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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 ReimageIntego

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 hijackerAdaware 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 ReimageIntego 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 virusAdaware 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 ReimageIntego. 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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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:

If your macOS is displaying some infection symptoms, proceed with the following guide:

Remove Adaware secure search from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Adaware secure search-related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash)Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove Adaware secure search, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries related to Adaware secure search and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Adaware secure search-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Eliminate Adaware secure search from Internet Explorer (IE)

Remove dangerous add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top-right corner of the browser
  2. Pick Manage Add-ons.
  3. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Adaware secure search and other suspicious plugins. Click on these entries and select Disable.Remove add-ons from Internet Explorer

Change your homepage if it was altered:

  1. Open IE and click on the Gear icon.
  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. In the General tab, delete the Home page address and replace it by your preferred one (for example,
  4. Click Apply and then select OK.Reset IE homepage

Delete temporary files:

  1. Press on the Gear icon and select Internet Options.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete…
  3. Select relevant fields and press Delete.Clear temporary files from Internet Explorer

Reset Internet Explorer:

  1. Click on Gear icon > Internet options and select Advanced tab.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. In the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Adaware secure search removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Adaware secure search from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the Adaware secure search-related extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom.Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear.Clear Edge browsing data

Reset MS Edge if that above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running.Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick DeleteAdvanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -VerboseAdvanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove.Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now.Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset.Reset Chromium Edge

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

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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