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Hao123. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: System tools

Hao123 – legitimate search engine that might cause redirects and other issues

Screenshots of Hao123 main page and search results

Hao123 is a famous search engine designed for Chinese market. Users have started calling it “Hao123 virus” because it has been misused by various software developers and spread with the help of bundling. After using this technique to enter computer system, Hao123 might alter your Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers.[1] As a result, you may think that your system was hijacked, but, in fact, it is not.

In reality, Hao123 is not a virus. It was created by a well known software developer called Baidu. However, its so called “download client” has been actively spread together with other software, so there is no surprise that some users have been scared after finding it on the system. As a result, it can cause redirects to hao.123, hao123.it, hao123.com, en.hao.123, br.hao.123, tw.hao.123, jp.hao.123, vn.hao.123, etc.

In most of the cases, users download Hao123 Toolbar and similar components consciously from its official website. However, you can also let it enter your PC system when you fail to monitor installation of download managers, PDF creators and similar freeware. So, it is you are the one to blame if you found “Hao123 virus” on your computer.

Just like any other search tool, the search engine collects NPII, e.g. search terms, most visited websites, data that is added when visiting specific websites and so on.[2] As we have said, this information is considered non-personally identifiable, but we highly recommend keeping it private. However, only Hao123 removal will help you stop such activity on your browser.

The biggest problem that is reported about Hao 123 is that it might display you altered search results. Thus, instead of finding useful information, you might need to browse through commercial notifications and links leading to the sponsored websites. The research has shown that some of these affiliates’ sites might be used to promote malware.[3] Therefore, you cannot be sure whether some unexpected Hao123.com redirect won't trick you into visiting a dangerous or unsafe[4] website.

If you are done with this Chinese search engine, you can remove Hao123 from you device instantly with Reimage or another software. It’s the easiest way to get rid of all suspicious or even malicious components that might be installed on your computer.

Questions about Hao123

However, search engines like this one are not hazardous cyber infections. Thus, you can also opt for the manual removal option. It doesn’t matter which version of the so-called “virus” hijacked your web browser, the main elimination principles remain the same – you need to uninstall the search engine from the system and then reset each of your web browsers.

The most popular versions of Hao123

Hao123Tab. It is a browser plug-in which places www.hao123.com instead of the start page, new tab page and default search engine. It is an unwanted program that you should remove from your computer if you noticed its presence without downloading it. This browser plug-in can also causes redirects to questionable third-party websites once the user attempts to use Hao123 search. 

Us.Hao123.com virus. Us.Hao123.com is yet another Chinese search engine that presents various suspicious clickable content. On this website, you can see a variety of links and ads, which are likely to redirect you to third party websites. In fact, this site can appear on your browser after downloading “Hao123 client” without knowing that. If your browser's settings were altered without your consent, you should remove Us.Hao123.com.

Id.Hao.123 and ar.hao123 do not stand out much in comparison with other versions of Hao123. Their main aim is to promote the content of third-parties by displaying links and other vivid content. Here, you can find links to social networks, sports, news, and entertainment websites. Self-cautious users might get irritated by the fact that these links may redirect them to third party websites. 

Baidu.com is almost the same as Hao123 because they both belong to the same developer – Baidu. However, it relies on the same distribution technique which is considered a little bit fishy, as it relies on bundling. The site has also been providing links to third party websites, so make sure to double check what you click and pay attention while installing new programs. 

Bundling helps spreading and installing the download client

This search engine is mostly propagated using bundling. It’s a software marketing method that allows spreading the program together with freeware or shareware as an optional component. The success of this method relies on the possibility to infiltrate the device unnoticed.

The Hao123 hijack is most likely to occur when users install new programs using “Quick” or “Standard” installation settings that do not openly disclose about additional components. Therefore, using this setup, you agree to install all programs that may have been included in the package.

That's why experts recommend checking every installation window carefully when setting up such program on your computer. For getting such ability, always select Custom or Advanced installation of the freeware and then uncheck all questionable check marks.

The guidelines for Hao123 removal

It doesn’t matter which version of “Hao123 virus” appeared on your browser, you can still choose between manual or automatic elimination methods. You can find detailed and illustrated instructions at the end of the article, but we want to point out few important manual elimination’s aspects:

  1. You have to find hijacker’s entries in the Task Manager.[5] Beware that it may use different names for preventing its elimination from the system!
  2. Remove suspicious browser add-ons, extensions, plugins and complete Hao123 removal.
  3. Reset each of the web browsers:

If this task seems too complicated for you or if you have been dealing with continuous assaults of this unwanted program, you should switch to automatic elimination option and remove Hao123 with the help of an anti-malware program.

You can remove Hao123 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 Hao123 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 Hao123. 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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Manual Hao123 Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Hao123 from Windows systems

To uninstall Hao123 from your computer, you need to eliminate all components  that are related to it. You should run thru the entire programs' list and uninstall each suspicious application, such as baidu, adchoices and others.

  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 Hao123 and related programs
    Here, look for Hao123 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 Hao123 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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Hao123 from Mac OS X system

To eliminate the hijacker from your Mac OS X, you will have to go through the list of instructions indicated below:

  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 Hao123 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

Delete Hao123 from Internet Explorer (IE)

After completing the steps, reset the settings to ensure complete elimination of all components of the hijacker.

  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 Hao123 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 Hao123 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

Erase Hao123 from Microsoft Edge

When you eliminate the pup from you PC, you will also have to reset your browser in order to eliminate the last bits of the virus activity on your PC. You can reset MS Edge browser like explained below:

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, Hao123 should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Hao123 from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Our experts explain how to reset Mozilla Firefox and regain control of your browser here:

  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 Hao123 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 Hao123 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Hao123 from Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a browser which most likely suffers most of browser hijacker attacks. To get rid of Hao123, restore your web engine to its previous state.

  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 Hao123 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 Hao123 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Hao123 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 Hao123 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 Hao123, 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 Hao123 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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References

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