Charmsearching is an unwanted browser add-on that changes the browser’s homepage to the fake search engine without user permission. Charmsearching is another version of the Charming Tab browser hijacker and it seeks to gather user browsing data and sell it to undisclosed third-parties.




The Charmsearching Virus

The Charmsearching browser extension is compatible with most browsers so it isn’t restricted by any compatibility limitations. You can get it on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Mac users can also get it on their Safari browsers. Charmsearching, though considered malware by most users and researchers, is not all that dangerous in and of itself. The true danger comes from its page-redirects that occur whenever you try to perform an online search. Since Charmsearching changes the homepage and the default search engine of the browser to, every time you use the omnibar of your browser to conduct an online search, the browser would use Charmsearching as its default search engine to preform the search. However, since this is a fake search engine that doesn’t actually have any functionality, the user is quickly taken to a legitimate search engine such as Bing or Yahoo. Such redirects allow the creators of the hijacker to earn money from commissions for sending people the legitimate search engine. During the redirect, the browser could sometimes be rapidly taken through a series of intermediate addresses, all of which gather data from your browser. Those addresses are from sham websites the sole purpose of which is to generate revenue through artificial user visits like the ones that are caused by browser hijackers such as Charmsearching.

The Charmsearching virus

The Charmsearching virus is an unwanted browser element that can get installed in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari and forcefully replace the homepage and the search engine. The Charmsearching virus is unable to directly harm your system but the changes it introduces could be dangerous.

It is never a good thing to have an unwanted element installed in the browser that can freely page-redirect you without your permission. In most cases, the developers of such software are after the information they could get from the infected browsers because that info can be sold to online advertisers for serious profits or directly used to show you targeted ads by the creators of the hijacker. Despite this, the sites you may end up getting redirected to by software like Charmsearching could oftentimes be misleading or outright fake. It’s even possible to get sent to a site filled with malware threats that can infect your PC with more serious dangers including Trojans, Spyware, and Ransomware. Before you know it, your PC might be swarming with malicious programs that are way more problematic and harmful than Charmsearching itself.

What is Charmsearching?

Charmseraching is a sham search engine that gets enforced in the browser by a rogue browser extension. The only way to remove the Charmsearching search engine from your browser for good is to first get rid of the rogue extension that brought it there.

As we already pointed out, there are quite a few dangers and risks associated with keeping a rogue software such as Charmsearching attached to your browser. However, we also understand that it could oftentimes be rather tricky to get rid of such software without external help. This is why we offer you a detailed removal guide with steps on how to clean your system and browser from Charmsearching so that it no longer bothers you with its sudden redirects and so that you’d be able to restore the search engine that you actually want to use as the browser’s default. The guide that we have prepared for you includes instructions for both Windows and Mac seeing as how Charmseraching seems to be compatible with both operating systems.


Name Charmsearching
Type Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

Remove Charmsearching

To remove Charmsearching, you will first have to find the software in your computer and delete it from there. The next thing you should do to fully remove Charmsearching is go to your browser’s extensions page, find the hijacker extension and delete it.

The current guide is divided into two sections – the first one focuses on removing Charmsearching from Windows and the second one shows how you can uninstall the browser hijacker from Mac. Use the instructions that correspond to your device and operating system and make sure to complete all of them in the order they are shown.

If you are a Mac user and have Chrome or Firefox installed on your computer, you can use the instructions for cleaning Firefox and Chrome shown in the Windows section of the guide since cleaning those browsers is done in pretty much the same way for Mac as it is for Windows.

How to remove Charmsearching 

To remove Charmsearching from your Windows computer, we suggest doing the following:

  1. Go to the Control Panel from your Start Menu and select Uninstall a Program.
  2. If you see Charmsearching in the list, click on it and then click on Uninstall.
  3. Complete the steps from the uninstallation wizard to remove Charmsearching.
  4. Go to the affected browser, select its menu, and go to Extensions/Add-ons and delete the Charmsearching extension.

Detailed steps

  1. Click on the Start Menu or press the Winkey and type in the search box below the Start Menu “Uninstall a Program“.
  2. Select the first icon shown in the results and try to find the entry for Charmsearching in the shown list of programs and apps.
  3. If you don’t see a Charmsearching entry, look for other recently installed items that are unfamiliar or have unusual names.
  4. If you spot an item that looks suspicious to you and you think it may be linked to Charmsearching, select it and click on Uninstall (at the top of the window).
    Uninstall A Program
  5. Follow the on-screen steps from the uninstallation wizard and make sure that the uninstaller is set to delete everything related to Charmsearching, including any personalized settings.
  6. Once the uninstallation finishes, go press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and open the Processes tab.
  7. If you see there an entry with the name Charmsearching, select it with the right-click of the mouse and open its file location.
  8. If you didn’t see a process with the Charmsearching name, look for other ones that look suspicious or unfamiliar as well as ones consuming too much RAM or CPU. If you are uncertain about a suspected process, look up its name – this should reveal more information about the process and hopefully let you know if it could be connected to Charmsearching.
  9. In the File Location folder, use the free scanner included below to scan the files and if a file is flagged as malware, go to the suspected process in the Task manager, select it, and click on End Process.
    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.
    This file is not matched with any known malware in the database. You can either do a full real-time scan of the file or skip it to upload a new file. Doing a full scan with 64 antivirus programs can take up to 3-4 minutes per file.
    Drag and Drop File Here To Scan
    Drag and Drop File Here To Scan
    Analyzing 0 s
    Each file will be scanned with up to 64 antivirus programs to ensure maximum accuracy
      This scanner is based on VirusTotal's API. By submitting data to it, you agree to their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and to the sharing of your sample submission with the security community. Please do not submit files with personal information if you do not want them to be shared.
    • Then return to the file location and delete the entire folder. If you aren’t allowed to do that and an error pops up when you try to remove the folder, open the folder, delete everything that you can in it and leave the rest for the end, at which point you should be able to delete the remaining files and the folder.
    • Press Winkey + R and type msconfig in the Run window.
    • Press Enter to open System Configuration and go to the Startup tab.
    • If any of the items there are unknown to you or seem connected to Charmsearching, remove their ticks and then click on Apply.msconfig_opt
      • Items listed with unknown developers/manufacturers should be unticked too unless you know and trust the program that they are related to.
    • Select OK when you have unchecked all suspicious items in System Configuration and then copy paste this next line in the Start Menu: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts.
    • Open the notepad file that shows up and see if there are lines of text written below the LocalHost line at the bottom of the notepad file.
      hosts_opt (1)
    • If you see text below Localhost, copy-paste that text in the comments – we will examine it and tell you if its from the virus and whether you should delete it from the Hosts file.
    • Open the Run window again (Winkey + R), type regedit in the search field, hit Enter, and if asked for confirmation click on Yes.
    • The Registry Editor will open and in it you must click on Edit > Find and type the name of the unwanted software (Charmsearching).
    • Click on the Find Next button and the first item with that name in the Registry will be shown – delete that item, repeat the search, delete the next item, and continue that way until all items labeled Charmsearching in the Registry are deleted.
    • Manually find the following locations in the left panel of the Registry Editor:
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main
    • In those locations, look for folders that stand out from the rest – ones that have unusually long names that seem to be sequences of randomized letters and numbers. If you see such a folder in either of these locations, delete that folder.
      • Warning!: If you are uncertain about a Registry item and don’t know if you should delete it, it’s best to contact us through the comments and ask us about it before you delete that item. Otherwise you risk deleting something that you shouldn’t, thus risking further issues with your computer.

    Browser-specific instructions

    The following are instructions on how to clean Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge from Charmsearching.

    Instructions for Chrome

    1. Start Google Chrome and open the browser menu indicated by an icon with three dots located in the top-right corner of the screen.
    2. From the Chrome menu, hover your mouse over More Tools and click on the Extensions option.
    3. Look through the different extensions that are installed in Chrome and if you see Charmsearching there or another extension that could be related to it, click on the Remove button.
    4. If the extension doesn’t go away or disappears and the reappears immediately, disable it by toggling off the switch button below it and then very quickly select the Remove button again.
      Suspicious Extension Chrome
    5. Again from the main browser menu, go to Settings, select Search Engine from the left side of the screen, and then select Manage Search Engines from the central panel.
    6. In the page with search engines, find the Charmsearching entry, click on the three dots next to it, and then select Remove from list.

    Instructions for Firefox

    1. In the Firefox browser, select the icon with three lines and go to Add-ons.
    2. In the add-ons page, find the entry for Charmsearching and delete it. If you don’t find an entry with that name, look for other suspicious items that you may need to remove and delete them.
    3. Select the Firefox menu again and this time click on Options.
    4. Click on Search in left side of the screen and then look at the Default Search Engine setting –  if it isn’t set to a search engine you know and trust, change it to such a search engine (for instance Google, Bing, etc.).
    5. Now scroll down a bit and examine at the list of One-Click Search Engines – if you see Charmsearching there or any other search engine you don’t trust or recognize, select it and click on Remove. At the end you should be left only with search engines that are reliable and can be trusted.

    Instructions for Microsoft Edge

    1. Start the Microsoft Edge browser, click on the three-dots in the top-right, and click on Extensions.
    2. Find the extension for Charmsearching or any other extension that shouldn’t be in the browser and delete it.
    3. If the extension doesn’t go away right away, try disabling it first before you try to remove it.
    4. Open the browser menu again, go to Settings, and select Privacy and Services.
    5. Scroll down to towards the bottom of the page and click on the Adress bar option.
    6. On the next page, if the Search engine used in the address bar is set to Charmsearching or another search engine you do not trust, change it back to a reliable search engine.
    7. Next, click on Manage search engines, select the three dots button next to the Charmseaching engine (if you see it there), and click on Remove/Block. If you see any other search engines that you don’t recognize in there, remove them as well in the same fashion.

    Additional Note: Some users have suggested that removing or disabling the Video Downloader add-on in their browser has stopped the problem with the Charmsearching homepage/default search engine and the unwanted redirects so if you have the Video Downloader add-on in your browser you could try removing it temporarily disablign it to see if this changes anything.

    How to get rid of Charmsearching

    To get rid of Charmsearching on your Mac, you must first find and quit its process in the Activity Monitor and then delete the Charmsearching app from the Applications folder. Next, to get rid of the Charmsearching, you must also clean your Safari browser.

    1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and open the Activity Monitor.
    2. Find the Charmsearching process, select it, and select Quit.
    3. Go to the Applications folder from Finder and get rid of Charmsearching by dragging its app to the Trash.
    4. Open the extensions page of Safari and delete the Charmsearching extesion.

    Detailed steps

    1. First, you must select Finder from the top of your screen.
    2. From the Finder window, go to Applications from the left sidebar.
    3. Open the Utilities folder and start the Activity Monitor.
    4. Try to find any suspicious processes in the Activity Monitor – even if you don’t see a process named Charmsearching, keep looking for items that look questionable and that consume large amounts of system resources.
    5. If a given process seems unwanted, look up its name on the Internet and if the search confirms that the process shouldn’t be running in your system, click on it in the Activity Monitor and then select the Quit button (a big button in the top-left).
    6. Next, go back to Finder > Applications and see if you can find a Charmsearching app. If there is such an app there, drag it to the Trash to delete it.
      • If you cannot find a Charmsearching app, look for other questionable and recently installed ones that seem like they could be related to the malware. Usually, unwanted software or malware is distributed via apps downloaded from outside of the official Apple App Store so bear this mind.
    7. Finally, go to your Safari browser, select Safari from the menu bar to open the browser menu and go to Preferences.
      Preferences in Safari
    8. Select the Extensions tab and find and delete the extension installed in the browser by Charmsearching. If you can’t find it, delete any other suspicious-looking and/or unneeded extensions.
      extensions in safari
    9. Next, select the Search tab from Preferences and if the browser Search Engine is set to Charmsearching or some other unwanted or unknown search engine, change it to Google, Yahoo or another trusted and legitimate search engine.
    10. Quit everything restart your Mac and test your browser to see if Charmsearching has stopped bothering you.
    11. If the problem with the Charmsearching persists and nothing you’ve done so far has managed to resolve this unpleasant issue, we suggest trying out this professional and powerful malware removal tool for Mac – it will quickly find the source of the problems and take care of it so that you are no longer disrupted by unwanted software or malware. It will also secure your system against future threats, adding an additional layer of protection to your Mac.

    About the author


    Brandon Skies

    Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.

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