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System32 Virus Hoax


Outline

Circulating social media message claims that a folder named "System32" is a harmful computer virus. The message tells how to locate the folder and claims that deleting it will restore a high speed Internet connection.

Brief Analysis

The message is a nasty - and potentially damaging - hoax. System32 is not a virus and is not harmful. In fact, System32 is an important Windows operating system folder. If you delete the System32 folder, your computer will no longer work and you will need to reinstall the operating system.

Example

System 32 Viirus Hoax


System32 is a harmful computer virsu which can be located at C:\Windows\system32.
Deleting this folder will restore high speed internet connection.

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, which is currently circulating via social media posts, a computer folder called "System32" is a harmful virus and should be deleted. The message explains how to find the folder and claims that deleting it will restore the high speed Internet connection on the computer.

However, the message is a nasty hoax designed to trick inexperienced computer users into breaking their computer's operating system. System32 is certainly not a virus. In fact, the folder is an important part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Deleting the folder will kill the operating system and the computer will no longer work at all. To get the computer working again, the operating system will need to be reinstalled. If the user does not have recent backups, important files could be lost. In fact, deleting any file contained in the System32 folder could stop the computer from working properly.

This version is just one of many that have circulated via email, blogs, forums and social media posts since around the turn of the century. Some of the more elaborate versions give detailed instructions for deleting the folder that bypass warning messages or folder protection mechanisms. Some earlier versions claimed that the inclusion of the System32 folder was a deliberate ploy by Microsoft to slow down computers so that users would purchase "tune up" software to make their computers faster. These versions claimed that deleting the folder would therefore circumvent Microsoft's dastardly intentions and speed up the computer.

This hoax is not unprecedented. Back in the early years of the century, another widespread virus hoax instructed users to delete a file called jdbgmgr.exe. And an even earlier email hoax claimed that a file called sulfnbk.exe was a dangerous virus and gave instructions for finding and deleting it. Both jdbgmgr.exe and sulfnbk.exe were legitimate Windows files. But, unlike System32, deleting them did not cause significant problems for most computer users.

The bottom line? NEVER delete any file or folder on your computer based solely on information contained in a circulating "virus warning". It may sometimes be necessary to manually remove a virus or malware infection from your computer if your security software cannot deal with the problem. However, if such a procedure is necessary, you should only use removal instructions from a reliable and trustworthy source.


Last updated: June 6, 2013
First published: June 6, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Know Your Meme - Delete System32
Teddy Bear Virus Hoax - jdbgmgr.exe
Sulfnbk.exe Virus Hoax
Should Virus Warning Emails be Forwarded?






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