MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

Category: Security

I'm the goto geek for my friends, and I just want to mention that MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) has helped me on many occasions when other anti-virus and anti-spyware apps failed to prevent or fix a malware problem. You'd be doing your readers a service to recommend this free security tool.

What is MalwareBytes Anti-Malware?

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is an anti-malware application that's been available since 2004. Free and paid versions are available. It doesn't get as much press as commercial anti-malware apps like Symantec/Norton, McAfee or CA Antivirus. It's not one of "the usual suspects" that tech journalists rattle off when they're listing anti-malware apps such as Avast, AVG, Trend Micro, etc. I have mentioned MBAM a few times on this site, but you're right to suggest a more in-depth review and recommendation.

Aside from having a fun acronym, MBAM is a solid, speedy, secure anti-malware application that many people rely on to protect their data, computers, and personal identities online. It seems adept at rooting out both viruses and spyware, and often finds nasties that the others left undetected. Best of all, MBAM is free to try, and there are none of the gotchas that often accompany free security tools. Just download, install and run. There are no tricky optional toolbars, smiley-face collections or sneaky data-mining license agreements to watch out for during installation.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Once installed and running, MBAM gives you three options:

  • Quick Scan performs a scan for malware in only the folders and files most frequently targeted by malware writers. It's fast; it took me only 3 minutes to scan a hard drive with 300 GB of data on it. It's also easy on computer resources so it doesn't slow down other apps while it's scanning. A log file is saved to disk so you can review whatever MBAM found during its scan.

  • Full Scan scans every single byte on your hard drive, USB flash drives, optical media, and other storage devices. There's a rumor that MBAM even looks under your couch cushions, but I can't confirm that. It's best to run a full scan about once a week, or when you suspect you might have a malware infection.

  • The unique Flash Scan mode scans only volatile memory and autorun objects, favorite targets for malware. It's a virtually instantaneous check for malware. Flash Scan is available only to registered users of MBAM.

Upgrading Your MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

The registered version of MBAM costs US$24.95, and also includes real-time malware scanning and blocking; automatic malicious website identification and blocking; a scheduler for software and malware signature database updates; and priority customer support.

MBAM quarantines suspected malware-infected files in a secured folder from which they cannot execute commands or operations upon other parts of your system. Quarantine is useful in case you need to extract legitimate data from an infected file before deleting it, or in the case of a "false positive" identification of a legitimate program as malware; you can simply tag the app as "safe" and restore it.

To save time during full scans, you can build a list of folders and files that MBAM should ignore when scanning. Such items might include read-only or encrypted files and folders which cannot be re-written by malware. Read-only CDs and DVDs can also be ignored if the data on them has been scanned and deemed safe once.

MalwareBytes also makes StartUpLite, a utility that eliminates unnecessary processes from your Windows startup configuration. This speeds up booting, frees RAM, and helps your system run considerably faster.

FileASSASSIN is another handy utility from Malwarebytes. Often, Windows will not let you delete a file; you get a message such as "file in use by another program" or "access denied" even though you know you should be able to delete the file. This utility overrides Windows to let you delete what you wish.

RegASSASSIN is a powerful malware cure that should be used with caution. Malware often inserts new keys in your Windows registry and alters permissions to make the keys difficult to remove. This utility will allow you to unlock and remove unwanted keys. But you must be certain that you are removing the right keys.

I recommend that you download and run MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, even if you're happy with the anti-virus and/or anti-spyware tools you currently have. It's a handy tool to have on your hard drive, and can also be installed on a portable USB drive to help a friend with malware problems.

Do you have something to say about MalwareBytes Anti-Malware? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "MalwareBytes Anti-Malware"

(See all 23 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

04 Jun 2010

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware IZ The Bomb!!!

MBAM is working in tandem with my Outpost Firewall and AVAST (vs. #5) Anti-Virus (also free) In addition, I have the paid version of Zemana Antilogger. With these systems in my computer I am pretty confident that I can fend off any Malware attacks with relative ease.

When I get some money I am going to buy the paid version of MBAM 'cause if the free version Kicks Butt I can only imagine what the purchased version will do!

Also: I take my hat OFF to you, Mr. Bob Rankin as I ALWAYS enjoy regarding your articles not only because they keep me abreast of all things Computer and Internet but also because you edify and enlighten me on off-topic things as well.

Thank you for considering All of your fans!

Posted by:

Joe Hathaway
04 Jun 2010

For contrast, I just ran an MBAM Quick Scan on my 1.6 GHz laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2), with Windows XP SP3. Its 142 GB (net) hard drive is less than 50% full. No other work was being done during the scan. The scan examined 159,038 objects, and took 22 minutes, 20 seconds. Somewhat in excess of 3 minutes...

Posted by:

04 Jun 2010

It is the best thing since sliced bread. I recommend it on every computer help forum I post on when someone is having virus, spyware or malware problems.

One thing to point out i sthat some malware or viruses will prevent the installation of MBAM and this tip is for that situation.
If Malwarebytes Anti-malware or any of your security programs won’t install, run or update, then you’ve probably got malware or the effects of malware on the computer (some types of malware will disable Malwarebytes Anti-malware and other security tools).

Follow instructions:

Dave M

Posted by:

D. W. Whitlock
04 Jun 2010

MalwareBytes (MBAM) has saved my bacon several times when I had an infection(s) that my three other anti-virus apps could not capture and quarantine. Several sweeps with the MBAM scanner saved me from a reformat and restored my machine to good working order. If a virus will not allow you access to MBAM or other anti-virus apps, try Safe Mode. That usually allows you to run your scans. Great site Bob. Very helpful.

Posted by:

04 Jun 2010

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE malwarebytes, I have been using it for 2 years now and it has never let me down. It is by far the best project on the market...and it is FREE!!!


Posted by:

05 Jun 2010

I do not believe there is a portable Malwarebytes.

Posted by:

Dave Mack
05 Jun 2010

I have used Malwarebytes for about 6 months now in conjunction with SuperAntiSpyware. Both programs replace other well known free adware software. I think these two do a better job, I also have Avast as my AVS which now also covers malware so I seem to be malware free most of the time.somebody suggested it maybe on this list not sure thanks to whoever did.

Posted by:

meir loewen
05 Jun 2010

I followed your recommendation and installed MBAM, as you recommended. The Quick Scan took 12 minutes for something likke 150000 items. How come?

Posted by:

09 Jun 2010

The 3 best free malware scanners (in no particular order) are:
a-Squared Free
If these three programs and your anti-virus program, ideally the free Avira Antivir, say that a PC is clean, you can be sure it's clean.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2010

We use Avast on a couple of our computers, so I'm glad to hear that it and MBAM can co-exist. Does anyone know if MBAM plays well with NAV 2008 or later? With VIPRE 3? Thanks.

Posted by:

Pedro Izquierdo
10 Jun 2010

I have installed AMB twice, second time about three monts later. It does a fantastic job, no complaints but, my XP SP2 PC runs slower and erratically .

Same results at the second trial.

Ran restore and the PC went back to normal.

I still love the performance and would like to use it again if i can get it to perform transparently.

Posted by:

17 Jun 2010

Nothing but atta-boys for MBAM. Will definitely wipe out and quarantine the infamous AV7 virus, among others. Got it in my PC and laptop. Never get the annoying 'MBAM has a newer version, etc..' pop-ups. About the easiest freebie I've used.

Posted by:

13 Aug 2010

MBAM saved my bacon yesterday. It removed(Security Tools) a fake antivirus. The rogue software had me blocked. I couldn't run anything that would help me remove Security Tools, spyware.
At startup when Security Tools was loading, I clicked ctrl, alt, and delete, so I could use taskmanager to click (end task). It took 3 tries, but finally I got it right and was able to click it. Stopped the dang thing.
Then I restored the computer to an earlier date. Also ran MBAM and it removed a trojon.
MBAM is my hero today.

Posted by:

21 Oct 2010

I run the upgrade version of MBAM and the free version of AVG. It takes about 6 min. to boot my couputer when I have MBAM turned on at start up. If it is turned off, the computer boots up in about half the time it takes when it is turned on. Is there a fix?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, stop running MBAM at startup! It sounds like you've got it set to run a full disk scan every time you start up your computer. Three minutes for the scan is really not bad, but still probably overkill.

Posted by:

22 Oct 2010

Excellent! I used MalwareBytes Anti-Malware and I was able to remove all of my pc's malware. Thanks.

Posted by:

Robert Reinman
29 Sep 2011

I am pretty darn good at removing Malware/spyware/viruses in the past. Very rarely I get beat doing so.
I used MalwareBytes for years now, and last year purchased the full version.
I have never encountered any more problems ever.

I have used for years SpybotSearch&Destroy, Avg, SuperAntiSpyware, Windows Defender, Winpatrol.

I now have not found any problems with these programs after running MalwareBytes.

So, no need for these programs much any more!

That is how good I am stressing how well MalwareBytes performs........

Hope all takes note of this!!!

Robert Reinman

Posted by:

Cathy Carey
06 Nov 2012

Does MBAM work with Mac's? If not, any suggestions?

Posted by:

FC Bock
05 Feb 2013

I used the link in this article to get to the download. It was totally loaded with gotchas. I thought I'd taken care of them all but evidently didn't as something called 7Zip or something like that got installed instead. I used CCleaner to remove it and my machine is now almost totally disabled, None of the desktop shortcuts work. I can't open most programs at all including browsers therefore no internet access at all. A complete mess. Thank heavens I was trying this on an XP computer that I still had running but had just replaced. My Norton security suite won't complete a scan but rather just hangs up after about 2300 files.

The only reason I tried to download MBAM was because of what appeared to be a very slight problem that I wanted to investigate. Now nada. Not very happy.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fred, it sounds like you got derailed during the download/install process. MBAM uses CNET to host the downloads, and they have a confusing download process, which sometimes gets you the wrong program, or the one you want with some ugly extras. Here's what you need to do:

Click the link in my article (
Then click the grey "Free Download" button
When you see the CNET page, click the green "Download Now" button

This is where it gets confusing. On the next CNET page, don't click ANYTHING!
Locate the downloaded file (mbam-setup-...exe), and doubleclick it to run.

I promise if you follow these instructions carefully, you'll get MBAM and nothing else.

Posted by:

26 May 2013

I went to the link provided in the article and it sent me to a downlosd from CNET. Another Bob article says don't use Cnet because they "sneak" additional programs onto your computer. I just had this experience trying to download the ebay free sniping program and had to use system restore to get rid of the 2 pieces of c%^p

Posted by:

Ross Maxwell
16 Jan 2014

Bob, I've installed the Free version of MBAM, but it expires after 15 days and requires an update to the PAID version. I thought the Free version stayed free. I know that it was used at the company where I used to work for quite some time (may still be, don't know).
I realize the Paid version is better and does real-time scanning (desired), but I really like "free".
Any ideas? Thanks; always Gr-r-reat! articles.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It looks like you accidentally installed the 14-day free trial of the Pro version. The Free version has no such time limit, not does it require you to upgrade to a paid version.

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