What is Personal Antivirus?
Personal Antivirus sounds like a wonderful program that might be good to have, right? Actually, it’s just one of an increasingly common type of malware called a rogue anti-virus or rogue anti-spyware program. It appears to be harmless or even beneficial on the surface, but it’s actual goal is to scare you into thinking you have some nasty virus that can only be removed by purchasing their removal software. It’s sort of like digital blackmail. Similar “products” include XP Antivirus, Antivirus 2008/2009 , Antivirus 360, etc…
How do I get rid of it?
Unlike most legitimate programs, there is no automatic un-installation method. That’s because the people behind these scams don’t want you to remove their software. They usually don’t show up in the list of programs in the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet. However, in many cases, manual removal is simple. Here are the steps I use. Keep in mind there are many different variants of this program so your mileage may vary.
Step 1: Terminate the application
Open Task Manager and look for a process called “pav.exe”. Highlight this process and click End Task. Once the process has been ended, the tray icon and application window should disappear.
Step 2: Prevent the program from starting up
Download a program called HijackThis. After you’ve installed it, run HijackThis and do a system scan. Look for any reference to the file pav.exe. Usually there will be at least one reference on a line that starts with “Run”. Put a check beside any that you find and click “Fix”
Step 3: Delete the program files
Delete the Personal Antivirus folder located in C:\Program Files. You should also delete the shortcut on the desktop and the Personal Antivirus folder in the start menu.
That’s it. Reboot your computer just to make sure it doesn’t come back at startup. One optional step is to run a registry cleaner like CCleaner after you’re done. That should remove any leftover registry keys that reference the missing program file folder.
So do I really have a virus?
Just because Personal Antivirus was on your system and it said you have a virus, that does not mean you’re actually infected. However, I strongly recommend doing a full system scan with a legitimate anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program just to be safe. If you don’t already have one, here’s a list of some free alternatives.
Free Anti-Virus software (install only one at a time)
Free Anti-Spyware software
Spybot Search & Destroy