Minotaur ransomware (Removal Guide) - Decryption Steps Included

Minotaur virus Removal Guide

What is Minotaur ransomware?

Minotaur ransomware – malicious cryptovirus that uses .lock file extension to mark its encrypted files

Minotaur ransomwareMinotaur ransomware is a cyber threat created by hackers. These people cannot be trusted so you shouldn't pay the demanded ransom.

Minotaur ransomware — a cryptovirus that appends a well-known extension to the encrypted data called .lock. Ransomware threats like Lock virus or .Locked files virus have already been using this extension for some time now. Once Minotaur encrypts its target files with the AES algorithm, it starts displaying a ransom note called How To Decrypt files.txt. The ransom warning reveals more details about the particular attack and identifies the 0.125 BTC amount which is required to pay to recover files encrypted by the virus. The main virus executable is called Minotaur.exe. The minute it gets on the system, it checks the location and the state of a device. Then, the file-locking process starts.

Name Minotaur ransomware
Type Cryptovirus
File extension .lock
Ransom note How To Decrypt files.txt
Ransom amount 0.125 BTC
Main file Minotaur.exe
Distribution Spam email attachments
Elimination Install and use FortectIntego for virus damage repair after Minotaur ransomware removal using your antivirus

Once Minotaur ransomware virus gets on the system, it starts running in the background of the system. However, the main malicious behavior stays unnoticed until your data becomes useless and ransomware marks locked files with the help of the .lock file extension.

After the fast encryption[1] process is finished, ransomware forms a message for its victim which is saved in the file called How To Decrypt files.txt. Minotaur virus focuses on English-speakers and displays only a few details in this note, including the ransom amount (0.125 BTC) and the email address provided for contacting its developers (called minotaur@420blaze.it).

Minotaur ransomware ransom note reads the following:

(KEY): J3oLtCrE14E****
(EMAIL): minotaur0428blaze.it


You need to remove Minotaur ransomware immediately after receiving such note on your desktop. Do not think about paying the ransom or contacting these criminals at all because this is a straight way to the money loss. Even though the ransom amount looks not a big deal to you, there is no guarantee that your locked data will be decrypted after you send your payment to cybercriminals. Also, researchers[2] claim that they have no information about the existing decryptor from the developers of this ransomware.

Minotaur ransomware removal is a procedure that needs to be done before trying to recover your locked files. If you tried to replace your encrypted data from backup, beware that ransomware on your computer could try to affect your files once again. Make sure you use a reputable anti-malware program in the elimination of this virus. Try FortectIntego as an alternative scanner to repair the damage after virus termination.

Remember that there is no decryption tool developed for Minotaur ransomware encrypted files yet, so your best option is to employ data recovery steps provided by our experts or replace files with safe copies from a backup. If you have no backups, try software selected by our experts for file recovery.

Minotaur ransomware virus Minotaur ransomware is a cryptovirus that displays its ransom note in short text.

Ransomware distribution methods are similar to widely-used practices

The malicious payload of these crypto-extortionists can be loaded on the device directly or with the help from other malware. However, most of these intruders come from safe-looking documents as spam email attachments which are infected with macros[3].

A malicious virus can land on the system immediately after the file is downloaded and opened on the infected machine. If you do not pay enough attention to emails, you recently opened you may be in danger. Trojans, malware, ransomware itself affect the system without your content or knowledge.

You can avoid cyber infections if you choose wisely which emails to open freely without thinking and which not. If your email box gets filled on a daily make sure to look out for these details:

  • subject line says “invoice” or “financial information”, “order”;
  • the email contains MS Word or Excel file;
  • there are typos or grammar mistakes in the main message;
  • here is no clear connection between the sender and the file attachment;
  • you have never used the service or company the email is sent from.

Minotaur ransomware elimination tips

The most important thing you need to know about Minotaur ransomware removal is a need for professional anti-malware software. Do NOT try to get rid of the cryptovirus manually because it affects different components on the system as soon as it infiltrates it. To find all these components, you should employ programs designed to fight against such threats.

Once you get rid of malicious files, check if the ransomware didn't affect your computer's registry. Run FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes to make sure that the malware is fully eliminated. Programs like these will also indicate if there is any additional malware hiding in your PC system.

Once you remove Minotaur ransomware, try data recovery options provided below. Double-check if the system is clear and then try file recovery methods from down below. Creating file backups on various platforms can be helpful to prevent such losses in the future.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Fortect, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Minotaur virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

Reboot your computer in the Safe Mode with Networking before a scan to get rid of Minotaur ransomware with all its components:

Important! →
Manual removal guide might be too complicated for regular computer users. It requires advanced IT knowledge to be performed correctly (if vital system files are removed or damaged, it might result in full Windows compromise), and it also might take hours to complete. Therefore, we highly advise using the automatic method provided above instead.

Step 1. Access Safe Mode with Networking

Manual malware removal should be best performed in the Safe Mode environment. 

Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  1. Click Start > Shutdown > Restart > OK.
  2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 button (if that does not work, try F2, F12, Del, etc. – it all depends on your motherboard model) multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
  3. Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list. Windows 7/XP
Windows 10 / Windows 8
  1. Right-click on Start button and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down to pick Update & Security.
    Update and security
  3. On the left side of the window, pick Recovery.
  4. Now scroll down to find Advanced Startup section.
  5. Click Restart now.
  6. Select Troubleshoot. Choose an option
  7. Go to Advanced options. Advanced options
  8. Select Startup Settings. Startup settings
  9. Press Restart.
  10. Now press 5 or click 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Enable safe mode

Step 2. Shut down suspicious processes

Windows Task Manager is a useful tool that shows all the processes running in the background. If malware is running a process, you need to shut it down:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details.
    Open task manager
  3. Scroll down to Background processes section, and look for anything suspicious.
  4. Right-click and select Open file location.
    Open file location
  5. Go back to the process, right-click and pick End Task.
    End task
  6. Delete the contents of the malicious folder.

Step 3. Check program Startup

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to Startup tab.
  3. Right-click on the suspicious program and pick Disable.

Step 4. Delete virus files

Malware-related files can be found in various places within your computer. Here are instructions that could help you find them:

  1. Type in Disk Cleanup in Windows search and press Enter.
    Disk cleanup
  2. Select the drive you want to clean (C: is your main drive by default and is likely to be the one that has malicious files in).
  3. Scroll through the Files to delete list and select the following:

    Temporary Internet Files
    Recycle Bin
    Temporary files

  4. Pick Clean up system files.
    Delete temp files
  5. You can also look for other malicious files hidden in the following folders (type these entries in Windows Search and press Enter):


After you are finished, reboot the PC in normal mode.

Remove Minotaur using System Restore

Enable the System Restore function to perform Minotaur ransomware removal without being blocked:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt
    Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    1. Click Start Shutdown Restart OK.
    2. When your computer becomes active, start pressing F8 multiple times until you see the Advanced Boot Options window.
    3. Select Command Prompt from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Command Prompt'

    Windows 10 / Windows 8
    1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen. Now press and hold Shift, which is on your keyboard, and click Restart..
    2. Now select Troubleshoot Advanced options Startup Settings and finally press Restart.
    3. Once your computer becomes active, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt'
  • Step 2: Restore your system files and settings
    1. Once the Command Prompt window shows up, enter cd restore and click Enter. Enter 'cd restore' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    2. Now type rstrui.exe and press Enter again.. Enter 'rstrui.exe' without quotes and press 'Enter'
    3. When a new window shows up, click Next and select your restore point that is prior the infiltration of Minotaur. After doing that, click Next. When 'System Restore' window shows up, select 'Next' Select your restore point and click 'Next'
    4. Now click Yes to start system restore. Click 'Yes' and start system restore
    Once you restore your system to a previous date, download and scan your computer with FortectIntego and make sure that Minotaur removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

Guide which is presented above is supposed to help you remove Minotaur from your computer. To recover your encrypted files, we recommend using a detailed guide prepared by 2-spyware.com security experts.

If your files are encrypted by Minotaur, you can use several methods to restore them:

Since this is a file-locking virus you need to try Data Recovery Pro for encrypted files

You can restore accidentally deleted files using Data Recovery Pro also.

  • Download Data Recovery Pro;
  • Follow the steps of Data Recovery Setup and install the program on your computer;
  • Launch it and scan your computer for files encrypted by Minotaur ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature a method for file restoring

Was System Restore enabled on the device before? If not Windows Previous Versions cannot give you results you want

  • Find an encrypted file you need to restore and right-click on it;
  • Select “Properties” and go to “Previous versions” tab;
  • Here, check each of available copies of the file in “Folder versions”. You should select the version you want to recover and click “Restore”.

ShadowExplorer helps users after ransomware attacks

If Shadow Volume Copies remain untouched, you can use ShadowExplorer

  • Download Shadow Explorer (http://shadowexplorer.com/);
  • Follow a Shadow Explorer Setup Wizard and install this application on your computer;
  • Launch the program and go through the drop down menu on the top left corner to select the disk of your encrypted data. Check what folders are there;
  • Right-click on the folder you want to restore and select “Export”. You can also select where you want it to be stored.

Decryption tool is not available

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from Minotaur and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.


Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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