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Remove StartXXL virus (Tutorial) - Virus Removal Instructions

removal by Jake Doevan - - | Type: Browser hijacker

StartXXL.com start page informs about a browser-hijacking attack

Screnshot of StartXXL search engine

StartXXL.com is a browser hijacker that is designed to infect Firefox browsers by installing a questionable add-on into them. Many German[1] computer users report that this add-on appeared on their browsers out of nowhere. Besides, this browser hijacker alters homepage and default search engine settings, adding hxxp://StartXXL.com value to them. This website offers a deceptive search engine that you shouldn't trust.

The potentially unwanted program (PUP)[2] is available on official Mozilla’s add-ons website. However, due to the ability to infiltrate the system silently, it is often referred as the StartXXL virus. However, we want to stress out that technically it’s not a computer virus. This program cannot cause any direct damage to your computer.

However, the appearance of StartXXL.com on your homepage should not be tolerated. The problem with the hijacker is that it might redirect users to potentially dangerous websites. Thus, searching the web using this tool is not recommended.

StartXXL allows searching in web, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia. However, the problems begin in the results page. When you click a necessary search result, you might be redirected to an unknown website. The program uses its own database, so it might not only trick you into visiting suspicious sites but also provide altered search results.

These StartXXL redirect issues are useful for the developers. By redirecting you to third-party websites, they generate revenue. They might also profit from online advertising by delivering lots of online ads on Firefox. However, this commercial content might be dangerous or malicious.

We do not recommend using this problem because you might be forced to visit scam, phishing of infected websites. If this shady search engine appeared on the startup page, you should get rid of it immediately. The best way to remove StartXXL is to employ ReimageIntego or another anti-malware and run a full system scan.

However, if automatic StartXXL removal is not the only way to uninstall the hijacker. You can also terminate the hijacker manually by following illustrated instructions at the end of the article.

The picture of StartXXL virusStartXXL virus works as a browser hijacker and might replace Firefox's default search engine.

Firefox can be compromised after installation of bundled software

As we have mentioned before, StartXXL browser extension is available on Firefox add-ons website. However, direct downloads are not the main way how this PUP spreads. Bundling is the primary strategy used for hijacker’s distribution.[3]

This method allows adding hijacker as an optional component in software packages. Every time you download freeware, you have to make sure that you’re installing a single program, not a bundle. You can do it by following these simple steps:

  1. Choose “Advanced” or “Custom” installation settings instead of “Quick” or “Recommended.”
  2. Read Terms of Use, EULA, Privacy Policy or other provided documents to make sure that you do not agree with some shady or risky terms. If these docs are not included, do not install this software.
  3. Unmark all pre-selected additional programs that are offered to download with a primary software.
  4. Remove marks from pre-selected agreements to change your search provider.

Remove StartXXL.com from Mozilla Firefox

In order to remove StartXXL.com from the startup page, you have to uninstall this suspicious add from the browser:

  1. Go to Firefox menu
  2. Access Tools.
  3. Click Add-ons and remove the extension.
  4. Reset Firefox settings.

However, if manual StartXXL removal is unsuccessful, and you cannot uninstall the add-on, you should also check the list of programs installed on your PC. Sometimes PUPs install additional components to the system to avoid elimination. You can find manual elimination guidelines 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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Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
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Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

To remove StartXXL virus, follow these steps:

Delete StartXXL from Windows systems

Make sure that any programs related to StartXXL were not installed to the PC without your knowledge.

  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 StartXXL and related programs
    Here, look for StartXXL 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 StartXXL 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.

Erase StartXXL from Mac OS X system

Check your Apps to make sure that any suspicious entries were not installed on your Mac:

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

Remove StartXXL from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of StartXXL 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 StartXXL 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 StartXXL removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Eliminate StartXXL 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 StartXXL-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 StartXXL from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Access the list of add-ons and uninstall StartXXL as an ordinary extension. Then reset the browser in order to delete tracking cookies and other hijacker-related entries. Finally, you will be able to eliminate StartXXL.com and set your preferred search engine as default one.

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

Remove StartXXL from Google Chrome

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

Delete StartXXL 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 StartXXL 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 StartXXL, 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 StartXXL removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Choose a proper web browser and improve your safety with a VPN tool

Online spying has got momentum in recent years and people are getting more and more interested in how to protect their privacy online. One of the basic means to add a layer of security – choose the most private and secure web browser. Although web browsers can't grant full privacy protection and security, some of them are much better at sandboxing, HTTPS upgrading, active content blocking, tracking blocking, phishing protection, and similar privacy-oriented features. However, if you want true anonymity, we suggest you employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN – it can encrypt all the traffic that comes and goes out of your computer, preventing tracking completely.

 

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While some files located on any computer are replaceable or useless, others can be extremely valuable. Family photos, work documents, school projects – these are types of files that we don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many ways how unexpected data loss can occur: power cuts, Blue Screen of Death errors, hardware failures, crypto-malware attack, or even accidental deletion.

To ensure that all the files remain intact, you should prepare regular data backups. You can choose cloud-based or physical copies you could restore from later in case of a disaster. If your backups were lost as well or you never bothered to prepare any, Data Recovery Pro can be your only hope to retrieve your invaluable files.

About the author
Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

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