Severity scale:  
  (13/100)

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

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

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

MindsparkMindspark 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 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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 PUP
Mindspark 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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego to clean the machine from the virus damage.  Mindspark malware
Mindspark 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 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.

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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 Mindspark, follow these steps:

Delete Mindspark from Windows systems

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

  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 Mindspark and related programs
    Here, look for Mindspark 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 Mindspark 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 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' 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.

Erase Mindspark from Mac OS X system

  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 Mindspark 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'

Eliminate Mindspark 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 Mindspark 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 Mindspark removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Uninstall Mindspark 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, Mindspark should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Remove Mindspark from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

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

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

Get rid of Mindspark from Google Chrome

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

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

Delete Mindspark 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 Mindspark 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 Mindspark, 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 Mindspark removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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