- Computer viruses are no joy to come across.
- If you stumble across this error message: ERROR_VIRUS_INFECTED, take a deep breath and go through the tested fixes we provided below.
- No matter how mean is the malware threatening your PC, there is always a way to remove it. Check out our Removal Guides.
- Explore our Troubleshooting Hub as well whenever you're in need of expert advice.
This error is usually followed by Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus message, and today we’re going to show you how to fix this error on Windows 10.
How to fix ERROR VIRUS INFECTED error?
1. Change your antivirus
Removing the antivirus isn’t the best solution, but if it helps, you might want to try switching to a different antivirus tool. We recommend BullGuard.
This antivirus has a Home Network scanner which keeps an eye on all your home network, thus allowing to track all possible attacks on every computer in the network.
It also has an updated anti-malware tool that continuously scans for signatures and blocks them the same second they look suspicious.
Bullguard’s Sentry behavioral engine daily receives updates on the newest signatures and puts an extra-protection layer on your PC. It also has multiple privacy settings to use and a gaming mode.
Let’s quickly review its key features:
- Sophisticated algorithms to deliver lightning-fast threat detection
- Next-gen triple-layer antimalware protection
- Vulnerability Scanner and boot scan options
- Integrated firewall for end-to-end protection before, during and after apps’ download
- Behavioral engine and advance machine learning-based prevention and detection
Briefly, this is an antivirus you definitely install on your PC for maximum protection.
Bullguard Internet SecurityGet premium, real-time protection powered by BullGuard to keep all viruses at bay and more.
2. Turn off Windows Defender
Using an antivirus is rather important, and Windows 10 comes with its own antivirus software called Windows Defender.
For the most part, this is a solid antivirus, but few users reported that Windows Defender can cause this and other errors to occur.
To fix this problem, it’s advised that you turn off Windows Defender completely.
Before we show you how to do that, you need to be sure that the file you’re trying to run isn’t malicious.
If you’re trying to run a file from a safe source, it’s most likely not infected. To turn off Windows Defender, do the following:
- Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
- Once the Settings app opens, go to the Update & security section. In the left pane navigate to Windows Defender and in the right pane disable Real-time protection.
After doing that, Windows Defender will be disabled and you’ll be able to run the file without any problems.
Some users reported that this method will disable Windows Defender temporarily, so it will turn itself on again after a short period of time.
To completely disable Windows Defender, you need to edit your registry.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter or click OK.
- Optional: Before making any changes to the registry, it’s always good to create a backup in case anything goes wrong. To back up your registry, go to File > Export.
Select All as Export range and enter the desired name. Choose a safe location and click on the Save button to export your registry. In case any problems occur, you can simply run this file and restore the registry to its original state.
- In the left pane, navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defenderkey. Look for DisableAntiSpyware DWORD in the right pane. If this DWORD isn’t available, right-click the empty space in the right pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit Value). Enter DisableAntiSpyware as the name of the new DWORD and double click it.
- Set Value data to 1 and click OK to save changes.
After doing that, Windows Defender will be permanently disabled and you won’t see this error anymore.
If you don’t want to edit your registry, you can disable Windows Defender by using Group Policy Editor. To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
- Once Group Policy Editor opens, in the left pane navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender. In the right pane, double click on Turn off Windows Defender.
- Select Enabled option and click on Apply and OK to save changes.
Keep in mind that disabling Windows Defender can leave your PC vulnerable to malware, so we advise you to download and install a third-party antivirus tool as soon as possible.
3. Add the problematic file to the exclusions list
If you’re getting this error while trying to access a certain file, it’s possible that the file is falsely identified as a threat. If you’re sure that the file isn’t malicious, add it to the exclusions list and check if that solves the problem.
Developers reported this problem while trying to test their applications on their PC.
However, the issue can occur with downloaded files as well, so if you’re positive that the downloaded file isn’t infected, add it to the list of exclusions to fix this problem.
4. Disable your antivirus software
Sometimes these types of problems can occur due to third-party antivirus tools. Some antivirus might not be fully compatible with your PC or with other software, and that can lead to this error.
To fix the problem, try disabling your antivirus for a short time.
Try to run the file again and check if the problem still persists. If that doesn’t help, you might have to uninstall your antivirus completely and check if that solves the problem.
5. Reinstall Avast
Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus can appear due to Avast antivirus.
This is a decent tool, but sometimes certain glitches and bugs can occur causing this problem to appear. To fix the issue, you need to reinstall Avast and check if that fixes the problem.
6. Perform a detailed scan
Sometimes this error can occur due to actual malware infection, and if that’s the case, you need to perform a detailed scan.
In addition to your current antivirus software, you’re advised to use other tools such as Malwarebytes to scan your system. To be sure that your system is clean, we advise you to scan it with multiple tools just to be sure.
Several users reported they fixed this problem by entering Safe Mode and performing few scans in it. To do that, perform these steps:
- Open the Start Menu, click the Power button, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and choose the Restart option from the menu.
- A list of options will appear. Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings. Now click the Restart button.
- Once your PC restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select any version of Safe Mode by pressing the corresponding key.
- Once you enter Safe Mode, perform all the necessary scans and try to remove the malware.
7. Update the problematic software
If the error appears when trying to run specific software on your PC, you might want to try updating that application.
Several users reported this error with certain applications, and according to them, you need to download and install the latest version of these apps to fix the problem.
Sometimes these applications can have few bugs and glitches that can cause this error, but you can avoid this problem by keeping them up to date.
8. Use Command Prompt to repair the problematic file
If just a single file is affected by this error, you can fix it by using Command Prompt.
Several users reported problems with explorer.exe and Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus message, but you can fix them easily by following these steps:
- Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
- Once the Command Prompt opens, enter the following lines:
After running those commands the problematic file should be fixed and you’ll be able to access it again.
This error can sometimes appear due to corrupted system files, and in our example, we showed you how to use SFC scan to fix those files.
We used c:windowsexplorer.exe as an example, so be sure to replace it with the correct path on your PC.
9. Perform a Clean boot
Sometimes third-party applications can cause this error to appear on your PC. These applications will often start with Windows automatically and cause this and other errors to occur.
To fix this problem you need to perform Clean boot and find the problematic application. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:
- Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig. Press Enter or click OK.
- Go to Services tab, check to Hide all Microsoft services option and click on Disable all.
- Now go to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
- When Task Manager opens, you’ll see a list of all startup applications. Right click each application on the list and choose Disable from the menu. Repeat this step for all entries on the list.
- Close Task Manager and go back to the System Configuration window. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
- After doing that, restart your PC.
If disabling startup services and applications fixes the problem, you need to repeat these steps again and turn on services and startup applications one by one or in groups.
After enabling each set of apps or services you need to restart your PC or log out and log back into your Windows 10 profile. Repeat this step until you find the application that is causing this problem.
After finding it, uninstall it or update it to the latest version and check if that solves the problem.
10. Perform System Restore
If you’re having this error, you might be able to fix it by performing System Restore. By using this feature you can restore your PC and prevent this problem from appearing.
To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows Key + S and enter system restore. Choose Create a restore point from the menu.
- System Properties window will now appear. Click on the System Restore button.
- System Restore window will now open. Click on Next. Now choose the desired restore point and click Next.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the restoration process.
After restoring your system, check if the problem still persists.
11. Reset Windows 10
Before we start, we have to mention that this solution will remove all files from your system, so it’s highly recommended to back up all your important files.
This solution will also remove all installed apps, so you’ll have to install them again. To perform this solution you might need a Windows 10 installation media, so create one using Media Creation Tool.
To perform Windows 10 reset, follow these steps:
- Open the Start Menu, press the Power button, press and hold the Shift key and click on Restart.
- Now choose Troubleshoot > Reset this PC > Remove everything. If you’re asked to insert Windows 10 installation media, be sure to do so.
- Select the version of Windows you have installed and click on Only the drive where Windows is installed. By using this option only your system drive, in most cases, C will be cleaned. This means that the installation will remove all files from this drive.
- Now select Just remove my files option.
- You’ll now see the list of changes that will occur after performing the reset. To start the reset process, click the Reset button.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the reset.
After you reset Windows 10, you’ll have a clean installation of Windows 10 and the error should be fixed.
ERROR_VIRUS_INFECTED error and Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus message can cause a lot of problems on your PC.
In some cases, these errors can be caused by a false alarm, but you should be able to fix this problem by using one of our solutions.
FAQ: Learn more about Operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus
- How do you fix operation did not complete successfully?
Sometimes this error can occur due to actual malware infection. We strongly suggest you use a dedicated malware removal tool to perform a detailed scan of your system.
- How do you disable operation did not complete successfully because the file contains a virus?
Start the troubleshooting by updating your antivirus solution. Continue with this complete list of step-by-step tested fixes.
- How do I turn off Windows Defender completely?
Open the Settings from the Start menu -> Update & Security -> Windows Security -> Virus & threat protection and turn Real-time Protection Off. If the Start Menu is unresponsive, here’s what you need to do.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.