Handle Extension Virus

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Handle Extension

The Handle Extension virus is a program that is frequently mistaken for a virus and causes panic among a lot of web users. In reality, however, the Handle Extension virus is a browser hijacker that uses the system’s main browser as online advertising space and spams it with various pop-ups, banners and redirect messages.

Handle Extension

In the paragraphs that you are about to read, we will give you more details on how this software can affect your computer and how it can be uninstalled without causing damage to your system. That’s why if you want to effectively remove Handle Extension, stick with us and check out the removal guide at the end of the article.

In general, Handle Extension is a browser hijacker that can make changes in your browser, redirect your searches to other sites that don’t really match your real interests, and show hundreds of pop-up ads and banners on each page that you visit. If Chrome, Firefox, Edge or another Internet browser gets hijacked by Handle Extension, you may notice a change in your homepage address or a replacement of the default search engine with a new one.

Luckily, uninstalling Handle Extension is not as difficult as removing a computer virus, a Trojan or Ransomware infection but there is a professional removal tool and a manual removal guide on this page that can assist you if you still can’t handle it.

Most users normally don’t know if having a browser hijacker on their system is a bad thing or not and whether such software can harm their system. That’s why when they first hear the term “browser hijacker” they normally seek information about programs like Handle Extension and Vip Captcha Live in the virus and malware section. Fortunately, browser hijackers are not a threat to a computer and when it comes to their functionality, they differ greatly from popular malware like Trojans, Ransomware and Spyware. 

Apps like Handle Extension are typically used as online advertising tools. Nevertheless, they are often considered potentially unwanted, despite their lack of harmful abilities. This is because their actions are related to an aggressive online advertising approach involving modifications to the browser settings and the generation of hundreds of unverified pay-per-click advertisements, banner messages, pop-up notifications, promotional links, and page redirect invitations. Modifications like these are not the worst thing that might happen to you but for many web users, it is disturbing that the browser hijacker makes them without asking for approval. This is why most users want to remove the imposed browser changes and uninstall the program that initiates them.

What issues may Handle Extension cause?

One of the major issues that most people have with a piece such as Handle Extension is that it can control their web browsing activity and mess with the settings of their browser. Such software can also track their searches and trigger regular navigation redirects to websites that it considers attractive to you. However, this behavior is somewhat annoying and can be a good reason for some people to uninstall the browser hijacker.


NameHandle Extension
TypeBrowser Hijacker
Detection Tool

*Source of claim SH can remove it.

Remove Handle Extension Virus

To remove Handle Extension, users should first head to the Extensions page of their browser and remove any potentially unwanted extensions that the browser hijacker may have added there:

  1. The instructions start with opening the hijacked browser and clicking on its menu icon.
  2. Then, from the menu, select the Extensions/Add-ons option.
  3. Search for potentially unwanted items there.
  4. If you find anything related to Handle Extension, Disable and then Uninstall it from the browser.
  5. Restart the affected browser to see if this has fixed the problem.
  6. If you are using other browsers on your computer, repeat the steps from above with all of them.

In some cases, the steps above may be enough to solve the hijacker problem. If this is not the case, though, then you will have to complete the more detailed steps in the guide below to remove everything linked to Handle Extension from your system.

Step 1: Bookmark the removal guide

During the next few steps, you will need to quit your browser and restart your computer. Therefore, it would be useful to Bookmark this page so you can quickly get back to it and complete the removal of Handle Extension. 

Also, we recommend that you enter the computer in Safe Mode (click on the active link to see the instructions) and once it reboots, continue with step 2 from the guide. 

Step 2: Stop the Handle Extension process/processes


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Search for the Task Manager in the Start Menu (Windows search bar) and open it.  Next, select Processes and search for suspiciously-named processes. It is not necessary that the Handle Extension-related processes have the same name. That’s why pay attention to items that are using up significant amounts of RAM and/or CPU power or generally look questionable.

If you find a process that doesn’t seem to be related to your OS or any of the programs that you trust, right-click on it and select  Open File Location.


Scan each of the files in that location with the free scanner provided below to check it for dangerous code:

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    If any of the scanned files gets flagged as a threat, then you should right-click the process related to them and select End Process Tree, After that, return to the File Location Folder, and delete said folder. 

    Attention! Ending legitimate system processes may lead to major system instability. Thus, before you end a given process or delete its files, make sure that you carefully research it online and use a trusted scanner to determine if the selected process is problematic or not. 

    Step 3: Uninstall rogue programs/apps that are linked to the hijacker

    In many cases, stopping the processes of the hijacker may not be enough to fully uninstall Handle Extension. You need to also uninstall any rogue apps that might have a relation to Handle Extension from the system as they may potentially introduce the hijacker again or reinstall it once you have removed it from the computer. This can be done by typing Programs and Features in the Start menu search field and opening the result.

    You should be able to see a list of all programs installed on the computer. Search that list for anything that’s been recently installed and could be responsible for landing you Handle Extension and if you detect such an app, select it and click on the Uninstall button at the top. Follow the uninstallation steps and, after you are done, restart the PC.

    Step 4: Check the Hosts file for changes

    Copy-paste the following line in the Start Menu search box: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts.

    After that hit Enter from the keyboard.

    You should see a notepad file called Hosts open on your screen.

    hosts_opt (1)

    Head to “Localhost” and check if there are any suspicious IPs below. In case there are, paste them in the comments after this post so we can take a look at them and tell you if they are related to the browser hijacker and need to be removed from the Hosts file.

    Step 5: Restore DNS settings

    • Click on the Start Menu and type network connections in the search box and open the first result.
    • Next, right-click on the network adapter you are currently connected to.
    • Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
    • From the Ethernet Properties window, select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on the Properties button.
    • Select the Obtain DNS server address automatically option.
    • After that go to Advanced and click on the DNS tab.
    • Delete any entries found in the DNS server addresses section.
    • Save the changes you’ve made by clicking on the OK button. 

    Step 6: Disable Handle Extension-related startup items

    • Press the Windows Key (Windows logo key from the keyboard) and and type msconfig in the Run box that opens.
    • Click on the OK button and this should immediately open System Configurations. 
    • Go to the Startup tab and remove the checkmark for all items that are linked to Handle Extension or have unknown developers.
    • If needed, research the Startup items online before unchecking them in order to avoid disabling essential system entries.
    • Click OK to apply and save the changes.

    Step 7: Remove changes made by Handle Extension from all browsers

    Below you will find elaborate instructions on how to remove any traces and changes that Handle Extension might have imposed on your browsers. If you are using other browsers than the ones listed below, try to use your logic and apply the steps as it is very likely that the instructions will be similar if not identical.

    This step should be applied for all browsers:

    • Start with right-clicking on the shortcut icon of your browser and selecting Properties. 
    • Next, in Properties, click on the Shortcut tab and delete everything written after “.exe”” in the Target field.
    • Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions
    • Click  OK to save your changes

    Google Chrome instructions

    • Start Chrome, click on the three dots icon (top-right), and then click on More Tools.
    • In More Tools click on Extensions.
    • Find, disable, and remove any extensions that are unfamiliar to you or seem to have a link to Handle Extension.
    • Next, click on the three dots icon (top-right) again and go to Settings >>> Privacy and security.
    • Click on Clear browsing data. Select everything except Passwords and click on Clear Data. Wait for the clearing process to complete. 

    Mozilla Firefox instructions

    • Open Firefox, select the three parallel lines icon (top-right), and click on Add-ons.
    • pic 6
    • In the Add-ons page, select Extensions from the left and uninstall any add-ons that look unwanted or linked to the browser hijacker.
    • Next, select the three parallel lines icon (top-right) again and go to Options.
    • Select Privacy & Security.
    • Scroll down, and click on  Clear Data.  
    • Put a checkmark in both boxes and click on the Clear button.

    Edge Instructions

    • Open Edge, select the icon with three dots, then Extensions.
    • Delete any unwanted items that you find there just as you did with the previous browsers.
    • Click the three dots menu again, select Settings and More >>> Settings and click on Privacy, search, and services.
    • Next, at the bottom select the Choose what to clear option and put a checkmark on all boxes except the Passwords one.
    • Click on Clear now and wait for the cleaning to be finished.

    Step 8: Clean the Registry Editor

    Attention! The Registry Editor allows for making changes in important program and OS settings.  It is not advisable to delete or change anything unless you are absolutely certain that it is related to the browser hijacker, otherwise, you are risking to cause additional issues to your system.

    • Press Windows key + R and type regedit in the Run dialog box that shows up.
    • Click OK.
    • Go to the Edit menu in the Registry Editor and click on Find.
    • Type the name of the browser hijacker in the search box, and click on Find Next.
    • Delete any items that are found with that name.
    • Repeat the search and keep deleting the files that get found until there are no more results.

    After you are done with the above, visit the directories below by navigating to them from the left panel:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Random Directory. 
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Run
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main

    In each of those directories, search for sketchy folders (unusual or too long names with random characters) and if you think they are related to Handle Extension, delete them. 

    Note: If you are not sure what needs to be deleted, please write us in the comments in order to avoid wrong deletions of important system and program-related entries.


    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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