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Remove Search.searchws2.com (Virus Removal Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Search.searchws2.com is a dubious search engine

Search.searchws2.com search engine screenshot

Search.searchws2.com is a fake search engine created by Polarity Technologies. It is promoted in software bundles together with Weather Service browser extension. After the infiltration, it replaces built-in search box, homepage, and new tab URL address without leaving users a chance to revert these changes easily. All these features make it a browser hijacker.[1]

Summary
Name Search.searchws2.com
Type Browser hijacker
Developers  Polarity Technologies
Danger level Medium. Alters browser's settings and might redirect to malicious websites
Symptoms Changed homepage, default search engine, and new tab URL address, an increased amount of ads.
Distribution methods Software bundling
To uninstall Search.searchws2.com, install Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego and run a full system scan

So-called Search.searchws2.com virus is a potentially unwanted program (PUP) that might make some changes to the system and alter the settings of each of the targeted web browsers. The hijacker aims at Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. After the hijack, it might:

  • replace homepage and search engine to hxxp://search.searchws2.com/;
  • install Weather Service and other questionable add-ons without asking permission;
  • redirect to suspicious websites out of nowhere;
  • display misleading ads;
  • track various information about users.

All these negative features are hiding under a legit appearance of Search.searchws2.com. The homepage includes shortcuts to Amazon, Gmail, YouTube and weather-themed websites. Additionally, it redirects search queries to Yahoo which is a legit search provider. However, trusting the appearance is not recommended.

The biggest issues are related to Search.searchws2.com redirect tendencies. The PUP can trick people into visiting shady sites when they click on a link or ad. While some of these sites just look for aggressive ways to increase their statistics; others are looking for potential victims.

Researchers from LosVirus.es[2] report about hijacker’s ability to redirect to phishing, tech support scam or even infected websites. Therefore, users can easily suffer from ransomware attack, data or money loss. Therefore, the elimination of this dubious app is needed.

However, it’s impossible to remove Search.searchws2.com easily. If you replace this domain with Google or Yahoo, these changes will be rejected. It means that after computer reboot, you will see this shady search engine again.

Proper Search.searchws2.com removal requires eliminating all hijacker-related components from web browsers and Windows (or Mac OS X). You can follow the guide at the end of the article, or you can speed up the process with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego.

Search.searchws2.com virus imageSearch.searchws2.com is a fake Yahoo-based search tool that takes control over the targeted web browser.

Careful software installation helps to avoid unwanted apps

Search.searchws2.com hijack is unexpected and sudden. It happens when users incorrectly install free programs,[3] meaning that they use Quick/Recommended installers. These settings are popular among users but trick ones. They do not reveal what third-party components might be spreading together with the primary program.

To avoid replaced homepage or accidental installation of suspicious browser extension or PC optimization software, you have to stick to Advanced/Custom settings and monitor the process. If you see some pre-selected “optional downloads,” remove the ticks and continue the procedure.

Uninstall Search.searchws2.com and reset affected browsers

To remove Search.searchws2.com from your beloved web browsers, you have to make sure that all hijacker related components are deleted too. Therefore, you will need to:

  1. check the system for questionable programs that may have been installed with the same software bundle;
  2. uninstall Weather Service and other browser extensions that were installed without your knowledge;
  3. reset web browsers.

The instructions below will guide you through manual Search.searchws2.com removal. However, you can simplify and speed up elimination by scanning the system with an anti-malware program and resetting the browser.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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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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.searchws2.com, follow these steps:

Delete Search.searchws2.com from Windows systems

Follow these step to eliminate Search.searchws2.com from Windows OS:

  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.searchws2.com and related programs
    Here, look for Search.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com 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 'http://isearch.babylon.com...' 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.

Get rid of Search.searchws2.com from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Search.searchws2.com from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for Search.searchws2.com-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.searchws2.com, 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.searchws2.com and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the Search.searchws2.com-related entries.Uninstall from Mac 2

Eliminate Search.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Remove Search.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com-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 Search.searchws2.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Uninstall Weather Service and other shady Mozilla Firefox add-ons.

  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.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Uninstall Search.searchws2.com from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome to wipe out hijacker-related components:

  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.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Delete Search.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com 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.searchws2.com, 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.searchws2.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

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. It is a hassle when your website is protected from suspicious connections and unauthorized IP addresses.

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 server or network manager that need to monitor connections and activities. This is how you bypass some of the authentications factors and can remotely use your banking accounts without triggering suspicious with each login. 

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. It is better to clock the access to your website from different IP addresses. So you can keep the project safe and secure when you have the dedicated IP address VPN and protected access to the content management system.

Backup files for the later use, in case of the malware attack

Computer users can suffer from data losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Ransomware can encrypt and hold files hostage, while unforeseen power cuts might cause a loss of important documents. If you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work. It is also equally important to update backups on a regular basis so that the newest information remains intact – you can set this process to be performed automatically.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware strikes out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the data restoration process.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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