Formal Search Mac

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

Formal Search

Formal search is a rogue search engine that hijacks users’ searched for monetary compensation. Formal search is typically installed with other malware.

formal search

Formal Search

A browser hijacker is a software tool used for the promotion of different products, sites, pages, Internet stores, software programs and apps, services, and others. To operate, a hijacker needs a browser host, and most hijackers are compatible with popular browsing programs the likes of Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Edge. However, it is not excluded that you may get a hijacker installed inside another browsing program. The majority of browser hijackers are multi-compatible, and do not discriminate between the different browsers users may have on their machines.

Formal Search targets Mac

The Formal Search web page primarily targets mac users on the safari and chrome native browsers. We advise Mac users to avoid downloading anything they cannot personally verify as a safe download.

 Once such an app gets added to a given browser, it is likely to make some changes in that browser’s settings. The aspects of the browser that are most likely to get affected are the homepage, the toolbar, and the search engine that the browser uses as its default. A service that automatically page-redirects the user under certain circumstances or between certain time periods may also be added to the browser. All of this is aimed at making the hijacker more effective with the execution of its main task – promotion. In many cases, the homepage and/or the search engine that get added to the browser are the main things that the hijacker is supposed to advertise. In other cases, however, those are either helper elements that would redirect the user to other sites, or a type of cover for the real purpose of the invasive app. For example, the new search engine that gets added to your browser may seem useful, but at the same time, the app responsible for its addition to your browser may carry out other activities, which may actually decrease the quality of your online experience.

Is Formal Search a virus?

While not technically a virus, Formal Search is a malware, making it practically indistinguishable from a virus for everyday users. The proper denomination for Formal Search is a browser hijacker.

Formal Search is one of the numerous representatives of this software group, and this article is mainly targeted at users who currently have it in their machines. Our goal is to help those users remove the invasive software piece and restore their browser to its normal and stable. To do that, we have created a guide with manual instructions in it, as well as a linked professional and tested removal tool, which can allow our readers to uninstall the Formal Search hijacker. Before you try out the guide and the tool, however, stay with us a little more in order to learn what the dangers related to the hijacker category are.

Delete the Formalsearch App

Formalsearch drops an App on user’s desktops aside from hijacking all incoming searches. We advise you to delete the Formalsearch App before proceeding with the removal instructions below.

In and of itself, a hijacker app like Formal Search is not a very harmful piece of software. Its advertising activities may slow down your browser and computer, but that’s about it in most cases. Formal Search, and other hijackers, are certainly different from viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Ransomware, and other similar threats, when it comes to how harmful they can be. However, if you aren’t careful with all those random ads, redirects, and clickbait pop-ups that a hijacker may place on your screen, you may risk landing on some malicious phishing page, or may be on a site that is used to spread viruses and malware. If this happens, you may indeed get your system infected by some nasty Ransomware cryptovirus or Trojan Horse. This is why it is always better to not allow an app like Formal Search to freely operate in your system and browser.


Name Formal Search
Type  Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms  Hijackers normally reveal themselves by replacing the browser’s starting page or search engine.
Distribution Method Misleading ads, clickbait download buttons, software, bundles, spam, and more.
Detection Tool

Remove Formal Search

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:

Drag and Drop Files Here to Scan
Maximum file size: 128MB.

This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at:

Scan Results

Virus Scanner Result

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.

ie9-10_512x512  Remove Formal Search 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 Formal Search from Firefox:

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

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Formal Search 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!

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