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Remove (Virus Removal Guide) - updated Sep 2019

removal by Jake Doevan - -   Also known as redirect | Type: Browser hijacker – a fake search engine that seeks to gain monetary benefit using ads campaigns virus

Questions about is a browser hijacker[1] developed by Greensky Technology Co Ltd. users can find it as their homepage and new tab after the installation of freeware or shareware because the questionable application spreads using software bundling – a deceptive marketing technique. While users might not think much about it and keep using it, they will soon notice their their Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc. are plagued by intrusive ads, as well as redirects that can lead to insecure sites.

Type Browser Hijacker
Developer Greensky Technology Co Ltd.
Compatible browsers Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.
Registry modification HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Policies\Google\Chrome\HomepageLocation HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Policies\Google\Chrome\RestoreOnStartupURLs\1
Symptoms Altered browser settings, questionable ads and redirects
Distribution Software bundling
Elimination Use Reimage for a quick solution or make use of our manual instructions below virus is very persistent, as it not only modifies browser settings (homepage, search engine, and new tab address) but also makes new entries in the Windows Registry.[2] Thus, even if users delete related shortcuts and remove from their machine, it will still redirect the browser to sponsored websites.

As we already mentioned, hijack might not be noticed right away, primarily if the user never dealt with one before. The set homepage is very primitive, as it does not include any special quick access buttons nor art. Even though the search results are redirected to, they are not entirely genuine, because the initial search engine used was not Google’s. Thus, users might see sponsored links at the top, making relative information gathering a hard task.

The ads that hijacker generates might be harmless and lead to official sites, while others might be extremely suspicious and bring users to phishing, or even malware-ridden sites. Furthermore, redirects are even more dangerous, as users cannot control their behavior. Thus, even if you clicked on a questionable add accidentally, close down your browser and perform removal instead.

Besides annoying ads, users’ privacy is at risk as well, as the developer can be gathering a large amount of information about them. While personal information is kept on Greensky’s servers and is not shared, the aggregated non-personally identifiable data is collected:

As is true of most Web sites, we gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. This information includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, operating system, date/time stamp, and click stream data.

The tracking of your browsing habits is a common practice, but you might think twice if you want to share that data with the unknown company. This is done in order to obtain a personal profile for each individual using services and feed them relevant ads (unfortunately, they might be dangerous, as the authors are not responsible what websites their product redirects users to), increasing the profits.

To conclude, you should not trust potentially unwanted programs like, as it may compromise your personal and non-personal information, inject your machine with malware or use various tricks to make you buy services, products or applications you do not need in the first place. Instead, we suggest you use reputable search engines such as or browser hijacker is a browser hijacker that displays intrusive ads and redirects users to sponsored websites

Ways the potentially unwanted program infects your machine

The browser hijacker is using the bundling technique for its distribution. PUP developers often affiliate with third-party software developers and include their products inside the installers. Furthermore, freeware developers often hide these unwanted programs under Advanced or Custom settings, which not many people choose. That is why hijackers have no troubles when it comes to spreading – they do it deceptively.

Additionally, users might be tricked into downloading the dubious application on various websites. PUP authors often disguise the primary purpose of a hijacker by covering it with some “useful” feature that people might be interested in. In reality, they quickly get disappointed as the promised functionality is either not what they expected or is entirely useless. However, as the hijacker is already injected, users might have troubles with its removal.

Thus, rather avoid potentially unwanted programs in the first place. Follow these simple tips:

  • Download software from trusted sources only;
  • Carefully read through ToS and Privacy Policy;
  • Never pick Recommended or Quick installation method;
  • Select Advanced or Custom mode;
  • Eliminate all optional components in the Advanced settings.

Istartsurf virus removal steps

Unfortunately, virus removal might be quite complicated. While other hijackers are very easy to eliminate, this one modifies Registry entries, and some users might find it difficult to set them back. Nevertheless, if you are an experienced computer user, go ahead and use out manual instructions below. You will have to eliminate all questionable applications from your device and then reset each of the affected browsers individually.

However, most of the security experts[3] recommend using anti-virus software that can automatically remove hijacker and fix all the damage done to the system automatically.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question. My computer was affected by virus and I don’t know how to remove it. It seems that it recovers itself right after rebooting my computer!

Answer: While Istartsurf search site is not a virus, it has been added to browser hijacker category. We believe that you should avoid it because it can show you altered search results that are filled with sponsored content. In addition, it can be used for tracking users and their browsing on the Internet. So, you are right for trying to remove browser hijacker from your computer. However, you should opt for automatic removal option because this program has been spread in a bundle with special components that sometimes are preventing its elimination from the system.

Question. Help me! Could you please tell me whether IStartSurf search is legitimate or not? I have this page instead of my start page and the default search engine but I feel that I should stop using it because IStartSurf redirects are interrupting my searches…

Answer: Please, stop using Istartsurf browser hijacker because it is not a legitimate search engine! It can easily trick you into visiting a corrupted website that is used only for spreading other potentially unwanted programs, like adwares and browser hijackers! In addition, it can try recording information about your browsing habits and may even share it with unknown parties. That’s why we want to offer you to go back to Google, Yahoo or Bing search engine. For that you should follow a guide below and delete

Question. Please help! I clicked on some ad on the Internet and now I’m suffering from redirects to I want to throw my PC out the window…

Answer: You don’t have to do that. You can easily repair your computer and get rid of istartsurf hijacker with a help of a step-by-step guide, which is given down below.

Question. After downloading a needed program (video streaming software) I discovered that my start page and the default search engine was changed to search site Should I ignore these changes or should I go back to using Google?

Answer: No matter how good it looks, Istartsurf is nothing but a misleading search engine, which is used for promoting affiliate parties. If you don’t want to be tricked into visiting a questionable site that is used for spreading questionable programs, you should get rid of this browser hijacker. It may seem like a complicated task, so our security researchers prepared a detailed removal guide. Please check it below.

Question. No matter how hard I try, virus finds a way to my computer. Could you give me some tips so I could get rid of this aggressive search engine for good?

Answer: If you have been trying to remove browser hijacker by eliminating it thru Add/remove programs, there is no surprise why it has been showing up on your computer again and again. In order to get rid of it for good, you need to remove each of programs that could be related to it. In addition, you should reset every web browser and then scan your computer with updated anti-spyware, such as Reimage. A detailed guide for removing from the system can be found below.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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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, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
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.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove, follow these steps:

Remove from Windows systems

To get rid of redirects, perform the following 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.

Uninstall from Mac OS X system

If the browser hijacker entered your Mac OS, follow this guide to get rid of it:

  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'

Erase from Internet Explorer (IE)

  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

Get rid of 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.

Eliminate from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

You should refresh Mozilla Firefox to make sure all traces of the unwanted program are gone:

  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

  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

Remove 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

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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