Severity scale:  

Removal guide for redirect

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker – a browser hijacker which sometimes comes together with Linkey ads browser hijacker is a browser hijacker[1] that sets Default-search page as default start and new tab page in all web browsers. It usually arrives together with Linkey adware[2] or even Delta-Homes[3], and both of these are known to be incredibly sneaky spyware-type programs. Furthermore, appears to be associated with System Manager and these two applications have the same developer – Aztec Media, Inc. The browser 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.

Questions about engine delivers deceptive Yahoo search results altered by Aztec Media, Inc. 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[4] that you typically try to avoid visiting.

Type Browser hijacker
Developer Aztec Media, Inc
Arrives with Linkey adware and Delta-Homes
Search results Yahoo
Activities Redirecting, advertising, collecting browsing data
Distribution Third-party apps, infectious hyperlinks
Removal The elimination can be completed with ReimageIntego 

Here are other unpleasant activities that can be performed by

  • 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 the 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. virusAn older screenshot of virus search.

Although browser hijackers such as are not created to track personal data, anything can happen while using third-party questionable apps. If you read this program's privacy policy, you will find out that the developers are not sure if personal information of users will be safe at all times even though they claim to take some safety measures:

Although cannot guarantee that Personal Information will not be subject to unauthorized access, implements physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect the Personal Information. For example, Personal Information is protected by secured computer networks and access to the Personal Information is limited to a few authorized employees and personnel.

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[5]. 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 ReimageIntego 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 which we have mentioned before. Experts advise removing not only these programs, but also other suspicious ones because Linkey reportedly can be using different names to hide on the computer system. - a browser hijacker that can come together with Linkey ads

Once this filthy adware gains control of the 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. redirect virus is a highly annoying and hard-to-remove browser hijacker. Researcher shows some negative user comments about this browser hijacker on Web of Trust website.

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. virus

Sneaky browser hijacker distribution tactics

Browser hijackers are 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 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 the 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 a 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 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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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, follow these steps:

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.

To remove from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  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 entries related to (or any other recently installed 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.

Uninstall from Mac OS X system

Remove from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate 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 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,
  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 removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of 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 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

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.

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 plugins that are related to 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

In case did not get removed after following the instructions above, 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 – this should complete removal.Reset Firefox 2

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.

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 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 like 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

  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 to complete removal.Reset Chrome 2

Remove from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to 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: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

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
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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  1. Da Winner says:
    February 6th, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Note for Firefox: Those stupid bastards from Default search changed the name of the default-search to Firefox Settings Manager, find that and remove it

  2. ilovegoogle says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 3:44 am

    ya lol it wasnt listed but thanks for your comment, i found there was a settings manager. and i removed it

  3. says:
    March 14th, 2014 at 1:07 am

    @Da Winner – BIG THANKS TO YOU!!!!!

  4. says:
    April 11th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    what if there are no extensions?

  5. Dave Smith says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I got this damn site on my google chrome. Cant find an extension that has the site. Please help thanks.

  6. Dave Smith says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Oh yeah and is that default search remover any good? I would hate to download it and have the site removed…only to have another problem surface from the remover.

  7. Dave Smith says:
    April 14th, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I found a way to take it off of your google chrome. Go into settings and scroll all the way down. Click on “show advanced settings”. Scroll all the way down and click restore browser settings. This will take it off from your search but highly doubt it will be COMPLETELY removed from your computer. I suspect that the only way to remove it is to go into the registry files and removing anything that has to do with the site, which can be dangerous to your computer if you dont know what you are doing. Good luck to all.

  8. Thinking Twice says:
    April 21st, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I spent 5 hours online with a leading, if not THE leading security system for computers in the U.S., and guess what – they couldnt remove, through remote technology. This parasite is is produced by Aztec Media – or thats the name on the SECURITY CERTIFICATE. Many of the above mentioned removal processes were performed, repeatedly, to no avail. Of course, their next suggestion was to buy more products/services, which I am not considering at this time. Ill try paying another company for a fix rather than send more $ to the one that came with the computer – and that I just re-subscribed with in September. I will also only subscribe for a year at a time in the future. No point in a multi-year contract when youll just be spending more for everything that the subscription cannot fix. My computer seems to be running alright; it just wants to use the search engine / browser that it wants to use. Also, I only noticed the problem after I had visited a government website on April 14th to download forms. Just curious if anyone else could connect the dots as to where they may have gotten this parasite.

  9. A Oliveira says:
    April 21st, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I bought SpyHunter in order to remove Default-search.not to no avail. I have Windows 7 SP 1 with IE 11, Default-search has taken over IE, can´t
    use tools/options, etc.

  10. Kalaxus says:
    May 9th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    same problem as you, cant remove Default-search off IE 11, lets tell the middle east default-search has been bagging on Muhammad and let what happens happen heh

  11. j says:
    August 25th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    When i down loaded msn my windows went ape then reimage repair popped up aswell, thats when and aztec ltd came up, also cant remove it tried everything.

  12. Chazah says:
    September 16th, 2014 at 4:03 am

    I have tried everything suggested by all the IT guys and webpages who instruct u how to remove thru your Add & Remove Program, and Task Manager and Manage Add Ons, etc, etc, etc…….. but is not listed on one of these programs or is any of the others they say should be removed. I have had problems with for months now including Linkey and cannot get rid of any of them. Usually I can find always a simple solution to get rid of a stubborn virus/malware etc… but this one I cannot find a solution to and I am NOT WILLING to pay for expensive virus removers which usually promise to find and remove it…. but doesnt!!! Wish someone somewhere knew what they were doing and post a simple and inexpensive solution to get rid of these things for good!!

  13. frustrated says:
    December 15th, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Uninstalled all browsers from safe mode. Reinstalled Chrome by downloading the setup to USB and then installing the setup from USB. Then followed suggestions here removing programs, running anti-malware, etc…

  14. Chase says:
    January 13th, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    @Da Winner

    You most certainly are the winner, that seems to have done it… Tricky bastards.

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