How to remove .HOW file virus (+ Decrypt files)

Delete .HOW file virus from OS [Removal Guide]

.HOW file virus is described as newly found ransomware virus that belongs to Dharma ransomware family and was discovered by Jakub Kroustek. This nasty malware has the ability to encrypt files, changes their extensions and generates ransom notes. The main aim behind the creation of such virus is to hijack your files and demand extortion money for allegedly recover them.

While encrypting, this ransomware renames all files by adding victim’s ID, cyber criminals email address and by appending “.HOW” extensions to the end of every affected files and makes them totally useless. Due to this, users are unable to access even single files to their previous states. After finishing this process, instructions on how to contact cyber criminals behind ransomware is shown in text file named “FILES ENCRYPTED.txt” and dropped it on your desktop and pop-up is displayed.

Short description

Name: .HOW file virus

Type: Ransomware, Cryptovirus, File-lockers

Extension: .HOW

Ransom demanding message: FILES ENCRYPTED.txt, pop-up window  

Description: A variant of notorious Dharma ransomware family of viruses. Aims to encrypt files present on your computer and then ask you to pay ransom to get them into working condition.

Distribution: Spam email campaigns, harmful links and ads, peer-to-peer file sharing such as torrents, hidden attachment with freeware and shareware

Symptoms: A different unusual extension are added in the personal files and data stored in the PC hard-disk, A ransom note demanding money appears on the screen when you trying to access them.

Damage: Leads to data loss. Secretly adds other severe malware infection in the backdoor including password stealing Trojan, spyware and so on.

Removal and Data recovery: Advised to immediately scan the PC and remove all file viruses immediately. Once the malware gets removed, you can use the backup files for recovery. The other option is to use a data recovery tool.

Details about .HOW file virus

According to the ransom note, all files have been encoded by using strong encryption algorithm and in order to decrypt it users are asked to contact cyber criminals by writing an email to [email protected] email address. Once contacted, they provide details such as price of decryption, how to pay, where to pay etc. They also demand money in form of Bitcoin in exchange for decryption. However, in most cases, decryption requires private key which is stored on remote server and controlled by cyber criminals.

Furthermore, to gain the trust of users they ask you to send one encrypted files and they will decrypt them free but you must know that the file does not contain any personal information as well as the size of file is not more than 1MB. They also warn users not to rename encrypted files or try to decrypt them by using third party software otherwise it may cause permanent data damage. So, in such situations, you are strongly recommended to remove .HOW file virus safely from the computer to avoid further encryption.

How did ransomware infect system?

Basically, cyber threats use conventional intrusion methods to attack targeted PC. One of the most popular methods is called bundling. Thus, you should be very attentive while downloading and installing any freeware or shareware programs. Once installed, it will disable antivirus and firewall protection to stay safe into your system for long time. It will change the extension of all files and show error message if you try to access any of your locked files. Its main aim is to make illegal profit by blackmailing innocent users.

Shall I pay money to decrypt files?

The main aim of ransomware behind this is not let you to access, change or add any new data in an infected file. If you do so, it displays ransom message and ask you to pay money in order to decrypt your files. The price of such key are not specified and crooks demand to submit payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. They provide a surety that after getting money they will provide you decryption tool so that you can unlock your files.

But this is not the right way to trust any hackers immediately because it is a spam. After wasting your time and money you will realize that your data is still unusable. Ransomware creates a strong case for maintaining regular data backups. You must be sure that it must be store in remote server or unplugged storage device because locally stored backup will be compromised along with regular data. So, it is highly advised to have multiple backup copies and placed in separate locations.

Remove .HOW file virus

Manual malware removal threat is hectic and complicated as it also requires advanced computer skills to perform virus removal process. So, to keep device harmless and secured, you are highly advised to use reliable antimalware removal tool that can remove .HOW file virus easily and effectively from the machine.

Text presented in the pop-up window:

Don’t worry,you can return all your files!
If you want to restore them, follow this link:email [email protected] YOUR ID –
If you have not been answered via the link within 12 hours, write to us by e-mail:[email protected]
Do not rename encrypted files.
Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.
Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increased price (they add their fee to our) or you can become a victim of a scam.

Do You Suspect Your Computer May Be Infected with ‘.HOW file virus’ & Other Threats? Scan Your Computer for Threats with SpyHunter

Spyhunter is a powerful malware remediation and protection tool designed to help provide users with in-depth system security analysis, detection and removal of a wide range of threats like .HOW file virus as well as a one-on-one tech support service.

For more information, read SpyHunter’s EULA, Threat Assessment Criteria, and Privacy Policy. The scanner you download here is free version and is able to scan your system for possible threat’s presence. however, it requires a 48 hour period to remove detected threats without any charge. if you want not to wait for that period, you will have to purchase its licensed version.

(Data Recovery Solution)

The first recommendation is to recover your encrypted data with backup files you have created. In case there is no backup available, try to restore your encrypted data with data recovery tool suggested here.

Recommended methods for .HOW file virus removal and restore encrypted files

.HOW file virus is very harmful crypto-malware designed to encrypt all types of files including photos, audios, videos, documents and other files, and make them inaccessible. After encryption process, it spreads the ransom note in each folder of your computer that claims the decryption is possible only when you use its data recovery service. We recommended you to please avoid paying demanded ransom money to them.

In that case, you need to remove .HOW file virus and all the related components from PCs immediately and then perform data recovery process. Here, we are discussing about both malware removal and data recovery method that could help you to solve your problem. Ransomware removal method will help to find the location of this nasty crypto-malware in your computer and remove them completely while data recovery method will help you to get back your damaged or locked files in your machine. Let’s go for the solution.

Remove .HOW file virus using “Safe Mode with Networking”

  • Restart your PCs and press “F8” function key multiple times you see the “Advance Boot Options” window
  • Select “Safe Mode with Networking” in the list
  • Now, log in to account with .HOW file virus infection
  • Open your internet browser and download the legitimate anti-malware software. You can download “SpyHunter” anti-malware software that has the ability to delete all types of malware or spyware from machine.
  • Update the anti-malware software and starts the “Full Scan” operation to remove all programs related to .HOW file virus from machine.

Remove .HOW file virus using “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” and “System Restore”

  • Restart your computer and press “F8” function key multiple times until “Windows Advance Options” menu appears

  • Select “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” option in the list

  • Now, type “cd restore” command in command Prompt and hit “Enter” key to execute it

  • After that, type “rstrui.exe” command in command line and hit “Enter” key
  • Once “rstrui.exe” command executed, “System Restore” window will appear
  • Click on “Next” button

  • Choose one of available “Restore Points” and click on “Next”

  • In the confirmation dialog box, click on “Yes” to start “System Restore” process

  • After restoring your computer to previous date, download/install and scan your computer with powerful anti-malware software to eliminate any remaining malicious programs related of .HOW file virus. You can download the powerful antivirus software via “download link” below

Download Spyhunter Anti-Malware Tool

Restore files encrypted by .HOW file virus using “Windows Previous Versions” feature

To restore individual files encrypted by .HOW file virus, follow the steps below:

  • To restore a file, right-click on it and go to “Properties”
  • Select the “Previous Versions” tab
  • If the relevant files has a “Restore Point”, select it and click on “Restore” button

Note: This method is only effective if “System Restore” function was enabled on your Windows operating System. On other hand, some ransomware variants like .HOW file virus are known to remove “Shadow Volume Copies” of the files. So, we can say that this method may not work for data recovery.

Restore files locked by .HOW file virus using “Shadow Explorer”

To restore files, you can use “Shadow Explorer” application. This application allows you to browse the “Shadow Copies” created by Windows OS Shadow Copy Service. “Shadow Explorer” helps if you are unable of access the “Shadow Copies” by default especially in “Windows Home Editions”. Note that “Shadow Copies” can directly be accessed only in Business Ultimate and Enterprise versions.

“Shadow Explorer” provides Volume Shadow copy service and other features including retrieve all the variants of files and folders available, allow to access through shadow copies and show available current copies.

Important Note: This data recovery application is designed to decrypt or recover your files from Shadow copies which is created by “Windows Volume Shadow Copies Service”. But when we talk about .HOW file virus or other harmful ransomware variants, it usually deletes “Shadow volume copies” and any other backup files using malicious tricks. So if System has already been infected with this type of ransomware virus, then you can’t access “Shadow Copies” using this software. Anyway, you can use “Shadow Explorer” if you want and please check if it works.

How to download/install and use “Shadow Explorer” on Windows PCs?

  • Click on “Download” button below to download the “Shadow Explorer” application

Download Shadow Explorer

  • Double-click on “Installer file” or “Downloaded ZIP file” to install this software
  • Once installed, open “Shadow Explorer” as Administrator

  • Now, from the drop down list you can select from one of the available point-in-time Shadow copies

  • You can right-click on any file or folder and export it
  • After that, choose a folder where the files from “Shadow Copies” are saved to

  • In case if a file or folder in the destination folder already exists, “Shadow Explorer” asks for the confirmation before overwriting. Check the box “Do not show this dialog again”, if you don’t want to show this again.
  • There is a button in the settings (File, Settings) to reset this decision

Recovery of files encrypted by .HOW file virus or similar ransomware

If you are unable to recover your lost files by using “System Restore”, “Windows Previous versions features” and “Shadow Explorer”, then you can go for another data recovery solution. As said earlier in most of the cases, ransomware variants like .HOW file virus are capable of deleting “Shadow volume copies” created by Windows OS by default. In this case, you can use “Stellar Data Recovery Software”. This powerful data recovery software is designed to recover all files encrypted by .HOW file virus.

“Stellar Data Recovery Software” is user-friendly software for Windows and Mac OS X based devices that features include RAID and Virtual drive recovery and repairing all types of corrupted files. It works with both non-bootable and encrypted drives. In simple word, we can say that this powerful data recover software does great job.

This powerful recovery software takes less time to recover files locked by .HOW file virus and support all known files type and custom types can be added with advanced options menu. “Stellar Data Recovery Software” recovers emails, photos, audios, videos, documents and etc from any storage media devices like hard drives, SSD, DVD, USB drives, and others

On other hand, it recovers crucial data from missing or deleted partitions of hard drive volume in just few steps. It generates a preview of search results during scan so you get to see all the recoverable files before recovery. This preview result appears on screen in “Tree-View” and deleted list formats.

How to download/install and use “Stellar Data Recovery Software” on Windows PCs?

  • Click on “Download” button below to download “Stellar Data Recovery Software” in your computer

Download Stellar Data Recovery Software

  • Double-click on “Installer file” to install the application
  • Once installed, open “Stellar Data Recovery Software”
  • Select type of data you want to recover. Option: All Data, Office Documents, Folders, Emails, Audios and Videos. And then click on “Next”

  • Now, select he folder location, drive or volume you want to scan for data and click on “Scan”

  • Wait for the completion. Once done, select the files and click on “Recover” button to save your recover files

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