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Remove ExactSearch.org virus (Easy Removal Guide) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

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

ExactSearch.org – a search engine that might alter search results and include sponsored links

ExactSearch.org is a questionable search engine that is promoted as a legitimate search tool. Due to its negative features, it has been classified as a potentially unwanted program (PUP) and a browser hijacker.

Nevertheless, this search engine may look innocent; you should not be hypnotized by the view of floating clouds. This program should be avoided because of its suspicious distribution method, ability to take control over the browser, providing lots of commercial content and tracking information.

The image of ExactSearch.org

So-called ExactSearch.org virus might enter the system with the help of freeware or shareware. Once it sneaks into the computer, it might alter browser’s settings, shortcuts, and Windows Registry in order to make its removal complicated.

After the hijack users may find this search tool set as their default homepage and search engine. Switching back to your favorite search provider and customizing the start page may be forbidden. To solve this problem, you may need a professional anti-malware/anti-spyware, for instance, ReimageIntego. Scanning the system with security program will help you to remove ExactSearch.org entirely.

One of the key reasons why ExactSearch.org removal is necessary is that this search engine does not perform its main task properly. There’s no doubt that the primary purpose of all search tools is providing accurate search results. Unfortunately, developers had a different vision and made it a marketing tool.

Once you type your keywords, you will find tons of ads and sponsored links in the results page. The problem is that commercial content barely differs from organic links. Thus, you might be easily tricked into browsing through useless and insecure websites. While you won’t be able to find useful information, developers of the ExactSearch.org will be making pay-per-click revenue. Undoubtedly, such behavior should not be tolerated.

The illustration of the ExactSearch.org virusExactSearch provides lots of sponsored links and ads in results page.

ExactSearch uses aggregated information about users for advertising

According to the Privacy Policy, ExactSearch.org uses cookies[1] to collect particular information about users. It may be interested in your IP address, browser type, ISP, visited websites and similar browsing-related information. Fortunately, it does not track personally identifiable data.

However, some of the aggregated details might be shared with advertising companies. Thus, soon you might notice an increased amount of online ads. The main problem is related to potentially dangerous ExactSearch.org redirect tendencies. Some of the commercial content might be misleading or trick into visiting a dangerous website. Nevertheless, ads might look credible and provide a great offer; you should not click them. Within one click you might end up on the Internet site that has been created for spreading malware or other cyber threats.

Careless installation of freeware might end up with hijacked web browser

ExactSearch is promoted in software bundles. Thus, users usually agree to set this search engine as default one without realization. This search tool might be added as an optional component in freeware or shareware packages.

In order to avoid installation of PUPs, you have to read EULA and Privacy Policy to find out that you do not agree to install third-party software. Secondly, you have to choose Advanced/Custom installation settings.[2] Bear in mind that Quick/Standard setup does not prevent from ExactSearch.org hijack. These settings do not openly disclose about third-party applications and install them by default.

When installing new programs under advanced setup, make sure that you have not left any pre-selected third-party apps or agreements to make unknown search engine as your default one.

Suggestions for ExactSearch.org removal

ExactSearch.org removal requires eliminating all hijacker-related components from the computer. You can do this by following our prepared instructions at the end of the article or by letting the professional anti-malware program to do this job for you.

If you consider choosing the first method, you have to be attentive. Uninstall all suspicious programs from the Programs’ list in Control Panel and remove suspicious add-ons from each of the browsers. It’s important to delete all suspicious entries in order to avoid re-hijack.

In order to be 100% sure that hijacker is gone for good, you should remove ExactSearch.org automatically with the help of updated security 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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If you failed to remove 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.

To remove ExactSearch.org virus, follow these steps:

Get rid of ExactSearch.org from Windows systems

So-called ExactSearch.org virus might have shown up in the computer in the form of the program. Thus, open the list of installed software and look up for unknown applications. Once you find them, uninstall without any delay.

  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 ExactSearch.org and related programs
    Here, look for ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org 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.

Remove ExactSearch.org from Mac OS X system

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

Remove ExactSearch.org from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate ExactSearch.org from Internet Explorer (IE)

Follow the steps below to get rid of hijacker-related entries from Internet Explorer entirely.

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 ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Delete ExactSearch.org virus from Microsoft Edge

You will be able to set your preferred search engine as soon as you reset 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 ExactSearch.org-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

Uninstall ExactSearch.org from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

First of all, you need to remove all browser extensions that might be related to ExactSearch.org browser hijacker. Then reset Firefox in order to get rid of tracking cookies.

  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 ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Erase ExactSearch.org from Google Chrome

Check the list of Chrome's extensions. Uninstall ExactSearch or other suspicious entries that might responsible for hijacking the browser. Then reset browser by following instructions below.

  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 ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Get rid of ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org 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 ExactSearch.org, 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 ExactSearch.org removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

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

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