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Remove (Removal Guide) - updated Oct 2020

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - -   Also known as hoho search | Type: Browser Hijackers virus is a browser hijacker that might bring in additional unwanted programs is a browser hijacker that uses sponsored search results to redirect its victims to partners' websites. (also known as Hoho Search virus) is an application that allegedly enhances users' web browsing experience by producing improved search results. However, the tool is a typical browser hijacker that gathers users' information that is related to their browsing habits and delivers sponsored links and ads on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or another web browser.

Additionally, many users noticed that the virus arrived on their systems uninvited, as they did not install it purposely. The only reason why many noticed its presence is due to changes mage to the web browsers, e.g., homepage and new tab URL, was changed to hxxp://, and a customized search engine applied.

Questions about

The stealthy infiltration and hijack is a custom of and a direct result of software bundling. In many cases, third-party software distributors and developers include several components into the installers and deliberately hide them during the installation process, so that users would miss the installation step of potentially unwanted applications.[1]

Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program (PUP)
Also known as Hoho Search virus
Activities This suspicious application modifies browser settings such as the search engine, homepage, and new tab. It also can cause redirects to affiliate parties and push advertisements on users' desktops
Distribution In most cases, browser hijackers are distributed with the help of software bundles that can be downloaded from third-party websites. In other cases, users might be tricked by a deceptive ad or download the program without knowing much about its browser hijacking features
Dangers While browser hijackers are not considered to be as dangerous as malware, they might lead to insecure websites (scam, phishing, torrent, etc.). As a result, users may infect their machines with malware, disclose personal info to malicious parties or suffer from monetary losses
Elimination You can uninstall potentially unwanted programs manually as per instructions we provide below, although many security applications could also get rid of the app for your automatically
OPTIMIZATION In case your computer is not operating as well as prior to the infection, we suggest you fix virus damage with the help of repair tools like ReimageIntego is similar to other browser hijackers[2], so, once it gets inside, it takes over all web browsers that are installed on the affected computer, alters their settings and Registry. For this reason, users cannot simply reset browsers and change their preferred default homepage, search engine or new tab’s address.

This PUP initiates lots of unwanted and bothersome activities such as redirects to various websites, providing misleading ads and modifying search results. These three main features are quite related due to redirect tendencies. Users can click on an interest-based ad and end up on an absolutely irrelevant website that has nothing in common with advertised content. might also replace relevant and organic search results with sponsored links that lead to various third-party sites. The main problem here is that some links or ads might redirect to high-risk or infected websites[3]. So, if you ever end up on a strange Internet site, leave it immediately and scan your computer with a reputable security tool to remove from the system. Besides, we also recommend using ReimageIntego for resetting the installed web browsers for best results. is a browser hijacker that enters the system with the help of bundling

In addition, virus may start collecting and leaking the information about your browsing data, device characteristics, IP address, etc.  Usually, this aggregated information is used for creating and delivering interest-based ads. However, there is no way of knowing for what purposes this information can later be used because the main aim of this site is to earn pay-per-click[4] revenue for its developers.

Therefore, when you click on a particular ad or sponsored link, you fill developers’ pockets with money. was introduced to computer users in the middle of March 2016. Since then, we have discovered several updates in this browser hijacker. After the latest update, this search engine has become capable of infecting Microsoft Edge – a freshly-released browser which is fully compatible with Windows 10 OS.

Also, it has started spreading in a bundle with different programs [5], so make sure you stay away from GSearchFinder toolbar (especially its version, FourFinders, Downware and other applications that are considered suspicious. If you have just discovered this virus on your computer, there is no doubt that you should hurry with the removal.

It’s the only solution to escape all these unwanted and concerning activities. Keep in mind that the longer you let stay on the system, the more problems it might cause. It might keep collecting information about your browsing or even install new applications or browser extensions without your knowledge. Do not hesitate and remove this hijacker from the computer either manually or automatically (both methods are explained at the end of the article).

The appearance of browser hijackers specialists[6] claim that downloads from third-party sources increase the risk of secret browser hijacker infiltration. Avoiding non-original developers and their products is a good idea if you want to prevent the appearance of questionable content.

Besides, ensure that a safe downloading mode has been chosen. Avoid any configuration that is listed as “basic” and choose the “custom” or “advanced” variant. Here you will be able to track all incoming products and opt out any dubious-looking software that you do not want to receive.

Last but not least ensure that websites you search on are safe and trustworthy. Prevent yourself from visiting various online-dating, gambling, and gaming networks as you might accidentally be provoked to install a browser hijacker on your computer by clicking on a specific advert or hyperlink.

Tips and tricks for removal

Apparently, no one wants to experience interferences when browsing the Internet. Therefore, there is no reason to keep HohoSearch virus installed on the system. You can stop the annoying redirects, ads, and recover regular system’s performance just by deleting this software from your PC. Sound like a lot of work? Well, it is not as difficult as it might seem.

There are two basic removal methods to choose from – manual and automatic removal methods. You can follow the manual removal guide provided below and terminate this browser parasite on your own. However, keep in mind that it may not be the only virus to reside on your PC. During this hijacker’s stay, your computer could have been exposed to a variety of different risks and easily infected with other malware.

Manual removal will not ensure that your computer is completely clean of potential threats. If you want to inspect your system thoroughly, you should remove with the help of an anti-spyware software; just make sure you use a reputable and reliable one.

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.

do it now!
Reimage Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
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, follow these steps:

Eliminate from Windows systems

To remove from Task Manager, make sure you carefully check each of its entries. You must uninstall GSearchFinder, FourFinders, Downware and other suspicious applications. No matter how useful they seem, they can cause the reappearance of Hohosearch.

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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 '' 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.

Erase from Mac OS X system

While trying to uninstall from Mac OS X, you have to get rid of every suspicious entry, including GSearchFinder, FourFinders, and Downware. This procedure will prevent its return to your computer.

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

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

Remove 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

If you have just discovered this hijacker on your Microsoft Edge browser, follow these steps:

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

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

Delete from Google Chrome

Eliminate the browser-hijacker application and all additional products that it has inserted in your Google Chrome web browser with the help of these guiding steps:

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

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

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.


Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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  1. larra says:
    March 21st, 2016 at 8:54 am

    damn virus !!! cannot remove it!!!

  2. sanbou says:
    March 21st, 2016 at 8:55 am

    u should try antispyware solution cuz nothing worked for me until i downloaded antispyware. spyhunter is good for windows if you r wondering which one to get. hope this helps

  3. Dellawarre says:
    March 21st, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Seems that I cannot find this on my computer… any information on what programs distribute this threat? I really need to find that out…

  4. 2-spyware team says:
    March 21st, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Dear user,
    Unfortunately, there is no such information available. All we know is that potentially unwanted programs mostly spread together with free programs. The key is to inspect each free software you install on your computer.

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