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Remove Softonicstart.com virus (Free Instructions) - Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge

removal by Gabriel E. Hall - - | Type: Browser hijacker

The characteristics of Softonicstart.com virus

Softonicstart.com virus is a potentially unwanted program (PUP)[1] that might hijack the most popular web browsers. Due to its features, this PUP is classified as a browser hijacker. Thus, on the affected computer it aims at browsers and alters their settings. As a result, users might find Softonicstart.com as their default homepage and search engine. According to the developers, this tool allows searching the web, images, video, news, maps, and even torrents.[2] The main page also includes shortcuts to the popular social media websites, email services, and other well-known Internet sites. Developed by the Zugo Ltd, this search engine uses the database of Yahoo search. However, Softonicstart.com browser hijacker might be capable of modifying search results. Sadly, the majority of this applications might replace organic search results with sponsored links. In this way, the search engine helps to boost traffic to various websites, and developers generate revenue from this activity. Meanwhile, users might be browsing thru irrelevant and even dangerous sites.[3] Thus, if you want to avoid unpleasant and damaging Softonicstart.com redirect issues, you should consider getting rid of this search engine.

This program might get inside the computer bundled with StartNow or Yahoo StartNow toolbar. However, so-called Softonicstart.com virus might sneak inside with other free applications too. As we already mentioned, this tool is capable of altering browsers’ settings and replacing default start page with its domain. To prevent users from setting their preferred search engine, it might modify Windows shortcuts or even Registry. However, Softonicstart.com removal will help to fix these problems. If this pest has sneaked inside your device, scan computer with ReimageIntego or other reputable anti-malware/anti-spyware program. It’s the best option for a quick and effective solution to deal with potentially unwanted programs. If you still want to delay hijacker’s elimination, the fact that this program might collect information about you should motivate you to remove Softonicstart.com immediately. In the Privacy Policy developers note that they collect non-personally identifiable information and might share it with third-parties.[4] Thus, if you value your privacy, this app should not be installed on your PC.

Questions about Softonicstart.com virus

Softonicstart.com virusSoftonicstart.com search engine might hijack web browsers and alter their settings in order to force people to use this suspicious service.

How does this search engine hijack web browsers?

We have already mentioned that Softonicstart.com browser hijacker mostly spreads with a help of StartNow toolbar. However, the most common way for the search engine to spread and hijack web browsers is called “bundling.”[5] This method allows adding this app as an extra component in the software package. Thus, when you install new programs downloaded from various online sources you need to make sure that you are installing a single program, not a package. In order to do that you have to install programs under “Advanced” or “Custom” settings. They allow “unpacking” the program and seeing the list of third-party applications that are offered for you to install. Additionally, you might find a statement saying that you agree to make Softonicstart.com your default search engine. However, if you rush to click “Next” button, you may overlook this important step. What is more, if you choose Quick or Standard installation settings, chances to encounter Softonicstart.com hijack increase. It might have happened because these settings do not disclose about extra applications. Thus, using this setup, you give indirect permission PUPs to enter the system.

How to eliminate Softonicstart.com search engine from the browser entirely?

Just like any other browser hijacker, this one can also be terminated in two ways. The first method suggests to detect and remove Softonicstart.com from the computer manually. You will find a step-by-step guide at the end of the article. Following these instructions, you should locate not only this hijacker but also look up for other questionable apps or add-ons that might have also been installed on the same day. Obviously, you need to delete all these shady entries from the device. However, if you wish that someone would do this job for you, you should opt for the second option. Automatic Softonicstart.com removal requires scanning the system with anti-malware program. Thus, your chosen program will do this unpleasant task for you.

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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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 Softonicstart.com virus, follow these steps:

Eliminate Softonicstart.com from Windows systems

Open the programs’ list located in the Control Panel. Here look for the Softonicstart.com virus and other questionable programs that might have been installed without your knowledge. Also, check all web browsers and delete suspicious extensions.

  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 Softonicstart.com and related programs
    Here, look for Softonicstart.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 Softonicstart.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.

Delete Softonicstart.com from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Softonicstart.com from Applications folder:

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

Erase Softonicstart.com from Internet Explorer (IE)

Follow the instructions to recover Internet Explorer after Softonicstart.com hijack.

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 Softonicstart.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 Softonicstart.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Get rid of Softonicstart.com virus from Microsoft Edge

Softonicstart.com browser hijacker might have installed third-party tools to Microsoft Edge. Thus, you need to remove them and reset browser’s settings.

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 Softonicstart.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

Uninstall Softonicstart.com from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

In the list of Mozilla’s extensions look for Softonicstart.com, StartNow or Yahoo StartNow. If you find these or other suspicious entries remove them.

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

Remove Softonicstart.com from Google Chrome

Softonicstart.com hijacker might have installed various extensions, toolbars, and add-ons without your knowledge. Thus, you should go to the list of extensions and remove all questionable entries. Then, reset Chrome’s settings as shown below.

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

Eliminate Softonicstart.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 Softonicstart.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 Softonicstart.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 Softonicstart.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Protect your privacy – employ a VPN

There are several ways how to make your online time more private – you can access an incognito tab. However, there is no secret that even in this mode, you are tracked for advertising purposes. There is a way to add an extra layer of protection and create a completely anonymous web browsing practice with the help of Private Internet Access VPN. This software reroutes traffic through different servers, thus leaving your IP address and geolocation in disguise. Besides, it is based on a strict no-log policy, meaning that no data will be recorded, leaked, and available for both first and third parties. The combination of a secure web browser and Private Internet Access VPN will let you browse the Internet without a feeling of being spied or targeted by criminals. 

No backups? No problem. Use a data recovery tool

If you wonder how data loss can occur, you should not look any further for answers – human errors, malware attacks, hardware failures, power cuts, natural disasters, or even simple negligence. In some cases, lost files are extremely important, and many straight out panic when such an unfortunate course of events happen. Due to this, you should always ensure that you prepare proper data backups on a regular basis.

If you were caught by surprise and did not have any backups to restore your files from, not everything is lost. Data Recovery Pro is one of the leading file recovery solutions you can find on the market – it is likely to restore even lost emails or data located on an external device.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

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References

  1. Reed says:
    April 3rd, 2017 at 3:45 am

    It think softonicstart.com search engine came along with movie player I have recently downloaded. But I removed it and followed your instructions. Everything came back to normal.

  2. Taina says:
    April 3rd, 2017 at 3:46 am

    another fake search engine.,..

  3. Jacob says:
    April 3rd, 2017 at 3:47 am

    You instructions worked for me! I deleted this hijacker within 15 minutes from my girlfriends computer!

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