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VapeLauncher ransomware virus. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Ransomware

Minecraft fans are now targeted by VapeLauncher ransomware:

If you haven’t heard about VapeLauncher virus yet — don’t worry. You will learn everything you need to know about this parasite [1] in the following paragraphs. In case you landed on this page while looking for ransomware removal advice, you will find helpful suggestions at the end of the article as well. In addition, to speed up the process and ensure that VapeLauncher removal goes smoothly, we recommend scanning your device with some automatic anti-malware tools. Reimage is one of the anti-malware options you can go for. Of course, you can choose any other anti-ransomware software, just make sure it is legitimate and capable of eliminating ransomware like VapeLauncher from the infected computers.

Questions about VapeLauncher ransomware virus

We should start the VapeLauncher overview from the very beginning, in particular, from the very origins of this parasite. After conducting an investigation, the experts have discovered one thing — this virus is not an original malware built from scratch. In fact, Vape Launcher is based on an educational ransomware called CryptoWire which can be downloaded from the software development platform Github [2] for free. Unfortunately, as the history has proven, educational ransomware projects never end well. We have witnessed numerous malicious derivatives of HiddenTear and EDA2 in the past, and CryptoWire is not an exception either. VapeLauncher developers have adapted its source code to create a file-encrypting ransomware (using the AES-256 algorithm) which can only be decrypted with the special key. Besides, the virus is also programmed to delete Volume Shadow Copies [3] of the files as well as destroy backup images [4] to make the files impossible to decrypt using alternative methods or third-party software such as ShadowExplorer. Thus, after the infiltration, the files located in AppData, Program Data, Windows, Program Files and Program Files (x86) folders become impossible to access. Besides, the hackers also claim that the virus also encrypts all data found in “Network drives, Network Shares, USB Drives/Sticks, Externals Disks, Internal Disks, Games (Steam), Onedrive, Dropbox, Google Drive.” We should point out that the encryption is silent and goes by without adding specific extensions to the encrypted documents. Nevertheless, the virus will let you know about its hijack by overwriting your system boot settings. This way, when you try to launch your computer, the boot process will be interrupted by an “error” screen displaying the following message:

‘Your files has been safely encrypted
The only way you can recover your files is to buy a decryption key
The payment method is Bitcoins. The price is $200 = 0.2909 Bitcoins’

While 200 dollars may not seem that big of a price to pay for the ability to access your personal files once again, it is better that you refrain from any type of collaboration with the criminals. Keep in mind that it is not you alone that they target. There are also hundreds of other victims that are being wrenched out of money. So, depending on the dispersion of the virus, the hackers may earn thousands of dollars a day, easily support themselves and dedicate their time for creating malicious software in the future.

How is this cyber parasite delivered on the computer?

VapeLauncher virus seems to be targeted specifically at Minecraft players: the name of the bundle it travels around is called This Zip archive contains a file called Vape Launcher.exe which is responsible for launching the scan and encryption of the system. Infectious “MinecraftHax” bundles are likely to be promoted on some unreliable websites and software download pages, so you should be careful about the sources you choose for downloading your software. Besides, it is also advisable to always make sure your downloaded content is safe by scanning the item in question with a reliable antivirus scanner and running the installation in the Advanced mode [5].

Remove VapeLauncher and get back your files:

While most users think it is impossible to remove VapeLauncher virus, our experts can assure you — it is not true. You can eliminate the virus from your computer without much difficulty. You just need to dedicate some time and obtain proper tools to make sure the removal goes smoothly. Even if you get stuck with VapeLauncher removal and the virus tries to prevent your antivirus from running the system scan, there are still ways to work around it. In the instructions below we give detailed instructions for the most effective VapeLauncher elimination.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall VapeLauncher ransomware virus. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
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To remove VapeLauncher virus, follow these steps:

Remove VapeLauncher using Safe Mode with Networking

To stop ransomware from blocking your antivirus, you should run your computer in Safe Mode. To do that you will have to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Networking

    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 Safe Mode with Networking from the list Select 'Safe Mode with Networking'

    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 Networking in Startup Settings window. Select 'Enable Safe Mode with Networking'
  • Step 2: Remove VapeLauncher

    Log in to your infected account and start the browser. Download Reimage or other legitimate anti-spyware program. Update it before a full system scan and remove malicious files that belong to your ransomware and complete VapeLauncher removal.

If your ransomware is blocking Safe Mode with Networking, try further method.

Remove VapeLauncher using System Restore

VapeLauncher must be decontaminated before you carry out the virus removal. You should can do it quite easily, following the instructions below:

  • 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 VapeLauncher. 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 Reimage and make sure that VapeLauncher removal is performed successfully.

Bonus: Recover your data

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

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

What is the use of Data Recovery Pro for files encrypted by VapeLaucher?

You may use Data Recovery Pro to recover files encrypted by VapeLaucher even if you have no experience with computers whatsoever. You just have to follow the instructions below.

Windows Previous Versions feature and its impact on the files encrypted by VapeLauncher

Windows Previous Versions feature is an especially useful in-build Windows feature which helps users to recover files, documents and archives after the attack of such ransomware viruses like VapeLauncher. To use this tool properly, you should follow instructions below.

  • 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”.

How can you use ShadowExplorer to remove from your computer?

Unfortunately, the initial version of VapeLauncher virus deletes all Volume Shadow Copies it manages to find on the infected computer or attached storage drives. So, you will not be able to use Shadow Explorer to roll back some of your lost files. Nevertheless, if your device is infected with some new VapeLauncher version it might be that it does not delete Volume Shadow Copies, so you may use Shadow Explorer to recover you files.

  • 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.

VapeLauncher decrypter:

The VapeLauncher has not been decrypted yet, but you should check back later as we will update this article immediately after such tool is released.

Finally, you should always think about the protection of crypto-ransomwares. In order to protect your computer from VapeLauncher and other ransomwares, use a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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