are multiple instances of Explorer.exe process running in Windows Task Manager, then your computer is infected with coin miner virus

The names of the executive file can be diverse, however, the consequences are generally identical. Since coin miners aim at cryptocurrency mining, they utilize all possible hardware power of your personal computer to run this process. This malware does not care about the fact that you probably want to make use of your device for other tasks – it will continuously consume over 80% of your processor power.

Explorer.exe Windows Process

Explorer.exe – Extremely high CPU as well as GPU use

Besides CPU utilization, some of the coin miners additionally make use of GPU power for their operations. In that case, you will struggle even to see the mouse arrow moving – GPU is often utilized on 100%. It is not as important as CPU for system work, so Explorer.exe coin miner viruses do not waste time on trifles and utilize it all. It sometimes can result in sad consequences.

Shortly about cryptocurrency mining

Crypto mining is a term that means the activity of calculating the transaction block hash. That is an integral part of any project based on blockchain technology. Since this operation takes a lot of calculations, a very powerful computer is needed. Exactly, the GPU is better for this purpose, because they have more cores available. Cryptocurrency mining farms usually consist of tens and hundreds of graphic cards to conduct their activity effectively. Such computer systems are not usable for “general” purposes, like gaming or browsing the Web. Fraudsters who make a profit via this coin miner use someones’ PCs instead, even if they are used for regular activity.1

List of the typical coin miner symptoms

  • Microsoft Defender is stopped;
  • CPU and GPU is loaded at 80-90% exactly after the system start
  • Cooling fans are running at high speed and create a lot of noise
  • A single process in Task Manager consumes all CPU and GPU power
  • How dangerous is the Explorer.exe miner?

    Coin miners does not deal damage to your files. However, they make a lot of unpleasant things with the whole system

    Initially, Explorer.exe virus makes your computer overloaded. It is unable to run your applications now, as all processor power is consumed by malware. That malware does not care for your demands, all it focuses on is generating income on you. Even if you are patient, and you waited until the browser is open, you will likely struggle with extremely slow performance. Pages will open up for years, any kind of logins will likely take about a minute – just a headache for a person that does a job online.

    Explorer.exe Technical Summary.

    File NameExplorer.exe
    TypeTrojan Coin Miner
    Detection NameTrojan:Win32/CoinMiner
    Distribution MethodSoftware bundling, Intrusive advertisement, redirects to shady sites etc.
    Similar behaviorDefault.exe, St.exe, Xxx.exe
    RemovalDownload and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware for automatic Explorer.exe removal.

    “Visible” damage is not a solitary bad activity coin miners do to your computer. Explorer.exe coin miner additionally deals damage to your operating system. To complete all malevolent functions properly, it wrecks the security components of your system. You will likely see your Microsoft Defender disabled – malware stops it to avoid recognition. If you open the HOSTS file, you will likely see a number of new entries – they are added by this coin miner to connect your PC to a malicious mining network. All these adjustments shall be thrown back to the original in the process of system recovery.

    Hardware effects of coin miner activity

    Besides decreasing your PC’s performance, running at peak level for long times can cause damage to your device as well as increase power bills. Hardware elements are designed to easily get along with high load, but they are good with it only in case when they are in a good shape.

    Tiny and covered CPU cooling system is quite hard to crack. Meanwhile, GPUs have big and easy-to-access rotors, which can be easily broken if touched while working, for example, by the user much before the virus injection. Malfunctioning cooling system, together with the unusually high load caused by Explorer.exe virus can easily lead to graphic card failure2. Video cards also tend to have very fast wear when used for cryptocurrency mining. It is likely an unwanted case when the performance of your video card plunges 20-30% only after 1-2 weeks of being exploited in such a way.

    How did I get Explorer.exe coin miner virus?

    Coin miners are spread through different ways, but their main sources are malicious banners and programs from dubious sources

    Coin miners are one of the most common malicious programs among “major” viruses. Adware often acts as a carrier for Explorer.exe malware injection: it demonstrates to you the banners, which include a link to malware downloads. Sure, this abstract “malware” may belong to any kind – additional adware, spyware, rogue, or backdoor. But the statistics say that approximately 30% of all malware spread with the malevolent banners are coin miners – and Explorer.exe is just one of them.3

    Unwanted banners adware

    The example of malicious banners you can see in the Internet

    Another way you could get this thing on your PC is by downloading it from the suspicious site as a part of a program. Users who spread hacked versions of well-known programs (which do not need the license key) have small chances to earn money. Therefore, there is a very big temptation to include malware in the final package of the hacked app and acquire a coin for every setup. Before criticizing these guys for hacking and also malware distribution, ask yourself – is it OK to avoid purchasing the program in this manner? It is much cheaper to pay $20-$30 one time than to pay a much greater sum for an antivirus program as well as new parts for your PC.

    How to remove the Explorer.exe miner from my PC?

    The best way to get rid of this coin miner virus is to use anti-malware software

    Eliminating such a virus needs using special app. Effective security tools should have high performance at scanning and also be lightweight – in order to create no problems with utilization also on weak computers. Additionally, it is recommended to have proactive protection in your protection solution – to stop the virus even before it launches. Microsoft Defender lacks these elements for different reasons. That’s why I’d recommend you to use a third-party anti-malware program for that purpose. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is a great option that fits all of the mentioned features.4

    Prior to the virus removal, it is important to boot your system into Safe Mode with Networking. Since Explorer.exe miner consumes a lot of CPU power, it is needed to stop it before launching the security program. Otherwise, your scan will last for years, even though the GridinSoft program is pretty lightweight.

    Booting the PC into Safe Mode with Networking

    Press the Start button, then choose Power, and click on Reboot while holding the Shift key on the keyboard.

    Boot into Windows Safe Mode

    Windows will reboot into recovery mode. In that mode, choose Troubleshoot→ Startup Settings→ Safe Mode with Networking. Press the corresponding button on your keyboard to choose that option.

    windows safe mode boot option with command prompt

    When your system is in Safe Mode, all third-party programs, just like the majority of non-crucial operating system components, are not launched with the system start. That gives you the ability to clean the PC without dealing with the high CPU usage of the coin miner.

    Remove Explorer.exe coin miner virus with GridinSoft Anti-Malware

    Download and install GridinSoft Anti-Malware. You can use this anti-malware program for free during its 6-day trial period. In that term, all functions are available, and it takes no payments to remove malware from your system.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware free trial

    After activating your free trial, start Full scan. It may last up to 10 minutes. You may use the PC as usual.

    Scanning in GridinSoft Anti-Malware

    When the scan is finished, press the Clean Now button to remove all detected elements from your system. This procedure takes less than a minute.

    GridinSoft Anti-Malware after the scan process

    Now, you are good to go. Reboot your PC into a normal Windows mode and use just as there was nothing malicious.

    Remove Explorer.exe Virus ⛏️ Trojan Coin Miner

    Name: Explorer.exe

    Description: The Explorer.exe is a Trojan Coin Miner that uses the infected computer’s sources to mine electronic money without your authorization. This Explorer.exe will create your CPU to go for very warm temperatures for prolonged periods of time, which could reduce the life of the CPU.

    Operating System: Windows

    Application Category: Trojan

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    References

    1. Detailed explanation of how does crypto mining work.
    2. About unwanted effects for GPUs in the process of crypto mining.
    3. Read more about various malware type on GridinSoft Threat Encyclopedia.
    4. Our review on GridinSoft Anti-Malware.

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    About the author

    Robert Bailey

    Security Engineer. Interested in malware, reverse engineering, white ethical hacking. I like coding, travelling and bikes.

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