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Search Highlighter. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - -   Also known as Ads by Search Highlighter, Search Highlighter ads, Search Highlighter virus | Type: Adware

What is Search Highlighter?

Search Highlighter is a free application created by Inject LLC company. It is promoted as a useful browser plug-in making web browsing more efficient by highlighting key words related to your search queries and offering you to visit relevant websites, such as Yelp, Wikipedia, and Quora. Unfortunately, Search Highlighter add-on has already aroused various discussions among Internet users and security experts. It's been actively spreading on the Internet bundled with various freewares and sharewares some time ago. However, security experts warn that it has been found actively spreading on the Internet these days. Be very careful because, in reality, this application is another adware or a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that is not recommended using. It has been accused for implementing various unwanted activities first of it is related to the distribution method. People complain that they have noticed this program installed on their computers as if out of nowhere. In addition, it may start initiating various pop-up, pop-under, banner, and in-text advertisements that may be filled with various commercial offers. If you have already installed this application and received tens of 'Ads by Search Highlighter', be very careful since they are delivered with an intention to promote affiliate websites, increase their sales, page rank, or to generate pay-per-click revenue. Unfortunately, some of the Search Highlighter ads may be linked to suspicious third-party websites visiting which may end up with another computer infection. Even more, this add-on may be set to track your browsing activities by recording IP address, email address, search queries, mostly visited websites, and so on. We do not recommend disclosing information about your for third parties since it may be used for wrong reasons. The best solution for Search Highlighter ads is a full system scan with a reputable anti-spyware, such as Reimage.

How can Search Highlighter hijack my computer?

As we have already mentioned, Search Highlighter can be installed on computers mainly in two ways. First of all, it may be installed on computers manually after downloading it from the official website. However, it may also get on your computer without being noticed after installing another freeware that has been bundled with this Search Highlighter plug-in. The later works more effectively when transmitting potentially unwanted programs, such as adwares or browser hijackers. It's a well-known marketing technique that is called 'bundling' and is closely related to various freewares and sharewares. In order to stay away from such programs, you should avoid installing freewares on your computer at all. However, if you really need certain free software but want to keep you computer safe, you should be as careful when installing it as possible. It's a must to select Advanced or Custom installation option and carefully monitor the entire installation process. Look for check boxes that promote various add-ons, plug-ins, toolbars, and extensions and make sure that you opt out of them all. Do not skip any details as you may miss additional program marked by default and end up installing it.

How to remove Search Highlighter virus?

Even though this plug-in is not malicious itself, Search Highlighter redirects can make people visit suspicious or even unsafe websites and even trick them into installing malicious programs. Thus, it's not recommended keeping. Follow Search Highlighter removal guide that is belo and get rid of it right now:

You can remove Search Highlighter automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Search Highlighter snapshot
Search Highlighter snapshot

To remove Search Highlighter, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Search Highlighter from Windows systems

  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 Search Highlighter and related programs
    Here, look for Search Highlighter 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Search Highlighter 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, Search Highlighter should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Search Highlighter from Google Chrome

  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 Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter 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 Search Highlighter removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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