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Hotbar. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Hotbar is a program that can track your internet activity and leak this data to its developers

Hotbar virus
Hotbar browser hijacker is a program that can modify your system settings behind your back.

Hotbar is a malicious program capable of changing your browser settings the minute it infiltrates the system. This is a typical browser hijacker with the purpose to hijack Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers' settings and initiate continuous redirects to third-party websites. This PUP[1] is seeking to gain some revenue for its developers with the help of pay-per-click scheme. For this purpose, Hotbar virus can start interrupting its users with redirects to unsafe domains that you would typically avoid. Besides, to know more about its victims and their interests, the program starts its activity by tracking users' browsing activity.

Name Hotbar
Type Browser hijacker
Sub-type Potentially unwanted program
Distribution Freeware bundles
Symptoms Redirects to dubious sites, system changes, an excessive amount of advertisements, data tracking
Elimination You could use Reimage for the PUP removal

In general, browser hijackers are intrusive programs that infiltrate systems unnoticed and additionally initiate needed system changes. This program is mainly geared towards generating visits to specific websites and earning revenue from their owners as they get a chance to increase their visitors' traffic. Additionally, these third-party advertisers display commercial content all over their websites and generate their own income. No matter how tricky this circle seems, it works. However, we should warn you that these third party websites are hardly monitored, and there is always a chance that some of them will be infected.

Besides, just like any other interruption while browsing on the web, such behavior of the browser hijacker can make your online searches unpleasant and disrupted. Every search attempt redirected to sponsored content lengthens your searches and might even cause crashes on your web browser. To prevent them, you should focus on Hotbar removal which is explained at the end of this post. 

Hotbar virus also modifies your browser settings, such as homepage and new tab. This intruder can also download and install toolbars or alter your bookmarks list. If you happen to notice that your favorites list is full of suspicious links or if your browser is filled with unknown extensions, beware that you might be infected.

Finally, as we have already mentioned, the browser hijacker virus can track various data, including:

  • Computer's IP addresses;
  • Computer's geo-location;[2]
  • User's email address;
  • Search queries;
  • Mostly visited websites;
  • etc.

This information can easily be accessed by virus developers and later shared with third-party advertisers. Technically, this data is used for creating more appealing and personalized ads, and increase a chance of receiving more clicks. However, tracking is not an option these days, and if you want to avoid it, you need to remove Hotbar. We can recommend Reimage for making this process smooth.

Bundling technique is widely used by virus developers

Marketing technique where products are bundled alongside other products to sell better is widely known. This is also often used by virus developers when they partner with software providers and bundle together unwanted programs and freeware. This works because people tend to skip through steps during installation processes and this way they are not cautious and getting cyber infections unknowingly.

There is a possibility to avoid these infections if you pay attention to what you are downloading and installing. You need to choose Advanced or Custom options when you are suggested, and this would open those bundles for you. At this point you and select and de-select any programs you do not want to get. Cybersecurity specialists[3] all over the world want you to focus on this and build a secure installation routine.

Hotbar elimination requires special knowledge

To remove Hotbar virus from the system, you can use anti-malware software and get rid of the virus within a minute or so. We recommend using tools that are given below to make sure that all malicious components are gone, and no consequences are found after the elimination process is finished. 

If you happen to opt for manual Hotbar removal, note that it might be time-consuming. However, if you rely on steps given below this article, you will get rid of browser hijacker. Don't forget to rest your web browsers to recover them fully and get a chance to start browsing on the Internet without time-consuming interruptions. 

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes. 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.

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Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. 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.

If you decided to select another anti-spyware, uninstall Reimage from your computer.
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Alternate Software
Malwarebytes
Alternate Software
Malwarebytes

To remove Hotbar, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Hotbar from Windows systems

Get rid of browser hijacker from your Windows OS by using this guidance:

  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 Hotbar and related programs
    Here, look for Hotbar 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 Hotbar 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 Hotbar 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 Hotbar 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 Hotbar from Internet Explorer (IE)

Clean your Explorer browser by resetting it:

  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 Hotbar 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 Hotbar 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

Remove Hotbar 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, Hotbar should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Hotbar from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Follow these steps and get rid of Hotbar:

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

Get rid of Hotbar from Google Chrome

Uninstall Hotbar virus from Chrome with these 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 Hotbar 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 Hotbar removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

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

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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