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  (10/100) How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker

The annoying redirect virus keeps bothering computer users browser hijacker virus is an exceptonally troublesome program that sets Default-search page as default start and new tab page in all web browsers. It usually arrives together with Linkey adware[1] or even Delta-Homes[2], and both of these are known to be incredibly sneaky spyware-type programs.

Both programs are designed to provide third-party ads to the user without asking his permission. The hijacker takes control of main web browsers and makes them trigger redirects to site every time the user wants to open a new blank page in the browser.

This search engine delivers deceptive Yahoo search results altered by Aztec Media, Inc., which happens to be a developer of this computer parasite. These search results are filled with bogus links that do not raise any suspicions when you first look at them. However, clicking on results brought by this dangerous search tool can immediately throw you onto hazardous websites[3] that you typically try to avoid visiting.

Short explanation of the purpose of hijacker:

  • The hijacker implements URL redirections in order to point web traffic to particular sites and generate pay-per-click revenue. You must be careful and not click on ads and sponsored links presented by this dubious search tool or you might end up visiting malicious or simply untrustworthy websites.
  • Besides, to increase the probability of desired events, the hijacker employs various tracking technologies such as cookies and web beacons that help to collect and store particular data about user's interests. Typically, Default Search hijacker collects victim's search queries, URL requests, the list of downloads, IP address and similar data.
  • Collected data is used to provide ads based on content that the victim usually explores. The attacker affects overall computer's performance, therefore the computer becomes slow and causes unpleasant occurrences such as browser crashes.

Experts inform to remove as soon as possible because it is considered to be a critical browser hijacker that in unison with Linkey completely disrupts computer's performance[4]. If you noticed these programs in your system, immediately run a system scan using reputable anti-malware software. For best results, our team suggests using the Reimage software. 

Unfortunately, Default-search redirect virus usually comes in a bundle with Linkey software. When infected with these programs, users can find various suspicious files in their system, for example, a program called Settings Manager. Experts advise removing not only these programs, but also other suspicious ones because Linkey reportedly can be using different names to hide itself on the computer system.

The potentially unwanted program fills victim's computer with dubious Registry keys, including Image File Execution Options settings[5], which allow killing rival adware programs in case they're installed on the same computer.

Once this filthy adware gains control of victim's computer and browsers installed on it, the victim shortly starts seeing Linkey Deals when browsing through the Internet. The user might also experience redirects to site. The aforementioned ads typically pop-up on the screen when the user stays on the same website for a couple of seconds.

In most cases, they emerge in the form of banners that have Linkey logo on them. Try to avoid clicking on those banners until you complete removal with anti-malware software, which will also remove Linkey's components at the same time.

To sum up, no matter that Default-search does not belong to malware category, it poses a threat to the computer because sponsored content that it provides can link to highly dangerous sites (such as phishing sites) that might attempt to swindle personal information from you or force you to install critical programs.

Questions about

Such program should NOT remain on your computer system. Therefore, we suggest you do not delay its removal any longer and read uninstall instructions provided at the end of this post.

Windows 10 and Chrome users among the primary hijacker's targets

Experts from 2-Spyware have received a lot of questions from Windows users whose computers were compromised by the infamous browser hijacker. It seems that computer users can't remove from Chrome browser despite their attempts to identify the hijacker on Windows 10 computer systems. Most of these reports came from Chinese[6] and US citizens.

However, it doesn't mean that other operating systems are resistant to this virtual threat. It can affect almost every Windows version and Mac operating systems as well.

To find out how to remove, we recommend reading instructions added to this article. They were prepared by experienced IT experts who discovered a way to push the annoying hijacker out of the system.

NOTE. The spyware programs described in this article are known to be sneaky and versatile, so it is possible that their developers might be changing their distribution techniques and from time to time. What is more, you might not succeed in finding these programs on your system because their developer might be using different names for them.

If you are unsure how to block for good, consider using automatic spyware removal software that will identify the culprit causing those browser redirects and remove it for you. 

Sneaky distribution tactics is spread using an unfair distribution method, which is known as “bundling” and is closely related to freeware and shareware. However, it is not difficult to avoid its infiltration.

  1. Remember to read Privacy Policy and End User's Agreement when installing freeware to your computer;
  2. Avoid Recommended or Quick options when choosing installation settings;
  3. Instead, select Advanced or Custom installation mode and uncheck all pre-checked checkboxes that claim:
    “Make Default-search my default search engine”, “Make my start page”, etc.

It becomes clear that you just need to pay more attention to information provided by free software installers and you will easily avoid this browser hijacker. If you think that you have missed this check mark that allows installation of it, you should be very careful when browsing on the web. Please, try to avoid its corrupted search engine and ads that may try to pop on the screen during your browsing sessions.

Professional removal help

If you were tricked into installing these highly dangerous spyware examples, remove virus along with Linkey and other PUPs at once by running a thorough system scan with powerful malware removal tool. As we said, you can use programs listed below the article or try to identify and delete dangerous files by yourself.

However, if you are an unskilled computer user, you should not try to deal with these programs on your own because your attempts to complete removal might result in failure. To gather all of the critical files, registry entries and helpers that keep this dangerous software on your system, employ a professional anti-malware software.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove from Windows systems

To completely uninstall from Windows along with its companions, use this tutorial and uninstall the following programs and all others that are named similarly: Delta-Homes, Linkey, Linkey Deals, Settings Manager.

After uninstalling all of these programs, fix infected browser shortcuts using further instructions. You need to delete suspicious URLs added to each browser shortcut's Target field.

  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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall from Mac OS X system

  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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of 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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Follow the provided instructions and eliminate all of hijacker's remains from Firefox. If you want to be sure that all spyware components are deleted, refresh Firefox after carrying out these guidelines.

  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
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete from Google Chrome

Chrome browser should contain several extensions that are responsible for serving bothersome ads and causing redirections to and other suspicious websites. Delete every extension that appears suspicious to you! For best results, reset 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 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
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove 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

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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