You may have used Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in the past to clean up adware, spyware and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) and it was one of the most recommended cleanup tools.
It did a great job of removing the malware from an infected computer and you might still have a copy on your computer. However, it has been replaced by an even better program - Malwarebytes 3. (This article contains affiliate links.)
The software used to be a backup tool and cleanup tool. It added extra security to the security software you already had, but it has changed and instead it can now replace your security software completely.
I have no loyalty when it comes to security software and I have run most of them at one time or another. In fact, I have even run PCs without any security software apart from whatever security comes bundled with Windows. Here you can read Why I uninstalled antivirus software on my PC.
Now it is the turn of Malwarebytes 3. Currently this is the only security software running and I am happy to report that there have been no problems so far. It has worked perfectly and has kept the PC clear of problems.
There is just one version of Malwarebytes 3 and the full program runs for 14 days and after that, the real time protection is disabled and it runs as a cleanup tool, like the old Malwarebytes Anti-malware.
Real-time protection is essential and it prevents malware from being installed on the computer, whereas a cleanup tool only removes malware after it has infected the system.
It takes just seconds to steal personal information off a computer and it doesn’t take long to encrypt files as ransomware does. A cleanup tool offers no protection, although it will remove malware after it has done its work.
The real-time protection in Malwarebytes 3 includes
- Web protection
- Exploite protection
- Malware protection
- Ransomware protection
These can all be turned on/off individually, although it is recommended that you leave them all enabled. Get real-time protection with the paid version of Malwarebytes 3
There is an option to disable real-time protection for up to three minutes when Malwarebytes is started. This is useful if you want to start the PC as fast as possible.
If you really do just want a cleanup tool, here are 9 free malware cleanup tools for Windows PCs to remove adware, spyware, viruses.
PUPs and PUMs
Malwarebytes 3 can ignore PUPs, warn you about them when they are detected, or they can be treated as malware and blocked and removed.
PUMs are potentially unwanted modifications and these could be changes to the system, changes to the the browser’s home page, and so on. The same three options are available - ignored, display a warning, or treat them like malware and block them and remove them.
Ransomware protection aims to prevent ransomware from encrypting your files. There are no details as to how this works, but if it can do it, it is an excellent feature that increases your security.
The configuration options for real-time protection are extensive. In fact, the Advanced Settings are hard to understand unless you are an expert. Fortunately, you don’t need to bother with them and the default settings work fine.
The web protection seems a bit stronger than with some other security applications. It often detects bad websites and blocks them that other security software would let you visit.
It also detects bad adverts and blocks the site or the ad, or both.
Scan for malware
There are the usually scanning options present in all security software. A Hyper Scan is a quick scan of the most likely places malware is to be found. A full scan checks everywhere and is a thorough check of the system for malware.
A custom scan can be started from within the app or you can right click in an Explorer window on a file or folder you want to scan. You could scan a single folder like the Downloads folder if you wanted to.
There are also scheduled scans that can be set to run hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, when the PC is started and so on.
Malwarebytes 3 is running fine on my PC and no problems have been found. It occasionally pops up a message saying it has blocked something suspicious on the web, but apart from that I wouldn’t know it was there.