How to remove “Error Code 022-023-251” Fake Alerts (Microsoft Scam)

If your web browser is constantly being redirected to sites that display a “Error Code 022-023-251” notification, asking you to call a support number to fix it, then it is possible that you have adware program installed on your computer.

These “Error Code 022-023-251” alerts are nothing more a scam. Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer. Treat all unsolicited phone calls or pop-ups with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

Error code 022-023-251 Fake Alerts Scam

The bogus “Error Code 022-023-251” alert is shown in such a way as to trick the user into thinking their computer has crashed or that a virus has been detected on the computer. It does this to try and scare the infected user into calling one of the listed numbers in order to receive support. In reality, though, they will only be greeted with people who are trying to sell them unneeded support contracts and services.

The “Error Code 022-023-251” pop-up will have this message:

SECURITY WARNING

Error Code 022-023-251

Do not ignore this critical alert.
If you close this page, your PC access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network.
Your PC has alerted us that it has been infected with a virus and spyware. The following information is being stolen…
Facebook Login
Credit Card Detail
Microsoft Account Login
Photos stored on this PC.
You must contact us immediately so that our engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone. Please call Microsoft within the next 5 minutes to prevent your PC from being disabled.

The scammer will typically attempt to get the victim to allow remote access to their computer. After remote access is gained, the scammer relies on confidence tricks typically involving utilities built into Windows and other software in order to gain the victim’s trust to pay for the supposed “support” services, when the scammer actually steals the victim’s credit card account information.

You should not purchase anything from numbers listed in these “Error Code 022-023-251” alerts. Whatever you do, please do not call the phone number for support because it is not Microsoft’s but rather a group of scammers waiting to rob you of hundreds of dollars under false pretenses.
The below instructions are for Windows users, however we also have an Android guide and a Mac OS guide which should help clean up your device.

How to remove “Error Code 022-023-251” Adware (Virus Removal Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
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.

To remove the “Error Code 022-023-251” Adware, follow these steps:


This step is needed if the malicious “Error Code 022-023-251” pop-ups will not allow you to close your browser.

  1. Open Task Manager by right-clicking the taskbar and then clicking Start Task Manager. Alternatively to start the Windows Task Manager, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click on Task Manager or simply press on Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
    Start Task Manager
  2. Scroll through the list till you see your web browser’s process and left-click on it once so it becomes highlighted. Once you have selected the browser’s process, click on the End Task button as show in the picture below.
    Close your browser process
  3. Your browser window should now be closed. The next time you open your browser, do not allow the browser to open the last opened page.

STEP 1: Use AdwCleaner to remove the “Error Code 022-023-251” Pop-up Virus

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is a free utility that will scan your computer for adware programs that may have been installed without your knowledge.

  1. You can download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will start the download of “Malwarebytes AdwCleaner” on your computer)
  2. When Malwarebytes AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner icon to perform a system scan with this program.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner Icon
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run Malwarebytes AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
    Windows asking permission to start Malwarebytes AdwCleaner
  3. When the Malwarebytes AdwCleaner program will open, click on the “Scan” button as shown below.
    Scan your computer with Malwarebytes AdwCleaner to remove adware
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner will now start to search for the “Error Code 022-023-251” adware and other malicious programs.
  4. To remove the malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner removing Adware
  5. Malwarebytes AdwCleaner will prompt you to save any open files or documents, as the program will need to reboot the computer to complete the cleaning process. Please do so, and then click on the “OK” button.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner finishing malware removal
    When your computer reboots and you are logged in, Malwarebytes AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer. Please review this log file and then close the notepad window. You can now continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs

Malwarebytes is a powerful on-demand scanner which should remove the “Error Code 022-023-251” pop-ups from your machine. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes”)
  2. When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
    Malwarebytes installer
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Malwarebytes User Account Control Prompt
  3. When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Setup Malwarebytes installer
    To install Malwarebytes on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Completing the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Perform a system scan with Malwarebytes
  5. Malwarebytes will now start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
    This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning for malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected.
    To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Malwarebytes Quarantine Selected
  7. Malwarebytes will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found.
    To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes removing malware from computer
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 3: Double-check for malicious programs with HitmanPro

HitmanPro can find and remove malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. HitmanPro is designed to run alongside your antivirus suite, firewall, and other security tools.

  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. When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on the “hitmanpro” file to install this program on your computer.
    HitmanPro icon
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    HitmanPro User Account Control Pop-up
  3. When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
    HitmanPro setup process
  4. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
    HitmanPro scanning for Microsoft has detected a porn virus has infected your system virus
  5. 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 malware.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  6. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Activate HitmanPro to remove malware
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.

(OPTIONAL) STEP 4: Reset your browser to default settings

If you are still experiencing issues with the “Error Code 022-023-251” pop-ups in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, we will need to reset your browser to its default settings.
This step should be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.

Google Chrome


Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programs. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.

  1. Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.
    Google Chrome Settings menu
  2. Chrome’s Settings should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Advanced link (as seen in the below example).
    Click on Chrome Advanced button
  3. Chrome’s advanced Settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the Reset browser settings section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the Reset settings button.
    Google Chrome Reset button
  4. A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue on with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the Reset button.
    Restore Google Chrome to default settings

Internet Explorer


You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the “gear icon” in the upper right part of your browser, then click again on Internet Options.
    [Image: Internet Options in Internet Explorer]
  2. In the “Internet Options” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer]
  3. In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer to its default settings]
  4. When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box. You will now  need to close your browser, and then you can open Internet Explorer again.
    [Image Reset Internet Explorer settings]

Mozilla Firefox


If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu button, then click on the “Help[Image: Firefox Help button] button.
    Firefox Help button
  2. From the Help menu, choose Troubleshooting Information.
    If you’re unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.
    Troubleshooting Information in Firefox
  3. Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    Refresh Firefox button
  4. To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Reset Firefox settings to default
  5. Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.
Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Your computer should now be free of the “Error Code 022-023-251” adware. You can remove AdwCleaner from your computer, however we recommend that you keep Malwarebytes and HitmanPro installed to periodically scan your device for malware.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove “Error Code 022-023-251” pop-ups from your computer, please do one of the following:

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I am the creator and owner of the MalwareTips Community. I've started this site in 2010 to help people solve their computer problems.
I live in Bucharest, where I run my own local computer repair shop. My area of expertise includes malware removal 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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