Mac warning: "Helpermcp is damaging your computer ..." - causes and help

A message from a reader put me on the malware helpermcp alerted, which appears to be affecting some people who have upgraded their Macs to Catalina. Research in various sources shows: The so-called "browser hijacker", which appears under Mac OS X and macOS as "Helpermcp", is not new. Also, there are a few preventable causes of malware infection. The good news is that it's not too dangerous Virus, not a data-stealing Trojan or data-encrypting ransomware. Nevertheless, the program, its effects and last but not least the constant warning of the Mac are annoying!

"Helpermcp is damaging your computer" but can't be moved to the trash? Here is an explanation of the Mac malware and instructions on how to uninstall Helpermcp. macOS Catalina October 2019
"Helpermcp is corrupting your computer" but can't move it to the trash? Here is an explanation of Mac malware and instructions on how to uninstall Helpermcp.

Message from the reader: Helpermcp is damaging your computer

This message recently reached me from a reader who had updated her Apple Mac to macOS 10.15 Catalina. After the operating system upgrade, the computer kept throwing the warning about Helpermcp:

after installing Catalina, the pop-up “Helpermcp” will damage your computer. We recommend moving the item to the trash.
If you click on “put in the trash”, nothing happens and the window pops up again.
Likewise with “Cancel”.
In addition, the fan turns on continuously and time machine runs continuously.
Is there any way to go back to the previous operating system?

There are several questions here, which I will answer individually and step by step below. If you have any hints on the topic, please leave a comment. If you know someone with the same problem, please forward this post to him or her;)

What is helpermcp?

At first glance, Helpermcp looks like the process of a helpful Mac tool because of the word "Helper" and the abbreviation that follows it. This is definitely not the malware. According to some sources, it seems more like a "browser hijacker". So an extension for the Internet browser, which can independently change the start website, display advertising pop-ups and redirect to certain target pages without being asked. So Helpermcp is a mixture of Adware and annoying scripts.

How was Helpermcp installed on the Mac?

The annoying software that can lodge in Safari, Chrome and Firefox comes to the Mac due to careless Internet use. Various thoughtless steps in the network can lead to the infection and installation of Helpermcp:

  • Clicking on spam advertisements that are placed as banners on websites
  • Clicking on spam links or images in questionable emails
  • Downloading apps from download portals with downloader apps (details here)
  • Installation of supposedly accelerating browser plugins or add-ons
  • Downloading and using questionable software like Mac Cleanup Pro, Advanced Mac Booster, Speedup Mac Pro or Smart Mac Tuneup

Above all, I find the software "Mac Cleanup Pro", which apparently serves as a system cleanup app, as a trigger in addition to sources of spam in some reports on the problem. But the other names are not exactly trustworthy either. If your Mac is infected with Helpermcp, you (or someone else) may have come across an ad like “Your Mac is running slowly and needs tuning? Try App XYZ! "Clicked and downloaded the supposed helper ...

How can I remove / uninstall Helpermcp?

In the above message from my reader it is already pointed out that the macOS popup with "Helpermcp is damaging your computer. We recommend moving the item to the trash“Nothing brings. No matter what you click, the recycle bin remains empty and the problem persists. Therefore you have to approach the solution yourself. Since I currently cannot (and do not want to) replicate it, I have to resort to general solutions and help from other sources. So the following is a step-by-step guide on how to uninstall Helpermcp that should work. 

Uninstall questionable apps including Helpermcp (with AppCleaner)

I know any malware removal guide that a program recommends doesn't look very legitimate itself. Therefore, the mention of “AppCleaner” is simply understood as a well-intentioned reference. This app not only uninstalls programs from the corresponding Applications folder on the Macintosh HD hard drive, but also looks for linked directories, files and folders in order to delete them as well. That's why I recommend AppCleaner to uninstall the above or other questionable programs and their garbage. Details, screenshots and the download can be found here: AppCleaner - My recommendation to delete programs from the Mac.

The procedure is then this:

  1. Searches in the Applications folder (~ / Applications) for “Helpermcp”, “Mac Cleanup Pro” or one of the other programs in question
  2. Now uninstall it by opening the AppCleaner and dragging the program icon into the AppCleaner window
  3. Selects all directories and other listed data linked to the program (see picture)
  4. Confirm the deinstallation by clicking on "Delete" (see picture)
  5. Repeat the whole thing with other questionable apps from the programs and downloads folder (~ / Users / USERNAME / Downloads)
The AppCleaner in action - a screenshot with any app as an example. Select all the components assigned to the program and click on "Delete".
The AppCleaner in action - a screenshot with any app as an example. Select all components attributed to the program and click on "Delete".

Delete linked files from the mcp folder yourself

The name of the malware indicates other places on the Mac hard drive that you should search for malicious programs, scripts, etc. In addition to the unhelpful "helper", it is the addition "mcp" which gives the decisive hint. Because in the library folder you will (probably) find another directory called mcp in the subfolder “Application Support”. And in this folder the triggers of your problem could be hidden. This is how you do it:

  1. Opens the Finder or any folder
  2. If the menu bar shows the "Finder" menu, click Go to an
  3. Click in the "Go to" menu Go to the folder ...
  4. Enter into the text field that opens ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp and click the "Open" button (if the folder is not found, navigate to ~ / Library / Application Support / and manually searches for "mcp" or similarly named folders)
  5. Deletes the files listed below from the folder

Intermediate step: delete and terminate the helpermcp process

I know it's getting complicated. But the intermediate step is necessary ... Now that you have found the mcp folder shown above, you will probably find a file called "helpermcp" which is a package / virtual drive. The intermediate step now consists of the following points:

  1. Right click (secondary click) on the helpermcp file
  2. Click on the menu item "Show package contents"
  3. Navigates to the folder in the package Contents / MacOS
  4. Deletes the contained helpermcp file (exec symbol) 
  5. Now opens the activity display, find the helpermcp process and kill it

What did that do? You might ask yourself. Well, deleting the file made sure that the process doesn't restart automatically. The termination of the process ensured that the files in the mcp folder can now be deleted.

Deletes these files from ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp

In the penultimate step you found the mcp folder, and in the following intermediate step you defused the helpermcp process. The following files can now be deleted without them being automatically recreated or without being prevented from deleting by the ongoing process:

  • ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp / helpermcp
  • ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp / mcpuninstall
  • ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp / com.pcv.mcpuninstall.plist
  • ~ / Library / Application Support / mcp / com.pcv.hlprmcp.plist
  • ~ / Library / LaunchAgents / com.pcv.hlprmcp.plist (As shown, in a different folder that you have to visit separately)

Basically deletes all files that have helpermcp and mcpuninstall in their names. You can find more using the Finder's search function. Then open the recycle bin and permanently delete the files that have been moved there.

Remove Helpermcp: Delete extensions from Safari, Chrome and Firefox

As mentioned above, the malware can also nestle in the web browser in the form of add-ons or plugins. In addition to the steps already shown, you should also delete this additional content from Safari, Chrome and Firefox. This is also helpful under macOS Catalina to speed up the system. Some extensions cause a disproportionate system load. Here is the procedure:

  • Safari: In the menu bar Safari and then Safari extensions ... click to manage, update or delete the extensions
  • Chrome: Top right on the three points click on in the menu More Tools click and then Extensions choose; remove the program additions there
  • Firefox: At the top right on the three strokes Click on Add-ons Click (puzzle piece symbol) and then left Extensions choose; now go through / delete the list entries

Mac's fan spins faster and Time Machine runs all the time

For fan and time machine problems (here is my recommendation for the Time Machine volume), which were also addressed in the above readers' message, I would like to refer to this collective article and its comments: macOS Catalina (10.15) Problems and Solutions. For example, Time Machine is In this section addressed. 

Problems with the fans and spinning them up are discussed in the comments. Simply use the key combination cmd + F to search for "fan" and to jump between the different mentions of the word. There are already a few causes, solutions and workarounds. Perhaps the problem can also be solved by deleting Helpermcp.

Back to the previous operating system

If the only problem in macOS Catalina is the system popup with the warning about Helpermcp, I recommend the procedure described above. Of course there is also one here on the blog Instructions for downgrading from Catalina to Mojave, but this is even more tedious and even less suitable for “beginners” of macOS tinkering than the above instructions for uninstalling Helpermcp. 

My recommendation here is to take a little time and gradually practice the steps outlined. A source with pictures / screenshots for individual steps would be PCrisk with this post. BUT ATTENTION: Downloading "Combo Cleaner" is recommended there. DO NOT click on the buttons and DO NOT download the program; you don't want to repeat the "Mac Cleanup Pro" error;)

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