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Search9. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Ugnius Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Search9 – potentially unwanted program that can cause browser's redirects

Search9 hijack illustrated

Search9 is a suspicious search engine that may replace Google or Bing without requiring user's permission. It is closely related to search9.askthepotato.com and search9.py URL addresses, which may include suspicious content. Search9 virus is carried by freeware and shareware and can compromise Chrome, Firefox, IE, Safari, and other browser's settings. Therefore, it's classified as browser hijacker[1] and potentially unwanted program (PUP). 

Name Search9
Malware type Browser hijacker
Danger level Low. Displays intrusive content, though cannot harm the system directly
Symptoms Browser's changes: replaced new tab window, search engine, start page. Increment of pop-up ads and redirects to unusual websites
Distribution Bundling
Download Reimage and run a full system scan 

Some people may relate Search9 hijacker with Search9.js file. However, such relation is not proper. The Search9.jp is a file associated with CodeWarrior Development Studio by Metrowerks, which is a legitimate application for Windows OS. The hijacker renders the name of the legitimate file to evade easy detection and removal.

While many people call the search as Search9 virus, it's actually do not fall for the category of malicious cyber infections. Its danger level is low as the changes it initiates are more intrusive than dangerous. Once installed, the potentially unwanted program (PUP) performs the following:

  • Installs browser's extension;
  • Replaces search engine with Search9;
  • Corrupts start page and new tab URL. Usually sets search9.askthepotato.com as default;
  • Installs tracking cookies to access Search Data;
  • Generates altered search results;
  • Displays intrusive pop-up ads.

The aim of the Search9 virus is to promote the websites of its affiliates and increase visitor's rate to related websites. However, cyber security experts do not monitor the content of all sites that the search may try to popularize. However, dieviren.de[2] security team warns that some of the links or ads displayed may promote unsafe domains filled with rogue software installers, fake queries, quiz, prize giveaway scams, and so on.

Apart from misleading content, Search9 removal is highly advisable due to unapproved usage of tracking cookies and web beacons. These technologies are used to gather browsing-related information, including but not limited to IP address, email address, geo location, etc. The problem is that accumulated data may circulate among suspicious third parties that may create catchy ads to catch your attention.

Based on people's reports, it seems that Mac OS X users are interested in how to remove Search9 from Safari completely. That's because this particular browser hijacker is oriented to Mac OS users (though Windows is not immune). In case of hijack, Mac users should carefully check the libraries for the following PUP-related files in ~/Library/LaunchAgents:

  • search9.askthepotato.com.AppVemoral.plist
  • askthepotato.btvlit.plist
  • askthepotato.disable.plist
  • askthepotato.dolnwoad.plist
  • askthepotato.uadpte.plist, etc.

All these entries have to be removed to get rid of Search9 once and for all. The easiest way to eliminate malware and all its components is a thorough system's scan with Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus or Malwarebytes Anti Malware security tool. We would recommend Mac users to use Reimage in particular since it will eliminate malware[3] and optimize system's libraries. The same applies to Windows.

Malware relies on bundling

In a hurry or not, it's a must to check freeware installation setup as carefully as possible. That's because even reliable free apps may contain “optional downloads” that are going to be installed by default unless you opt out of them.

To crack software bundle, its essential to select Advanced or Custom installation technique and read Privacy Policy, Terms, and other information provided. In particular, search for unknown browser extensions that are pre-marked. Make sure to uncheck each box saying that you agree with the installation of additional components and the changes that they may initiate.

Remove Search9 hijacker easily

Search9 removal can be performed in two ways, i.e. manually or automatically. If you prefer manual PUP elimination, then follow the instructions provided down below.

However, we would strongly recommend you to remove Search9 automatically using a professional anti-virus program. This way, you won't have to examine various system's folders to find and eliminate related components.

You can remove Search9 automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. 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.

We might be affiliated with any product we recommend on the site. Full disclosure in our Agreement of Use. By Downloading any provided Anti-spyware software to remove Search9 you agree to our privacy policy and agreement of use.
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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove infection using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to uninstall Search9. 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.
More information about this program can be found in Reimage review.
Press mentions on Reimage

Manual Search9 Removal Guide:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Search9 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 Search9 and related programs
    Here, look for Search9 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 Search9 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.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Search9 from Mac OS X system

In case Chrome or Safari on your Mac has been compromised by this hijacker, make sure to get rid of all potentially unwanted programs and then reset the corrupted browser to disable the extension.

  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 Search9 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 Search9 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 Search9 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 Search9 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

Delete Search9 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, Search9 should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Search9 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 Search9 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 Search9 removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Search9 from Google Chrome

To restore settings on Chrome, follow this tutorial:

  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 Search9 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 Search9 removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Search9 from Safari

Safari users can rely on this guide to get rid of intrusive browser's addons:

  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 Search9 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 Search9, 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 Search9 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

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