If the number of ads you get displayed while browsing the Internet has recently become suspiciously high and if you are frequently faced with an unpleasant -age-redirecting activity that lands you on different promotional websites, online stores or other Internet addresses that you weren’t really trying to visit at the moment, then you likely have recently had a piece of software of the browser hijacker family installed on your machine and this is now the main reason behind the irritation that you are facing. A hijacker, fortunately, is nothing to be afraid of – it may try to spam you with nagging advertisements and open different pages on your screen during your browsing time but it is no Trojan or Ransomware or some other similar threat. Hijackers are also known to change the search engines and the starting pages of browsers such as Firefox, Edge, Chrome, Safari and others but this is not something that would directly harm your system in any way.
Still, there is no denying that it can be very annoying to have this sort of activity going on inside your computer and this is why you will likely find the guide that we are about to present you with really helpful. It includes instructions on how to take care of one of the most irritating hijacker apps that are currently getting distributed throughout the Internet. The app’s name is Defendsearch.com and the guide below will give you information on how to uninstall it from your browser and remove it from your computer ensuring that there’s nothing left from it in your system. Also, in case you feel like you may not be able to accurately complete each and every step in the guide, bear in mind that the removal tool linked below is also a great method of eradicating any browser hijacker including Defendsearch.com so give it a try if you want.
Remove Defendsearch.com “Malware”
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 Defendsearch.com 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.
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 Defendsearch.com 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 Defendsearch.com 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 Defendsearch.com and click on Find Next. Tell us in the comments if any results came up when you searched for Defendsearch.com 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:
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.
- Open your Start Menu and type System Restore.
- Click on the first result – a setup wizard should open.
- Read the brief description of the process and select Next.
- 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.
- Click on Scan for affected programs to see what programs will get deleted or restored after you use the Restore Point. (optional)
- Click on next and take and then select Finish.
- 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.
Some things you should know about browser hijackers and the hazards related to them
In and of themselves, software components like Defendsearch.com are unlikely to harm your system target your data – that is not their purpose and in the majority of cases the browser hijackers are actually allowed from a legal standpoint. However, a big problem with them, aside from the obvious one (the irritation from the ads, the redirects and the unwanted browser changes), is the unverified quality and reliability of the promotional contents that such software could show on your screen. Maybe you have noticed if you have clicked on any of the ads that not all of them are linked to what they appear to advertise. It is, therefore, possible that clicking on the different banners, pop-ups and blinking boxes may actually land you on all sorts of sketchy and fishy sites, some of which may expose your computer to real danger. Because of this, it is inadvisable that you interact with anything promotional that gets displayed inside your browser while Defendsearch.com is still there. This is also why we advise you to take care of the hijacker irritation by using our guide and removing the pesky app once and for all.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Typical symptoms of a hijacker invasion are the changes made to the browser and the sudden page redirects that are likely to nag you every now and then.|
|Distribution Method||A hijacker would normally get added to another program’s installation wizard and would thus get installed alongside the said program.|
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 MobileSecurityZone.com, 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.