How Does the Combofix.exe File Work?

What is Combofix.exe?

Combofix.exe is a security utility that scans a system for viruses, worms, and Trojans and removes them from the computer immediately. It not only displays the report with the list of files removed, but also displays potentially dangerous files to be removed by antivirus programs.  This utility was developed by a group called ‘sUBs’ and was distributed as freeware to remove spyware infections.

How does Combofix.exe Work?

Combofix.exe is a self-extractor security program that comprises a series of executable files, some core Windows files, and virus/ spyware databases. It is relatively much smaller than the traditional antivirus or antispyware programs and needs no installation on the system.

What are the Operating Systems that Run Combofix.exe?

The operating systems that run this utility are –

  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7

Combofix.exe has been updated on a regular basis and is compatible with all versions of Windows.

Where Should the Combofix.exe File be Run?

This utility is intended to run in Safe Mode. If this is run in the normal mode, it interferes with the existing antivirus, antispyware, and other programs, and may generate errors.

How Does the Combofix.exe File Work?

You can download the latest version of this utility from the internet and then close all the windows, after which you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Close all the running programs and restart your system
  2. Keep pressing the F8 key continuously while the system boots up
  3. From the list of options provided, select the Safe Mode option. Your computer will take some time to enter this mode
  4. In the Safe Mode, browse to the Combofix.exe utility and then double click on it
  5. The file will extract a series of files to C:\ and then run the c.bat file automatically, which will trigger a DOS window
  6. After the DOS window, a disclaimer appears. Click on the Yes button
  7. A sequence of diagnostic steps will be run on the system. The process will also replace the core Windows file if necessary. These tests can take up to 15-20 minutes
  8. If it’s a Windows XP system, the process will also install a recovery console option
  9. Once the process is complete, the system will restart automatically
  10. When your computer reboots, it will run a complete check again on the system and restart the computer yet again
  11. Combofix.exe will provide a complete report of the changes done to the OS and also give a list of affected files in the notepad format.

You should remember that the Combofix.exe utility, while running in Safe Mode, might restart your system in the normal mode and connect to the internet. During this process, the file will disable all the other running programs. After this is done, the file will disconnect from the internet connection and run the scan again. The utility may also change many settings on the system, which will be reinstated once the whole scan procedure is completed.