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Remove (Removal Guide) - May 2018 update

removal by Alice Woods - - | Type: Browser hijacker

ZapMeta is a browser hijacker that delivers altered results ad redirects its victims to sponsored websites redirect virus example

ZapMeta is a highly questionable search engine which is compatible with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, IE, and other web browsers. This search provider belongs to Visymo Universal Search Group and looks like a very trustworthy page. However, you can find instead of your homepage and the default search engine after installing other applications on your computer because of bundling.[1] If this redirect virus enters the system, it starts collecting NPII and starts showing various pop-ups according to victim's search habits. 

Name ZapMeta
Classification Browser hijacker, PUP
Developer Visymo Universal Search Group
Danger level Low. Does not initiate malicious activities, but can redirect web browser to potentially dangerous websites and display intrusive ads
Browsers affected Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari, Opera, etc.
Distribution Bundling
System's scan with Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego is the easiest way to get rid of ZapMeta

This potentially unwanted program is promoted as a metadata search engine, which filters search results provided by Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, YouTube, Wikipedia, Entireweb, and other search engines and displays the most optimal results. However, before falling for it, consider the fact that its previous users refer to it as ZapMeta virus.

In fact, this search belongs to the group of browser hijackers,[2] while AV engines detect it as PUP. Cybersecurity experts agree upon such classification because it spreads via freeware and corrupts web browser's settings without requiring user's approval properly.

In case you start page, and other browser's parameters have already been changed, and you do not appreciate that you can download Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego, run a scan with it, and initiate ZapMeta removal.

Despite the fact that this unwanted application is not malicious, it increases system's vulnerability and can foster malware infiltration. As pointed out by Visymo, the search might include links to third-party websites, but the company rejects responsibility for their content:

These sites can send there own cookies to users, collect data or ask for private information. Above all VISYMO wants to make it clear that it cannot guarantee anything about the way these websites deal with the privacy of there visitors.

Apart from misleading redirects, the tool might also use tracking cookies and web beacons for the analysis of user's browsing preferences. The company might seek for search queries, websites visited, bookmarks, clicks, and similar browsing-related data, though IP address, name, and email address might also be collected.

The PUP accumulates information and later transmits it to remote servers so that marketing specialists could prepare personalized ads. Thus, the longer you keep browser hijacker installed, the more ads may show up while you browse. Beware that the destination websites of the ads delivered by are unknown. By clicking on them, you risk being exposed to misleading online surveys, software download websites or even phishing sites.

To prevent unwanted consequences, remove ZapMeta from the system. Although this can be done manually (instructions below), we recommend using a reputable anti-malware tool because PUPs tend to install Browser Helper Objects and other PUPs. After the removal procedure is finished, navigate to the settings of the affected web browser and reset it. virus printscreen is a misleading search engine that can install via freeware and display links to suspicious third-party websites

Browser hijacker distribution peculiarities

Although third-party search sites are not malicious, they seek to generate profit from affiliate marketing. That's why they are often distributed bundled with freeware and shareware as “optional downloads.” This way, PC users agree to install them unintentionally and allow third-parties to drive visitors' traffic to their websites by injecting links into search results.

Bundling software distribution technique is not illegal. That's why various parties can freely use it. The main reason why people keep falling into the trap of bundling is an indirect disclosure of optional components.

If people choose Quick or Recommended installation, software bundle is unpacked, meaning that the whole package is installed by default.[3] security experts claim that the only way to extract and reject suspicious add-ons or extensions is to opt for Advanced or Custom installation option and remove check marks next to statements like “By clicking Next I agree to install ZapMeta search.”

Get rid of to stop misleading browser's redirects

ZapMeta removal is not a complicated procedure because this search engine is rather a potentially unwanted program than a virus. However, you should perform this task profoundly, so that all PUPs and related components are successfully wiped out from your computer. You can know that this process wasn't successful after finding this virus on your browser again after rebooting the system.

The easiest way to remove ZapMeta virus is to run an in-depth system's scan with a professional anti-malware program. All apps that can be helpful with this task are provided below. Nevertheless, those who prefer manual PUP elimination can rely on the guidelines that were designed by our team.

IMPORTANT: do not forget to reset web browser's settings once you uninstall ZapMeta. Otherwise, you won't be able to set the preferred search site and startup page.

You may remove virus damage with a help of Reimage Reimage Cleaner Intego. 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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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Supported versions Compatible with OS X Supported versions
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, follow these steps:

Get rid of from Windows systems

The following instructions explain how to get rid of browser hijacker-related programs:

  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 and related programs
    Here, look for 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 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 '' 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.

Remove from Mac OS X system

If this PUP infected your Mac, that's what you have to do to eliminate it:

  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 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'

Uninstall 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 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 removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again

Delete 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, should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

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

Erase from Google Chrome

As we have already pointed out, it's a must to reset web browser as soon as you uninstall hijacker. Otherwise, you won't be able to set Google or another search as default.

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

Get rid of 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 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, 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 removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Likes to teach users about virus prevention

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