Mindspark (Free Guide) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

Mindspark Removal Guide

What is Mindspark?

adware.Mindspark – program that comes pre-bundled and installs other unclear applications without permission

adware.MindsparkMindspark is a threat that is associated with hundreds of different programs.

Mindspark Toolbar is the browser component that shows up out of nowhere and interrupts users' work on the computer with questionable content redirects. This is one of the most annoying features this potentially unwanted program has. People complain[1] about other features this shady program has because it appears as a heuristic detection result on various AV products. This program is not malicious or dangerous, these security tools indicate potential threats, not real malicious applications. However, complaints about these toolbars, browser hijackers, online games, and cyber threats continue to flood various forums.[2] It all happens for a reason because the PUP creators have over a hundred of different toolbars and other content that categories as browser hijackers or adware-type programs. There is nothing valuable or safe about these products.

It can easily run unnoticed until it displays any symptoms, so PUP.Optional.Mindspark.Generic or PUP.Optional.Mindspark generic heuristic detections can occur out of nowhere if you do not notice any changes in activities and browsing experience. This alert and warning should raise questions and encourage you to remove the PUP as soon as possible. There is nothing that could be crucial in using the toolbar or search engine linked with Mindspark, so make sure to react as quickly as you can and clear any intruders.

Name Mindspark
Type Browser hijacker/ Potentially unwanted program
Developer Mindspark Interactive Network Inc. The company is known for creating and spreading useless tools and browser components that interfere with systems' settings and speed, the performance of the machine
Symptoms Browser hijacker-based program changes settings like homepage, default search engine, new tab preferences to force browsers into showing the needed pages and injects commercial material on the list of search results to control the traffic. These alterations happen without permission and can affect system preferences of more crucial functions
Distribution Freeware bundles and other products from the same developer can easily trigger the drop of this shady PUP. Visiting deceptive sites exposes the user to possibly malicious material that triggers automatic PUP installations
Elimination To remove Mindspark completely, and get rid of all the possibly related programs, you need to run a full system scan using AV detection engines
Repair The system functions need to get recovered, so all the affected files need fixing. To repair the damage that PUP has down use ReimageIntego because it can find and indicate affected files or damaged programs

Mindspark malware is the name that frustrated users tend to use for this browser-based threat because the program gets bundled with other free software pieces and, in most cases, gets installed without users' knowledge because it can interfere with the web browsers and online traffic without changing particular system preferences.

If your browser has anything like this installed willingly or not, you will experience unwanted behavior and get frustrated when particular settings get altered. The Mindspark virus is known for focusing on shady redirects and hijacking the browsing sessions.

The most intrusive feature is changing the default search engine to MyWay search that is one of the most known products of the initial developer Mindspark Interactive Network Inc. The company manages to affect web browsers by installing browser helper objects, services, toolbars, and other applications, so the computer gets significantly slower and performs poorly.

However, the main goal of such intruders like the Mindspark Toolbar is to control the online traffic and expose the user to affiliated or sponsored pages. Once the PUP gets in the machine it hijacks major internet browsers like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and others.

Mindspark Interactive network develops tons of shady programs, games, and web browser tools like SearchYa, Total recipe search, DictionaryBoss Toolbar, Internet Speed Tracker, EasyPDFCombine Toolbar, HowToSimplified, EasyHomeDecorating Toolbar. Mindspark Wild West and Mindspark Mystery Lab are the applications from the same developer that create all the similar issues and typical PUP symptoms like:

  • speed issues;
  • constant redirects;
  • shady installations;
  • pop-ups and banners with commercial content;
  • system freezes and crashes.

It is more likely that you downloaded the Mindspark intruder yourself without noticing and knowledge because such downloads and pre-bundling are not adequately disclosed on those misleading pages or software providers' sites. This fact can also mean that your device has more intruders already on the machine because PUPs often come with other applications or can, later on, install browser extensions, apps, and toolbars. Due to these reasons, you need a thorough system cleaning when PUP manages to infect the computer.
Mindspark PUPMindspark is the browser hijacker that triggers AV engines to show heuristic detection alerts.

To remove Mindspark when AV detection engine indicated PUP.Optional.Mindspark.Generic or PUP.Optional.Mindspark results, you need to run the program again and follow the system cleaning, PUP removal process that anti-malware application can perform. You can achieve the goal of a virus-free machine pretty quickly when the AV tool is powerful enough to find all the associated program files.

Mindspark can install other programs and browser-based applications, so you may need to go to each browser and reset the tool to default, so there are no particular risks of triggering all the annoying activities in the future. If you think that is too difficult, we have a great guide below that experts[3] have prepared and approved.

Even though Mindspark malware is not the correct term for this PUP and browser hijacker, the company is known for having persistent and annoying products. Any potentially unwanted program can interfere with web browser setting directly, but altering the Windows registry entries, and other parts of the system folders are also included in the PUP functions.

If that happens, you need to perform Mindspark removal and clean the system more thoroughly, change settings back to normal and repair any affected files or programs. When you run the anti-malware program, it can find PUPs and other threats, but not the damage or system files that create issues.

So to remove Mindspark virus damage, you should rely on PC optimization or repair applications that can check for affected parts of the system for you. Any manual searching is not recommended because changes in registry can trigger issues with the system functions and programs, security features, in particular. So rely on PC repair tools like ReimageIntego to clean the machine from the virus damage. Mindspark malwareMindspark is the PUP considered to be possibly malicious due to shady infiltration methods and issues it causes on the system.

Installing PUPs is easy when you don't pay proper attention to details

It is extremely easy to get any potentially unwanted program on the system because such intruders spread by themselves online. In most cases, these intruders rely on freeware bundling methods, other programs and developers use the fact that people tend to hurry to their advantage.

When you skip through steps during the freeware download and installation, you choose Recommended or Quick installation options. This is how you automatically allow all the shady programs to get installed. If you would choose the Advanced or Custom installation instead, you could control the installation process entirely and see what applications come to the computer.

Of course, choosing proper sources, relying on official developers, and reliable software providers could ensure that PUPs have no option to interfere with the system of your computer. However, people still tend to go for torrent sites, p2p sharing services, and crack their software, use cheatcodes. Change your habits online and make sure to use AV tools to clock PUP infiltrations.

Get rid fo the Mindspark malware and other installed applications

Even though this is not a dangerous threat and the Mindspark virus focuses more on intrusion that creating damage, the longer it runs in the system, the word performance of the PC gets. It mainly affects web browsers and the speed of your internet, functions, and work, but the PUP initially runs in the background where all the activities get controlled.

This is why you need automatic anti-malware tools that can help with full and proper Mindspark removal. When you choose the reliable program and run the system scan, the AV detection engine finds various intruders associated with malicious or potentially dangerous behavior. You need to assess the results and follow the suggested steps after that.

We mentioned that it is not difficult to remove Mindspark if you choose good security tools, but remember that browser-based extensions, toolbars, or damage that PUP causes are separate things. You need to get another system tool to fix the damage and go through web browsers manually to terminate all the extensions and suspicious programs yourself.

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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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
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 Mindspark. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

The program needs to be fully removed, so follow these steps and get rid of Mindspark

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)

Clear the browser and terminate any programs that create issues for you

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

If Mindspark Toolbar managed to affect the browser, you should reset it to default, so anything can get eliminated automatically

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 Mindspark 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

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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Anti-malware specialist

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References
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