Remove ShortcutTab (Easy Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser hijacker

ShortcutTab Removal Guide

What is ShortcutTab?

ShortcutTab – a potentially unwanted application that might be installed without your permission

ShortcutTabShortcutTab is a potentially unwanted program that monitors users' web browser behavior to serve sponsored content that the developers benefit from financially

ShortcutTab is a browser hijacker[1] that changes the new tab URL and the homepage to s.advancedsearchlab.com as soon as it is installed. While some users might find this browser extension on official sources such as Google Chrome Web Store, most install the add-on unintentionally, e.g., via software bundles or fake software update prompts.

Potentially unwanted programs such as ShortcutTab as typically designed to allegedly provide enhanced search results (the app claims that it uses multiple search engines for that, but instead uses Google), although, in reality, its main goal is to read users' browser history and visited pages and provide them with sponsored content, gaining revenue in the process. It is also not uncommon for users infected with ShortcutTab virus to also have other potentially unwanted programs installed on their system without their consent.

Name ShortcutTab
Type Browser hijacker
Also known as PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab
Infiltration Users install potentially unwanted programs after being deceived by an advertisement, when downloading freeware from third-party websites, or do it intentionally, believing that an add-on is a useful tool for whatever it is advertised for (in most cases, browser hijackers promised enriched search results)
Symptoms The symptoms of a browser hijack may vary, although most users should see unknown extensions installed on the web browser, experience increased amount of advertisements changed web browser settings (the homepage is set to s.advancedsearchlab.com
Risks Installation of additional potentially unwanted programs, personal information disclosure to unknown parties, loss of finances due to scams, etc.
Removal To terminate the extension, right-click on it or visit the extension section within the settings of your web browser
Additional checks In some cases, potentially unwanted applications can be difficult to eliminate. In such a case, we recommend scanning the machine with anti-malware software, resetting the web browser, and then performing an additional scan with repair tools such as ReimageIntego

As mentioned above, users might install ShortcutTab hijacker unintentionally – this happens when users visit third party websites that provide access to freeware or shareware. Unsurprisingly, such sites typically use software bundling and ads to monetize. In many cases, deception is also used in order to make users install sponsored apps without their knowledge.

As soon as ShortcutTab hijack occurs, a browser extension is appended to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, MS Edge, or another web browser. Next, the PUP changes the new tab address and the homepage of the web browser to s.advancedsearchlab.com, although this change is not apparent, as the only visible symptom of the infection is the lack of usual search bar (for example, google.com is shown, although the search bar is missing).

For this reason, some users might not even be aware that their web browsers have been hijacked, and that ShortcutTab removal should be performed in the first place. However, the symptoms of the infection can be noticed eventually, which may be the following:

  • A “ShortcutTab” or other unwanted add-ons/programs installed on the computer;
  • The homepage and a new tab lead to the s.advancedsearchlab.com and then to Google, Yahoo, or another trusted engine;
  • Advertisements show up on various pages that you visit;
  • Search results are filled with sponsored links and other ads;
  • Web browser operates slower than usual, etc.

ShortcutTab hijackShortcutTab is a browser hijacker that claims to enhance search results and grant access to multiple search providers, although it fails to execute such functionality

While such extensions may seem like useful additions at first, it is best to remove ShortcutTab from the web browser as soon as possible to avoid unwanted browsing activity tracking and redirects to potentially malicious websites. To do that, all you have to do is to get rid of the installed web browser extensions and programs from your Mac or Windows computer.

In case ShortcutTab elimination becomes difficult, you should employ anti-malware software to perform a full system scan. We also recommend employing such apps like ReimageIntego for overall better performance of the system that was previously infected. Finally, you can also reset all the installed web browsers if nothing else helps (we explain how to do that below).

ShortcutTab belongs to the family of PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab

PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab is a family of potentially unwanted applications that change the web browser settings without permission and are typically installed without user consent. Luckily, most modern web browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox typically warn users about these changes, so most can avert the consequences of a browser hijack.

Additionally, anti-malware applications such as Malwarebytes can also detect and prevent the installation of apps that belong to the PUP.Optional.AdvancedSearchLab family. Therefore, it is highly recommended to employ a reputable security tool that can comprehensively protect the computer from PUPs and more significant threats such as Trojans, ransomware,[2] coinminers, worms, and others.

ShortcutTab Privacy PolicyShortcutTab can gather even personal information if such is provided when using the sites provided by the company behind the unwanted app

Learn to avoid potentially unwanted applications

As previously mentioned, users install PUPs unintentionally, since a technique called software bundling is used to distribute shady applications. The chain of adware and browser hijacker distribution is extensive. It can range from fake Flash update prompts,[3] fake “Download” buttons on various (torrent) sites, and the inclusivity of additional components within a single software package that is obtained from sources like softonic.com.

Therefore, it is important to be vigilant while performing routine web browsing activities and downloading software. If possible, we recommend avoiding shady third-party sources and relying on the official application websites and reputable stores such as Microsoft Store. In case you insist on downloading apps from suspicious sites, it is important to pay attention to the installation procedure carefully, as you might end up with multiple unwanted apps or malware on your system.

Before installing a program you have never heard of, check reviews, forum posts, and other trusted sources for information on it. Next, you should always ensure that Privacy Policy/ToS is provided and always opt for Advanced/Custom installation settings in order to get rid of add-ons, system optimizers, downloaded managers, and other useless apps.

ShortcutTab uninstallation process explained

In most cases, ShortcutTab removal should not be difficult to perform – simply right-click on the extension and select “Uninstall” or “Remove.” However, it is known that potentially unwanted apps can be purposely programmed in a way that would hinder users from eliminating them easily. During our tests, we noticed that the ShortcutTab virus belongs to this category, as the add-on is not visible once it is installed on the web browser.

Therefore, you might not be able to remove ShortcutTab just as easily as other genuine apps. In such a case, you should visit chrome://extensions/ tab and try to eliminate the app through there. In case the “Managed by your organization” status is turned on, you should instead perform a full system scan of your computer, as it might be that more nefarious programs are installed on your system. Additionally, you can also look for PUPs manually and reset all the installed web browsers as per instructions we provide below.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. 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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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage 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 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.

Getting rid of ShortcutTab. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

To uninstall other unwanted applications besides ShortcutTab browser hijacker, follow these steps:

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

In case your macOS is acting strangely, get rid of PUPs as explained below:

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 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 Options.
  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

You should reset Google Chrome if you are unable to eliminate unwanted browser extensions in a regular way:

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 ShortcutTab 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: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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. 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 the server or network manager that needs to monitor connections and activities. 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.

 

Recover files after data-affecting malware attacks

While much of the data can be accidentally deleted due to various reasons, malware is one of the main culprits that can cause loss of pictures, documents, videos, and other important files. More serious malware infections lead to significant data loss when your documents, system files, and images get encrypted. In particular, ransomware is is a type of malware that focuses on such functions, so your files become useless without an ability to access them.

Even though there is little to no possibility to recover after file-locking threats, some applications have features for data recovery in the system. In some cases, Data Recovery Pro can also help to recover at least some portion of your data after data-locking virus infection or general cyber infection. 

 

About the author
Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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