Severity scale:  

Remove Linkey (Removal Guide) - updated Jun 2019

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Linkey – a browser hijacker which is still causing problems to Windows and Mac OS X users

Linkey virus

Linkey is a browser extension created by Aztec Media Inc. It is known as a browser hijacker which has been filled with the features of the adware.[1] Thus, instead of improving the browsing experience, this tool causes numerous problems, such as changing the homepage and search engine to, installing cookies and tracking data,[2] delivering aggressive ads, redirecting to suspicious websites, and causing system/browser slowdowns and freezes. By the way, Linkey provides search results from a legitimate search engine Yahoo which makes this extension even more useless.

Questions about Linkey

Linkey might affect the major web browsers that are installed on Windows and Mac computers. Typically, it finds its way to the computer when it arrives in a bundle with freeware and shareware as a “free addition” or “additional download.” There is no surprise why this ad-supported program manages to hijack so many computer systems – numerous free applications distribute it. 

Name Linkey
Developer Aztec Media Inc.
Type Browser hijacker
Detected for the first time 2015
Operating systems affected Windows; Mac
Compatible with web browsers Chrome, Firefox, IE
Main distribution method Bundling
Related search engines
Main dangers
  • Redirects to sponsored sites;
  • Fills your search results with ads;
  • Tracks personal and non-personally identifiable information;
  • Uses tricky techniques to prevent removal.
Elimination Uninstall Linkey from the system and run Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to make sure that there are no leftover files 

In order to avoid Linkey hijack, you have to pay more attention to the installation process of such free programs and find the check mark that says that you agree to install this program on your computer. We have made some research and found out that a variety of users have been struggling to get rid of this browser hijacker from their Mac machines.

If Linkey virus manages to enter its targeted PC system, it shows up on all web browsers that are installed on it. That’s because it's compatible with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other popular Internet browsers. Furthermore, you can find its extension on the Google Chrome Web Store but that does not make it good of usage.

However, like all developers, Linkey creators also try to promote their product in the most attractive ways as possible. If you ever search for this extension on the Chrome Web Store, you will be provided with this type of app promotion:

Linkey is a simple but powerful browser extension that enables a quick and easy access to top sites with a visualised and friendly interface.

In addition, the browser hijacker starts collecting data that is related to the victim's search sessions and then begins to display annoying pop-up ads. After clicking them, you may be redirected to its affiliate sites, which might be unreliable.[3] Some third-party websites can reveal content that can appear to be dangerous, so it is better to hurry up with Linkey Mac removal or eliminate it from Windows OS.

If you don't want to be bombarded by ads that seek to push you into visiting unknown, unsafe, questionable and suspicious places, you should remove Linkey virus from your computer. For that, we highly recommend using reputable anti-spyware that is capable of finding and eliminating such apps without delay. Use Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to see if your system is infected.

Linkey browser hijackerLinkey is a browser-hijacking application which changes the default search engine to its own and modifies the browser's homepage

Mac OS is a new target of Linkey

PUPs rarely attack Mac users. However, this time people should not overlook Linkey ads that might disturb browsing sessions. This nasty adware has been noticed spreading and causing problems for Apple product users as well. On Macintosh devices, adware acts similarly like on Windows. It displays ads, redirects to potentially dangerous third-party sites and tracks browsing-related information.

However, users report that they cannot uninstall Linkey from Mac.[4] The problem might be related to the extension’s ability to make system modifications or installing additional components to protect it. Therefore, even if you uninstall this add-on from Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome or another web browser, you might find it again after rebooting the device.

Thus, if you are looking for a way how to remove Linkey from Mac computer, we can assure that the best way to do it is to use reputable anti-malware software. Running a full system scan with an updated tool will quickly clean all malicious components from the device.

Linkey PUPLinkey is a browser hijacker that can easily affect Windows and Mac operating systems and redirect their users to sponsored sites.

Browser hijackers related to the PUP is a fake search provider which has been exceptionally attacking Mac computers. This browser hijacker presents itself as a reliable way to reach the most popular sites on the Internet. It provides such categories as Search, Images, Videos, Shopping, News, and Games. However, according to the Privacy Policy of the site, the site might be used to collect personal information:

You can use the Site and access software without providing any Personal Information (defined below). However, in connection with other activities through the Site, you may be asked to provide certain personally identifiable information, which may include your name, email address, age, gender, address, telephone number(s), areas of interest, login name, login password and other self-identifying information (all “Personal Information”). 

Additionally, this collected data can be shared with third parties seeking to misuse it for financial benefit. As a result, you can notice more spam in your email inbox, more ads appearing while you are browsing the web, etc. Having in mind that spam is almost the most popular method used by ransomware to infiltrate the systems, we do NOT recommend revealing such data.[5] is yet another browser hijacker related to the Aztec Media Inc. company. It was spotted in 2015, but it seems that it is still actively spread via bundled downloads. The site is filled with numerous links leading users to third-party sites. Most of them are safe. However, the search results provided by this PUP can be filled with sponsored links that can end up on unsafe websites. We highly recommend avoiding this search provider.

Linkey travels with the help of free programs

We have already mentioned how people are tricked into installing this adware on their computers. It can be downloaded voluntarily, or it may show up on the system after downloading freeware and shareware.[6] To avoid a similar situation in the future, you should start monitoring the installation of every freeware. Les Virus[7] security team provide these short and simple tips:

  • Select only Custom or Advanced installation option when downloading video streaming software, download managers, and similar applications.
  • Deselect agreements to install bundled software.
  • Unmark all pre-selected agreements to change your homepage or search engine.

Therefore, if you are wondering what is Linkey on my computer or where did it come from, you should think about recently downloaded and installed software. This ad-supported application probably sneaked to your device with it.

Get rid of Linkey in Mac and Windows to go back to safe browsing

People often complain that Linkey uninstall fails and that they are unable to get rid of the program. It seems that this computer pest roots deeply in the system or uses advanced techniques to prevent users from uninstalling it. This problem might occur on both Windows and Mac OS.

Therefore, to remove Linkey virus, we strongly recommend using the malware removal software. It’s a quickest and easiest method to delete the program together with all its browser helper objects and similar entries that are typically hidden in the system and are used to prevent virus elimination.

If you do not have such software, you can to delete the virus manually by following Linkey removal guidelines that we have prepared. Please, make sure you uninstall each of its components and then use tools given below to double check the system for hidden components. Let us know how did the whole removal procedure go.

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.

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 Linkey, follow these steps:

Delete Linkey from Windows systems

Manual virus removal guidelines are presented below:

  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 Linkey and related programs
    Here, look for Linkey 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 Linkey 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 Linkey from Mac OS X system

To remove Linkey from Mac OS X, you need to find all malicious programs that could be related to it. Typically, you should find apps that you don't know or can't remember installing.

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

Remove Linkey from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate Linkey from Internet Explorer (IE)

To remove all adware-related files and browser helper objects from Internet Explorer, you should follow these steps:

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 Linkey 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 Linkey removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Linkey from Microsoft Edge

Reset Microsoft Edge to fix this web browser:

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 Linkey-related 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

Get rid of Linkey from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Uninstall hijacker-related add-ons from Firefox and reset the browser.

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

Erase Linkey from Google Chrome

Remove Linkey from Goole Chrome extensions and reset the browser by following these 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 Linkey 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 Linkey removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Delete Linkey from Safari

These guidelines will help you to clean Safari from the virus:

  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 Linkey 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 Linkey, 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 Linkey 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 from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

If this free removal guide helped you and you are satisfied with our service, please consider making a donation to keep this service alive. Even a smallest amount will be appreciated.

Contact Julie Splinters
About the company Esolutions

Removal guides in other languages

  1. Coy says:
    May 25th, 2014 at 3:18 am

    I get a “windows installer” popup on the Windows 7 desktop, every hour or so, asking if I want to install an unknown program. By hitting “next,” you can read how its about to install a program called Linkey. At which point I immediately kill the installer using Control Panel. But how do I get rid of these persistent popups, please? I dont even know from where they are originating. I have not installed anything recently on my machine.

  2. Shilpa says:
    June 1st, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Unable to remove linkey throught control panel. In the middle of uninstalling, I get this message “Linkey-uninstall has stopped working”

  3. gva says:
    June 6th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I dont have linkey in my extensions and it still keeps popping up when I open a new tab.

  4. Trish says:
    June 7th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    That was happening to me also because I downloaded it when I installed a free audio/video recorder. To remove it from opening as a new tab — go to: Control Panel > Internet options> Programs > Manage Add-Ons > Search Providers. Then you should be able to select Linkey and disable it. One caveat… I am not sure which OS you have so there may be some differences. I have Windows 8. Best of Luck!

  5. Chrismas says:
    August 15th, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Says cannot find device driver software when trying to remove from program list ?*

  6. OldGeezer says:
    October 12th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    The problem I have is that only a few programs show up when the “Delete programs” list is populated. (Im running Windows 7 64-bit.) All of them alphabetically from “Lame” to “Reading Acceleration Machine” (And the others are all “Microsoft this” or “Microsoft that” and neither Linkey nor anything labelled “Aztec” appears. (Nor do any of the other many programs Ive installed, although they seem to work.) I did remove the Linkey icon from the task bar, but I doubt if that actually removed the program.

Your opinion regarding Linkey