Home Archive System32 Virus Hoax

System32 Virus Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating social media message claims that a folder named “System32” is a harmful computer virus. The message tells how to locate the folder and claims that deleting it will restore a high speed Internet connection.

Brief Analysis

The message is a nasty – and potentially damaging – hoax. System32 is not a virus and is not harmful. In fact, System32 is an important Windows operating system folder. If you delete the System32 folder, your computer will no longer work and you will need to reinstall the operating system.

Example

System 32 Viirus Hoax

System32 is a harmful computer virsu which can be located at C:\Windows\system32.
Deleting this folder will restore high speed internet connection.

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, which is currently circulating via social media posts, a computer folder called “System32” is a harmful virus and should be deleted. The message explains how to find the folder and claims that deleting it will restore the high speed Internet connection on the computer.

However, the message is a nasty hoax designed to trick inexperienced computer users into breaking their computer’s operating system. System32 is certainly not a virus. In fact, the folder is an important part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Deleting the folder will kill the operating system and the computer will no longer work at all. To get the computer working again, the operating system will need to be reinstalled. If the user does not have recent backups, important files could be lost. In fact, deleting any file contained in the System32 folder could stop the computer from working properly.

This version is just one of many that have circulated via email, blogs, forums and social media posts since around the turn of the century. Some of the more elaborate versions give detailed instructions for deleting the folder that bypass warning messages or folder protection mechanisms. Some earlier versions claimed that the inclusion of the System32 folder was a deliberate ploy by Microsoft to slow down computers so that users would purchase “tune up” software to make their computers faster. These versions claimed that deleting the folder would therefore circumvent Microsoft’s dastardly intentions and speed up the computer.

This hoax is not unprecedented. Back in the early years of the century, another widespread virus hoax instructed users to delete a file called jdbgmgr.exe. And an even earlier email hoax claimed that a file called sulfnbk.exe was a dangerous virus and gave instructions for finding and deleting it. Both jdbgmgr.exe and sulfnbk.exe were legitimate Windows files. But, unlike System32, deleting them did not cause significant problems for most computer users.

The bottom line? NEVER delete any file or folder on your computer based solely on information contained in a circulating “virus warning“. It may sometimes be necessary to manually remove a virus or malware infection from your computer if your security software cannot deal with the problem. However, if such a procedure is necessary, you should only use removal instructions from a reliable and trustworthy source.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer