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Remove Search Awesome virus (Removal Instructions) - Oct 2020 update

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Adware

Search Awesome – an adware type virus which fills users' searches with dubious links and unwanted ads

Search Awesome virusSearch Awesome can easily hijack all of your web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, IE, etc.

Search Awesome is an adware-type program developed by searchawesome.net. The virus claims that it is capable of helping users get more friends and other awesome stuff. However, no matter how good its official site looks, security experts have already warned users not to install this PUP on the system because it can easily change your system settings and perform other unwanted activities behind your back. Also known as Adware.SearchAwesome, unreliable program can also stealthily install browser helper objects (BHO) and similar components to track your search sessions, so there is no doubt that it should be avoided. 

Name Search Awesome
Type Adware
Detected as Adware.SearchAwesome
Danger level High
Distribution methods Bundling technique; untrustworthy websites; fake ads
Symptoms Altered search results, numerous ads and links, disrupted browser's activity
Potential dangers Delivered ads might be programmed to automatically install malware or redirect to shady pages
Elimination ReimageIntego is recommended to uninstall Search Awesome

The functionality of Search Awesome malware is almost identical to Social2Search and Wajam[1]. The suspicious software asks access to victim’s social media accounts so that it could generate modified search results for the victim. People are tricked to use it by the false promises of the developers:

We are committed to enhance your web searches to help you find what you are looking for.

The tool suggests providing useful search results that reveal what the victim’s friends have shared regarding the user’s search query. Although such a feature seems useful, do not let this adware program deceive you and uninstall Search Awesome for your safety. The entire time it stays on your computer, it analyzes yours, as user’s, activity online. 

Search Awesome adsSearch Awesome virus incorporates ads next to regular search results and expects the victim to click on them. These ads are highly dangerous and can point to insecure Internet websites.

First of all, it tracks what search terms do you use, what websites you decide to visit, which ads draw your attention and convince you to click on them, and similar data. Based on such pieces of information, the adware chooses what ads to display. Part of the ads might be displayed as search results, while the remaining ones can emerge as:

  • banners;
  • pop-ups;
  • in-text ads.

It is unlikely that SearchAwesome can enhance your search experience in any way. Vice versa, we are positive that it will worsen it. If you do not want to receive a combination of ads and friends’ posts in your regular search results, remove Search Awesome virus right now. To delete it, you will need to use the instructions we provided or ReimageIntego software.

Another reason to complete Search Awesome removal as soon as it is possible is the fact that it indirectly poses a threat to your computer system. To put it simply, with this potentially unwanted program on your system, the chance to accidentally visit malicious or phishing websites increases. Therefore, it is better to get rid of it and use a regular search engine instead.

If that is not enough, keep in mind that this adware might secretly infiltrate other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that will complicate the elimination or make it even impossible. Thus, it is crucial to get rid of SearchAwesome as quickly as possible before it starts installing suspicious software.

Search Awesome virus pictureSearch Awesome ads have been bothering numerous computer users.

Software-bundles usually contain the adware

The easiest way to distribute potentially unwanted programs is to place them in a hidden location for the users not to notice. Likewise, developers have employed bundling[2] technique which allows them to infiltrate the adware among the optional components and spread as one software with freeware.

Once they bundle a couple of programs together, one or more of them become hardly noticeable. The installer of such software pack looks like it's designed to install one individual program.

In reality, Custom/Advanced installation settings hide some terms that you need to disagree with. Choose these settings over Default/Standard ones to access the list of extra programs and drop them off. Remember – if you rely on pre-selected software installation options, you give the software developer permission to clutter your system with possibly dangerous programs.

Therefore, avoid such pre-selected options as:

  • I agree to install XXX;
  • Get XXX now;
  • I agree to change my new tab URL, homepage and default search engine to XXX.

The checkmarks which have been selected against your will may also bring questionable web browser tools, or system optimization software. They are also categorized as potentially unwanted programs that might deteriorate your computer's performance. 

We have noticed that software bundling allows spyware to infect computers all over the world, mostly France[3], Poland, US, China, and hundreds of other countries. Likewise, we advise you to stay cautious and get an antivirus to protect your PC at all times.

Search Awesome virus example

Search Awesome elimination will help you enjoy browsing again

If you want to make your browsing experience pleasant again, remove Search Awesome virus immediately! For that, you are welcome to use our elimination instructions presented just below. You can get rid of the adware from the Control Panel. 

If you have never attempted to perform such spyware removal by yourself, try Search Awesome removal software provided below. Choose the one that suits your needs and let it clean your system automatically.

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 Search Awesome virus, follow these steps:

Uninstall Search Awesome from Windows systems

Uninstall SearchAwesome, Wajam or Social2Search. Find programs that look suspicious to you and uninstall them via Control Panel. In case you can't find any shady-looking programs or if you have already uninstalled them, proceed to the next step – clean your browsers from unwanted browser extensions.

To remove Search Awesome from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  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 entries related to Search Awesome (or any other recently installed 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.

Erase Search Awesome from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Search Awesome from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate Search Awesome 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 Search Awesome 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, Google.com).
  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 Search Awesome removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Search Awesome virus 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 Search Awesome-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

Delete Search Awesome from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

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 plugins that are related to Search Awesome and click Remove.Remove extensions from 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

In case Search Awesome did not get removed after following the instructions above, 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 – this should complete Search Awesome removal.Reset Firefox 2

Get rid of Search Awesome from Google Chrome

Delete Search Awesome extension from Chrome. if you can find more suspicious extensions, consider them removing all at once.

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 Search Awesome 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

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the Search Awesome-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 to complete Search Awesome removal.Reset Chrome 2

Uninstall Search Awesome from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension related to Search Awesome 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

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

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