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Remove Search Protect (Removal Guide) - updated Apr 2019

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

Search Protect is the potentially unwanted program that installs other programs from a bundle automatically and affects various parts of the machine

Search Protect browser hijacker

Search Protect is the program also called Search Protect by Conduit because it belongs to a bundle of many potentially unwanted programs. When the program gets installed with all other tools and applications, uninstallation becomes difficult, and other third-party programs may get installed without your permission. This is the family of programs developed by a company that is known for developing such intrusive and questionable programs. Beware that this particular program has already been labeled as a potentially unwanted program and a browser hijacker.[1] Many AV engines can block access to this website or detect it as a potentially unwanted program and get rid of it. 

It seems that the main reason why security experts decided upon such categorization is that the developer of this program is a questionable company, responsible of releasing other applications such as TroviConduit, which have all been categorized as browser hijackers. This fact is also one of the determining factors that should encourage everyone infected to perform Search Protect removal.

Name Search Protect
Type Browser hijacker
Category  Potentially unwanted program
Symptoms  Alters browser settings, delivers advertisements, causes redirects to suspicious sites, affiliated pages
Distribution Comes via bundled software, deceptive ads, and pages
Main danger Tracks and collects information about the user, browsing habits and preferences
Elimination Use Malwarebytes for Search Protect removal

They are mostly presented as search engines, but you should never trust them and use them for your searches. We say so because they may alter your Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other web browsers and, after doing so, may show you altered search results. Clicking on such results may lead you to Search Protect redirects [2] to unknown websites and other issues.

If you have already discovered Search Protect on each of your web browsers, keep in mind that it is yet another creation of Conduit that can barely give anything useful in return. Even more, this search engine is not only useless. You should also know that it may trick you into visiting suspicious websites because it has been actively used for affiliate marketing [3] and other questionable activities.

Besides, just like any other browser hijacker programs, it may start tracking your online activities and collecting your search queries, most visited websites, time that you send on them, etc. If this sounds familiar, you should check to remove Search Protect from your computer. For that, we highly recommend using reputable anti-malware program or other security software because intruder may try to 'protect' itself when trying to get rid of it manually. For that, we recommend Reimage.

Search Protect PUP
Search Protect is the intruder that encourages people to make Conduit their default search engine.

Make sure to eliminate Search Protect by scanning the machine with antivirus tool fully, so all alterations and changes this unwanted program has made can be reversed:

  • altered registry entries;
  • disabled programs;
  • installed browser extensions.

Search Protect is the ad-supported program that can continuously deliver you commercial content in the form of banners, pop-ups, pop-unders, and multiple redirects and in-text-links. Different monetization platforms promote this program and bundled apps to distribute even further with all the intrusive behavior.

Due to the relation with Conduit company and other browser hijackers or potentially unwanted programs, Search Protect can install various applications and tools automatically like Conduit OurToolbar or questionable bookmarks, add-ons and programs that keep you from adding other browser plugins or search engines.

The primary purpose of such programs is to redirect your online traffic to affiliated, sponsored sites filled with commercial content and create revenue for the publisher this way because every page visit and views on the advertisements can be monetized.

These redirects and commercial content also ensures that users click on delivered content and PUP developer can access various information about the visitor and create more personalized advertisements this way. To end this Search Protect behavior you need to get the reputable anti-malware tool like Malwarebytes and make sure to clear the system. Keeping this tool can also help avoid any similar infections later on because this AV can block potential threats before the initial infiltration.

Search Protect
Search Protect virus is the PUP that gets called like this because of the intrusive behavior.

The virus hijacks computers without the user's permission

You can download this rogue software consciously when developers promote the program as useful and valuable. However, we highly recommend not doing so because you may notice various issues and inconveniences on it. Furthermore, your system may be hijacked by this potentially unwanted program without your permission asked.

Moreover, just like other PUPs, this application may travel as an additional attachment of various freeware [4]. If you are attentive enough, you can prevent the installation of such unwanted attachments, but you should pay close attention when installing freeware on your computer for that.

As experts always[5] note, select Custom or Advanced installation options when downloading any updates or freeware. Please, do so when installing your next download manager, PDF creator, video streaming software, etc. This way you can de-select any unwanted application included on the list.

Search Protect cyber threat
Search Protect browser hijack is the program that affects various parts of the system, including the registry entries.

Tips and tricks for the proper Search Protect removal

We have already noticed that there are lots of internet users, who have been affected by this unwanted program. They claim that they have difficulties when trying to remove Search Protect because, as we have already mentioned, it relies on some tricks when trying to protect itself.

It looks like this program is capable of dropping registry entries that help this program to reappear on the system after its manual removal is finished. So, to make sure that this program is completely removed, we recommend scanning your computer with a reliable anti-malware program. Of course, you can also follow the step-by-step Search Protect removal guide below the article and get rid of this pesky intruder manually.

Make sure to eliminate all associated files and programs so that Search Protect virus damage can get eliminated. Resetting your browsers to default may also help since this intruders may install extra add-ons or plug-ins.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, 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 SpyHunter 5.
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 Search Protect, follow these steps:

Delete Search Protect from Windows systems

Search Protect is a virus you could typically remove from your computer manually. Nevertheless, if you don't have that opportunity, you can remove it from your device manually as well. You will learn how to do it following the step-by-step instructions below.

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

Eliminate Search Protect from Mac OS X system

If the PUP shows up on your Mac computer, its elimination can be performed manually, as shown in the tutorial below.

  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 Protect 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'

Get rid of Search Protect from Internet Explorer (IE)

When the virus is eliminated from the PC, it should don't forget to reset your browser as well. You can reset Internet Explorer easily in a few steps provided below.

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

Remove Search Protect from Microsoft Edge

When it comes to resetting Microsoft Edge, the instructions below should come in handy:

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 Protect should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Erase Search Protect from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

To stop Mozilla Firefox redirecting you through unfamiliar websites and performing other unauthorized activities on your browser, you should first remove the malware from your computer and then reset your browser like shown 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 Search Protect 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 Search Protect removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall Search Protect from Google Chrome

When the browser gets targeted by potentially unwanted programs, the best way to eliminate the consequences of the hijack is to reset your Google Chrome. You will perform the reset simply by completing the steps below:

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

Delete Search Protect from Safari

In case you find the malware on your Safari browser, you will need to perform the browser reset like explained below.

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

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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