If you are here, it is probably because you’ve been faced with a big number of annoying ads, banners, and page-redirects. Various sponsored advertisements might have started appearing in your Chrome, Explorer, or Firefox browser, and may have started distracting you while you surf the web.

The will display pop up ads and messages

A change in the browser’s homepage, or in its main search engine may have also taken place without your approval. The most probable cause is a possible infection with a browser hijacker called A browser hijacker is a type of software that typically generates huge amounts of advertisements, and page-redirects during your web browsing.

CaptchaFilter top

The main problem with CaptchaFilter top, and the browser hijackers in general is that such programs may expose you to potential dangers through their constant pop-ups, and redirects to random sites. For instance, CaptchaFilter top may prompt you to click on different banners, coupon codes, and attractive-looking offers that may not always be reliable.

Though it can be quite annoying, and has most likely found its way into your computer with the assistance of some rather sneaky methods, such software shouldn’t be referred to as malware. Malware is harmful, and malicious – such programs are the viruses, the ransomware, and other dangerous pieces of software that will undoubtedly cause damage to your PC. A browser hijacker, however, is relatively harmless, and cannot corrupt your computer, or damage your files.

Having this distinction is important for your peace of mind, but we still do not advise you to let remain on your machine for long. Instead, we suggest you use the steps in the removal guide below, and carefully remove the program, and uninstall its browser changes.

And in the event that you click on a misleading link, or on a fake ad, you may end up installing something unwanted. Or even worse – you may immediately get infected with a virus as dangerous as a Ransomware or a Trojan Horse.

Of course, this isn’t always the case, but, in general, most security experts will tell you that interacting with the random ads a program like, iStart Search Bar, may display is not a good idea.

At the same time, such software is usually programmed to constantly display different paid ads, and sponsored redirect links on your screen in an attempt to make you click on them. And there usually is no way to stop this activity, or remove the nagging ads unless you fully uninstall the program that is generating them. Fortunately, with the help of the removal guide, and the professional removal tool which you can find below, eliminating the hijacker shouldn’t be that hard.

After you have successfully uninstalled the unwanted program from your device, however, you must think about reliable protection. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping away from dangerous websites, and avoiding sketchy download materials from open-source, or freeware platforms. The reason is, various harmful programs can be bundled in such installers and, if you don’t pay attention, you never know what you may land in your computer. That’s’ why our advice is to keep away from sketchy web locations, to pay attention to what you are about to install, and to always have a functioning antivirus on your computer.

TypeBrowser Hijacker
Detection Tool

anti-malware offerOFFER *Read more details in the first ad on this page, EULA, Privacy Policy, and full terms for Free Remover.

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If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide


Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.

Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).



Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous. 


Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:

Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users.
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    After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders. 

    Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections. 


    Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.


    You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.

    Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:


    Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.


    Hold the Start Key and R –  copy + paste the following and click OK:

    notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

    A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:

    hosts_opt (1)

    If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.

    Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.

    1. Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click  Properties.
    2. The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
    3. Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.

    • After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.

    Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.

    NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).


    Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove from Internet Explorer:

    Open IE, click  IE GEAR —–> Manage Add-ons.

    pic 3

    Find the threat —> Disable. Go to IE GEAR —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.

    firefox-512 Remove from Firefox:

    Open Firefoxclick  mozilla menu  ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.

    pic 6

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove from Chrome:

    Close Chrome. Navigate to:

     C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default

    Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.


    Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.

    Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random

    If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!


    About the author


    Lidia Howler

    Lidia is a web content creator with years of experience in the cyber-security sector. She helps readers with articles on malware removal and online security. Her strive for simplicity and well-researched information provides users with easy-to-follow It-related tips and step-by-step tutorials.

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