Keygen.exe: what it is, how it works, and how to remove it

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Keygen.exe is a pirated software that can be carrying Trojans and malware. Its purpose is to create license keys for users in order to illegally register a software.
  • This kind of hack tools are barely used nowadays, but nonetheless, still present within the pirating community. 
  • Take a look at our Cybersecurity Hub for more useful information that can help you fight all the cyber threats.
  • Be sure to check out our How-To section for complete guides on troubleshooting tech-issues.

Pirated versions of software often come accompanied by security threats. Most of the time, they require secondary applications to run or register.

One of those is Keygen.exe, a simple application that can bring a bag full of malware or spyware right at your front door.

Our intention today is to explain what Keygen.exe is, how it can affect your PC, and how to deal with it. If you’re concerned about the negative effects, look below for detailed explanation.

What is Keygen.exe?

Named also Key Generator, is a hack tool but not a malware per se. It mostly comes with the pirated software and its main use is to create license keys so users can illegally register the desired application.

Even though this tool isn’t a malware by itself, it’s still illegal for obvious reasons, and it can be carrying Trojan, viruses or data-stealing keyloggers that will damage your PC.

How does it work?

In comparison to cracks, Keygen doesn’t modify any parts of the program. By modifying certain security algorithms, it enables any random license key to work.

After you’re prompted to insert the license key during the installation, this hack application will generate a code so you can manually insert it.

How can I remove the Keygen.exe tool?

1. Perform a quick virus scan

  1. Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Update & Security section.
  3. Select Windows Security from the left panel.
  4. In the right panel, click on Open Windows Defender Security Center.
  5. Select the Virus & threat protection, and click on Quick scan.

If you’re keen to get rid of Keygen and other related files, you can do it by deleting it manually. Just completely delete the downloaded files and that should be it.

On the other hand, there’s a chance that your system is already infected. Therefore, any infections detected may mean you will have some data loss.

You can use the built-in protective software Windows Defender to perform a quick scan by following the above steps.

2. Use a third-party antimalware software for a deep scan

Making sure that your PC is protected from the effects of the malware presence is of utmost importance. In this case, we suggest a full scan.

We strongly recommend the Vipre Antivirus Plus software to optimize your computer by removing all traces of malware, and to ensure a smooth running of your PC.

This antivirus is a next generation security solution that is designed to be fast, stay out of the way, and keep your digital life safe.

It offers complete protection against viruses, worms, spam, spyware and other malware. The integrated firewall fends off attacks from the network.

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Even though Keygen.exe isn’t malware, in more than 50% of detections, it carries some kind of malicious software. That’s a risk certain users are willing to take, but we don’t advise you to do that.

Moreover, the pirated software, besides the fact that it’s illegal, can be an issue on its own.

Don’t forget to tell us whether one of the solutions get you through the problem. If you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2017 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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