FreeCaptcha Virus

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*Source of claim SH can remove it.


FreeCaptcha is a browser-hijacking PUP that shows pay-per-click ads, banners, and pop-ups in the default web browser. FreeCaptcha may also install a new search engine or homepage, which changes the way the browser normally operates.
The FreeCaptcha virus to be included in the installers of other, more desirable software products as an “extra component”.

If you are not aware what a PUP is, you should know that this refers to a Potentially Unwanted Software that may easily be confused for malware but actually is not. FreeCaptcha, in particular, hijacks the users’ browsers and displays an endless stream of pop-ups, banners, redirect links, and pop-under advertisements during the browsing sessions. Furthermore, web-based applications such as FreeCaptcha may be used with any web browser so even browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge, which are considered safe may be hijacked.

Other than changing the default search engine and homepage to a sponsored one, most browser hijackers tend to spam the screen with various redirect links and ads that lead to random websites. The good news is that the browser modifications imposed by FreeCaptcha or Free Captcha are not in any way harmful to the system. Still, as a result of these modifications, the user’s computer may potentially be exposed to a broad variety of other online threats. That’s why the general course of action for people who have a program like FreeCaptcha on their system is to uninstall it.

If the hijacker on your computer is not removed as soon as possible, at some point you may notice that your browser may become slow, unresponsive, or unstable. You may also repeatedly experience interruptions of your browsing sessions with a variety of odd adverts.

It’s also possible that such software may alter the browser’s settings in such a way that it starts to redirect you to unrecognized and, perhaps, dangerous websites.

The random pop-ups and advertising that appear on your screen may also land you on a phony site that may be used as a “phishing” page intended to steal personal information, or distribute malware like viruses, Trojans and Ransomware.

If you follow the instructions in the FreeCaptcha removal guide below, however, you will learn how to remove FreeCaptcha and uninstall all of its components from your computer entirely. Once the hijacker is removed, the ads and the annoying random redirects should stop.

Make sure you’re protected while you’re on the internet

The “custom settings” option in an installation package or the aggressive pop-ups that various websites present on your screen when you access them are common means of distribution for browser hijackers.

This means that you may be infected with a hijacker by downloading and installing a piece of software from a software bundle. It’s fairly common for software like FreeCaptcha to be included in the installers of other, more desirable software products as an “extra component”.

Unchecking these extra components from being installed is usually enough to prevent them from being installed. To do that, just go to the Advanced/Custom installation options that most users don’t bother with and uncheck any checkboxes related to the potentially unwanted program.

Also, when browsing online, pay attention to pop-ups that seem to be captchas because sometimes they may actually be permission buttons that enable a browser hijacker to take control of your browser and apply its modifications.

As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to avoid browsing random websites and carefully install any new software using the most thorough settings. This will keep your computer and personal information safe from viruses and malware like Trojans, Ransomware, and Spyware. Also, keep in mind that many sophisticated threats can only be detected and removed by a professional anti-virus application, so thinks about investing in such software in the long run.

Type Adware/Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

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*Source of claim SH can remove it.

Remove FreeCaptcha Virus

For those who prefer not to go through the entire process outlined in this guide, there is a shortcut that you may want to try:

Take a look at the hijacked browser’s upper right corner and click the menu button.

In the drop-down menu, select More Tools/Add-ons from the list.

To access browser extensions, go to the Extensions sub-menu and select the Extensions tab. Use the “remove” button to get rid of any FreeCaptcha-related or other ad-generating extensions that are causing you problems.

After that, you can start a new browsing session to see if the extensions you removed from your browser have any effect.

No further action is required if the problem with FreeCaptcha has been resolved. If the hijacker-induced changes to your computer’s browser haven’t been resolved after uninstalling the browser extension, the detailed step-by-step guide below may help you get rid of the unwanted software once and for all.


We strongly recommend that you bookmark this page in your browser for future reference before continuing with the removal instructions. In this way, when you restart your computer, you will be able to quickly return to this guide. If you prefer, you can open the instructions on a different device and follow them from there.

In order to get rid of a browser hijacker, you should first restart your computer in Safe Mode. By running the most basic programs and functions in Safe Mode, you will be able to spot any suspicious activity much more quickly. If you need help, click on this link to learn how to restart your computer in Safe Mode.



*Source of claim SH can remove it.

With just a few keystrokes you can see what’s running on your computer in Task Manager. To open it, type Task Manager in the Windows search bar and press Enter. Then, click on the Processes tab and pay attention to processes with unusual-sounding names, high CPU/RAM usage, and processes that perform functions like ad generation and page redirection. FreeCaptcha-named processes may also be found in the list.

To investigate these processes even further, right-click on every suspicious process and select Open File Location from the context menu. In this way, you can check all associated files.

Malware Start Taskbar 1

Run a scan of these files with a virus scanner to make sure they’re not infected. You don’t need to look for a scanner to scan your files because one is provided below for free.

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    It’s best to delete any scanned files that your scanner flags as potentially harmful. In order to get rid of the harmful files, you’ll need to go back to your Processes tab, right-click the process, and choose End Process from the fast menu. You can then delete the files by returning to the original File Location folder.


    In the next step, we will show you how to check your system for potentially unwanted software. To do that, you must press Windows and R at the same time. When a Run box opens on the screen, type appwiz.cpl and press Enter.


    A new Control Panel window should open, displaying a list of all the programs that have been installed on your computer. Any new software should be researched before it is uninstalled. Please note that sorting the list by date of installation is an option. At the top of this window’s menu, select any software that is associated with a hijacker and then click the Uninstall button.

    Once the program associated with FreeCaptcha has been deleted, close the Control Panel window. Then type msconfig in the Windows search box and press Enter. When you do that, you’ll be greeted with a window named System Configuration.

    Deactivating startup items related to FreeCaptcha can be done in the System Configuration Startup tab. Deactivate the hijacker-related startup items by removing their checkmark to prevent them from starting when you restart your computer.



    *Source of claim SH can remove it.

    FreeCaptcha may have changed your computer’s DNS settings, so be sure to follow the instructions below to get them back.

    First things first: type “Network Connections” in the Windows search bar and press Enter.

    Select Properties from the menu by right-clicking the network adapter that is currently in use.

    Click on the Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP) settings with the cursor and select the Properties button at the bottom.

    Select Obtain DNS server address automatically, and then click the Advanced button in the new window that opens up.

    Click on the DNS tab and remove any rogue DNS entries by clicking the Remove button in the newly displayed window. When you press the OK button, the settings you’ve made will be saved.


    When you press Windows and R at the same time, a new Run window will appear. Now type the following into the text field and press Enter:

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

    A Notepad File named Hosts should appear on your computer screen after you click the OK button. Look for the term “localhost” and see if anything listed below includes suspicious IP addresses.

    Copy any strange IP addresses you find in the file and post them in the comments section below this post so we can look into them.

    hosts_opt (1)


    In the majority of cases, FreeCaptcha victims fail to check their computer’s registry for browser hijacker-related entries, which is critical step related to the successful removal of the unwanted software. It’s possible that the unwanted program will reinstall itself if these entries aren’t found and removed. As a result, we strongly advise that you do not skip any of the steps listed below and read them all the way through.

    Type regedit in the Windows search bar and press Enter. As a result of this action, the Registry Editor will be launched.

    Open a Find box by pressing CTRL and F at the same time. Type in the name of the browser hijacker. Using Find Next, look for hijacker entries with the same name as the one you want to remove. The right-click menu option “Delete” can be used to remove a detected item.

    When the Find box returns no more results, you can manually access the following keys in the Editor’s left panel:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory.
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random

    If you remove Registry entries incorrectly, your computer’s system and apps could be damaged. Proceed with caution! It is recommended that you use a virus removal application like the one on this page in order to clean your computer’s registry from malware and potentially unwanted software.


    Your primary browser is where you’re most likely to focus your attention when trying to remove unwanted software, rather than checking all of your other browsers for hijacker-related changes. The problem is that this is a common mistake that users make, as, for a thorough clean-up, it is necessary to clean all browsers, not just the primary one. That’s why, in the final step, there is a detailed explanation on how to get rid of the browser hijacker from three of the most commonly used browsers.

    Right-click on the browser’s shortcut icon and select Properties from the pop-up menu.


    Select Shortcut from the window’s top-level tabs.

    Go to Target and check if anything has been added after .exe.

    Click the OK button once you’ve made sure that everything following.exe has been removed.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove FreeCaptcha from Internet Explorer:

    Internet Explorer add-on removal is as simple as following these instructions:

    Once Internet Explorer has opened, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the browser window to access the main menu. Then, from the drop-down menu select Manage add-ons. All extensions and add-ons that can be linked to FreeCaptcha should be removed.

    pic 3

    By selecting the gear icon once more, you can double-check to see if anything has changed in Internet Options. It is important that you remove any sponsored links from your homepage settings as soon as you notice them and replace them with a homepage address of your own choosing. Once you’ve finished making your edits, click the Apply button.

    firefox-512 Remove FreeCaptcha from Firefox:

    The three-line menu button in Firefox (upper right) can be used to access extensions in Firefox.

    Remove any FreeCaptcha-related extensions from the Extensions menu of your browser by clicking on the Remove button. If an extension does not want to get removed, first click on Disable and then try to remove it again.

    pic 6

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove FreeCaptcha from Chrome:

    In order to complete the instructions below, first, you need to make sure that Chrome is closed. Then manually navigate to the following system location:

     C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. 

    Change the name of the Default folder to Backup Default. Right-clicking on it and choosing Rename from the context menu will allow you to rename it the way you have to.

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default

    Downloading the professional removal program that is available on our website is a last-ditch option if you don’t have the time or patience to complete the manual removal process. Our free online virus scanner can also be used to check the safety of any suspicious files. If you face any difficulty, please leave a comment with your questions and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


    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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