The 7.hta Virus: What It Is and How to Remove It

Most .hta files are harmless but this one, not so much

A conceptual illustration of the 7.hta virus destroying a laptop computer.

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

Have you noticed a slowdown in your computer lately? Are you seeing an unusual increase in Windows errors or other weirdness on your system? If so, you might be a victim of the 7.hta virus, a type of computer malware that is also known as spyware.

7.hta is a type of malware that typically attacks computers running any version of Windows. It is also associated with the use of Teamviewer but is not limited to that program or necessarily installed by the program.

What Is The 7.hta Virus?

HTA is the acronym for HTML Application file. HTA files in general are harmless; they are extension files that make it possible for a variety of Windows applications to run properly but they aren't usually essential for your system. Because they are so common, most Windows systems run .hta files as fully trusted applications, which gives them more privileges that other types of HTML files might have on your computer.

Hackers, of course, have found a way to take that common file extension name and tweak it into a virus that can potentially wreak havoc on your computer. This virus, which is actually a Trojan spyware, has been around since the early 2000s.

It's considered potentially extremely dangerous if not contained and removed.

Some antivirus programs consider 7.hta to be a version of the IDP.Generic virus, so you could see it flagged as that as well. It can also be flagged as an association to the Amazon Assistant virus.

How Does The 7.hta Virus Work?

This virus works through the use of malicious code and applications. Once it's lodged itself onto your computer, it can use your system's resources, steal passwords, lock your computer and require a ransom to unlock it, and more. The goal is to cause damage, disrupt your ability to use your computer properly, and obtain information that a hacker ultimately can use to steal money from you in some way.

How Do I Know I Have the 7.hta Virus?

Trojan viruses are designed to be silent and sneaky so sometimes the only evidence you might have is a computer that has suddenly gone from working great to crashing constantly or otherwise behaving oddly.

There are other ways the 7.hta virus can manifest that might help you spot it. Users have reported the following symptoms that seem to be associated with this virus:

  • Sudden increase in Windows errors
  • An increased number of ads, pop-ups, and website banners
  • Deletion of files or an inability to access files because they are now encrypted
  • Unauthorized applications appearing on your system
  • Crashing or otherwise unresponsive programs
  • Extremely slow computer performance
  • Increased number of Amazon ads, shopping offers, and/or price comparisons

There are different ways to scan your computer for malware like this. The best approach is to use a good antivirus program that should be able to help you confirm the presence of this virus.

How Did I Get The 7.hta Virus?

The 7.hta virus is typically spread through email attachments but it can also find its way to your computer through infected websites. You might have clicked a link in an email that silently downloaded an infected application onto your system or accessed a pop-up ad on a website that triggered the virus to launch on your computer.

Once a Trojan virus is opened, it creates a chain reaction by downloading other malicious programs and it exploits weaknesses in normal programs, like hijacking your perfectly normal email program.

If you use peer-to-peer networks (torrents, eMule, or similar tools), free file hosting sites, freeware sites to obtain downloads, etc. you are at high risk for this or other Trojans infiltrating your system.

How Do I Get Rid Of This Virus?

The best way to find and remove sneaky software on your computer is to use a strong antivirus software program that can tackle a wide variety of problems, including malware like the 7.hta virus. This can take several hours to do but these programs offer the most comprehensive ways to remove malicious files.

  1. It might be possible to manually remove 7.hta simply by uninstalling specific apps and files relating to it. Both Windows and MacOS have clear ways to uninstall apps you no longer want to use. Users have confirmed that the following files are related to this virus.

    • %User Temp%\PmIgYzA\FZhIG.ico
    • %User Temp%\PmIgYzA\config.bin
    • %User Temp%\PmIgYzA\0.0
    • %User Temp%\PmIgYzA\TV.dll
    • %User Startup%\Gateway Layer 1.3957.lnk

    Because viruses can mutate, this list can morph into new file names. If you choose this approach, be sure to run a virus check immediately afterward to confirm the virus is indeed gone.

  2. You can clear your device of adware and spyware on your own. In some cases, you may have a persistent malware infection that causes the virus to keep coming back repeatedly. To deal with that, you can try removing the virus without using an antivirus application. In most cases, both antivirus and anti-malware will be needed to remove these types of infections.

  3. If none of those steps solve the problem, you can use System Restore to return to an earlier point on your computer before you picked up the 7.hta virus. Be sure to pick a time period where you know you definitely didn't already have the virus on your computer. 

How Can I Avoid Getting This Virus Again?

There are a few key ways in which you can lower your chances of being re-infected with 7.hta virus (or any other malicious program).

  • Be proactive. Follow best practices to prevent spyware from infecting your computer in the future.
  • Keep your antivirus software and malware protection updated. New viruses are created regularly so it's important to keep your PC informed on what to look for with the latest virus and malware-based threats. 
  • Be careful when you download new programs. Always confirm the legitimacy of the source of the programs and apps you download. Disreputable sites often toss in 'extras' in the form of add-ons that you don't need and those can sometimes include viruses. 
  • Stick to well known websites. 7.hta and other malware can infect your computer through the suspicious websites you might accidentally access. Clicking the 'wrong' link can lead to the download of a program you don't even know you are downloading. Be wary of websites such as torrenting sites. 
  • Don't click on banner ads. When a pop-up banner appears as you browse a website, resist the urge to click on it. If a site inundates you with pop-up advertisements, leave the site immediately.