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Remove Phase Search (Removal Guide) - Tutorial

removal by Julie Splinters - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Phase Search – a browser hijacker that alters the browser's main search provider and might compromise search results

Phase Search virus

Phase Search is a browser-hijacking product that applies unexpected changes to the main search provider, homepage, and new tab URL zone. When the default search engine is modified, you might start receiving misleading results while completing search queries and cannot trust the information anymore. Additionally, Phase Search virus might insert bogus browser extensions or add-ons to Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or other browser apps. Afterward, you might start receiving annoying advertising content, be forcibly redirected to affiliate domains, and get your browsing history enhanced by the PUP.

Name Phase Search
Type Browser hijacker/potentially unwanted program
Activities This bogus app can modify the browser's settings such as the homepage, search engine, new tab URL zone, show intrusive notifications, cause redirects to unknown locations, collect browsing-related data
Target(s) The main targets of this app are browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari. The app can appear on both macOS and Windows computer systems
Danger level Low. The browser hijacker is not a malicious program such as ransomware or trojans and does not cause severe damage as other cyber threats
Elimination You can get rid of the unwanted app by applying the step-by-step guidelines that are added to the end of this article or by employing reliable antimalware software
Repair tip If you have found out the browser hijacker has compromised some of your system files or entries, you can try repairing those objects by downloading or installing repair software such as ReimageIntego

Phase Search might be capable of multiple activities during one browsing session. For example, the browser hijacker might start delivering advertising content to the user's computer system and providing people with bogus deals and offers. The ads can come in forms of pop-ups, pop-unders, coupons, banners, and in-text ads.

Continuously, Phase Search can also get you involved in redirecting activities that are supposed to take the user to affiliate sources that might be filled with questionable offers of rogue security software. Here you might be convinced to waste your money on useless products and services, so better avoid any types of deals that come provided by PUPs.

Furthermore, Phase Search might start recording your browsing history, habits, and experience by using tracking tools such as HTTP cookies,[1] beacons, and pixels. The developers often seak to figure out what types of offers are relevant at the moment and provide bogus content related to these offers so that income can come from the cost-per-click scheme.[2]

Phase SearchPhase Search - a browser hijacker that might load the user with bogus ads and force redirects

Intrusive advertising and redirecting might visually slow down your web browsers and computer system. Phase Search might start carrying multiple actions at once that can result in frequent computer and app struggles, slowdowns, freezes, and crashes. This can affect your CPU power level also.

For this not to happen, you have to remove Phase Search from your machine and browser apps. You can complete the process by employing automatical software or using manual step-by-step guidelines that have been added to the end of this article. Those steps will also help you to reverse all bogus changes on your browsers.

Continuously, when the Phase Search removal is performed, you should check your system for possibly-altered files and entries. If you discover some compromised components, try recovering them by employing software such as ReimageIntego

Keep in mind that browser hijackers such as Phase Search can come with other PUPs included that can double the negative affect on your web browsers and computer system. Even the least dangerous infections make machines more vulnerable to malware attacks and might increase the chances of a dangerous computer parasite infiltration.

However, removing Phase Search from your computer is not enough. You are safe for now but you have to take specific protection measures to increase your safety in the upcoming future too. For this purpose, check the “Spreading tactics of browser hijackers” part that is written below.

Phase Search browser hijackerPhase Search is a browser hijacker that can infect various browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, MS Edge, and Safari

Spreading tactics of browser hijackers

Potentially unwanted programs such as browser hijackers are distributed by using stealth bundling techniques when the PUP comes in an entire software package as an additional product. This often happens if the user has chosen the “Quick/Recommended” mode as the main installation option.

We recommend deselecting this configuration and going for the “Custom/Advanced” option that allows the users to be in full control of their incoming downloads/installations. This way you will be able to deselect all programs that look concerning to you as the “Quick” mode does not provide such a possibility.

Continuously, you should avoid visiting third-party websites such as for downloading your software. Get all of your products and services from reliable sources only. Also, it is recommendable to check reviews on the program that you have been looking forward to downloading lately.

Last but not least, installing reliable antimalware protection is also necessary. Get a trustworthy AV product that includes multiple security features (e.g. online browsing, threat prevention, malware detection, system scans, system, and file repairing) and make sure to keep it updated once in a while. 

Get rid of Phase Search virus and additional products

Phase Search virus should be eliminated as soon as you see this bogus app on your Windows or Mac computer system. It might be hiding in the Applications folder if it is a macOS that you are running or executing its process in the Task Manager section if you are using a Windows machine.

Remove Phase Search as soon as you see the first infection symptoms on your web browsers that are modified search provider, new tab URL bar, homepage, and injection of suspicious extensions and plug-ins. The manual computer and browser cleaning process has been described at the end of this article.

However, we always recommend trying the automatical Phase Search removal process as this technique is much safer and guarantees a full elimination in a few minutes of time. According to experts from,[3] it is important to eliminate ALL suspicious components, otherwise, the browser hijacker might be back soon.

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 Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
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 Phase Search, follow these steps:

Eliminate Phase Search from Windows systems

To clean your Windows computer system from suspicious applications, try out the following steps

  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 Phase Search and related programs
    Here, look for Phase Search 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 Phase Search 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.

Uninstall Phase Search from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Phase Search from Applications folder:

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

Remove Phase Search 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 Phase Search 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 Phase Search removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Phase Search from Microsoft Edge

To reverse bogus changes in Microsoft Edge, complete these guiding lines as displayed

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 Phase Search-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 Phase Search from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

To clean Firefox from unwanted components, use these guidelines below

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

Delete Phase Search from Google Chrome

To remove suspicious products from Google Chrome, apply the below-provided instructions

  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 Phase Search 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 Phase Search removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Eliminate Phase Search 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 Phase Search 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 Phase Search, 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 Phase Search removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Julie Splinters
Julie Splinters - Malware removal specialist

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