MetaSearch (Free Guide) - updated Mar 2021

MetaSearch Removal Guide

What is MetaSearch?

MetaSearch is the fake search engine that claims to offer usefulness, so people can get rerouted to ad-supported sites

MetaSearchMetaSearch is the fake search engine that shows advertisements, sponsored content and useless results, so the traffic can be controlled by commercial content creators. MetaSearch is a suspicious search engine, which has been linked to browser hijackers and plugins that affect the machine significantly with the intrusive behavior and other PUP[1] symptoms. That's because it works by displaying slightly altered search results and then rerouting its users to predetermined websites. In most cases, these domains seek to increase the number of their visitors, page ranks, or even sales.

The intruder leads to random sites and fills the list of the search results with commercial material. Each search attempt shows results filled with affiliated, sponsored content that promotes useless software and triggers redirects to more deceptive sites. Such intrusive MetaSearch behavior affects the speed significantly and causes freezes or system crashes

Basically, they are connected to the ad-supported program and various advertisers that make money from these views and clicks on commercial content so PUP developers get paid for the services. The intruder can also trigger the installation of add-ons or browser plugins, so additional downloads affect the persistence of this PUP significantly. To end the intrusive behavior once and for all – go for the automatic system cleaning.

Name MetaSearch
Type Browser hijacker
Symptoms The program appears on the web browser as a new tab, homepage, and default search engine without user interference
Distribution Freeware installers include PUP as addition and skipping through steps allows such programs to get automatically installed on the system
Danger Ad-supported sites are related to services that use cookies and other tracking methods, so your data related to browsing habits and preferences is in danger
Elimination MetaSearch removal can take time if you choose to delete every file associated with the PUP, so get an anti-malware tool and ru a full system scan that can clean the machine from all the malicious files completely
Repair Since intruders run in the Windows registry, some files get affected or corrupted. Such virus damage can cause problems with the device. ReimageIntego can check important parts of the registry and repair the issues

If MetaSearch virus manages to get inside its target PC system, it may not only hijack each of the web browsers, including well-known Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. It may also try to change your default search engine or the start page without your approval. Once these changes are done, it may start its redirections to quickmetasearch.com, linkshelper.com, and similar domains.

Anything that is not safe online can trigger the download of a serious threat besides the MetaSearch PUP, so make sure to not click on any pop-up or banner. Also, take other typical PUP features into consideration:

  • showing affiliated content in the form of pop-ups, banners; and blinking boxes;
  • injecting advertisements on commonly visited pages;
  • changing settings of the browser;
  • adding other programs to affect the speed more.

You might get exposed to malicious sites, so be very careful with such search engines and other questionable online pages. This is not legitimate and is not providing any improved search results, so get rid of MetaSearch right away. This potentially unwanted program runs on every Windows startup and can affect more crucial parts of the system, so delete potentially unwanted programs as soon as possible and reset all the settings to default.

If your Internet Explorer's or other web browser's home page or a default search engine has been replaced by metasearch.com, you should check your computer with reputable anti-spyware. Otherwise, you may not only be tricked into visiting questionable websites besides MetaSearch-related sites.

You may also be tricked into downloading other suspicious programs to your computer. Besides, just like any other suspicious search engine, the hijacker may start tracking your browsing sessions and may collect information about search queries, mostly visited websites, data that you enter on each of them, and similar details.[2] In addition, it may also copy your PC's IP address, location, etc. Make sure to remove MetaSearch as soon as you can to avoid virus damage.

If a hijacker gets on the system, it may initiate such changes as the registry's modification, installation of its files, etc. Once these changes are done, you may start suffering from constant redirections to various domains, including quickmetasearch.com or linkshelper.com. So rely on cleaners like ReimageIntego that may fix such system damage after MetaSearch removal. MetaSearch virusMetaSearch is the browser hijacker that makes a huge difference in the speed of the performance without giving any value.

Methods of spreading PUPs

PUPs don't spread like malware because it is not a virus. It is just a potentially unwanted program that may be installed either manually or in a bundle with other programs. In most cases, you cannot even notice or know that you downloaded a threat when you believe the promoted features or skip through important steps.

For avoiding this, you should be very careful when installing freeware on your computer. Experts[3] highly recommend selecting the Custom or Advanced installation method that allows seeing what components like browser add-ons, extensions, plugins, toolbars are hiding inside. For getting the ability to opt-out of them you should select Custom or Advanced installation of the freeware and then uncheck all unfamiliar applications from the list.

Visiting any deceptive sites, using such fake search engines exposes you to material that is possibly dangerous, so it is better to avoid anything suspicious or dangerous in the first place. Getting freeware from official sources, developers and online application stores can ensure that bundling is not occurring and PUPs are not included in the installer.

Get rid of the annoying MetaSearch fake engine and PUP symptoms

Fortunately, in order to remove MetaSearch or any other potentially unwanted program/ browser-based threat from your computer, you don't have to be a genius. You can do that either with the help of a reputable anti-spyware or with the help of this step-by-step guide that is given below.

According to security experts, you should opt for scanning your computer with reputable anti-malware because it will help you to make sure that all suspicious programs, including adware, browser hijackers, browser add-ons, and viruses, are gone. Such a full system scan can do that for you during automatic MetaSearch removal.

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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix 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.

Getting rid of MetaSearch. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Get rid of MetaSearch fully cleaning the system

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)

Reset the browser to alter that unwanted changes back to normal

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

Remove any suspicious content that MetaSearch may installed behind your back

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 MetaSearch 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

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

Lost your files? Use data recovery software

While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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