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Remove MetaSearch (Free Guide) - updated Dec 2019

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

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

MetaSearchMetaSearch 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. 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 new tab, homepage, and default search engine without users interference. Each search attempt shows results filled with affiliated, sponsored content that promotes useless software and triggers redirects to more deceptive sites. Such intrusive behavior affects the speed significantly and causes freezes or system crashes
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 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,, 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, 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.

Questions about MetaSearch

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 or 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 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 MetaSearch, follow these steps:

Remove MetaSearch from Windows systems

Get rid of MetaSearch fully cleaning the system

  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 MetaSearch and related programs
    Here, look for MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch 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.

Delete MetaSearch from Mac OS X system

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

Remove MetaSearch from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate MetaSearch from Internet Explorer (IE)

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 MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch-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

Erase MetaSearch from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Reset the browser to alter that unwanted changes back to normal

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

Uninstall MetaSearch from Google Chrome

Remove any suspicious content that MetaSearch may installed behind your back

  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 MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Remove MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch 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 MetaSearch, 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 MetaSearch removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

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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