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PDFSpark. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Mac viruses

PDFSpark is a Mac PDF converter that installs other programs and collects user-related information without any approval

PDFSpark
PDFSpark is an application for MacOS devices that should have useful features. However, this is a PUP that gets bundled with free programs.

PDFSpark is the potentially unwanted application that claims to offer opening, converting, and annotating PDF files on Mac OS. Users can get this program on purpose because of the promotional content and alleged features. Once this tool gets installed, it pushes its victim into downloading similar programs and delivers commercial content promoting various services or software. Additionally, you can find unknown browser extensions, search engines, and similar components added to Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browser. In some cases, PDFSpark can appear on the system out of nowhere as well because software bundling is the main distribution technique for this type of PUPs.[1] 

Name PDFSpark
Category Mac virus
Type System tools
Promoted as Useful program capable of converting files
Symptoms Displays ads, changes system settings, causes installation of questionable content
Distribution Software bundles, an official site
Affected system MacOS
Main risks Being introduced to a malicious website or programs, the loss of personally identifiable information
Removal To remove PDFSpark completely, clean the system using anti-malware program. Fix your system further by using Reimage

When users install PDFSpark willingly, during the installation, other unwanted applications get bundled alongside the installer. However, typically users install these types of applications unintentionally and without knowledge. It mostly happens when they visit deceptive sites or get their program from questionable sources like p2p services.[2]

PDFSpark categorizes as a potentially unwanted program for this reason and based on the intrusive behavior. Having a program like this indicates that other adware-type infections also have been installed. PUPs are not always noticeable right away because symptoms may differ from program to program.

Adware programs like PDFSpark virus focus on generating views and revenue for the publisher or sponsor, so various commercial content in the form of pop-up ads, banners or redirects fill up your screen. Browser-hijackers are mostly focusing on redirecting your online searches to their websites and filling up the results with advertisements. 

Unfortunately, all potentially unwanted programs including PDFSpark can access various information about the user:

  • IP address;
  • online browsing preferences;
  • search queries;
  • most visited sites;
  • location;
  • details about the software, equipment used.

This information gets tracked and collected due to the relation between PDFSpark and advertisers. Commercial content creators later use this data to make advertisements more geared towards viewers and their online habits. Personalized ads make sure that the promoted content is purchased and pages get more views to monetize.

This intrusive and unwanted behavior should encourage you to employ professional anti-malware tools for PDFSpark removal immediately. We offer this method when dealing with stealthily installed programs because this way you can find and eliminate them all from the machine.

To remove PDFSpark, other programs installed without your permission and clean the system entirely, you need a reputable tool. Get the anti-malware program from a reliable source and perform a thorough system scan. We can recommend using Reimage because this tool can also repair the possible damage and improve the performance of your device.

Be aware of the software bundles and silent infiltration

Unwanted programs appear out of nowhere on the computer because deceptive techniques get used to spreading them around. Software bundles, fraudulent websites, questionable freeware providers and promotional advertisements deliver these PUAs without users' knowledge.

When installing any programs, you need to pay close attention to the process of installation because freeware often gets packed with questionable programs like system tools, fake optimizers or browser hijackers and adware. This method is widely used and works in PUP developers' favor because users tend to skip through important steps.

Experts[3] recommend choosing Advanced or Custom options during the installation because it allows seeing and de-selecting additional programs from the download list. This way you can avoid any suspicious and unwanted installation.

Terminate PDFSpark and clean the system with an antivirus program

To remove PDFSpark from your device, you need to find all related files and delete them from the machine. Unfortunately, this may take time and not work at all since various other alterations ensure the persistence of this program.

Get the professional anti-malware for PDFSpark removal and scan the machine fully. This way all changed registry keys or added programs and files can get eliminated. Also, anti-malware tools delete all programs installed without your permission or corrupted and malicious files.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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 Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove PDFSpark, follow these steps:

Mac OS XFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase PDFSpark from Mac OS X system

Clean the affected system from PDFSpark content:

  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 PDFSpark 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'
Mac OS XFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove PDFSpark from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  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 PDFSpark 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. 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'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete PDFSpark removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
Mac OS XFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of PDFSpark from Google Chrome

Make sure to reset the browser if any unwanted extensions got added:

  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 PDFSpark 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. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. 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
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete PDFSpark removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
Mac OS XFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete PDFSpark 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 PDFSpark or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. 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...'
  4. 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 PDFSpark removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References