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How to delete explorer.exe virus in 2024

You may have caught an explorer.exe trojan malware if you notice suspicious system behavior and unusually high Windows explorer.exe resource consumption. This trojan disguises itself as a legitimate process while stealing sensitive data, creating backdoors for remote device access, or even delivering more malware.

You must act quickly and delete explorer.exe trojan before it causes significant damage. Furthermore, this trojan can exploit high Windows Explorer process privileges to turn off the operating system's in-built cybersecurity tools, like Microsoft Defender Antivirus.

That's why it's best to use reliable third-party antivirus software to identify and remove the infection. In this article, we'll explain how to remove explorer.exe malware and keep your devices safe in the future.

Remove the explorer.exe trojan with TotalAV
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What is explorer.exe trojan?

Explorer.exe trojan is a particularly nasty malware that exploits a legitimate Windows process to achieve malicious goals. It is tough to detect because Windows devices run the explorer.exe process by default to manage their GUI (graphical user interface) and organize files and folders. You may overlook Windows Explorer viruses until you check for additional symptoms discussed in the following chapter below.

Cybercriminals develop Windows trojans with various stealth features to remain undetected for as long as possible. It's always best to use reliable antivirus software to regularly scan your device for malware that can avoid detection by Windows cybersecurity tools. Furthermore, this virus can download and install even more dangerous programs, like ransomware, if unattended, and that's why infected .exe files are dangerous.

Threat nameexplorer.exe
SymptomsHigh CPU or memory usage, unexpected system behavior (random system crashes, unusually slow device performance), unusual network traffic, disabled cybersecurity software (especially Microsoft Defender Antivirus)
DamageData theft, remote device control and backdoor access, additional malware delivery (ransomware, spyware, etc.)

Similar trojan examples to explorer.exe

Trojan malware is a relatively common malware type due to its efficiency, undetectability, and broad spectrum of possible damages. You may have heard of the Wacatac trojan, which could steal personal information by recording keystrokes, create backdoors for remote device control, or include it in a botnet for crypto mining or DDoS attacks.

Another example is the Altruistics trojan that acts as a CoinMiner. It will consume a lot of device resources to mine cryptocurrency for the attackers, significantly slowing down the device. Furthermore, you'll receive an outstanding electricity bill that will add financial strain to an already frustrating malware infection.

How to tell if you have the explorer.exe trojan?

We have gathered a list of the explorer.exe trojan symptoms by which you can identify the infection and take immediate action to remove explorer.exe malware from your Windows device.

  • Unusual system behavior. Your device may randomly freeze, crash, and slow down if it is infected with a trojan. Your computer may restart without your permission as the trojan controls some of the system processes.
  • High CPU or memory usage. Trojans are known to use a lot of device resources. You can inspect the Windows task manager to verify which processes consume the most CPU or memory. The explorer.exe process usually has little resource consumption, and you should assume infection if the task manager shows the opposite.
  • Unauthorized access and unintentional changes. Cybercriminals can remotely control the victim's device via trojans. You may notice unknown profiles, changes in device settings, and other suspicious activities you did not permit.
  • Unusual network traffic. It is highly unusual for Windows explorer.exe to make network connections, and if it tries to communicate with remote servers, chances are good that a trojan hijacked the process.
  • Disabled security software. Trojans can bypass or even turn off cybersecurity software, like Windows Firewall or Defender Antivirus.

How to remove the explorer.exe virus?

Below, you’ll find step-by-step guides on how to delete the explorer.exe trojan automatically with an antivirus or manually when the full antivirus system scan is unavailable. However, we strongly recommend getting strong antivirus software as it helps to prevent future Windows virus infections.

Remove the explorer.exe virus with an antivirus program

When disguised as legitimate Windows operating system processes, Trojans may be difficult to detect and remove manually. The most effective way to remove the explorer.exe virus is with an antivirus. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Subscribe to an antivirus with excellent malware detection rates. We recommend TotalAV, which detects 99.9% of malware infections TotalAV website
  2. Download the app and install it on your device
  3. Locate the full system scan feature and run it totalav-system-scan
  4. Follow the antivirus instructions to quarantine and remove the infection
  5. Make sure Real-Time Protection is enabled to avoid future infections TotalAV real-time protection feature

Remove the explorer.exe trojan manually

It takes a few steps to remove the explorer.exe trojan malware manually. It can seem quite complicated, but if you pay close attention, it is doable.

End the malicious process

First, you need to end the malicious process:

  1. Click Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task manager
  2. Inspect the processes to identify the ones with high resource consumption. Remember that legitimate explorer.exe uses very little CPU task manager
  3. Right-click on the malicious process and select End task

Uninstall the malicious program

It is essential to guarantee that you completely remove the explorer.exe malware from your device. Because it hijacks crucial system processes, you must utilize Windows Safe mode.

  1. To boot your computer into safe mode, press the Windows key + R, and in the run box, type msconfig run msconfig
  2. In the newly opened System configuration window, choose the Boot tab, select Safe boot, and confirm by clicking Apply followed by OK safe boot
  3. You will be prompted to restart your device in safe mode, allow it by clicking Restart
  4. In the safe mode, right-click on the Start menu and open Settings window start settings
  5. Go to Apps – Installed Apps windows apps
  6. Look for the malicious program. The explorer.exe trojan can also be called TJprojMain
  7. Click on the three dots and select Uninstall Windows installed apps uninstall

Reset browsers to their default settings

Trojans may infect and modify the browser environment, which could result in repeated infection, even if you follow the steps above to remove it. To finalize explorer.exe malware removal, follow the steps below to reset browsers to default settings.

Reset Google Chrome

  1. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and go to Settings Open Chrome settings
  2. Locate the Reset settings option on the left side reset settings restore
  3. Choose the Restore settings to their original defaults option
  4. Confirm it by clicking Reset settings Confirm reset settings chrome

Reset Mozilla Firefox

  1. Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner and go to the Help section Firefox help
  2. Choose the More troubleshooting information option more troubleshooting information
  3. Click on Refresh Firefox in the newly opened window refresh firefox
  4. Confirm it by clicking on Refresh Firefox again refresh firefox confirm

Reset Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner and go to Settings edge settings
  2. Locate the Reset settings option on the left and choose Restore settings to their default values reset settings restore etc
  3. Confirm it by clicking Reset reset confirm

How can I protect my device against the explorer.exe virus?

Removing the explorer.exe trojan malware is a crucial but not the last step. It's best to take additional actions to prevent future virus infection, so we've prepared a list of practical and easy-to-follow tips.

  • Keep your software updated. Software updates often include crucial cybersecurity patches. Cybercriminals exploit outdated software because they know its vulnerabilities, which opens the door to infecting your device with a trojan.
  • Practice safe browsing. Be cautious when clicking on backlinks, downloading files, or opening email attachments from unverified sources. Remember that cybercriminals use sophisticated phishing scams to trick victims into downloading viruses.
  • Have a data backup. Trojans may deliver extremely dangerous ransomware malware that encrypts the files, rendering them inaccessible. You can quickly restore the files without paying the ransom if you have them backed up on an external device.
  • Stay vigilant. Monitor your operating system for any unauthorized changes, unexpected pop-ups, and other unusual behavior signs. Quickly investigate the issue if you notice any warning signs, as delayed action allows the virus to cause damage.
  • Use an antivirus. A good antivirus, like TotalAV, is the number-one go-to tool if you suspect a virus infection. The full system scan identifies and removes any existing threats, and the real-time online protection feature ensures you won't download anything dangerous again.


Explorer.exe trojan malware requires immediate attention because it hijacks a crucial Windows OS process. Simultaneously, it may stay undetected for a long time until the victim notices warning signs, like slow device performance and random system reboots.

We recommend immediately performing a full system scan with a reliable antivirus, like TotalAV, to identify, isolate, and remove the infected files. Undetected trojans can steal important information, like passwords or credit card details, resulting in personal data breaches and financial damage.

You can also follow manual removal steps closely if using an antivirus is not an option. Uninstalling the malicious program in Windows safe mode and resetting browser settings is essential to prevent repeated contaminations.

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