Severity scale:  
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TheGameSearcher. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Lucia Danes - - | Type: Adware

TheGameSearcher – an adware program causing non-stop ads instead of providing access to free games

A picture of TheGameSearcher redirect virus

TheGameSearcher is the name of an application that presents itself as a provider of free online games. However, such description is implicit as its developers do not reveal the fact that it may cause Google Chrome's redirects via feed.thegamesearch.com server, display Yahoo-based search results, and generate unwanted third-party ads.[1]

Security experts agree upon the fact that TheGameSearcher virus belongs to the group of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs),[2] while the question whether it's an adware or browser hijacker is debatable. However, we consider this extension as a hijacker because it tends to replace Chrome's start page and search provider. Usually, it sets feed.thegamesearch.com URL as a default start page and returns Yahoo search results.

Although people may find this app useful or at least not dangerous, the truth is that it initiates various system's modifications right after installation and starts doubtful marketing campaigns. For example, it installs itself into the list of boot problems and schedules itself to run automatically when the system is booted. Consequently, people may notice a prolonged boot-time or sluggish web browser's performance. That's one of the reasons why TheGameSearcher removal is recommended.

Despite that, this extension should not be treated as a virus. System's slowdowns, browser's unresponsiveness, and similar issues related to PC's performance are only the side effects that TheGameSearcher redirects virus causes. Its primary intention is to make people visit particular domains, thus increasing their visitor's rate. Besides, it may help its developers to generate pay-per-click[3] revenue, which is why people may start receiving loads of pop-up ads.

Privacy security is yet another issue that should prompt you to remove TheGameSearcher virus. According to its developers (unspecified), the app is set to accumulate personally non-identifiable information, including “type of browser, the type of the user's device and technical information about the user's device, language preferences, time stamps, clicks and visited pages, search logs.” However, previous practice with browser hijackers shows that tracking cookies often transfer information, such as name, email address, geo-location, and browsing history as well.

In a nutshell, this application is neither a virus nor useful application. It's somewhere in between, but because of unwanted browser's changes, redirects, ads, and exploitation of cookies, security experts recommend people to eliminate TheGameSearcher from the system. The fastest and securest way to do that is to use a powerful anti-malware, for example Reimage.

Hasty installation of free app can lead to PUP infiltration

This browser extension has an official website and can be downloaded directly from it. However, people seldom download it purposely. Usually, it is promoted as an additional installer of the free program and installed on the system without requiring user's permission directly.

Potentially unwanted installers are typically disguised, so the PC's user has to select Advanced installation method to see them. More often than not, quick installation does not indicate what add-on or extensions are going to be installed alongside the main app. To prevent this from happening, you should download a professional antivirus program and update it regularly. Usually, they recognize PUPs easily and warn people about them.

In addition to freeware bundles, browser hijackers and adware programs can also spread via suspicious ads or people may stumble upon their installers after being redirected to doubtful third-party domains.

Get rid of TheGameSearcher to prevent redirects to suspicious domains

TheGameSearcher virus starts running several processes on Task Manager and installs a couple of .exe files among legitimate system's files. Besides, the installation enabled the browser's extension that is the reason why Google Chrome keeps redirecting to feed.thegamesearch.com and promoting Yahoo search.

The main reason why it's advisable to remove TheGameSearcher is the websites that it may be promoting. Since it's affiliate with various third parties, some of the web domains may be fake or even dangerous. Luckily, TheGameSearcher removal is not a difficult task. You can delete it automatically with the help of Reimage or follow the instructions submitted by 2-Spyware experts.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they 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 security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove TheGameSearcher, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall TheGameSearcher from Windows systems

To get rid of TheGameSearcher malware from Windows, open Control Panel and eliminate all suspicious apps from it:

  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 TheGameSearcher and related programs
    Here, look for TheGameSearcher 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete TheGameSearcher from Mac OS X system

TheGameSearcher redirect virus canalso target Mac OS X users. If you are one of them, the following instructions may be helpful for you:

  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 TheGameSearcher 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'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate TheGameSearcher 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 TheGameSearcher 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 TheGameSearcher removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of TheGameSearcher 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, TheGameSearcher should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove TheGameSearcher 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 TheGameSearcher 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. 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'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete TheGameSearcher removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase TheGameSearcher from Google Chrome

Currently, TheGameSearcher virus affects Google Chrome browser only. Thus, to fully eliminate this PUP from the system, don't forget to reset 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 TheGameSearcher 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. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. 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
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete TheGameSearcher removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall TheGameSearcher 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 TheGameSearcher or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. 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...'
  4. 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 TheGameSearcher removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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