The PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A is not a virus but rather a blackhat SEO technique designed to help the owner’s webpage rank better in search engines through the manipulative tactics of getting it on your computer first.

PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A may also be considered as adware due to it having installed a web browser plugin for Internet Explorer that shows additional banner, search, text link and other forms of advertisements when you visit webpages on the internet. These ads are not being shown from the websites that you’re visiting bur rather than extensions from the ShopAtHome.A Potentially Unwanted Program.

While technically not a virus, this is not something you want to keep on your computer, and it’s generally considered by experts to be labeled a Potentially Unwanted Program) PUP.

You may have got PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A on your computer when you downloaded freeware software that had the packaged bundled in. If you do download free software, it’s a good idea to run scans with antimalware programs such as Malwarebytes to make sure your computer is cleaned from any junk programs such as these that may be sitting on your computer.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to remove the PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A malware from Windows computers.

Method One: How to Remove PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A Potentially Unwanted Propgram with Windows Defender in Windows 10

Windows 10’s default antivirus program, Windows Defender, doubles as very good antivirus and antimalware protection. The term “antimalware” is a more modern version of the term “antivirus” because a multitude of malicious programs exist today rather than computer viruses alone. Windows Defender finds all sorts of malware and is antimalware that keeps the traditional antivirus name to avoid confusion. That said, Windows Defender still might not remove a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) on your computer until you enable the PUP protection first. If you tried an antivirus/antimalware scan with Windows Defender and the malware was not found, you can try enabling the PUP protection and try again before installing third-party software on your computer.

Note: The terms “Potentially Unwanted Programs” (PUPs) and “Potentially Unwanted Applications” (PUAs) are interchangeable. When referring to misleading software installed as a bundle or without users’ consent, common antimalware programs use the term “PUP;” however, Microsoft prefers “PUA” in Windows 10.

Part One: How to Enable or Disable Windows Defender PUP Protection in Windows 10

When removing Potentially Unwanted Programs from your computer with the default Windows Defender antivirus, you should enable PUP protection first. Here is how to do that:

Option One: How to Enable or Disable Windows Defender PUP Protection in Windows PowerShell

1. Open an elevated Windows PowerShell.

2. If you are prompted by User Account Control, click on the Yes button.

3. Type one of the following commands into the Windows PowerShell window, depending on what you want to achieve, and then press the Enter key on your keyboard to execute it:

To Enable Windows Defender PUA Protection:

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 1

or

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection Enabled

To Disable Windows Defender PUA Protection (Default):

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 0

or

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection Disabled

Audit Mode – detects PUPs, but does not block them:

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 2

or

Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection AuditMode

4. Restart the computer before attempting to run a new Windows Defender antivirus scan that searched for extra PUPs.

You can now close the Windows PowerShell window and continue using your computer if you like.

Option Two: How to Enable or Disable Windows Defender PUP Protection in Local Group Policy Editor

Notes:

  • You can only use this option from the Local Group Policy Editor starting from Windows 10 version 1809.
  • The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10.

1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

2. Using the Local Group Policy Editor’s left pane, navigate through to the following location:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Defender Antivirus

3. With Windows Defender Antivirus selected, click on Configure detection for potentially unwanted applications from the right pane.

Windows Defender Antivirus -- Configure detection for potentially unwanted applications

4. From the Configure detection for potentially unwanted applications policy, select either Not Configured (to turn off Windows Defender PUP protection), Enabled (to turn on Windows Defender PUP protection), or Disabled (to turn off Windows Defender PUP protection).

Note: If selecting Enabled, a drop-down menu appears in the Options window that offers additional options to configure the group policy if you like. For example, from the drop-down menu, you can select Blocked which means the Configure detection for potentially unwanted applications policy will be enabled, and the potentially unwanted programs will be blocked from being downloaded onto your computer. It is suitable for most people to select Blocked from the drop-down menu in the Options window to stop PUPs getting onto your computer in future.

Configure detection for potentially unwanted applications policy settings

You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor and continue using your computer if you like.

Part Two: How to Manually Scan Files, Folders, and Drives with Windows Defender in Windows 10

Windows 10 provides the latest antivirus protection with Windows Security. Your device will be actively protected from the moment you start Windows 10. Windows Security continually scans for malware (all types of malicious software), viruses, and security threats. In addition to this real-time protection, updates are downloaded automatically to help keep your device safe and protected from threats.

Some features differ if you are running Windows 10 in S mode. Because this mode is streamlined for tighter security, the Virus & threat protection area has fewer options. However, that does not mean it is less secure—the built-in security of this mode automatically prevents viruses and other threats from running on your device, and you will receive security updates automatically.

Windows Defender automatically scans your system periodically, so it should pick up and remove any malware on your computer by itself over time. If you need a quick solution, Windows Defender also allows for manual scans so that you can scan any location on the operating system immediately.

Note: The Windows Defender antivirus application shown below comes out of the box on all versions of Windows 10, the latest version of Windows operating system. If you are running an older version of Windows, such as Windows 7, then you can skip to one of the next parts that shows you how to install a third-party antimalware application instead.

Option One: How to Scan with Windows Defender Using Context Menu

Here is how you can run an antivirus scan with the built-in Windows Defender antivirus program from the context menu of a file or folder:

1. From File Explorer, select the drivefolder, or file that you suspect may contain the potential malicious program.

2. Right-click on Scan with Windows Defender from the context menu.

Downloads folder -- Scan with Windows Defender
You can right-click on any file, folder or drive in File Explorer. Click on This PC in File Explorer’s navigation pane to view your most commonly used folders, as well as the available drives.

3. When the scan completes, Windows Defender Security Center will open and show you the results. The total time for the scan to complete will vary. Scanning drives will take the longest, while scanning individual files the quickest.

Note: The Windows Defender Security Center has been renamed to Windows Security in newer versions of Windows 10. All the settings within the app remain the same.

Windows Defender Security Center -- threats found, files scanned
When the antivirus scan is complete, you get the scan results—threats found and files scanned—on the same page of the Windows Defender Security Center.

4. If the scan did find threats, you can Start actions or See threat details.

Note: Clicking on Start actions will result in Windows Defender removing the threat immediately whereas choosing See threat details allows you to see the threat and also choose what you want to do with it more specifically.

Windows Defender Security Center -- Start Actions
The Start Actions buttons appears if the antivirus has found any threats.
Windows Defender Security Center -- Action options
Removing the file completely removes the file from the computer while quarantining it moves the file to a safe location on your computer. You can select Remove when you know you don’t need the file that contains the virus.
Virus test file
The malware we have used in these screenshots is test malware, designed to imitate how real malware works so it will show up in Windows Defender scan results. We do not ever recommend downloading actual malware onto your computers.

You can now close the Windows Security app and continue using your computer if you like.

Option Two: Scan with Windows Defender in Windows Security

Here is how you can run an antivirus scan with the built-in Windows Defender antivirus program from the Windows Security app:

1. Open Windows Security.

Windows Defender icon -- notification area

2. Click on the Virus & threat protection icon in Windows Security’s Security at a glance page.

Security at a glance -- Virus and threat protection

3. To Run a Quick Scan with Windows Defender

a. Click on the Scan now button.

Virus and threat protection -- scan now

4. To Run a Full Scan with Windows Defender

a. Select Full scan and then click on the Scan now button.

Windows Defender Full scan

5. To Run a Custom Scan with Windows Defender

a. Select Custom scan and then click on the Scan now button.

Windows Defender Custom scan

6. Select the filefolder, or drive that you want to scan and then click Select Folder.

File Explorer Downloads folder -- Select Folder

7. Windows Defender starts scanning the option that you chose.

Windows Defender -- Full scan running

8. When the scan completes, you get the results in numbers.

Windows Defender -- Full scan results

9. If Windows Defender did find threats during the scan, you can Start actions or See threat details.

Note: Clicking on Start actions will result in Windows Defender removing the threat immediately whereas choosing See threat details allows you to see the threat and also choose what you want to do with it more specifically.

Windows Defender Security Center -- Start actions
The Start Actions buttons appears if the antivirus has found any threats.
Windows Defender Security Center -- Action options
Removing the file completely removes the file from the computer while quarantining it moves the file to a safe location on your computer. You can select Remove when you know you don’t need the file that contains the virus.
Virus Alert level: Severe
The malware we have used in these screenshots is test malware, designed to imitate how real malware works so it will show up in Windows Defender scan results. We do not ever recommend downloading actual malware onto your computers.

You can now close the Windows Security app and continue using your computer if you like.

Option Three: How to Scan with Windows Defender from Windows PowerShell

Here is how you can run an antivirus scan with Windows Defender from the Windows PowerShell:

1. Open the Windows PowerShell.

2. Type the command below that best suits your needs and then press the Enter key on your keyboard to execute it.

Update and Quick scan:

Update-MpSignature; Start-MpScan -ScanType QuickScan

Quick scan:

Start-MpScan -ScanType QuickScan

Full scan:

Start-MpScan -ScanType FullScan

PowerShell Scan type Quick scan

You can now close the Windows PowerShell window and continue using your computer if you like.

Option Four: How to Scan with Windows Defender from Command Prompt

Here is how you can run an antivirus scan with Windows Defender from the command line:

1. Open the Command Prompt.

2. Type the command below that best suits your needs and then press the Enter key on your keyboard to execute it.

Update and Quick scan:

"%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -SignatureUpdate & "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 1

Quick scan:

"%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 1

Full scan:

"%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe" -Scan -ScanType 2

CMD Windows Defender Scan type 1

You can now close the Command Prompt window and continue using your computer if you like.

Method Two: How to Remove PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A Using AdwCleaner

The Windows operating system doesn’t come with an adware cleaner by default, so you have to install a third-party program to remove the adware instead. Here is how you can remove the PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A Potentially Unwanted Program using an adware clean program such as AdwCleaner on your computer:

1. Download the AdwCleaner from the Malwarebytes website. (See screenshot below)

2. If you are prompted by User Account Control and asked “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device,” click on Yes.

3. After the scan completes, keep any threats checked and then click on the Clean & Repair button.

4. The AdwCleaner needs to close all programs and restart the computer before it can finish cleaning up your computer. Click on Clean & Restart Now.

Make sure you save any work you don’t want to lose because your browser windows will not open with the same pages again after the reboot.

5. When the computer boots back up and you sign in to your account, the AdwCleaner interface will automatically open again and shows you that the cleanup is complete. You may also choose to view the log file of the results.

You can now close the AdwCleaner window.

Method Three: How to Remove PUP.Optional.ShopAtHome.A Using Malwarebytes

1. Visit the Malwarebytes website and then click on the Free Download link for your operating system.

2. If your web browser shows a message that says “this type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the executable file anyway?,” click on the Keep button.

3. If prompted by User Account Control and asked: “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?,” click on the Yes button.

4. Select between Personal computer and Work computer for where you are installing Malwarebytes ad then click on the Continue button.

5. Click on the Agree and Install button to accept the license agreement.

6. Click on the Finish button when the Malwarebytes installation is complete.

7. The Malwarebytes interface should open on its own. If it doesn’t, click on its application that is now on your desktop.

8. Click on the Scan Now button to bring the scan.

9. Malwarebytes will then take a few moments to run a quick scan of the computer.

10. Place a tick on the boxes next to the malware threats and then click on the Quarantine Selected button.


11. If Malwarebytes hasn’t solved the malware on your computer, you can visit their website and contact them to let them know of the issue that their software is not yet fixing.

You can now close the Malwarebytes application.

That’s all.

This article was last updated on May 13, 2019.