SADStory ransomware / virus (Recovery Instructions Included) - Virus Removal Guide

SADStory virus Removal Guide

What is SADStory ransomware virus?

The brief overview of recently discovered SADStory ransomware virus

SADStory ransomware is a new file-encrypting malware written in Python programming language.[1] Spotted at the end of March 2017, this crypto-malware uses a sophisticated encryption algorithm to take victims’ files to hostage. The virus aims at the broad range of widely used file types, such as Microsoft Office documents, OpenOffice files, video, audio, image, pictures, archives, databases, etc. When data encryption is over, all the affected files have the .sad file extension and are moved to a new directory named __SAD STORY FILES__ . Then, SADStory virus generates a ransom note called SADStory_README_FOR_DECRYPT.txt. In this document, developers reveal that the only possible way to restore encrypted files is to use specific decryption program stored in the secret server. Hackers of ransomware often blackmail victims[2] and use scary tactics to motivate them to pay the ransom quickly. According to the ransom note, in every 6 hours, the virus permanently deletes one file. Thus, delaying the payment might lead to the data loss. People are asked to contact cyber criminals via or email address to get information how much money they need to pay to redeem their files. Nevertheless, hackers give 96 hours before the decryption key is deleted; we do not recommend following their orders. The only thing you should rush is SADStory removal.

The main reason why you should not contact hackers and transfer particular amount of Bitcoins is that no one can guarantee that this would actually help to recover your files.[3] People behind SADStory ransomware virus claim to the have the decryptor and promise to send it via email. However, in some cases, file-encrypting viruses are poorly written, and even developers cannot do anything about data recovery. Thus, they might only take your money and leave you with useless files. What is more, of they provide a decryption software, it might be dangerous and infect your PC with other malware.[4] Bear in mind that while SADStory virus resides on the computer, the system becomes vulnerable. Thus, other cyber infections might use security vulnerabilities and attack the computer as well. Therefore, if you do not want to deal with other computer-related problems, install FortectIntego and remove SADStory automatically. Despite the fact that virus removal won’t recover your files, this step is crucial in order to use various data recovery methods to restore encrypted files. At the moment the virus is not decryptable; however, this argument is not valid to risk and pay the ransom.

SADStory ransomware virusAs soon as data encryption is over SADStory ransomware virus drops a ransom note where it demands to pay the ransom within 96 hours.

How can I get infected with ransomware?

It seems that developers of the SADStory ransomware apply the most popular malware distribution – malicious spam email attachments. Thus, you can get infected with this and many other file-encrypting viruses after clicking infected file attached to the fraudulent email. This message might trick you into believing that it was sent from reputable organization or company, and provides various important reasons to look at the dangerous document. Hence, in order to avoid ransomware, you should double-check the information before opening any attached file.[5] What is more, SADStory malware might infiltrate the computer using exploit kits, bogus software updates or downloads, and malware-laden ads. If you haven’t encountered ransomware yet, you need to be careful and vigilant when browsing the Web. What is more, you should make data backups in order to protect your files in case of emergency.

How can I remove SADStory virus from the PC?

The only safe way to get rid of the file-encrypting virus is to scan the computer with professional malware removal tools. For SADStory removal we recommend using FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes. If you cannot install any of these programs, please have a look at our prepared instructions down below and reboot your machine to the Safe Mode. In this way, you will disable the virus and will be able to remove it automatically. Do not think about an idea to remove SADStory manually. This might lead to the serious computer-related issues because you might leave some of the malicious files or you might delete safe system files. Thus, you might damage computer’s system.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
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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 SADStory virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

SADStory ransomware might block access to the security tools and prevent from the automatic removal. Thus, reboot your computer to the Safe Mode. Then, install antivirus software and run a full system scan.

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 SADStory using System Restore

If the previous method did not work for you, please try System Restore method to disable the virus. Then install or run anti-malware software.

  • 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 SADStory. 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 SADStory removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

Try Data Recovery Pro to restore files encrypted by SADStory virus

If you do not have data backups, Data Recovery Pro might be your only solution to restore files automatically. This tool is designed to restore missing, deleted or encrypted files.

  • 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 SADStory ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Try Windows Previous Versions feature to recover files encrypted by SADStory malware

If you have enabled System Restore function before ransomware attack, you can recover individual files by following the steps below. However, if this function hasn’t been enabled on your PC, this method is not helpful for you.

  • 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”.

Try ShadowExplorer to restore files encrypted by SADStory ransomware virus

In order to use ShadowExplorer, you need to make sure that SADStory virus hasn’t deleted Shadow Volume Copies of the targeted files. If these files are untouched, please follow these steps:

  • Download Shadow Explorer (;
  • 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.

SADStory decryptor

We are sorry, but decryption tool hasn’t been released yet.

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

How to prevent from getting ransomware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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