browser hijacker (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge) - spam browser hijacker Removal Guide

What is browser hijacker? is the site that should provide improved search results as it claims, but this is a questionable browser app

Vanilla-search.comThe search engine might seem useful, but there are various issues that using this as a go-to search can create browser hijacker is the potentially unwanted program that causes redirects and shows more advertisement content than normal search results. It is intrusive and can cause exposure to dangerous online pages. Hence it is considered potentially dangerous.[1] Common symptoms include changed browser preferences and speed issues when a particular browser hijacker is installed on a computer. These problems indicate the PUP-type infection that is triggering unwanted activities with your web browsing tools. Unfortunately, these apps are not installed willingly in most cases.

Your web search queries get redirected through this site out of nowhere, and then it displays ads as layers on the screen; it could also mean that an extension or a PUP program has been added without your knowledge. In many cases, these applications come without your interaction during software installs and start with the changes. The worst thing about the search hijacker is the fact that this program is the one that alters how you access certain websites. It significantly diminished the time on the internet.

Type Browser hijacker, redirect, fake search engine
Category Potentially unwanted program
Symptoms The browsing process gets affected by redirects, and constant commercial content delivery, homepage, default search engine, new tab, new page preferences get altered. Hijacker injects various ads to the list of search results
Distribution Freeware installations result in PUP infections, deceptive online material, and other programs like this can trigger the drop of an unwanted application
Removal Anti-malware tools can help with eliminating any of the intruders
Repair Try to run the program like FortectIntego to clear any damaged pieces

The computer could be redirected to an unknown web page if you are viewing the site with a browser hijacker. This is because these apps will replace your original, intended search engine, reroutes all the search attempts via, and injects links, pop-ups, banners with promotional material. The result can either lead back to potentially unwanted sites or, worse, to redirect to malicious pages or malware-delivering platforms.[2]

Reasons why you encounter the hijacker

If redirects appear often and you see all the preferences altered – a suspicious browser extension or program is installed on your computer. This could be because of misleading advertisements; deceptive content is one of the methods used by hackers to get their software onto computers without permission from the user. Experts[3] always not that torrents, pirating, and random ads can deliver PUP or malware to your machine.

When you perform a search through, you get redirected to the results from Yahoo!, Bing, or Google Custom Search that provide links and ads themselves. This third-party content cannot be safe. You’ll also be shown with annoying pop-ups! The developers of this app do it just so they can make some money off those pesky advertisements on their site. Banners, pop-ups, hyperlinks, other content can trigger more reroutes to advertisements. hijackerBrowser hijackers can track and collect various details about the user and his or her habits while browsing

Unfortunately, it is a browser-based intruder that acts intrusive and annoying on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, other web browsing apps. This behavior is not gonna stop until the main PUP is terminated. However, the program you need to get rid of is hidden in the system. Get SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes and remove the intruder entirely with the help of a full system scan.

Unfortunately, there is data tracking going on as well (IP addresses; URLs visited; etc). These features are included on these commercial sites besides the search hijacker. is related to various third parties, so content is having cookies and other tracking methods and can lead to privacy issues.

Identity theft and personalized advertising campaigns can be the consequence of the PUP infection, so you must remove the hijacker as soon as it is possible. When the machine gets fully cleared, you can be calmer that the tracking is not happening so aggressively, but sometimes browsers still behave intrusively.

This is why you should clear the web browser manually. Since the most affected is the one that is popular, you can see the guide for Chrome. However, below the article is the full list of tips for other browsers that might affect.

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 the unwanted program 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

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted 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.Reset Chrome 2

Avoiding misleading content and keeping from PUP infiltrations browser hijacker is the application that can be added to the machine on purpose because of the platforms where this piece is promoted as a useful and needed addition to your browsing experience. If the person falls for these advertising tricks the browser-based intruder gets installed. However, people get frustrated even more when the piece is not providing any positives.

This is disappointing because people expect to get a great program and gets advertisements, redirects. Nevertheless, there are additional issues with the PUP because the common way of distribution also includes deceptive pages, torrent sites, pirating services, and other deceptive techniques.

We always warn about the danger of browsing without caution. If you get exposed to commercial content and do not pay enough attention to details, you can allow the PUP without noticing. Internet ads are often related to third parties, questionable platforms. The browser hijacker developers cannot control the content you may end up viewing there, neither do you.

It is possible to avoid infiltrations like this and stay away from any suspicious engines like You need to trust only official websites and developers of the applications that directly distribute their software and other tools on trustworthy sites or official app stores.

Anything gotten from ransom pop-up ads or pirating platforms can include pre-bundled applications, and during such freeware installations, you receive a bunch of useless apps besides the one that you intended to get. Choose Advanced or Custom options, check the list of programs promoted, and make sure to de-select anything even remotely suspicious. This is the way. Otherwise, you allow all intruders to get downloaded, and programs like Vanilla Search immediately affect the performance. Also, keeping AV tools on the PC is beneficial in many ways.

You may remove virus damage with a help of FortectIntego. 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.

do it now!
Fortect Happiness
Intego Happiness
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect 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 Fortect, 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.

Getting rid of browser hijacker. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  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 the entry of the 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.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

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

Remove 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 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

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the 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 Delete Advanced 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” -Verbose Advanced 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, search 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

Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

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 unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Settings.
  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

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, 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. Reset Firefox 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension 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 browser hijacker 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: FortectIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

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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