UselessFiles ransomware (Virus Removal Guide) - Bonus: Decryption Steps

UselessFiles virus Removal Guide

What is UselessFiles ransomware?

UselessFiles ransomware is cryptovirus that was discovered by security experts in early May 2018

UselessFiles ransomware

UselessFiles ransomware is a file-locking virus that was given an ironic name as it encrypts all files on targeted PC by adding .uselessfiles extension. For that, the malware uses a complicated encryption algorithm that can only be decrypted using a special key stored by hackers. As soon as files are encrypted, ransomware virus executes a program which displays ransom note called “UselessFiles!.” For unlocking affected data, cybercriminals are demanding $300 in Bitcoin. We highly recommend ignoring these demands.

Name UselessFiles
Type Ransomware
First spotted May 1st 2018
File extension .UselessFiles
Ransom note UselessFiles!
Demanded ransom $300 in BTC
Distribution Spam emails, malicious websites, etc.
Elimination Download and install FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner

UselessFiles ransomware typically enters victims’ machines using deceptive ways, for example, via the contaminated attachment in a spam email. Other distribution methods include:

  • hacked or malicious websites;
  • unprotected RDP configuration[1];
  • exploit kits;
  • fraudulent downloads, such as fake updates;
  • infected installers;
  • repacked software or key generators,[2] etc.

Regardless how the malicious payload entered your machine, the first thing that needs to be done is UselessFiles ransomware removal. For that, security experts advise using a robust security program, such as FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. In case malware does not let anti-virus application to start properly, you should reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking.

UselessFiles virus blocks a variety of personal files, including .doc, .html, .gif, .jpg, .mp3, .mpeg, .txt, .xlsx, etc. For example, if you had a file called picture.jpg, it will be turned into picture.jpg.UselessFiles after the attack. From that point of time, all files with such appendix become unusable. To return files, victims must pay a ransom of $300 in Bitcoin into the provided address.

Hackers explain that, as soon as the payment is processed, victims can start file decryption procedure. They also note that if security software removes the program, users will not ever be able to return their data.

Nevertheless, security experts[3] highly discourage users contacting the authors of UselessFiles as there is no guarantee that they will provide a working key. There is a possibility that hackers might send malware instead of decryptor and damage the machine even more. Additionally, with successful attacks, cyber crooks will be encouraged to create more file locking viruses which allow them to benefit financially.

Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to return your data is by getting it back from a backup, such as a cloud server or an external HDD. Thus, if you have a backup – you will get all your data back safely. If not, you can also try few third-party programs that could help you. But first, you have to remove UselessFiles ransomware from your machine. You can find all the instructions below.

UselessFiles virusUselessFiles ransomware is a dangerous crypto-virus that encrypts all files and demands ransom of $300 to be paid for their release

Ransomware can easily enter your machine if you are not careful enough

Most of the users think that it is highly unlikely that such dangerous virus as ransomware will contaminate their files. Indeed, the chance is pretty low. However, if you are careless while browsing the internet, the chances increase by a significant margin. Thus, we advise users to take these precaution procedures:

  • never open all the emails from unknown sources. The main danger lies in malicious file attachments (which might seem legitimate at the start) or links that might appear like they are leading to a genuine website (such as Amazon, Dropbox and similar);
  • always keep your operating system and software up to date as its developers continuously release patches to fix vulnerabilities within their programs;
  • avoid visiting suspicious websites, such as porn, gambling, free online gaming, etc.;
  • do not download repacked or illegal software as malware authors often inject these installers with malicious code;
  • keep a regular backup of your files;
  • employ a reputable security program and keep it up to date.

Uninstall UselessFiles ransomware and proceed with file recovery

UselessFiles removal is necessary for a normal and safe computer operation (regardless of what hackers say). However, you should not try manual virus elimination method as it is too complicated and, most likely, will result in a failure. Additionally, you could damage system files and corrupt your PC even more.

Thus, download and install security software, such as FortectIntego or SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner. These tools are designed to remove UselessFiles easily. Don’t forget that the virus might block security software from starting. In that case, reboot your PC in Safe Mode with Networking and get rid of ransomware securely.

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 UselessFiles virus. Follow these steps

Manual removal using Safe Mode

To start security software safely, reboot your machine in Safe Mode with Networking:

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 UselessFiles using System Restore

You can use System Restore to eliminate the UselessFiles virus:

  • 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 UselessFiles. 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 UselessFiles removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

We highly advise users not to contact cybercrooks. Remember, if they are trying to extort money in such unfair ways, they might as well ignore you and never send you the decryptor. Instead, try out these alternative methods for file recovery.

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

Try Data Recovery Pro

This software was designed to bring back files that we accidentally deleted or damaged in other ways. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro is known to help users whose data was encrypted by ransomware.

  • 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 UselessFiles ransomware;
  • Restore them.

Windows Previous Versions feature might be useful

Windows Previous Versions feature will only work if you had System Restore function enabled:

  • 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 might recover all your files

If UselessFiles did not remove shadow volume copies, ShadowExplorer will help you to get all your data back.

  • 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.

No decryptor is available yet

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from UselessFiles 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
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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