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DNS Unlocker adware. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - -   Also known as DNS Unlocker ads | Type: Adware

DNS Unlocker virus – adware which keeps spreading in 2017

DNS Unlocker adware

DNS Unlocker virus is a potentially unwanted program which is closely related to various discussions that you can find on the Internet[1]. Just like its clone CloudScout, it promises to “unblock blocked websites and digital media for free!” However, instead of providing such service, virus hijacks DNS settings on computer and causes an excessive amount of ads. Recently, security experts found a new version of this adware.

DNS Unlocker has been changing since its appearance – the latest its version is capable of infecting iOS, Mac OS X and Android users. Besides, malware has started distributing the questionable software, such as various Repair tools and PC optimizers.

There is no doubt that you must ignore its ads and remove DNS Unlocker from your computer before it tricks you into installing one of such viruses. To get rid of this PUP, you just need to select trustworthy anti-spyware, update it and run a full system scan on your computer. Typically, legitimate scanners detect it as adware.dnslocker.

Sometimes you don't even need to think about downloading this program to your computer because it can be installed on your computer without your direct approval. That's because DNS Unlocker has been spread using a hoax marketing strategy called “bundling.” Security experts have detected that it has been traveling side by side with other freeware, for example, download managers, PDF creators, media players, and so on.

Such software bundles are usually promoted on,,,, and similar download sites. To detect DNS Unlocker adware attachment during freeware's installation, it's a must to pay close attention to each of installation steps because this tool tends to be disclosed in a very misleading manner.

Technically, this intruder is categorized as a potentially unwanted program (PUP) and adware. It can be detected with almost every anti-spyware program, so make sure you choose the reputable one for a full DNSUnlocker removal. Otherwise, it can return on your computer with its ads right after rebooting the system.

What else should I know?

This adware is compatible with every web browser, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. It can infiltrate Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android operating systems. Once it enters the target computer, it seeks to hijack all web browsers and start initiating marketing campaigns that are used to generate advertising revenue. That's why it starts generating tons of ads that are displayed in a form of in-text links, banner ads, pop-up ads, etc.

Be careful with those commercial offers even though they look appealing. In reality, this dubious adware seeks to make you visit predetermined websites which, unfortunately, can be unsafe. Thus, to prevent risk-posing DNS Unlocker redirect issue, bypass each of its ads and avoid any other content delivered by this program.

If you have already noticed misleading ads, experienced redirects, slowdowns and other issues on your computer, check your computer for DNS Unlocker virus. For that, we recommended running a full system scan with a decent anti-malware, such as Reimage.

Many versions of DNS Unlocker:

DNS Unlocker Version 1.3: This type of DNS Unlocker is just the same as its ancestor. It claims to be able to allow connection to a diverse DNS server, what, as a consequence, should provide people with the access to blocked domains. However, just like its mother version, it is an ad-supported application, which actively seeks to generate income from advertising in the first place.

Besides, it can track its victims and collect personal data. Typically, this program enters PCs via software packages as an optional component. After doing so, it starts displaying sponsored pop-ups, causes browser's redirects. It can also install cookies, collect/share data, misuse PC's resources, corrupt browser's settings, block attempts to remove it and other unsaid activities.

DNS Unlocker Version 1.4: another update of the virus emerged in the end of 2015. It can also be found under the name DNSUnlocker version 1.4. Despite some updates regarding technical side, the principle of this app is just the same – to hijack web browsers and show sponsored advertisements. It is programmed in a way to generate web traffic to sponsored websites and increase the rank of third-party domains.

Not to mention, it is also set to collect personally non-identifiable information without requiring the permission and can negatively affect web browser's performance.

DNSMystic virus. DNSMystic adware is currently the latest version of DNS Unlocker virus. The program executes and installs dnsmystic.exe file, and assigns itself to Windows Startup programs' list. The programs runs automatically each time the victim boots the computer, and initiates its shady activities silently.

First of all, the program watches what web pages the victim visits, what ads attract the user to click on them, and what search queries the victim makes. Based on collected data, DNSMystic extracts main keywords and according to them selects targeted ads from third-party networks. These ads are typically displayed via main Internet browsers via pop-up, pop-under, hover-over text ads, banners, and so on. These ads typically contain links to shady third-party sites that can expose user's computer to various cyber risks. 

As you can see, the adware hides under different names and sometimes it causes ads that can easily trick you into thinking that you are dealing with another PUP. If you have been suffering from commercial notifications labeled as “Powered by DNS”, “brought to you by DNSUnlocker”, “powered by DNS Unlocker”, and similar ones, you are dealing with the same virus. In this case, you should follow a step-by-step guide given below and fix your computer. Beware that this threat is considered the aggressive one, so our team recommends opting for automatic removal option.

UPDATE 1: Fake ads of the adware promote tech support service

According to the latest news, DNS Unlocker has been used for the digital ad fraud [2] causing “support scam ads” or “technical support scam popups.” Usually, such ads are caused for scaring PC users into thinking that their computers are in danger and that they need to update one of their programs. Typically, this update is offered for free for trying to collect as many clicks as possible.

Tech support scams can also include a telephone number urging people to use it for reaching “advanced Microsoft experts.” After falling for one of such DNS Unlocker ads, you can either infect your computer with malware or connect to scammers who are willing to make you pay for “malware removal services”. Such fee varies from $100 to $500. Besides, the most of such calls are paid, so you can be terrified after receiving your next telephone bill. 

UPDATE 2: DNSUnlocker ads are used to spread Windows PC Clean-up and Repair Tool

The picture given below illustrates one of ads by DNS Unlocker. As you can see, now this malware tries to convince the victim that his/hers computer is full of Windows errors that are capable of affecting its performance. Before you fall for such “highly recommended” notification, make sure you double check the Internet for the Windows PC Clean-up and Repair Tool. There are no mentions about this program.

It seems that scammers who are working behind “powered by DNSUnlocker” ads are trying to mislead PC users into thinking that the software they promote is this Free Windows Cleanup Tool. Don't be so naive! If you really need this tool, go to its official website and download it.

You should never click on questionable ads having spelling and/or grammar mistakes that interrupt you while browsing the Internet. Besides, think twice before installing optimization software on your computer because security experts have serious doubts about their effectiveness[3]. After testing the fake ad and installing the software by clicking “yes” button, we found that DNS Unlocker promotes an app that belongs to malware or rogue anti-spyware category. 

the example of DNSUnlocker ads

The newest version of the PUP attacks Android devices, iOS and Mac OS X

In the end of 2016, security experts detected another version of this adware which is compatible with new operating systems. This time, DNS Unlocker ads can be seen on iPhones, Mac computers and Android devices. The principle of the infiltration process stays the same – malware infiltrates the device via other software.

However, it is not the third-party software but malicious apps that can be found in Apple's App Store and Google Play Store. As the number of the infected apps found in these stores continues growing[4], the risk of getting infected with this adware increases. When infected, your device starts interrupting you with fake ads during each of your search sessions. We highly recommend ignoring these messages because they can infect your device with serious malware posing the risk to your personal information. 

DNS Unlocker ads appearing on Android OS

DNSUnlocker hijack. Is it serious?

As mentioned above, infiltration of this parasite is closely related to software packages and is called “bundling.” This distribution method is very deceptive because it helps for adware-type programs, browser hijackers, and other PUPs distribute themselves without bing noticed. Usually, this adware starts showing up right after installation of such popular apps as download managers or video streaming software.

Be careful because software bundles usually consist of more than two programs, so it's very likely that DNS Unlocker is accompanied by other PUPs, for instance, Linkey virus, CinemaPlusPro adware, CrossBrowser, Iminent Toolbar and other adware and browser hijacker hybrids. If you want to prevent installing such and similar software packages, you should better start installing free programs more carefully.

Always remember to opt for Advanced or Custom installation option, which is expanded in comparison with Quick or Basic. This way, you will get the ability to see and deselect each of optional downloads. For that, you should go through the entire installation process step-by-step and unmark ticks that have already been pre-checked for you.

DNS Unlocker removal is recommended as soon as you detect this app installed on your machine. Otherwise, you will start experiencing various redirects, slowdowns, ads, information leakages and similar issues. You can get rid of this serious adware with the help of manual removal guide and automatic removal option.

If your time is precious to you and you want to be sure that each suspicious component of this virus is gone, you should waste no time and install one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. You should update an anti-spyware, launch it, run a full system scan and remove each of DNS Unlocker virus-related files.

Detailed DNS Unlocker virus removal instructions. Learn to fix DNS settings:

It seems that this adware can mess up your computer's DNS settings [5]. To remove DNS Unlocker completely, you have to perform removal steps that are given on the next page of this post AND restore DNS settings on your computer. For that, you should follow this guide:

  1. Open Control Panel on your computer and go to Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change Adapter Settings. You should see your active Internet connection.
  2. Right-click it, select Properties and find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Check it and click on Properties again.
  3. When in Properties window, make sure that Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically are selected! As we have already warned you, DNS Unlocker malware can try to change these settings to prevent its removal!
  4. Select OK to save changes.

Uncovering DNS Unlocker files:

It is known that this adware-type application has already been updated for several times. According to the latest news, it hides its files on your computer hoping that they will remain unnoticed. If you have already used an updated anti-spyware to scan your computer for malicious files or followed our manual DNS Unlocker removal guide and failed with its elimination, follow these steps after that:

  1. Open Control Panel and go to Appearance and Personalization -> Folder Options
  2. Go to View tab and select Show hidden files, folders and drives and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types. Click Apply to save these changes.
  3. Now click Windows Key and R at the same time to launch Run and enter %temp%. After hitting Enter button, you should find yourself in a new directory.
  4. Select each of temporary files that can be seen here and delete them.

You should also check your Program Files and Program Data Folders for suspicious files that could belong to DNS Unlocker virus. Make sure that you inspect both of your drives, C: and D:. Finally, if ads do not stop from showing up on your web browser, you should go to “Appdata” folder and delete your profile for this web browser.

Update on DNS Unlocker removal

You can start DNS Unlocker removal on Windows by killing its Processes and deleting its entries with the help of Registry Editor. For that, follow these steps:

  1. Press ctrl + shift + esc at the same time and go to Processes Tab.
  2. Here, find all processes that could be related to DNS Unlocker, such as Iminent-related entries, Linkey, CrossBrowser, CinemaPlus-related processes and DNS Unlocker itself. Right click on each of them and choose Open File Location.
  3. Open the folder and end the malicious processes one by one. You should also remove directories you opened.

For eliminating DNS Unlocker with Registry Editor, do as it is said below:

  1. In the windows search field, type in Regedit and hit Enter.
  2. To find DNS Unlocker-related entries, click Ctrl and F at the same time. You should also search for “Iminent“, “Linkey“, “CrossBrowse“, and “CinemaPlus“. Right click on the malicious entries and remove them. If you can't find anything, go to these directories:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Uninstall

Then continue with the removal steps that are given below.

You can remove DNS Unlocker automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove DNS Unlocker adware you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall DNS Unlocker adware. 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
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DNS Unlocker adware snapshot
DNS Unlocker adsDNS Unlocker pop-up ads

Manual DNS Unlocker adware Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove DNS Unlocker from Windows systems

Recently, it has been found that this adware virus spreads together with a bunch of malicious components that have already been mentioned on some time ago. To complete DNS Unlocker removal on your computer, you should also find all CinemaPlus-related entries (for example, CinemaPlus-3.2c, CinemaPlus-3.3c, CinemaPlusPro, Cinema-Plus, etc.), CrossBrowser, Iminent virus-related entries (, virus, Iminent Toolbar) and Linkey

  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 DNS Unlocker and related programs
    Here, look for DNS Unlocker 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove DNS Unlocker from Mac OS X system

To remove DNS Unlocker virus and prevent its reappearance in the future, you need to find every little element that comes together with it. We recommend eliminating Iminent virus (its versions include, virus, Iminent Toolbar), CinemaPlus-related entries (such as, CinemaPlus-3.2c, CinemaPlus-3.3c, CinemaPlusPro, Cinema-Plus, etc.), LinkeyCrossBrowser.

  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 DNS Unlocker 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

Remove DNS Unlocker 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 DNS Unlocker 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 DNS Unlocker 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

Remove DNS Unlocker adware 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, DNS Unlocker should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove DNS Unlocker from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  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 DNS Unlocker 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. 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'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete DNS Unlocker removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove DNS Unlocker 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 DNS Unlocker 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. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. 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
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete DNS Unlocker removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove DNS Unlocker 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 DNS Unlocker or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. 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...'
  4. 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 DNS Unlocker removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button
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 DNS Unlocker 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: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware.

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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  • Dillan88

    Hi! Yesterday Ive started receiving “Ads by DNS Unlocker.” I havent downloaded any freeware, so as I understand I couldnt accept a software pack. Is it possible that this so-called-adware is, in fact, a virus?

    • Helena

      This app is sneaky and it can reveal its existence only after some time. I mean, it can just sit on your system and pretend that it does not exist 🙂 So do not be surprised that you havent installed any freeware recently – it is not necessarily a reason for DNS Unlocker to show up immediately.

  • EliotMar.

    The same situation with my computer. I didnt install any freebie and certainly didnt install DNS Unlocker by myself. Is the anyone could explain that?

  • MilaMoo1232121

    Hi guys, DNS Unlocker can hide in a computer for some time. My boyfriend has some experience with such and similar adware-type programs, so he said that DNS Unlocker or another adware from DNS family can hide in the system and trick people that its not there. Only after a wghile it starts showing ads. Does that make sense to you?

  • EliotMar.

    Yeah, that might be the reason. Ive searched for DNS Unlocker and none of the sites picture it as a virus. Nevertheless, did you guys successfully uninstalled it?

    • richhomie

      Yeah the instructions worked fine for me. And what about you?

  • Dillan88

    Ive run SpyHunter. Using the guide provided in 2-spyware website has helped me to remove DNS Unlocker but my web browser has still been running slow and displayed suspicious ads, so Ive decided to check it for other threats. SpyHunte has removed 9 PUPs. Now my PC works as new.