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Remove StartFenster virus (Free Guide) - Removal Instructions

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

StartFenster virus is a questionable search engine that changes existing browser settings to cause unwanted redirects to ad-supported pages

StartFenster virusStartFenster virus is the potentially unwanted program that targets people online with advertising campaigns and tries to expose them to affiliated pages where data is tracked and advertisers can collect views for the later monetization. This is the domain that targets German-speaking users for the most part because even the StartFenster.com automatically goes to the StartFenster.de page and displays the same online search engine posing as a legitimate one. However, when you try to search for something, at least the first results list advertising pages, in most cases, related to the publisher of the browser hijacker itself. 

This is a potentially unwanted program that categorizes as a browser hijacker because once you encounter StartFenster.com virus your web browsing experience changes immediately. Homepage, new tab, new window, and default search engine preferences get changed to this page or any similar/associated domain, so every in-browser search shows result through this useless engine and Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer runs slower than usual due to additional toolbars, extensions, add-ons added behind your back.

Name StartFenster virus
Type Browser hijacker
Symptoms All browser search results get filled with commercial material like banners, in-text links, pop-ups, blinking boxes, and hyperlinks redirecting straight to advertising pages or PUP-distributing sites. Various in-browser content gets installed, and settings changed without any permission or users' knowledge
Distribution Freeware installations including PUPs are not disclosed fully, so the user allows extra downloads without even noticing, and the machine gets a cyber infection. Other PUPs can easily install hijackers, adware or rogue tools too
Main danger Ad-supported sites can access, track, and collect various information about the user and page visitors with the purpose of using that information in later malvertising campaigns.[1] Such data collecting issue can also lead to problems with your privacy and identity
Affects Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, or any other web browsers
Elimination You need to remove StartFenster virus from the machine fully by using the anti-malware program and fully scanning the system for all the malicious files
Tip for the system cleaning You should also run through the machine with a system optimization tool or a cleaner application that could indicate affected, damaged, or corrupted system files. Try ReimageIntego and make sure to fix the virus damage after the PUP elimination

StartFenster virus is the search platform that contains a few features and provides a few fields, categories of searches for the visitor. The main search box and all the additional functions may resemble a legitimate search engine, so people continue using the shady domain as their online searching tool. However, that is not a good idea because the more shady pages you click on and visit the more exposed to possibly malicious content you get. 

All those redirects, pop-ups, banners, and other content reroute the user to advertising pages and sites with questionable material, possibly involving malicious scripts and direct malware downloads. StartFenster virus developers are not responsible for the content you end up visiting because once a redirect is triggered the website that appears on your web browser is not associated with the PUP developers – Aller media. The company has not so great of a reputation because many users blame the marketing agency for distributing PUPs and obtaining control over browsers with those shady tools.

Unfortunately, there are tons of malicious pages you may end up visiting, and this is how your machine can get more affected by the serious infection. StartFenster hijack itself is not dangerous, but the more time you give this PUP on your machine the more malicious content you get exposed to and can infect your machine further without even noticing.

This is why we highly recommend focusing on StartFenster virus removal as soon as you notice the first PUP symptoms, so you can avoid further damage and infiltration of more dangerous cyber threats. Potentially unwanted programs have intrusive functions, frustrating features, but cannot damage the machine in a permanent way or leave the system corrupted and infected as more dangerous silent malware can.  StartFenster browser hijackerStartFenster virus is a potentially unwanted program that focuses on creating redirects because views and help collect data and make revenue. The content showed on the screen triggers redirects to shady sites and services, online pages. However, the StartFenster virus shows fake promotions for updates, downloads of tools or applications, can automatically start some of those downloads, so your machine gets more affected when such malicious executable or the program itself lands on the machine.

StartFenster virus is one of many PUPs that can end up on your device when you browse insecure sites online or rely on services like torrent networks. The browser hijacker itself can directly install shady applications like:

  • toolbars;
  • browser extensions;
  • addons or plugins;
  • bookmarks;
  • system tools.

In most cases, StartFenster virus itself is not easily detectable, so additional infiltrations and silent intruders can be found as malicious and potentially harmless to indicate that PUP is luring on your computer. Unfortunately, browser hijackers' symptoms don't end with browser interference. PUP appends files in Cookies, settings folders and can create new folders for the downloaded software like fake VLC player or FlashPlayer updates.

Another issue that should encourage you to remove StartFenster virus is the interference with essential files on the system. Some registry entries can get modified to make sure this hijacker is persistent and runs in more than one browser, gets launched after every reboot. You should run the system optimizer on the machine to repair those files without affecting anything else. You might achieve that with ReimageIntego.

As for the initial StartFenster.de removal, you need to rely on professional anti-malware tools, AV engines based on file-based detection and run a full check on the system. This way you can see all the potential threats and remove them automatically. Also, go to the end of this article to find a manual guide for PUP[2] removal and browser resetting.  StartFenster PUPStartFenster.de is the Germany-based domain that is posing as a search engine. This is a PUP related to advertisers and commercial content creators.

Pre-bundled shady applications spread on devices quick

Such infections that are based on affecting the web browsing tools are spreading around with the help of shady techniques involving other freeware installations. Third-party applications get bundled with freeware and when the user skips through installations steps shady program enters the system automatically because you agree to all the packed programs on the installation setup by choosing Recommended or Quick.

Browser hijackers sometimes also get installed by other PUPs automatically and start affecting the browsing activities as an additional function, so you need to check the machine fully to find all the shady programs. The best way to avoid such infections would be staying away from deceptive pages, torrent sites and choosing Advanced or Custom options every time you download anything from the web.

StartFenster virus needs to be removed using anti-malware tools to end the frustration completely

We cannot offer one solution for the StartFenster virus removal because each browser hijacker, adware or general PUP has particular features that affect each virus elimination and determines the required technique. Since this is a browser hijacker it affects your web browsing tools, so you should reset them to default to change all the settings back to normal.

If you try to get rid of StartFenster.de left changes yourself it may not give the best results because interfering with some settings may affect the performance but PUP remains running in the background still. Also, you need to eliminate all extensions, plugins, and toolbars to end all processes related to browser hijacking.

Also, as we mentioned and many experts[3] note you need to remove StartFenster virus as soon as possible due to data-tracking that ad-supported sites are known for. The more time you give the more affected your time online gets and the more personalized advertising content you receive.

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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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 StartFenster virus, follow these steps:

Delete StartFenster from Windows systems

Clean the system from any traces of the shady PUPs and StartFenster virus hijack

To remove StartFenster virus from Windows 10/8  machines, please follow these steps:

  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 entries related to StartFenster virus (or any other recently installed 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.

Remove StartFenster from Mac OS X system

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

Remove StartFenster virus from Applications folder:

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

Eliminate StartFenster from Internet Explorer (IE)

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 StartFenster virus 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 StartFenster virus removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Erase StartFenster virus 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 StartFenster virus-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

Get rid of StartFenster from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

You should go through your browsers and change those settings to default, eliminate any suspicious extensions or add-ons

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 plugins that are related to StartFenster virus and click Remove.Remove extensions from 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

In case StartFenster virus did not get removed after following the instructions above, 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 – this should complete StartFenster virus removal.Reset Firefox 2

Uninstall StartFenster from Google Chrome

Set the browser to default, so StartFenster virus is terminated completely

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 StartFenster virus 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

If the above-methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the StartFenster virus-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 to complete StartFenster virus removal.Reset Chrome 2

Delete StartFenster from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

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

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
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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