(Removal Instructions) - Mar 2020 update Removal Guide

What is is a fake search engine that tries to imitate Google is a potentially unwanted application that seeks to earn revenue by making users click on ads and sponsored links is a browser hijacker designed to change the way users' browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, or MS Edge, operate. These alternations are performed as soon a potentially unwanted program is installed on the targeted system – it typically occurs without users' notice, as PUPs are usually spread via a deceptive marketing method called software bundling.

As soon as hijack occurs, users might not even immediately notice changes to their homepage, as it is designed in a way to imitate possibly the most well-known brand in the world – Google. Developers of the hijacker use the word “Search” instead, but keep Google's color pallet, which is a typical social engineering trick.

However, users should not become deceived, as virus is produced for only one reason – to generate ad revenue from users' clicks on links or redirects to sponsored sites. Besides, the PUP also tracks information that relates to users' web browsing habits and uses it to deliver persistent, targeted ads. Users also reported that removal proved to be difficult, as, upon installation, the app modified group policy settings without permission.[1]

Type Browser hijacker, potentially unwanted program
Associated app Search Engage, Search Solutions
Developer Cro-bit Ltd
Distribution Most of the potentially unwanted applications and browser extensions travel within software bundle packages that users download from third-party sites; in other words, they agree to install software they did not intend to in the first place unintentionally
  • Unknown browser extension installed on the browser
  • New tab URL and homepage set to hxxp://
  • All searchers are redirected to
  • Top search results are filled with sponsored links and ads
  • Slow operation of the web browser
Dangers Installation of malware or other PUPs, personal information disclosure to unknown parties, money loss due to encountered scams
Termination You can get rid of unwanted extensions via the browser (resetting the browser also works), or by terminating an app installed on your system as per our instructions below. In case of the app does not go away, you should scan your machine with reputable anti-malware software
Recovery Search Engage may alter some system settings as well as the registry, corrupting original Windows files. If you notice some instability issues after you get rid of the hijacker, scan your computer with repair software FortectIntego has been around for quite a few years now and used to insert links to its main page. These links used to serve as shortcuts to users to reach Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, and other popular domains quickly. However, this functionality is now implemented within each of the modern browsers, and there is no need letting your browser be hijacked to use this functionality.

After a few years of operation, changed its design and began imitating instead. This is done deliberately in order to confuse users and make them associate the hijacker with a legitimate company, which is absolutely not the case.

Even though Search Engage will redirect all the searches to Yahoo (a legitimate search engine), search results will not be authentic. Instead of seeing organic links, users will be shown a multitude of sponsored links at the top – these generate revenue for browser hijacker developers after each click made by users.

Besides, when the virus is installed, users may also face redirects to scam, phishing, and even malicious pages, where background scrips could inject malware automatically under certain circumstances.[2] The encountered scam may trick users into disclosing personal information to unknown parties (potentially, cybercriminals) or paying for fake services. is a browser hijacker that is associated with Search Engage or Search Solutions browser extensions

If intrusive ads and redirects are not a big enough reason to remove extension from your computer, you should also take into consideration that the PUP is also tracking all your online moves. Developers employ various technologies (flash cookies, web beacons, pixels, etc.) to harvest data from you, as disclosed in Search Engage Privacy Policy statement:[3]

We may collect information from you that may identify you, such as your name, address, email address, and telephone number and anonymous Information, such as the number of your page views, link clicks, and login times. Your information may be kept in an identifiable format, or in an aggregate format which means that you cannot reasonably be identified from it.

To make matters worse, SearchEngage claims that it “may disclose any or all of the collected information to third parties.” If anything, we suggest you limit the number of online trackers to a minimum, and it is unknown whether the company uses adequate practices to protect the collected information in the first place.

To make matters worse, the browser hijacker also engages in unfair and even malicious persistence techniques. As reported by users, some of the web browser extensions by the same developer engaged in Windows registry and group policy file modification, which prevented its termination from the web browser.

We highly advise staying away from the Windows registry, as incorrect modification might result in system file corruption. Instead, we recommend using automatic repair software like FortectIntego.

To get rid of virus and its changes, you should either refer to our manual guide below or employ reputable anti-malware to do it for you. Nevertheless, due to the deceptive Search Engage/Search Solutions extension operation, experts[4] also advise resetting the installed web browsers.

Browser hijackers sneak in via software bundles downloaded from third party sites

Potentially unwanted programs like Search Engage hijack computer systems via bundling – a software distribution technique that is extremely successful when it comes to PUP and malware circulation. The developers of the potentially unwanted software bundle their products with well-known free programs and create software packages.

Such multi-software packs can be downloaded from third-party sites and other untrustworthy sources. Many computer users do not know that they CAN refuse to install objectionable programs when installing the desired program. It is, in fact, very easy to do it – all you need to do is to adjust the program’s installation settings and set Custom or Advanced mode. After that, you need to uncheck the boxes next to suggestions to install optional programs alongside the main software.

It is also important to note that users who use high-end security software will also be warned when a PUP is about to be installed. In fact, there are plenty of security applications that focus on the prevention, detection, and removal of unwanted applications like Search Engage. PUPUsers reported that they could not remove extension easily removal guide

If you would like to forget the problems with your web browser, remove virus from your computer. It is up to you how to perform this: you can utilize the instructions we provide below to get rid of the PUP manually or use an anti-malware tool instead. The latter is much easier and quicker – simply perform a full system scan.

However, as mentioned above, removal might be much more complicated due to its persistence techniques used, such as Windows registry modification. Therefore, if you cannot get rid of unwanted extension or a standalone app yourself, you should employ anti-malware software and then reset all the installed browsers as we explain below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of FortectIntego. 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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Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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.

Getting rid of Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows virus can be removed from Windows systems – follow the guide below:

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  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 the entry of the 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.

Delete from macOS

macOS users should perform the following actions when trying to eliminate the hijacker:

Remove items from Applications folder:

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

Remove 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 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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, search 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

Remove 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 unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Settings.
  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

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, 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. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

Reset Google Chrome if you can't get rid of an extension manually:

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 the unwanted program 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

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted 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. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

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

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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