virus (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2018 virus Removal Guide

What is virus? – fake search engine that operates as a browser hijacker

The appearance of Chrome Search Tool is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that pretends to be a legit search tool. However, it is a browser hijacker that spreads in software bundles, and after infiltration, it changes browser’s settings. Thus, you should not get tricked that ChromeSearch has something in common with the official Google Chrome.

ChromeSearch virus has several versions, such as, or Additionally, the hijacker is closely related to Cleanserp – another browser hijacker that also aims at Google Chrome users. Both of them use the same homepage design, the same privacy policy, and terms of use.

The only difference between these two hijackers is that Cleanserp provides a guide to uninstall it. Meanwhile, users report numerous problems with removal.[1] According to numerous Reddit posts and complaints on Google Chrome forums, some security tools fail to detect and eliminate it.

However, delete problems might also occur when users try to get rid of it manually. The hijacker typically blocks access to “Manage search engines” settings or prevents from uninstalling suspicious Chrome extensions.

Removal problems occur because virus might strengthen its presence by modifying Registry and altering specific browser’s settings. Following these changes, the hijacker might also cause these issues:

  • altered browser’s homepage, search engine or/and new tab URL;
  • elimination troubles;[2]
  • occasional pop-ups;
  • redirections to sponsored domains;
  • insecure connection.[3]

All these changes and issues might be a surprise because hijack is often silent and unnoticed. The PUP usually arrives at the system in software bundle[4] and immediately causes changes without asking user’s permission.

If you accidentally let it take over your web browser, you should proceed with ChromeSearch removal. This search tool not only makes browsing the web complicated but might put your privacy at risk due to the shady data tracking activities.

As we have already mentioned, many users fail to remove with security software. However, we still recommend checking the system with FortectIntego or another anti-malware tool as soon as you find unknown search provider set as your default one.

However, if remove from Chrome procedure with security software fails, you will need to eliminate the hijacker manually. For that, you will need to install Chrome policy removal tool which will let to access suspicious browser extensions that might be keeping your browser in hostage. uninstall guide is given at the end of the article. Please, follow it carefully in order to succeed. Keep in mind that if you leave some of the hijacker-related entries, your browser might be re-hijacked.

The image of browser hijacker seems to be just another version of Cleansertp.

Nasty browser hijacker might be spread in software bundles

If you cannot recall how this hijacker was set as a default search engine, you were likely to have installed it along with another program, free file converter or media player, perhaps. In order to cease the hijack possibility, choose “Custom” installation settings. They will disclose optional apps, and you will be able to deselect them.

Security experts from Croatia[5] remind that you should be wary of it being promoted as a link in sponsored websites. If you get redirected to this PUP once, exit it. You might also scan the browser just in case.

Instructions for removal

To fix your web browser and start using it as you are used to, you need to uninstall this hijacker with every component that could be related to it. Then, you need to remove from the affected web browsers. In other words, you need to reset your web browsers that are hijacked by it. If you are not good at this procedure, note that our team has developed special instructions that are written below this section.

However, browser hijacker is known for being stubborn and hard to get rid of. Thus, you may need to put more effort. You should also check Registry Editor as virus leaves its registry keys on the system which have to be removed if you need to eradicate the infection fully. For that, follow these steps once you reboot the computer in Safe Mode:

  1. Press Windows key+R and type regedit.
  2. Then, enter HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Chrome/Main.
  3. Find the entry Startpage right click on it and choose Delete.

Additional virus removal steps

Many users on Google forums report about disable problems. Indeed, the hijacker might prevent from managing Chrome extensions in order to prevent users from uninstalling PUP. Additionally, it might lock “Manage search option” in chrome://settings/searchEngines?search=SEA.

In this case, you have to download and run Chrome policy remover (download link). Chrome might prevent you from downloading this file and display an error saying “This type of file can harm your computer.” However, click “Keep” button to download it. Keep in mind that it's not a removal tool, so you have to delete hijacker-related entries manually.

Once the download is finished, right-click Chrome policy remover and choose Run as Administrator option. Then you should be able to remove ChromeSearch from default search engines and delete unknown Chrome extensions.

After fix, it’s also recommended to reset the browser to make sure that all suspicious components, invisible entries or tracking cookies were eliminated entirely. This step prevents from re-hijack.

You may remove virus damage with a help of FortectIntego. 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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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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 virus. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Check the system for suspicious programs and uninstall them. The guide will guide you through this process.

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, search 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 Settings.
  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

Carefully go through each step attentively to complete removal. If you cannot access Chrome extensions or manage search engines, please download Chrome policy remover.

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 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: FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting stealing programs

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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.


Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 


About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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