Default Search virus (Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

Default Search virus Removal Guide

What is Default Search virus?

Default Search virus – a browser hijacker that might take over your Google Chrome or another web browser

Default SearchDefault Search is a potentially unwanted application that is difficult to eliminate

Default Search is a potentially unwanted application[1] that typically arrives on the system unexpectedly and changes the settings of the installed web browser. Besides setting homepage address to find.defaultsearch.info and appending a customized search engine, the virus also appends the “Managed by your organization” status to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or another web browser.

Due to browser hijacking practice, users are forced to use a customized search engine, which pulls all search results from Yahoo and injects sponsored links into them. In other words, if you are using Default Search as your main provider, you will be shown ads at the top of search results, whether you like it or not. It is also important to note that the PUP secretly gathers information about users' online habits and shares it with third-parties for more profits.

Name Default Search
Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program
IP address 195.154.42.103
Distribution Software bundles, deceptive ads, fake updates, third party websites
Symptoms Unknown extension or application is installed on the system; homepage and new tab address are set to find.defaultsearch.info; a customized search engine is applied; search results are filled with sponsored links; overall increased amount of advertisement
Risks Installation of other potentially unwanted programs, information disclosure to unknown parties, financial losses
Removal You can uninstall potentially unwanted programs by following the manual guide below or by scanning the computer with powerful anti-malware
Optional steps Computer infections can cause significant damage to system files or disrupt default or user-set settings. To revert these changes and remediate the OS, perform a full system scan with ReimageIntego repair software

As mentioned in the introduction, the Default Search virus typically shows up on the system uninvited – users find it one day when they open their web browser. While it is widely believed that such apps simply install themselves, it is not true at all, and it is a consequence of users' actions.

Most commonly, software bundling is at fault – a deceptive marketing technique that allows offering optional components within a single installer. Nonetheless, the Default Search browser hijacker can also be installed through other means, as some PUPs are delivered through legitimate sources (such as Google Chrome web store), or fake update prompts for Flash Player or other popular software.

Instead of seeing the regular Google.com or another provider that they have chosen, users will quickly see that all the searchers are being redirected to Yahoo. While it is a legitimate search provider, and that is precisely where the results are pulled from, it has nothing to do with the Default Search hijack. The hijacker authors simply participate in the company's affiliate program, where almost anyone can enroll. If you prefer Yahoo, simply set it as your default engine, so you can avoid unwanted ads being shown to you constantly.

It is also important to note that the Default Search virus gathers various info about users who have it installed. For example, the following data might be collected, shared, or sold:

  • IP address
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Unique device identifiers
  • Search terms
  • Browsing history
  • Links clicked, etc.

The app belongs to a broader family of potentially unwanted programs that set the “Managed by your organization” setting on the web browser, preventing an easy Default Search removal. The feature, which is also used by Custom Search, Comet Search, and Mazy Search, is typically used by corporations to set restrictions to certain workstations and is not meant to be used by browser hijackers. With the help of this setting, developers can receive profits from pay-per-click and other schemes as long as the app is installed on the system.

Default Search hijackDefault Search is a browser hijacker that changes homepage to find.defaultsearch.info and inserts sponsored links into users' searches

This creates a rather frustrating experience for end-users, however, as not only they have to deal with altered browser settings, inability to find relevant information, and background data tracking, but are also unable to remove Default Search virus easily.

Since the PUP typically comes as an extension, its termination can be performed when it is removed from the web browser. For more information on that, please check the bottom section of the article. Keep in mind that if you found the PUP on your machine seemingly out of nowhere, there could be other threats that are invisible to you. Thus, you should scan your computer with anti-malware (such as SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes) and then repair virus damage with ReimageIntego.

An easy way to prevent PUP installation

As already explained, potentially unwanted programs arrive on the system seemingly out of nowhere. Stealthy distribution mechanics are very common among PUPs – that is precisely one of the reasons for their name. Most commonly, such apps provide very little to no benefit for end-users and sometimes might even posses malicious qualities (for example, scareware[2] apps attempt to intimidate users by showing fake scan results about the system's health to make them purchase the license, which seemingly then removes all the bogus problems).

Thus, it is always a good idea to avoid browser hijackers, adware, and other suspicious programs. Here are some tips from experts:[3]

  • Always download apps and their updates from official sources;
  • When dealing with third-party websites, be aware that software bundling is extremely common;
  • Never download anything from sites that offer pirated software or cracks, as you could infect your machine with threats like Mmpa ransomware;
  • Research the app you are about to install – read forum posts, user reviews, etc.;
  • Always pick Advanced/Custom settings during the installation instead of Recommended/Quick ones;
  • Install powerful security software that would detect and warn you about PUPs and malware.

Default Search redirectDefault Search redirects all searches to Yahoo

Wondering how to remove Default Search virus? Follow these steps

Many users start searching for Default Search removal instructions, as they cannot do so in a regular way. Since the app comes as an extension, all you would have to do usually would access the settings of your web browser and delete the extension that hijacked it. Unfortunately, the setting to delete the add-on is usually grayed out. Thus, the first thing you should do is reset your web browser – we explain how below.

If you are unsuccessful, you should go to the following location on your machine and delete the “Google” folder:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local

This should allow you to remove Default Search once and for all. If still no luck, however, you should employ SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes, or another anti-malware that would do the job for you. In case your machine is having issues after all the malware and PUPs are deleted, you can attempt to fix virus damage with ReimageIntego.

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 fix 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.

Getting rid of Default Search virus. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Uninstall potentially unwanted programs from Windows:

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 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)

Attempt to clean Firefox and then reset it to remove Default Search hijacker from your browser:

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 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

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

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 Default Search 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.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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