Google Chrome is currently the most used web browser in the world, and while the security by Google is generally very good, its popularity has lead to some developers targeting it with malicious software.

If you’re using Google Chrome and seeing the “You are using an older version of Chrome” message, you are being subjected to a social engineering attack, as this is not a message that is sent by Google to Chrome users. It aims to deceive you into thinking that it is from Google and that you should be taking action by trying to fix the problem you don’t really have. If you were to click on the “Update Now” button that is displayed beneath the message, you would be installing malicious software onto your computer. The notification isn’t really sent by Google Chrome but rather some malware that, once you click on the file, will install an unhealthy dose of adware on your computer. The adware will then show banner advertisements when you visit websites the next time you open a web browser, putting another layer of ads on top of the ones that you already see from the sites that you’re visiting (if there were to be any). This extra layer of ads has nothing to do with the sites that you visit; instead, the developers of the adware program will benefit from the revenue made as they follow you around to site after site collecting more views.

Adware doesn’t benefit anybody but the people who develop it: People begin to dislike the Windows operating system for not being perfect, they hate advertisements and will do what they can to block them in future, so forth. You may have noticed the “You are using an older version of Chrome” fake alert after downloading a free file online from an untrustworthy source, such as a movie torrent file from a torrenting website. The good news is that there are programs out there that can help you remove the adware from your computer so you no longer get the fake alerts or any other adware that may be on your computer.

This social engineering attack is most likely caused by adware being installed on your computer and may take several steps before it is completely removed. Once you have the adware on your computer, the next time you browse the internet, you may be subjected to further promotions and messages suggesting you need more toolbars and add-ons that you don’t need at all. These social engineering attacks are usually carried out because the owners of the miraculous software are benefiting from it, either financially or through other means.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to remove the malware from your computer.

Method One: Check that Google Chrome is Up to Date from Chrome Settings

1. To Check Pending Updates

a. Open Google Chrome and look at the three dotted More menu in the top right corner of the browser window. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

b. The three dots change colors depending on the current status of the browser.

Here are the three different status colors and what they mean:

  • Green. The More icon turns green if an update has been available for two days.
  • Orange. The More icon turns orange if an update has been ready to install for four days.
  • Red. The More icon turns red if an update has been ready for at least seven days.

2. To Update Google Chrome

a. Open Google Chrome and click on the three dotted More menu in the top right corner of the browser window.

b. Click on the Update Google Chrome button. If there is no button then you know that your browser is already up to date.

c. Click Relaunch.

Read more: Other info about updating Chrome

Method Two: Find Harmful Software Using “Clean Up Computer” in Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome and click on the three dotted More menu in the top right corner of the browser window.

2. Click Settings.

3. Scroll down to the bottom of Settings and click Advanced.

4. Click Clean up computer.

5. Next to where it says Find harmful software, click Find. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

You can now close the Google Chrome web browser if you like.

Method Three: How to Remove ‘You are using an older version of Chrome’ Adware with AdwCleaner

1. Download the AdwCleaner program from the Malwarebytes website.

2. If you get a message from your web browser that says anything along the lines of “This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the adwcleaner.exe file anyway?” click on the Keep button.

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

4. Open the AdwCleaner program.

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

6. Select Dashboard from the menu and then click on Scan now. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

7. In a short while, the scan will be complete. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

8. Check all of the boxes next to the threats that you want removed from the computer, and then click on Clean & Repair. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

9. Malwayebytes Adwcleaner then gives you the chance to clean and restart later or now. Clean and restart now to remove the adware immediately. The web browser will not open where you left off upon rebooting, so save any work you have open. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

10. When the computer restarts, AdwCleaner automatically opens to show you the results. You can view the log file as well if you like. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

You can now close the AdwCleaner program if you like.

Method Four: How to Remove “You are using an older version of Chrome” Fake Alerts by Manually Scanning Files, Folders, and Drives with Windows Defender in Windows 10

Windows 10’s default antivirus program, Microsoft Defender, (known as Windows Defender before the Windows 10 November 2019 Update) 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. Microsoft Defender finds all sorts of malware and is antimalware that keeps the traditional antivirus name to avoid confusion. That said, Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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.

See also: How to Use Malicious Software Removal Tool in Windows 10

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 Microsoft Defender PUA Protection in Windows 10

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

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

1. Open an elevated Windows PowerShell. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the elevated version of the Windows PowerShell: How to Open Elevated Windows PowerShell in Windows 10

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 Microsoft Defender PUA Protection:
Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 1
or
Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection Enabled

To Disable Microsoft 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 Microsoft 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 Microsoft Defender PUA 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.
  • Though Microsoft changed the name Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender in Windows 10 version 1909, as of yet, the Local Group Policy Editor has not been updated to reflect this change. Should there come a time when the following path no longer works, try exchanging Windows Defender for Microsoft Defender in the Local Group Policy Editor where applicable.

1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc). See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the Local Group Policy Editor: How to Open Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 10

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. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

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). (click to enlarge screenshot below)

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 Microsoft 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.

Microsoft 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, Microsoft Defender also allows for manual scans so that you can scan any location on the operating system immediately.

Note: The Microsoft 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 Microsoft Defender Using Context Menu

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

Notes:

  • The Windows Security is available in all versions of Windows 10 after version 1703.
  • While Microsoft has changed the name from Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender as of Windows 10 version 1909, most locations around Windows, including the context menu via File Explorer, still list the older Windows Defender name. Should there come a time when the following path no longer works, try clicking on Scan with Microsoft Defender… instead of Scan with Windows Defender… from the context menu instead.

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. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

The Downloads folder found within File Explorer; Scan with Windows Defender from its context menu
Select your file, folder, or drive from any area within File Explorer — you can find the main folders by selecting This PC from navigation pane — and then right-click on it, and select Scan with Windows Defender… from its context menu.

3. When the scan completes, Windows Security 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. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Notes:

    • The Windows Security application used to be called the Windows Defender Security Center in previous versions of Windows 10. All the settings within the app remained the same after the name change.
    • Starting with Windows 10 version 1803, the app has two new areas: Account protection and Device security.
Scan options: Custom scan running...
No matter what type of scan you choose, you can always observe the progress bar at the top of the page beneath the Scan options to see how the scan is progressing.

a. If there are no threats found, Windows Security will let you know as much in the same region where it previously show you the scan was underway. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Scan options: No current threats found.

b. If there are threats found, however, it will let you know there are threats found, as well as the threat names and location in the same area. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Scan options: Threats found. Start the recommended actions.

4. To remove any threats found, click on the Start actions button. (click to enlarge screenshots below)

Note: Clicking on Start actions will result in Windows Security removing the threat immediately.

Windows Security: Start actions

Protection history: Threat found -- action needed
The malware we have used in these screenshots is test malware, designed to imitate how real malware works so that it will show up in Microsoft 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 Microsoft Defender in Windows Security

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

1. Open Windows Security. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open Windows Security in Windows 10: How to Open Windows Security in Windows 10

Microsoft Defender icon in Notification Area

2. Click on the Virus & threat protection icon in Windows Security’s Security at a glance page. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Security at a glance

3. Do step 4, step 5, step 6, or step 7 depending on what it is that you would like to do.

4. To Run a Quick Scan with Microsoft Defender

a. Click on the Scan now button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Quick scan

5. To Run a Full Scan with Microsoft Defender

a. Select Full scan and then click on the Scan now button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Full scan

6. To Run a Custom Scan with Microsoft Defender

a. Select Custom scan and then click on the Scan now button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Custom scan

7. To Run an Offline Scan with Microsoft Defender

a. Select Windows Defender Offline scan and then click on the Scan now button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Windows Defender Offline scan

8. Select the filefolder, or drive that you want to scan and then click Select Folder. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Custom Scan: Select folder, Razer Blade HDD

9. Microsoft Defender starts scanning the option that you chose. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Security: Full scan running

10. When the scan completes, you get the results in numbers. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Scan options: No current threats.
If there are no threats found once the scan has completed, it will say so from the same region that previously showed you the progress bar. This region has changed a bit since the earlier versions of Windows 10; no longer is there a link that allows you to see threat details like previous versions offered. Simplifying this was perhaps a good idea because you should always remove the threat from the computer once it is found.

11. If there are threats found, however, it will let you know there are threats found, as well as the threat names and location in the same area. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Scan options: Threats found. Start the recommended actions.
When threats are found, it tells you so and let’s you know that you need to get started with the recommended actions by clicking on the Start actions button.

12. To remove any threats found, click on the Start actions button. (click to enlarge screenshots below)

Note: Clicking on Start actions will result in Windows Security removing the threat immediately.

Windows Security: Start actions

Protection history: Threat found -- action needed
The malware we have used in these screenshots is test malware, designed to imitate how real malware works so that it will show up in Microsoft Defender scan results. We do not ever recommend downloading actual malware onto your computer.

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

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

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

1. Open the Windows PowerShell. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the Windows PowerShell application in Windows 10: How to Open Windows PowerShell in Windows 10

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

Windows PowerShell: MPScan QuickScan running
Windows PowerShell: MPScan QuickScan completed

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

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

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

Note: Though Windows Defender has been renamed to Microsoft Defender, Microsoft has not yet updated the commands to reflect this change. Should there come a time when the following commands no longer work, try exchanging Windows Defender for Microsoft Defender in the commands where applicable.

1. Open the Command Prompt. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the Command Prompt application in Windows 10: How to Open Command Prompt in Windows 10

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

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

Command Prompt: Windows Defender ScanType 1

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

That’s all.