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Remove (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2020

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser Hijackers – a browser hijacker that can append a rogue argument to some of the Windows desktop shortcuts  

Hola search is a rogue search engine that can provide misleading search results and start redirecting users to unsecured sources is categorized as a misleading search engine that comes together with the Hola Search Toolbar. Users have been complaining that this browser hijacker unexpectedly appears on browser apps such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but it mostly shows up on Internet Explorer. The PUP (potentially unwanted program)[1] leaves a rogue process named holasearch.dll that belongs to its toolbar and acts as an extension for the Explorer browser. Hola Search aims to compromise the default search provider, homepage, and new tab URL bar by setting them to

If you are constantly getting redirected to, this also might be a sign that you have another third-party component such as Certified Toolbar installed on your web browser. However, most of the time it is the browser hijacker that is causing all the trouble. No matter how hard you try to reset the engine back to Google, it only stays for a while until the next time you refresh the web browser and the Hola search engine reappears.

Type Browser hijacker/potentially unwanted program
Related file This browser hijacker comes together with the Hola Search Toolbar that includes the holasearch.dll file in Internet Explorer
Changes The rogue app can hijack web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and append the search engine, homepage, and new tab URL bar
Activities The browser hijacker can start providing advertisements that carry rogue offers and aim to earn pay-per-click income. Also, the PUP can initiate redirects to other sponsored domains some of which might be potentially dangerous, start collecting browsing-related data by including HTTP cookies, beacons, and pixels into the browser settings
Distribution Suspicious products such as Holasearch come bundled with other freeware and shareware from websites such as,,, and
Elimination If you have been dealing with this browser hijacker lately, you should get rid of it with the help of antimalware software or by employing the step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article
Fix software If you have discovered any compromised areas on your PC, you can try fixing them with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 

When virus gets installed on the Windows computer, it might start running questionable processes in the Windows Task Manager and inject bogus keys into the Registry section. Furthermore, you might find the argument included in some of the shortcuts on your desktop or on your Windows Startup Menu. If you are employing a Mac device, you might find third-party apps added to the Applications section.

Hola search, also known as ihola!, is a questionable search engine that replaces the default provider such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Once the settings are configured, the victim is not able to permanently reverse the engine back to its primary state. So, once the browser hijacker infiltrates your web browser, you are stuck with its new search provider. Keep in mind that you can easily be provided with fake or misleading results if you start initiating search requests. might try to fake its useful functionality by providing quick access to e-shopping platforms such as AliExpress, eBay, and other handy websites such as Booking or Tripadvisor. However, you can easily create fast access of your own by including bookmarks to your web browser. There is no need for using the PUP's services when you have other alternatives. Besides, the app will bring you more negative things than positive ones. is an unfair search engine, which can easily try to return for your altered search results and, with the help of them, may redirect you to its affiliate websites. Most of these pages are likely to be filled with sponsored advertisements, however, this is not all that you can find there. Sometimes, redirecting sessions are capable of taking the user to potentially malicious domains which often relate in severe malware infections, e.g. ransomware viruses or trojans.

While we cannot claim that this program is a virus or malware, should not be trusted and should never be used instead of the default search engine and the start page. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that you would not be redirected to questionable websites that are promoted just for helping them to increase their page rank or sales. Please, keep in mind that this search engine has been created for monetization purposes. - a browser hijacker that might inject HTTP cookies, pixels, or beacons to track the user's browsing history itself can deliver intrusive advertisements during browsing sessions. Most of the time, developers seek to gain pay-per-click[2] income form each click that is performed on the provided ads. However, you should not trust any content that is produced by the browser hijacker as the PUP is likely to bring bogus offers and deals to the surface. Also, you might get provided by various technical support scams, fake reward claims, and other misleading messages.

Hola search can come bundled with other potentially unwanted programs such as adware, scareware, or browser hijackers. When the mentioned app arrives at your computer system, you should initiate a full investigation process and check if has not left any other questionable programs on the device. Nevertheless, the browser hijacker can act as an intermediary for malware distribution and spread dangerous virus forms such as trojans, spyware, ransomware, worms.

Finally, beware that may also try to collect information about your browsing habits. Typically, this program is interested in people's search terms, mostly visited websites, data that they enter when visiting them, the IP address, geographic location, and browser technical information. When this type of information is collected by using HTTP cookies[3] or pixels, beacons, developers can share it with other parties for gaining monetary profit.

If you are willing to receive legitimate search results, you should remove form each of your web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and other ones). This will also help you to avoid redirects to unknown websites, slowdowns, various pop-up ads, and similar inconveniences. Get rid of the PUP with the help of a reliable antimalware tool or by using the manual step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article. removal also includes fully cleaning web browser apps such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari as they might also be filled with various bogus extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons. If the browser hijacker has brought other suspicious or malicious programs to your computer system, you should check it for possible damage. If you discover any altered areas, try repairing them with a tool such as Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. virus

Browser hijackers employ stealth techniques to occupy browsers

Browser-hijacking applications can be easily downloaded to the system manually. However, the most used method for its distribution is called bundling and the PUP can easily infiltrate your computer in a bundle with freeware and shareware. If you do not want to download a rogue app accidentally, you should start monitoring the installation of third-party software.

You should try to pay more attention to the installation process of download managers, PDF creators and similar programs by selecting Custom or Advanced installation of the freeware. After doing so, you should deselect all suspicious checkmarks that can appear during the installation of the software. Also, avoid downloading products and services from unsecured third-party downloading sources such as,,, and

According to specialists,[4] browser hijackers can also invade the computer system through fake software updates. If you are browsing the Internet and get provided with a rogue update request, do not rush to agree with it. First, take your time for searching the recently released updates of the app. Then, get all required upgrades only from the official developers and original Internet sources.

Removing virus permanently removal should be taken care of as soon as you see the hijacked search engine in your web browser. Keep in mind that the longer you postpone the elimination, the worse the annoying activities might get. For this process, we recommend employing reliable antimalware software that will scan your entire operating system, check it for rogue apps, and eliminate all the suspicious products that were included by the browser hijacker.

If you want to remove by yourself and already have experience in this type of field, you can go for it. Below we have provided some manual guiding steps that should be helpful while trying to clean your Windows, Mac operating systems and web browser applications such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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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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:

Delete from Windows systems

To properly clean your Windows operating system from suspicious programs and products installed, you should apply the following instructing steps.

  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

  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 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'

Get rid of from Internet Explorer (IE)

To erase all questionable browser helper objects from Internet Explorer and bring the web browser back to its previous state, use these guidelines.

  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 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 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Remove 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

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

Eliminate from Google Chrome

To make sure that the browser hijacker is no longer active on your Google Chrome web browser, you should apply the below-provided instructions.

  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

Delete 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

Access your website securely from any location

When you work on the domain, site, blog, or different project that requires constant management, content creation, or coding, you may need to connect to the server and content management service more often. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

The best solution for creating a tighter network could be a dedicated/fixed IP address. If you make your IP address static and set to your device, you can connect to the CMS from any location and do not create any additional issues for server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

VPN software providers like Private Internet Access can help you with such settings and offer the option to control the online reputation and manage projects easily from any part of the world. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

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

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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