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Remove Adaware secure search (Removal Instructions) - updated Aug 2019

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Adaware secure search is a browser hijacker that might get installed together with freeware or shareware

Adaware secure search

Adaware secure search is a plugin designed by Lavasoft security company and can be downloaded from official sources, such as Chrome web store. However, most users find the extension installed right after the installation of shareware or freeware – this marketing technique is dubbed software bundling and is often used to distribute a variety of potentially unwanted programs.[1]

Besides questionable installation techniques, Adaware secure search virus can alter the search engine of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or other browser and set it to Secure Search. This action consequently changes the way users find information based on their search queries, as the genuine results are often replaced with sponsored links.

To remove Adaware secure search from Windows 10 or other operating systems, you will have to uninstall the plugin and reset the web browsers to make sure all the elements of the hijacker are terminated. Please check the bottom section of the article for more details.

Name Adaware secure search
Type Browser hijacker, PUP
Related Web Companion
Developer Lavasoft
Distribution Official sources, software bundling
Symptoms Changed web browser settings, sponsored links, etc.
Risk factors Installation of potentially unwanted programs, data leak to unknown parties
Termination Delete the plugin with the help of our manual instructions below or use security software
Optimization To remove Adaware search, uninstall it first and reset your web browser. Then, make sure your machine is running at its best by using Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

Just as its sister application Web Companion, Adaware secure search might serve users various ads, such as pop-ups, blinking windows, banners, offers, deals, and other intrusive content. Besides, redirects might occur as well, and users might end up on questionable websites where other PUPs might be installed.

Another unwanted activity of the potentially unwanted application is related to information gathering. Adaware secure search hijack might mean that a variety of information is being tracked, for example:

  • IP address;
  • ISP;
  • Technical data;
  • Geolocation;
  • Search queries;
  • Sires visited;
  • Links clicked, etc.

Adaware secure search developers gather this data with the help of web beacons[2] and cookies in order to serve you a targeted advertisement. This activity influences which sites you browse and even which products or buy online.

Adaware secure search browser hijacker
Adaware secure search is a browser hijacker that alters web browser settings and displays alternative search results

The potentially unwanted program might be promoted on unsafe websites that are related to adware.[3] In such a case, Adaware secure search removal is not enough to stop ads, redirects, and other unwanted activity on your browsers. Besides, if you are unaware of where the browser plugin came from, it might also be a malicious/hijacked version of the program.

The best way to make sure that your device is PUP-free is to scan it with reputable anti-malware software. While Lavasoft is a security firm itself, we would recommend using other sources instead. After you perform the full system scan with a security tool, we also advise you use Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to recover from any unwanted consequences due to the PUP.

Install web applications with care, without skipping steps

Software bundling is a widely used practice, even though it is not entirely fair, as it usually fails to adequately disclose what is offered within the installer of the application. Developers often use a variety of tricks, such as grayed-out buttons, pre-ticked boxes, misleading button placements, etc. Unfortunately, even the most respectable firms use the practice, although the level of deception dramatically varies.

In general, the practice should work well for both, developers and the users, as the latter get to try programs for free. Unfortunately, many of such apps feed users with ads, and user experience is entirely forgotten. Besides, some bundled apps (especially from unknown sites) might be straight out malicious: secretly farm cryptocurrency on your device, spy on your activities, or even enable installation of additional applications without your permission.

Therefore, to avoid being tricked by the practice, make sure you always follow the installation instructions carefully and never skip steps. Most importantly, you should always opt for Advanced or Custom settings instead of Recommended or Quick ones, as potentially unwanted programs often are hidden there.

Adware secure search virus
Adaware secure search is known to be a browser-hijacking application that might be capable of tracking users' browsing sessions

Delete Adaware secure search or any other unwanted programs on your device

In most cases, Adaware secure search removal can be performed by merely uninstalling the plugin from Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, or another browser. However, in some cases, the program has to be uninstalled. For that, you will have to reach the list of the installed applications, look for the unwanted app, and terminate it that way.

However, it might be a little bit complicated to remove Adaware secure search bar if additional programs got installed alongside it (especially if you are not sure what they are). Therefore, the best action would be to scan your computer with security software – it would eliminate all the unwanted apps automatically. After that, you should reset each of the installed browsers as explained below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove Adaware secure search, follow these steps:

Delete Adaware secure search from Windows systems

To delete Adaware secure search from Windows OS, follow these instructions:

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Adaware secure search and related programs
    Here, look for Adaware secure search or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
  5. Remove Adaware secure search from Windows shortcuts
    Right click on the shortcut of Mozilla Firefox and select Properties. Right click on browsers' icon and select 'Properties'
  6. Go to Shortcut tab and look at the Target field. Delete malicious URL that is related to your virus. Select 'Shortcut' tab and delete '' or other suspicious URL

Repeat steps that are given above with all browsers' shortcuts, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Make sure you check all locations of these shortcuts, including Desktop, Start Menu and taskbar.

Uninstall Adaware secure search from Mac OS X system

If you want to get rid of the PUP from Mac, perform the following steps:

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Adaware secure search or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'

Eliminate Adaware secure search from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Adaware secure search and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Adaware secure search removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Get rid of Adaware secure search from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Adaware secure search should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Remove Adaware secure search from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

To remove Adaware secure search from Firefox, reset the browser to its primary state. For that, follow the guide below:

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Adaware secure search and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the menu (top right corner), choose Options General.
  4. Here, delete malicious URL and enter preferable website or click Restore to default.
  5. Click OK to save these changes. When in 'General' tab, delete malicious URL from 'Home Page' section or click on 'Restore to Default' button. Click 'OK' to save changes
  6. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  7. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Adaware secure search removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase Adaware secure search from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome after you are done with PUP elimination:

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Adaware secure search and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Change your homepage and default search engine if it was altered by your virus
    Click on menu icon and choose Settings.
  4. Here, look for the Open a specific page or set of pages under On startup option and click on Set pages. After clicking on menu and 'Settings', select 'Set pages'
  5. Now you should see another window. Here, delete malicious search sites and enter the one that you want to use as your homepage. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  6. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  7. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  8. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  9. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  10. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Adaware secure search removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Delete Adaware secure search from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Adaware secure search or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
  4. Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by Adaware secure search, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page. When in 'General', delete malicious URL and enter your desired domain name
  5. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  6. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Adaware secure search removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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