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Remove Comet Search (Easy Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Comet Search is a browser hijacker that inserts ads into your searches

Comet SearchComet Search is a potentially unwanted program that changes web browser settings in order to deliver advertisements

Comet Search is a potentially unwanted program that is typically distributed via software bundle packages, which results in unintentional installation. Once inside, the app modified web browser settings of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or MS Edge in a way that would allow it to perform its deceptive activities. For example, the PUP sets find.cometsearch.info as the homepage and new tab address of the web browser and appends a customized search engine to it.

As a result, users who browse via the Comet Search hijack affected browser would quickly notice that all their searches are redirected to Yahoo. While this might seem like not a big deal, most would not be satisfied that their default search engine has changed. By far, the bigger issue is that the browser hijacker injects sponsored links and ads into search results and spies on users with the help of data-tracking technologies.[1]

Name Comet Search
Type Browser hijacker
Distribution The extension can be downloaded from official sources, although most users install it through software bundle packages downloaded from third-party sites, as well as deceptive advertisements encountered online
Symptoms An unknown browser extension installed on the web browser; all search results redirected to Yahoo or another engine; sponsored links and ads shown at the top of the results; overall increased amount of advertisements
Associated risks Installation of other unwanted programs/malware, information disclosure to unknown parties (privacy risks), financial loss 
Elimination To get rid of the browser hijacker, you should access the settings of your web browser and delete the extension; in case browser changes do not disappear, you might want to search for unwanted programs installed on your system – do it manually as per instructions below or scan the machine with anti-malware such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes
Further steps If you found additional unwanted programs or malware installed on your system, you should also reset your web browsers and then attempt to fix virus damage with ReimageIntego 

Potentially unwanted programs such as browser hijackers can be encountered in various places, although the most common trait that unites them is that they are mostly installed without asking users for direct permission. This happens due to deceptive techniques that the developers of such apps use, and Comet Search is not an exception – software bundles, deceptive ads, suspicious websites, and other methods can be used.

Browser hijackers are generally not perceived as a high security threat. Indeed, the main goal of Comet Search is to change web browser settings and use the built-in resources to deliver sponsored links in search results. By clicking on these links, users provide financial benefits for the developer. Unfortunately, there is so much more to it.

First of all, CometSearch would redirect all searches to Yahoo – a renowned search engine that is legitimately used by millions of people worldwide. Despite this, the tech giant has nothing to do with the hijacker, and the search results that are filtered through the hijacker are not genuine, so users might struggle to find relevant information.

These ads are not random, however, as Comet Search tracks’ user online behavior with the help of cookies and other technologies:

We may use standard Internet technology, such as web beacons, cookies and other similar technologies, to track your use of the CometSearch Services (see our cookies policy). Web beacons are small pieces of data that are embedded in images on the pages of sites.

The collected data includes the following:

  • Provided personal data (name, email, phone number, username and password, etc.);
  • Browser-related information (type, language settings);
  • Software installed on the device and all the connected devices;
  • IP address
  • Search information (links clicked, keywords, time stamp, pages viewed, search history, etc.).

Another potentially malicious trait of this browser hijacker is that it might set the “Managed by your organization” setting on the web browser, which might significantly reduce the chance of a successful Comet Search removal. In other words, the PUP abuses built-in settings in order to keep the app installed on the system for as long as possible – a trait that is common to malware and prompts the “Comet Search virus” description from many.

Comet Search hijackComet Search is a browser hijacker that is usually spread via software bundles

This is why PUPs should not be treated lightly – some of them can cause major browsing inconveniences, reduce the security of the computer, and prevent users from eliminating them. For that reason, security experts[2] highly advise users to remove Comet Search from their browsers as soon as possible. If you are unable to do so, you should reset the web browsers as explained below, look for other suspicious programs and then scan the machine with security and optimization software – we recommend using ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, and Malwarebytes.

Ways browser hijackers sneak into computers and methods of prevention

As previously mentioned, potentially unwanted programs such as browser hijackers typically show up on users’ machines seemingly out of nowhere. If that happened to you, you should check what applications from third-party websites you have recently installed on your computer, as PUPs are mostly distributed via software bundle packages.

Freeware websites are extremely popular, as users are keen to download applications that they believe are free. However, most of such apps (unless they are open-source) use various alternative methods for monetization; these include advertisements, pay-per-install schemes, and others. As a result, each user who installs such programs becomes a monetization vector, and many apps attempt to abuse that fact.

While showing advertisements is a legitimate way to monetize, potentially unwanted programs use various deceptive claims to make users believe that the program is useful, promising “enhanced searches” or “discounts and coupons.” In reality, users are fed with ads and get no value out of the installed programs of such type.

To avoid browser hijackers, adware, scareware,[3] and other potentially unwanted software, you should follow these tips:

  • If possible, download apps from official sources and avoid third party sites;
  • During the installation, always pick Advanced mode instead of Recommended one to stay in control of the process;
  • Decline all the deals and offers;
  • Remove ticks from checkboxes (unless it is ToS agreement);
  • Read the fine print;
  • Install powerful security software that would warn you about PUPs.

Comet Search potentially unwanted programComet Search is known to hijack browsers and set the 'Managed by your organization" setting to prevent its removal

Uninstall CometSearch and check for other unwanted apps and malware

Typically, users can uninstall browser extensions easily – all they have to do is access the settings of their web browsers. CometSearch removal would not be a difficult process as well if the browser hijacker would not use persistence mechanisms, which render the browser immune to user inputs. Luckily, there are several ways how to bypass this.

To remove CometSearch successfully, you should first do the following:

  • Navigate to C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome and delete everything
  • Reset Google Chrome (or another) web browser as explained below.

Finally, you should also check your computer for other potentially unwanted programs and malware by scanning it with powerful anti-malware software. You can also look for unwanted apps manually – you can find detailed instructions 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 remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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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 Comet Search, follow these steps:

Erase Comet Search from Windows systems

To uninstall apps from Windows machines, follow these steps:

  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 Comet Search and related programs
    Here, look for Comet 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 Comet 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 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' 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.

Delete Comet Search from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Comet Search from Applications folder:

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

Uninstall Comet 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 Comet 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, Google.com).
  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 Comet Search removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate Comet 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 Comet 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 Comet Search from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Reset Mozilla Firefox if you are unable to terminate CometSearch virus in a regular way:

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

Get rid of Comet Search from Google Chrome

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

Erase Comet 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 Comet 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 Comet 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 Comet Search removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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