Remove Defend Search (Chrome/Mac) Feb. 2019 Update

This page aims to help you remove Defend Search. Our removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, as well as every version of Windows and MacOS.

A very annoying application has recently been reported and a number of users have asked us to help them uninstall it in order to stop their browser from spamming them with ads. If you are one of these users who have issues with Defend Search and your regular browsing experience has been heavily disturbed by its activity, on this page, you will find an effective removal guide which will help you to uninstall it. Defend Search is yet another new addition to the browser hijacker category and as such it may place some unauthorized modifications to your main browser and alter the way it operates in a rather unwanted way. For instance, this hijacker may force your Chrome, Explorer, Firefox (or practically any other browser) to display various sponsored links, ads, pop-ups, banners and redirect messages on your screen and also change its search engine tool, homepage address and its toolbar settings (or maybe replace the whole toolbar).

The users who have never faced a browser hijacker like this before may easily mistake those changes for some virus-triggered actions and may get quite frustrated and panicked. If you also are unsure about the nature of Defend Search, you may find it relieving to read that this software does not belong to any malware category and lacks the malicious features of threats like Trojans, Ransomware or other problematic viruses. In fact, it is relatively easy to remove such software from your system and uninstall its changes without facing any negative consequences after that. Once the hijacker has been eliminated completely, all the ads, new browser components and any unresponsiveness, sluggishness or crashes related to its ad-generating and page-redirecting activity will also disappear.

What can be done to prevent your browser from spamming you with ads?

If you don’t want to have your screen spammed with ads and different sponsored messages every now and then, it is important to learn how to avoid browser hijackers like Defend Search and how to prevent them from becoming part of your system. Most ad-generating applications get distributed via methods such as software bundling, free downloads, torrents, spam messages, emails and software updates. However, they do not really “infect” your computer as is the case with most viruses and malware threats (ones like Ransomware or Trojans). That’s why you can effectively prevent a hijacker’s installation by simply avoiding their sources and by paying close attention when installing new software on your PC. Oftentimes, applications like Defend Search may be bundled as free or bonus components inside the installer of other programs or update kits and the settings related to them may be found under the advanced or the custom menu. To stop them from getting installed inside your system you just have to manually disable them from the given options and they will not come to disturb you.


Name Defend Search
Type  Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms The aggressive generation of various ads, automatic page-redirects and browser changes can easily give this browser hijacker away. 
Distribution Method This software usually distributes itself in a bundle with other programs, in torrents, via ads, spam messages, freeware sites.

Remove Defend Search

Android user, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

Mac user, please use our Mac Malware Removal guide.

The following guide will help our readers get rid of the unpleasant Defend Search software. Follow the instructions and complete each step for best results. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them using our comment section down below.

Preparation: Entering Safe Mode and Revealing Hidden Files and Folders

Before you proceed with the actual removal instructions, you will need to take two extra steps in order to ensure that the guide has maximum effect.

For best results, we advise our readers to boot into Safe Mode prior to attempting to remove the virus. If you do not know how to do that, here is a separate How to Enter Safe Mode guide.

Also, in order to be able to see any potentially undesirable files, you should reveal any hidden files and folders on your PC – here is how to do that.

Removing Defend Search

Step 1: Checking the Task Manager

Open your Task Manager by using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys and go to the Processes tab. Look for any suspicious processes. For example, any unfamiliar process that uses high amounts of RAM and/or CPU. If you aren’t sure if a certain process comes from malware, tell us in the comments.

Right-click on any process that you consider shady and select Open File Location. Delete anything from the file location of the process.


Step 2: Disabling Startup programs

Use the Winkey + R keyboard combination to open the Run search bar and type msconfig. Hit Enter and in the newly opened window, go to the Startup tab. There, look for suspicious entries with unknown manufacturer or ones that have the name Defend Search on them. Right-click on those, and select disable.

Step 3: Uninstalling unwanted programs

Go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Click on Installed On to sort the entries by date from most recent to oldest and look through the programs that come at the top of the list. Right-click on any entries that appear shady and unwanted and then select Uninstall to remove them from your PC. If you see the name Defend Search in the list of programs, be sure to remove the software without hesitation.

Step 4: Checking for shady IP’s

Open your Start Menu and copy-paste notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts in the search bar. In the notepad file, look below Localhost and see if there are any IP addresses there. If there are some, send them to us in the comments and we will tell you if you should take any action.


Step 5: Cleaning-up the browsers

You will also have to uninstall any undesirable browser extensions from your browser programs. Here’s how to do that for some of the more popular browsers:


Open Chrome and open its main menu. Go to More Tools > Extensions. Look through the list of extensions and uninstall any that you think could be suspicious. To remove them – click on the trash can icon next to each extension.

You can also use a specialized Chrome CleanUp tool if you cannot manually remove a certain extension. Here is an article where you can learn more about the CleanUp tool.


Open Firefox and go to its Menu. Select the Add-ons button.From the left panel, select Extensions and take a look at the different entries. Remove any of the that might be unwanted.


Once you open your IE browser, click on the Tools button at the top-right corner of the program and from the drop-down menu select Manage Add-ons. Check each one of the four different groups of add-ons and search for anything that seems undesirable. If you find anything, click on it and them select Remove.


Open the main menu of Microsoft Edge and go to Extensions. Find the extensions that you believe could be unwanted and right-click on them. Then, select Uninstall.

Step 6: Checking the Registry Editor

Open the Run search bar again and type regedit in it. Hit Enter and once the Registry Editor opens press Ctrl + F. In the search field type Defend Search and click on Find Next. Tell us in the comments if any results came up when you searched for Defend Search in your PC’s Registry.


Step 7: Deleting recent entries

For this step, you will have to open your Start Menu and copy-paste the following lines, one by one:

  • %AppData%
  • %LocalAppData%
  • %ProgramData%
  • %WinDir%
  • %Temp%

Hit Enter after each one to open a file directory. In the directories, delete the most recent entries that you find there. In the Temp folder, delete all files.

Step 8: System Restore

In order to be fully sure that the unwanted software has been removed from your machine, you can also try using a Restore Point to roll back your system its last stable configuration. However, in order to do that, you would have to previously had had a restore point created. On most systems, such points get created automatically but this isn’t always the case.

  • If you want to learn how to configure System Restore and how to manually create Restore Points, follow this link.

  1. Open your Start Menu and type System Restore.
  2. Click on the first result – a setup wizard should open.
  3. Read the brief description of the process and select Next.
  4. Now, choose a restore from the presented list. You can also check the Show more restore points option in order to reveal any other restore points that might be saved on your PC.
  5. Click on Scan for affected programs to see what programs will get deleted or restored after you use the Restore Point. (optional)
  6. Click on next and take and then select Finish.
  7. A warning window will appear telling you that once the process starts, it shouldn’t be interrupted. Select Yes and be patient as this might take some time. Do not do anything on your PC throughout the duration of the process.

Step 9: Windows Refresh/Reset

Use this method only if nothing else has worked so far as it is a last resort option. If you do not know how to do it, this separate guide will give you the information that you need.

Daniel Sadakov has a degree in Information Technology and specializes in web and mobile cyber security. He harbors a strong detestation for anything and everything malicious and has committed his resources and time to battling all manners of web and mobile threats. He has founded, a website dedicated to covering the top tech stories and providing useful tips for the everyday user, in an effort to reach and help more people.

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