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Remove virus (Removal Guide) - Aug 2019 update

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Cleanserp is another fake “privacy-focused” search engine developed to gain ad-revenue is a potentially unwanted application that enters your machine via a deceptive distribution tactic called software bundling is a browser-hijacking application that allegedly “respects your privacy.” However, this potentially unwanted program was found being bundled along with such adware apps like Untabs for Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browsers. Quite often, browser-hijacking programs are delivered in one package that is downloaded from a third-party site that hosts shareware and freeware.

After a rather deceptive infiltration, Cleanserp changes the settings of all the installed browsers without asking for direct permission, although users can instantly see the changes to their homepage, new tab URL, as well as the search engine. Users can then notice further compromise, as the top search results are presented as sponsored links – these lead to affiliated sites.

Questions about virus

Additionally, might occasionally redirect to suspicious or even dangerous websites, where other, potentially unwanted programs might be advertised. The unwanted browser activity is also accompanied by spying on user browsing data – this helps developers to distribute targeted ads in exchange for a higher profit. Finally, the infected users claimed that they struggled with Cleanserp removal – a feature that is more prevalent in malware.  According to the latest reports, the deceptive extension hides under “CleanSerp” or “QueryRouter” names.

Name Cleanserp
Type Browser hijacker, PUP
Also known as “CleanSerp” or “QueryRouter”
Homepage set to hxxp:// or hxxp://
Distribution Software bundles, third-party sites, ads, etc.
Symptoms  Altered web browser settings, sponsored links in search results, redirects, ads, etc. 
Termination  To delete this persistent potentially unwanted program, follow our detailed instructions at the bottom of this article and then scan your computer with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 

While the browsing tool has been available on the Web already for a while, it became especially active in October 2017. Interestingly, French users[1] report the highest number of complaints about having elimination troubles. It seems that simply removing the related extension and the very search tool does not help.

Take a look at the below Cleanserp removal guidelines to find the solution. According to users' reports, automatic elimination is an efficient way to get rid of the infection.

Untabs plug-in and the search tool of them belong to the potentially unwanted programs (PUP)[2] category. The latter tends to direct infected browsers to and set it as the default search engine. According to the VirusTotal analysis[3], the website of the hijacker is not malicious. On the other hand, note that it has a very poor community rating. Furthermore, the main page does not contain HTTPS protocol,[4] the indicator of a reliable and safe site. browser hijacker is a PUP that might alter browser settings and hijack the startup of Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

The described browser hijacker might enter the target system silently in the software bundle, hijack web browsers’ settings, alter search results, display intrusive advertisements, and collect information about users.

So-called Cleanserp virus is not a malicious cyber threat; however, it might increase your chances to run into websites run by cyber criminals.[5] It might happen if you click on misleading online ad or link included in search results. However, the main issue appears when you attempt to remove Cleanserp and set the preferred search engine as the default one. 

The design of resembles Google. It has quick access to Gmail and G+, as well as allows carrying out web, image and video searches. In fact, its design resembles another infamous browser hijacker – virus[6].

If the site or its plug-in bothers in Chrome or Firefox, scan device with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego or Malwarebytes and let the anti-malware program to delete the infection for you.

Key characteristics of Cleanserp hijacker

Ironically, this PUP is promoted as a tool that respects user’s privacy. The Terms of Use indicates user’s responsibilities only. Meanwhile, developers’ obligations are not defined. In the Privacy Policy of Cleanserp, it is noted that search engine uses cookies to collect and store particular information about users:

  1. Your IP address;
  2. Search queries;
  3. Browsing history;
  4. Similar browsing-related details.

Besides, it can also collect and store some of your personal information if you decide to contact developers via email or reveal your name in any other way, for example, searching for your name and surname using this search tool. What is more, the suspicious search utility might also deliver third-party ads.

Cleanserp hijacker
In the Privacy Policy, Cleanserp authors warn users that they, along with the affiliates, place cookies on users' browsers. While the behavior is normal, it is also stated that some of the features will not work without them.

The Privacy Policy also states that third-party cookies[7] might be installed on your browser. Thus, unknown advertising networks or third-parties might spy on your online activities and display customimized advertisements.

Finally, keep in mind that the document tells that aggregated information is used for improving service. However, it actually means that this browser extension will deliver targeted ads. They might come in the form of pop-ups, banners or in-text ads. 

One of the most annoying features of this PUP is CleanSerp redirect. This browser infection can mislead people to sponsored websites and decrease users' browser's performance. As a result, you may be forced to browse through irrelevant websites and end up on potentially dangerous websites. Indeed, some of the ads or links might lead to misleading websites where you can be tricked into installing bogus software, revealing personal details or get infected with malware.

Thus, do not delay Cleanserp removal. Decrease the chance of possible threats and regain control over your browser. This hijacker mostly affects French computer users, so if you are one of them, we suggest looking for information on[8].

Ways to prevent potentially unwanted programs from entering your machine

Just like many other PUPs, the one we discuss today also spreads in the software bundles as an optional component. If users agree to install freeware or shareware under “Quick” or “Recommended” settings, they give indirect permission to all optional downloads to enter the system without even knowing it.

Cleanserp installed via software bundles

It happens because such setups do not openly disclose about third-party software. In order to avoid Cleanserp hijack and similar browser hijackers, users need to choose “Advanced” or “Custom” installation option. However, only clicking “Next” button as fast as possible won’t prevent your PC from browser hijacking.

It’s crucial to monitor the process and uncheck all pre-selected entries. If you overlook this important step, you might be surprised how many undesired apps might be installed on your device.

Eliminate from Chrome browser

In order to remove virus from the system, you need to uninstall all programs and browser extensions associated with the malware. In addition, look for programs which have “Unknown” publisher. Below you will find detailed and illustrated manual elimination instructions. Follow them carefully.

Make sure that you delete all hijacker-related entries. If you miss something, you may not be able to set your preferred homepage and might continue suffering from unwanted ads. In order to avoid this problem, you can opt for automatic Cleanserp removal option and run a full system scan with anti-malware/anti-spyware program.

Cleanserp sets its search engine as default one, and users struggled to return it back to normal.

We do not recommend following instructions provided on hijacker's search site because they are very unclear and, to say the least, confusing. You shouldn't waste time reading them because it seems that they were added to that bogus page only to confuse victims and make them lose hope trying to delete the pesky hijacker from their browsers.

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 virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall from Windows systems

To remove this virus from Windows, follow instructions below. Make sure you do not leave any virus-related entries. If you are not sure whether you deleted all programs or this website still appears on the browser, opt for the automatic elimination method and scan the device with anti-malware program.

IMPORTANT. Please read the provided instructions from the beginning until the end of this page. Many users know how to access Control Panel and simply ignore the tutorial at this point. The instructions we provide explain how to fix compromised browser shortcuts, so make sure you follow the guide attentively!

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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.

Get rid of from Mac OS X system

To fix Mac OS X, you should also check whether there are no unknown applications installed on your device. In order to do that, follow the steps below.

  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 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 from Internet Explorer (IE)

To remove this hijacker from IE browser, we strongly recommend you to fix it by performing the provided hijacker removal ritual.

  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 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 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Remove virus 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Delete from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

For fixing Firefox, you should open the list of extensions and look through it. Do you see something suspicious? If yes, uninstall all unknown add-ons, extensions, and toolbars from Firefox. We suggest looking for QueryRouter extension – it is likely to be associated with the redirect virus. Once it's done, you need to reset the browser in order to get rid of tracking cookies and other hijacker-related entries. Then, you will be able to change Search.Cleanserp to your preferred search tool.

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase from Google Chrome

When you want to remove from Chrome, you should simply delete the bogus address from homepage settings. However, it may not be enough to get rid of this virus for good. You need to uninstall all unknown extensions (such as CleanSerp) and reset Google Chrome. The instructions below will show you how.

  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 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 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Uninstall 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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

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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