Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark (Removal Guide)

PUP.Optional.MindSpark is a specific detection used by Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and other antivirus products to indicate and detect a Potentially Unwanted Program.
A potentially unwanted application is a program that contains adware, installs toolbars or has other unclear objectives.

PUP.Optional.MindSpark it’s technically not a virus, but it does exhibit plenty of malicious traits, such as rootkit capabilities to hook deep into the operating system, browser hijacking, and in general just interfering with the user experience. The industry generally refers to it as a “PUP,” or potentially unwanted program.
The PUP.Optional.MindSpark infection is used to boost advertising revenue, as in the use of blackhat SEO, to inflate a site’s page ranking in search results.

PUP.Optional.MindSpark got on your computer after you have installed a freeware software (video recording/streaming, download-managers or PDF creators) that had bundled into their installation this browser hijacker. This Potentially Unwanted Propgram is also bundled within the custom installer on many download sites (examples: CNET, Brothersoft or Softonic), so if you have downloaded a software from these websites, chances are that PUP.Optional.MindSpark was installed during the software setup process.

PUP.Optional.MindSpark is an ad-supported (users may see additional banner, search, pop-up, pop-under, interstitial and in-text link advertisements) cross web browser plugin for Internet Explorer (BHO) and Firefox/Chrome (plugin) and distributed through various monetization platforms during installation. The browser extension includes various features that will modify the default or custom settings of the browser including the home page, search settings and in some cases will modify Internet Explorer’s load time threshold, place a lock file within Firefox to prevent competing software from changing its settings as well as disable the browser’s Content Security Policy in order to allow for cross site scripting of the plugin.

You should always pay attention when installing software because often, a software installer includes optional installs, such as this PUP.Optional.MindSpark browser hijacker. Be very careful what you agree to install.
Always opt for the custom installation and deselect anything that is not familiar, especially optional software that you never wanted to download and install in the first place. It goes without saying that you should not install software that you don’t trust.

How to remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark (Virus Removal Guide)

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.
STEP 1: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark adware with AdwCleaner
STEP 2: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark browser hijacker with Junkware Removal Tool
STEP 3: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
STEP 4: Double-check for the PUP.Optional.MindSpark infection with HitmanPro

STEP 1: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark adware with AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner utility will scan your computer and web browser for the “PUP.Optional.MindSpark” malicious files, browser extensions and registry keys, that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge.

  1. You can download AdwCleaner from the below link.
    ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will download “AdwCleaner” on your computer)
  2. Before starting AdwCleaner, close all open programs and internet browsers, then double-click on the AdwCleaner icon.
    Start AdwCleaner
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
  3. When the AdwCleaner program will open, click on the “Scan” button as shown below.
    AdwCleaner Scan button
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for the “PUP.Optional.MindSpark” malicious files that may be installed on your computer.
  4. To remove the “PUP.Optional.MindSpark” malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark with AdwCleaner
  5. AdwCleaner will prompt you to save any open files or documents, as the program will need to reboot the computer. Please do so and then click on the OK button.
    AdwCleaner removing adware

STEP 2: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark browser hijack with Junkware Removal Tool

Junkware Removal Tool is a powerful utility, which will remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus from Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome.

  1. You can download the Junkware Removal Tool utility from the below link:
    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download the Junkware Removal Tool utility on your computer)
  2. Once Junkware Removal Tool has finished downloading, please double-click on the JRT.exe icon as seen below.
    Start Junkware Removal Tool scanner
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run Junkware Removal Tool, please allow it to run.
  3. Junkware Removal Tool will now start, and at the Command Prompt, you’ll need to press any key to perform a scan for the PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus.
    Junkware Removal Tool scanning for PUP.Optional.MindSpark
    Please be patient as this can take a while to complete (up to 10 minutes) depending on your system’s specifications.
  4. When the scan Junkware Removal Tool will be completed, this utility will display a log with the malicious files and registry keys that were removed from your computer.
    Junkware Removal Tool removing malware

STEP 3: Remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more.
It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free”)
  2. Once downloaded, close all programs, then double-click on the icon on your desktop named “mbam-setup” to start the installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
    Start Malwarebytes Anti-Malware setup
    Picture of User Account Control You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this file. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
  3. When the installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Installer
    To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware final screen
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program, and that a scan has never been run on your system. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scan Now
  5. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for the PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus. When Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is scanning it will look like the image below.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scanning for Malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will now be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has detected. To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes Anti-malware has found, click on the “Remove Seletected” button.
    Remove the malware that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has detected
    Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.
  7. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. When removing the files, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot your computer, please allow it to do so.
    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware asking to restart PC
    After your computer will restart, you should open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and perform another “Threat Scan” scan to verify that there are no remaining threats

STEP 4: Double-check for the PUP.Optional.MindSpark infection with HitmanPro

HitmanPro is a second opinion scanner, designed to rescue your computer from malware (viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc.) that have infected your computer despite all the security measures you have taken (such as anti virus software, firewalls, etc.). HitmanPro is designed to work alongside existing security programs without any conflicts. It scans the computer quickly (less than 5 minutes) and does not slow down the computer.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “HitmanPro”)
  2. Double-click on the file named “HitmanPro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “HitmanPro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
    HitmanPro Installer
    Click on the “Next” button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
    itmanPro while installing on PC
  3. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for PUP.Optional.MindSpark malicious files.
    HitmanPro scanning
  4. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark virus.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  5. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Remove malware with HitmanPro

Your computer should now be free of the PUP.Optional.MindSpark adware infection.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove PUP.Optional.MindSpark from your machine, please do one of the following:

IT’S YOUR TURN TO HELP!

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ABOUT STELIAN PILICI

I am the creator and owner of MalwareTips. I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 9 years working as a security researcher.

My area of expertise includes Malware Analysis and Computer Forensics. I'm active in the various online anti-malware communities where I do researches for new malware threats as they are released.

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  • James Baybutt

    Thank You so much it even solved my problem with Internet explorer from tot launching.

  • deano hastings

    top man

  • Caroline Edwards

    thank you so very much

  • http://getsightback.com/ Bill House

    Hi Stelian, you have the art of documenting succinctly down pat; liked you on FB, and will support you in the future. Thanks, so much.

  • RT

    Worked GREAT! Thanks