Adaware secure search (Removal Instructions) - updated Jun 2021

Adaware secure search Removal Guide

What is Adaware secure search?

Adaware is a questionable search engine that is spread with other freeware

Adaware secure searchThis is a potentially unwanted program that usually gets installed via software bundling

Adaware secure search is a plugin designed by Lavasoft security company and can be downloaded from official sources, such as the 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, the 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 the suspicious search engine, 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. The infection of the unwanted program and the direct web browser 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.

Forget about skipping through installation 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 the 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 virusThis app is known to be a browser-hijacking application that might be capable of tracking users' browsing sessions

Adaware secure search may be related to many unwanted programs, so remove all of them

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 the questionable 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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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.

Getting rid of Adaware secure search. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for all 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 an unwanted app, 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 and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files. Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove 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 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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 from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of Adaware secure search registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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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References
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