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Computers

Windows will rid your computer of deceitful cleaners

Windows Defender will soon delete programs that trick you into paying for a service with alarming messages about the health of your computer.

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Microsoft

You've likely seen deceitful cleaning or optimizing software in action. After reportedly scanning your computer, this software finds lots of problems, then asks you to pay big to get those problems removed. It tells you your computer is at risk if you don't cooperate. Thankfully, Windows is going to target and delete those very programs in a March update.

In a blog post Tuesday, Microsoft announced the company's Defender Antivirus program would start classifying software with such coercive messaging as unwanted. Defender will detect such software and remove it starting March 1.

The new evaluation criteria included with the update states that programs can't display misleading content to pressure you into paying for an upgrade. Targeted programs will include any that exaggerate the severity of reported errors in order to get you to pay to fix them or perform another action such as signing up for a newsletter.

Implying that no other solutions exist or tricking customers into thinking they have to act immediately will also be grounds for removal by Microsoft Defender. Generally, the targeted programs have a free service that includes scanning your computer, but you need to pay to do something about any errors they find. That in itself won't be grounds for removal, but putting exaggerated pressure on customers will.

The move expands on a February 2016 change demanding such programs provide more clarity to customers about the problems they find. Check out the full blog post here, and additional details on the change from our sister site Tech Republic here.