How to Recover from locked screen of a Tech Support Scam

Ever had an alert the computer is locked and you have to call a phone number? Read on to learn how to recover from the locked screen of a Tech Support Scam.

This type of scam can take many forms. It almost always happens when you are using a browser on the Internet. Sometimes the message looks like it is from a well known company like Microsoft or Apple. Others will make noise or blink. There is always a sense of urgency and you won’t be able to move off the alert.

This is not actually a virus, and at this point, nothing will have been done to your computer. The scam happens when you call the phone number listed, and they convince you to either download software, or pay for their service.

So what do you do? Follow the directions below for a Mac and for Windows. If this doesn’t take care of it, give us a call and we will try to help you further.


You will need to force the browser you are using to quit, and then when you reopen it, you will NOT restore the tabs that you had open. Here are the steps to do that.

Open the application Activity Monitor. To find it, click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the screen. Start typing Activity Monitor until you see the application in the results. Click to open it.

The Activity Monitor will show all of the processes that are currently running on your computer. Most of them will not look familiar to you. Find the browser that you are using. In this case, we were using Chrome.

Single click on the browser name to highlight it. Then click on the X at the top to force quit the browser.

Reopen the browser. Do not restore the open windows and tabs. If the browsers asks this, click on the X.

This should recover your function from the locked screen of a Tech Support Scam.


On a Windows computer the process is very similar. The program you will use is called Task Manager.

Right click on the taskbar and you will see the Task Manager option.

Single left click on Task Manager and you will see a simplified list of processes that are running on your computer. Choose your browser in the top left of the window, and select “End task” in the bottom right of the window.

If you have “More details” enabled the Task Manager will look slightly different but the process will be the same.

Reopen the browser. Do not restore windows and tabs. If the browser asks this, click on either the X or the cancel button.

This should recover your function from the locked screen of a Tech Support Scam.

If you would like help with this process, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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