Malwarebytes won’t open? Use this troubleshooting guide

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Malwarebytes is virtually unparalleled when it comes to protecting your PC against all kinds of malware.
  • But first, you need to be able to run the tool. If Malwarebytes won't open, apply these quick tested fixes.
  • Updating your software is always a good idea. Take a look at this Malwarebytes Update Guide for a stress-free upgrade.
  • Explore our PC Software Hub for more handy solutions to keep your computer in pristine condition.
Fix Malwarebytes memory issues

Malwarebytes offers a plethora of amazing protective features in all their security tools. Their main suite, called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is currently one of the most popular antimalware solutions on the market.

However, some users have had a hard time starting the tool and accessing it, as Malwarebytes won’t open after update. For others, Malwarebytes won’t open or uninstall.

This is most likely a virus issue, where the malicious software blocks the execution of the anti-malware executable. We offer some solutions for this problem below, so make sure to check them out.

What can I do if Malwarebytes Anti-Malware won’t open?

  1. Reinstall Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  2. Run Malwarebytes Chameleon
  3. Run Malwarebytes as an administrator
  4. Try running Malwarebytes in the Safe mode
  5. Rename the mbam.exe to explorer.exe

1. Reinstall Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

A clean reinstallation should provide the resolution for the problem at hand. After you successfully remove Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from your PC, download and install the latest version.

Don’t forget to keep your credentials, so you can activate it right away.

Follow these steps to reinstall Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your PC:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type Control, and open Control Panel.
  2. Choose Uninstall a program.
  3. Uninstall Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
  4. Navigate to here and download the latest version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Note, in order for this solution to work you need to make sure that you trust the source from which you are about to download the program. We strongly recommend you use the official website of the manufacturer for this job.

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2. Run Malwarebytes Chameleon

In these unwelcome scenarios when you can’t start Malwarebytes, we can safely turn to Malwarebytes Chameleon. This built-in utility is there to start Malwarebytes when the usual ways fail you.

If Malwarebytes is unable to connect the service, this tool should work its magic. After the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware suite starts, immediately run the in-depth scan.

Usually, you’ll need to do this only once. Once the Malwarebytes remove threats, everything should get back to normal.

Here’s how to run Malwarebytes Chameleon:

  1. Open Start and scroll until you reach Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
  2. Expand the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
  3. Choose Tools and then select Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Chameleon.
  4. The elevated DOS windows should appear so press Enter to continue.
  5. This should open and automatically update the stable version of the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware suite.
  6. Scan for malware immediately and restart your PC afterward.

Check out these best anti-hacking software for Windows 10.


3. Run Malwarebytes as an administrator

This is a long-shot solution, especially since most of the users run their system with an administrative account already.

However, if that’s not the case (more common on earlier Windows iterations), it’s advised to run the application with the administrative permission.

Here’s how to run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware as an administrator permanently:

  1. Navigate to C:Program\Files\MalwarebytesAnti-Malware.
  2. Right-click on the mbam.exe and choose Properties from the contextual menu.
  3. Open the Compatibility tab.
  4. Check the Run this program as an administrator box and confirm changes.

Looking for the ultimate protection? Take a look at these best laptop security software.


4. Try running Malwarebytes in the Safe mode

As you probably already figured out, the main goal here is to get Malwarebytes to run once. After that, the tool will remove all threats, including the ones preventing it from working.

Now, another way to do so while avoiding a third-party infliction is to boot your system into the Safe Mode with Networking.

This should vastly limit malicious software and you should be able to start Malwarebytes without major problems along the way.

Here’s how to boot into the Safe mode on Windows 10:

  1. During the startup, when the Windows logo appears, press and hold the Power button until the PC shuts down.
  2. Power on the PC and repeat the procedure 3 times. The fourth time you start the PC, the Advanced recovery menu should appear.
  3. Choose Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced Options and then Startup Settings.
  5. Click Restart.
  6. Choose Safe mode with Networking from the list.
  7. Start Malwarebytes and scan for malware.
  8. Restart PC afterward and check whether the Malwarebytes start or not.

5. Rename the mbam.exe to explorer.exe

Some users managed to get the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware suite to start by renaming the executable file. There’s a high chance that its execution is prevented by a malicious presence.

You’ll need the administrative permission in order to rename this file. And, after you’ve managed to start Malwarebytes, perform a scan and get the executable file its default name. It should work now.

Here’s the whole procedure in a few steps:

  1. Navigate to C\Program\FilesMalwarebytesAnti-Malware.
  2. Right-click on the mbam.exe and choose Rename from the contextual menu.
  3. Rename mbam.exe to explorer.exe and run it.

With that said, we can conclude this article. If you have any additional questions or suggestions, feel free to tell us in the comments section.

If the problem is persistent, don’t forget to contact the official support and provide necessary logs and screenshots.

FAQ: Learn more about

  • Why is Malwarebytes not opening?

This is most likely due to a virus blocking the execution of the anti-malware executable. Check out this step-by-step guide to get Malwarebytes up and running again.

  • How do I manually uninstall Malwarebytes?

Go to the Control Panel->Programs and Features-> select Malwarebytes from the list click the Uninstall button. If you’re unable to access the Control Panel, follow these easy steps.

  • Why is my malware protection turned off?

Open Malwarebytes ->Protection tab > Setting > Startup Options and switch on the Enable self-protection module early start option. If that does not do the trick, apply these quick fixes.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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