Holasearch.com (Removal Instructions) - updated Feb 2020

Holasearch.com Removal Guide

What is Holasearch.com?

Holasearch.com – a browser hijacker that can append a rogue argument to some of the Windows desktop shortcuts

Hola search engineHolasearch.com is a rogue search engine that can provide misleading search results and start redirecting users to unsecured sources

Holasearch.com 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 http://www.holasearch.com.

If you are constantly getting redirected to Holasearch.com, 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.

Name Holasearch.com
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 http://www.holasearch.com 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 download.com, softonic.com, soft32.com, and cnet.com
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 ReimageIntego

When Holasearch.com 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 http://www.holasearch.com 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.

Holasearch.com 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.

Holasearch.com 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, holasearch.com 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.

Holasearch.comHolasearch.com - a browser hijacker that might inject HTTP cookies, pixels, or beacons to track the user's browsing history

Holasearch.com 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 holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com 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.

Holasearch.com 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 ReimageIntego.

Holasearch.com virusHolasearch.com is a browser hijacker that brings the Hola Search Toolbar to the hijacked web browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, or others

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 cnet.com, download.com, softonic.com, and soft32.com.

According to LosVirus.es 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 Holasearch.com virus permanently

Holasearch.com 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 Holasearch.com 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 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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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.

Getting rid of Holasearch.com. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

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

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

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

Remove from 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 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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

Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove 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.

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

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 Holasearch.com 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: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References
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