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Remove Universalsearches.com virus (Virus Removal Instructions)

removal by Linas Kiguolis - - | Type: Browser hijacker

Universalsearches.com seems to be a normal search engine at the first glance. However, the background of this search engine is shady, and you should not rely on this website. We have found out that this website is associated with Universalsearches.com browser hijacker, which is a potentially unwanted program (PUP). Unfortunately, it is not a good program, so if Universal Searches website has replaced you browser’s homepage all of sudden, you should read this article to find out some relevant information about it.

Why is Universalsearches.com dangerous?

Universalsearches.com is distributed via modified software installers, or, in other words, it is spread via bundling method. Once it enters victim’s computer system, it adds dubious browser add-ons on the most popular web browsers – Mozilla Firefox, IE, or Google Chrome. Of course, it can affect only those Internet browsers that are installed on the victim’s PC. Once the add-on is active, it changes your homepage to Universalsearches.com. This add-on also tracks whatever you are doing on the Internet – when you are using the aforementioned site and also when you are browsing other websites as well. It tracks what websites you most frequently visited, also what were you looking for (it tracks what data you enter into the websites you visit and also record the search terms that you use). Such information is required to interpret what your interests are and then select targeted ads for you.

Universalsearches.com hijack

The search engine that Universalsearches.com browser hijacker provides is corrupted, and you should not consider using it. It aims to display deceptive search results and make you click on them. So when you enter some search keywords to the Universalsearches.com search bar and hit ‘Search,’ you will receive regularly looking search results with some sponsored search outcomes. Everything looks safe until you decide to click on one of the search outcomes. This is where Universalsearches.com redirects occur.

Questions about Universalsearches.com virus

You should know that Universalsearches.com hijacker provides altered search results that are supplemented with hyperlinks that cause redirects to Universalsearches.com’s partners’ websites. These sites are considered to be unreliable! While part of the related sites are safe, the other part might be malicious. We do not recommend you to browse through websites that you accidentally land of; they might be filled with infectious content, and one click on a corrupted link can automatically start a download of a malicious file. To avoid such risks, we highly advise you to secure your computer with anti-malware software, e.g. ReimageIntego.

Was it my fault that Universalsearches.com was installed?

Correct! You might be surprised to find that out, but yes, computer users usually DO agree to install browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted apps. However, they do not realize that they DO agree to install PUPs by choosing Default or Standard installation mode whenever they install ANY free program to their computer.

You must take note that PUPs are spread via bundling technique, which allows incorporating free programs with other apps. So at any time you download a free program from the Internet, you have to check whether it has some optional apps attached to it or not. The easiest way to do it is to select Advanced/Custom installation settings. If your selected software promotes third-party applications, you should receive a list of suggestions to install them. To avoid installing them, deselect such statements.

To find out how to UNINSTALL this suspicious PUP, study the manual Universalsearches.com removal guide that is provided on page 2.

How to uninstall this software?

There is no doubt that the discussed browser add-on makes user’s browsing experience unpleasant. It does not only initiate arbitrary activities on the affected PC but also slows it down. We are sure that you do not need such interferences in your life. Anyway, you should not worry about Universalsearches.com virus because it can be terminated quite easily. We have already mentioned one removal method on page 1 – you can remove Universalsearches.com redirect virus automatically, using the anti-malware program. Alternatively, we want to provide a manual removal guide for you, so you can delete this browser hijacker by yourself. The removal guide is provided 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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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 Universalsearches.com virus, follow these steps:

Erase Universalsearches.com from Windows systems

  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 Universalsearches.com and related programs
    Here, look for Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.com from Mac OS X system

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

Remove Universalsearches.com from Applications folder:

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

Get rid of Universalsearches.com 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 Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.com removal.Reset Internet Explorer

Uninstall Universalsearches.com 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 Universalsearches.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

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

Remove Universalsearches.com 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 Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.com removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal

Erase Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.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 Universalsearches.com removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Expert in social media

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  1. yzzo says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Universalsearches.com is not good at all. this article is accurate; i have been infected with Universalsearches.com virus and i can agree that everything what is stated on this article is true. get rid of Universalsearches.com as soon as you can!

  2. Marthin says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I can just wonder what would have happened if I wouldnt have noticed these weird changes on my pc. This virus collects hella a lot information! Just got rid of it. Happy!

  3. Henry says:
    January 27th, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I need help? Stuck with the safari browser. Cannot find this extension on it!

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