Chameleon Helps Run Malwarebytes When A Virus Blocks It

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is one of the most popular and effective anti-malware programs.

The free version is a run-on-demand scanner to help remove virus infections and repair Windows settings. The paid version adds automatic scanning, automatic updates and real-time protection.

Can’t Install Or Open Malwarebytes – Viruses often try to make it difficult to remove them by preventing you from installing or running Malwarebytes (and most other security programs).

If you have a virus infection and are unable to install or open Malwarebytes, help is at hand. Since version 1.60 Malwarebytes has included a little known tool called Chameleon to work around this type of problem.

Chameleon – addresses the problem of virus infections preventing Malwarebytes from being installed or run. It helps in two ways:

  • It offers multiple versions of a tool (using different file extensions to avoid being blocked) to kill open running virus processes that may prevent Malwarebytes installation/opening.
  • Once active virus processes are disabled, the tool will open Malwarebytes if it is already installed. If it is not, the tool will download and install it for you if you are connected to the internet.

Opening Chameleon depends on whether you already have Malwarebytes 1.60 (or later) installed on the infected computer, or not:

Malwarebytes 1.60+ IS Already Installed

Click Start \ All Programs \ Malwarebytes Anti-Malware \ Tools \ Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Chameleon to open up the Chameleon help file as shown below:

malwarebytes chameleon
Malwarebytes Chameleon Help File

Note: if this is not possible because your Start menu is inaccessible, you can open this Chameleon help file directly from Explorer or (My) Computer by browsing to:

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (XP)   OR
C:\Program Files (x86)\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (Vista/7)

Then open the Chameleon folder and double click the Chameleon.chm file to open the help file.

Alternatively, you can use Task Manager or even an internet browser to open it – see the guide at Malwarebytes Support here.

Malwarebytes 1.60+ NOT Already Installed

You need a second computer which is not infected and a USB flash drive/blank CD or other way to transfer files from the clean computer to the infected one.

From your clean computer, download and install the latest version from Filehippo here. Once installed, use Explorer or (My) Computer to browse to:

C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (XP)   OR
C:\Program Files (x86)\Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (Vista/7)

Then copy the whole of the Chameleon folder to a flash drive or burn it to a CD.

Now insert your flash drive/CD into the infected computer and copy/paste the Chameleon folder to the desktop of the infected computer.

Make sure your infected computer is connected to the internet then open that folder on the desktop and double click the Chameleon.chm file to open the help file as shown in the picture above.

Tip: If the help file itself will not open, double click each file in the Chameleon folder one by one until you find one that works (i.e. a black DOS/command prompt window is displayed) but do not try to open the mbam-killer program file – that is not a Chameleon file.

How To Use Chameleon

Now the help file is open as shown in the picture above, follow its onscreen instructions – basically click on each Chameleon button until one works.

When it works it opens a black DOS/command prompt window and kills any running virus processes, then opens Malwarebytes if it is already installed (or downloads, installs and opens Malwarebytes if you do not already have it installed).

Once Malwarebytes is open, use in the normal way i.e. click the ‘Update’ tab then ‘Check for Updates’. Once updated, click the ‘Scanner’ tab then ‘Perform quick scan’ (or Full Scan if time allows) then the ‘Scan’ button to start scanning for virus infections.


Chameleon is an effective way to install or run Malwarebytes when it is otherwise blocked by a virus and can’t be opened.

Advanced users will recognize that its killing of running virus processes works in a similar fashion to the program RKill – but with the advantage of automatic execution/installation of Malwarebytes afterwards.

6 thoughts on “Chameleon Helps Run Malwarebytes When A Virus Blocks It”

  1. hey LOVED the chameleon when it was needed on the wifes pc , however i havent been able to find an equivalent product for my kindle fire … and its badly needed…. please help !!! downloaded and ran malware , seemed to run fine the first time but after that it would scan 60 or so files then abruptly stop… again please help !!

  2. i’ve tried to open and it success to run but it can’t process well.. When i press akey to continue,, It’s failed to download mbam though i’ve already connected to internet.. What should i do??

  3. Many thanks. I’ve got rid of the virus from the laptop now but I cannot change the corrupted files back to their original state as all the deencryptors available seem to need copies of the original files to work. Not sure I can understand that bit really – if I had copies of the corrupted files then I wouldn’t need to salvage them would I?!

  4. Hi Mike

    Restart in Safe Mode (with Networking) and try Malwarebytes and/or Chameleon again – download and install the latest version over the top of your old one if necessary.

    If it still fails try Rkill – see Method 1 and 2 for details –

    Unfortunately we can’t give specific virus removal help in these comments sections (it needs a forum format). If you have no joy in Safe Mode you could post in a forum like or try a good AV rescue disc e.g.

  5. It seems the virus is one step ahead – I’ve tried clicking on Chameleon (already on infected laptop) and the virus blocks it, saying, Application cannot be executed. The file TCrdMain.exe is infected.”

    I’ve tried copying Chameleon over from a USB but the same happens. The instructions say “be quick and tap the space bar” but it doesn’t work.

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