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Remove ShortcutTab (Easy Removal Guide) - Free Instructions

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser Hijackers

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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego

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 Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego 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 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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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.

To remove ShortcutTab, follow these steps:

Uninstall ShortcutTab from Windows systems

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

  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 ShortcutTab and related programs
    Here, look for ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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.

Delete ShortcutTab from Mac OS X system

In case your macOS is acting strangely, get rid of PUPs as explained 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 ShortcutTab 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'

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

Erase ShortcutTab 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, ShortcutTab should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

Remove ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times

Get rid of ShortcutTab from Google Chrome

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

  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 ShortcutTab 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 ShortcutTab removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

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

Do not let government spy on you

The government has many issues in regards to tracking users' data and spying on citizens, so you should take this into consideration and learn more about shady information gathering practices. Avoid any unwanted government tracking or spying by going totally anonymous on the internet. 

You can choose a different location when you go online and access any material you want without particular content restrictions. You can easily enjoy internet connection without any risks of being hacked by using Private Internet Access VPN.

Control the information that can be accessed by government any other unwanted party and surf online without being spied on. Even if you are not involved in illegal activities or trust your selection of services, platforms, be suspicious for your own security and take precautionary measures by using the VPN service.

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

Computer users can suffer various losses due to cyber infections or their own faulty doings. Software issues created by malware or direct data loss due to encryption can lead to problems with your device or permanent damage. When you have proper up-to-date backups, you can easily recover after such an incident and get back to work.

It is crucial to create updates to your backups after any changes on the device, so you can get back to the point you were working on when malware changes anything or issues with the device causes data or performance corruption. Rely on such behavior and make file backup your daily or weekly habit.

When you have the previous version of every important document or project you can avoid frustration and breakdowns. It comes in handy when malware occurs out of nowhere. Use Data Recovery Pro for the system restoring purpose.

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

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