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Hotleaf “Virus” Removal (Chrome/Firefox/IE)

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

This article explains the characteristics and likely effects of the appearance of a program called Hotleaf “Virus” on your device. Such a program that could manifest itself by broadcasting a great number of different ads (pop-ups and banners mainly), and could affect all the browser apps (even the popular Chrome, Explorer or Firefox) by causing redirecting and/ or search engine/ homepage changes, is described as a typical hijacker. That’s why you will learn a lot about this browser hijacker’s usual way of infecting a PC, its distribution as well as the most successful prevention and removal instructions down here in our article and Removal Guide.

What do hijackers normally do? What could they result in?

Generating different pop-ups, banners, boxes and tabs is almost everything any typical hijacker may do. That’s why all of these programs are identified as ad-broadcasting pieces: representatives of the browser hijacker software category. All such products have been developed with the mere intention to advertise and promote various services and products. For making these programs act in such a way their developers get more than generously paid. Precisely, every displayed ad accumulates profits in the bank accounts of the developers, who create and distribute Adware. For the purpose of distributing Hotleaf “Virus” and the programs like it, their creators started developing mixtures of software called bundles. Generally, the so-called bundles include ad-generating software (hijackers/ Adware) and a useful and functional original program (perhaps a game or a player) which could trick the users into downloading such a program combo. These combos are usulaly distributed on the web for free. Other possible causes for an infection with ad-related programs could be all the pages, infected by it, all the torrents, websites, spam and regular emails, which might contain it.

Hotleaf “Virus” really resembles malware, doesn’t it?

Don’t fall into the trap of immediately thinking that Hotleaf “Virus” is dangerous; simply calm down, your computer has NOT been infected with any virus. To be more precise, it could be stated that this program has NO characteristics typical of malware (such as the ability to lock up data, requiring the payment of a ransom, making an entire machine unusable, exploring program or system vulnerabilities as the typical virus types such as Ransomware and Trojans normally do).

Yet, if Hotleaf “Virus” is not a malware version, can it still be able to perform any suspicious activities? The only rather shady and intrusive actions that you could expect from Hotleaf “Virus” are the matching of your current searches to the recently shown advertisements. As an advertising instrument, Hijackers may appear to always strive to find out what a user may need or want, and for that purpose these products could be capable of exploring your browsing history on the lookout for your supposed interests. In this way – some of the victim users could end up overwhelmed by some pop-ups, advertising great deals about products (or services) they may be interested in.

As for the removal of Hotleaf “Virus”, typically, you shouldn’t have any difficulty removing Hotleaf “Virus” from your computer if you are aware of the exact way to do that. To help you with such a serious task, we have gathered some useful uninstallation instructions below. Just ensure that you follow each one closely, and you should have no difficulty getting rid of such an annoying hijacker.

Prevention should become your priority:

The tips we are going to share with you here will not only save you from programs like Hotleaf “Virus” in the future, but also – from various other browser hijackers, and even malicious programs based on Ransomware. In general, there is some prevention advice you are supposed to learn by heart and try to always follow:

When you start installing anything new on your device, always bear in mind that most cyber-related issues normally come from software you download from suspicious sources. That’s the reason why we indeed recommend you should carefully select the places from which you download any type of software. Second of all, you are always encouraged to perform the installation process in a clever way. The only way is using the ADVANCED installer option when the wizard asks you about how to proceed with the installation. This option guarantees that all the details about, for instance, the bundle you are installing, will be shown to you. Consequently, you will be able to exclude all ad-related products from the to-be-installed ones.

We can imagine that you may find choosing the places you go online the most difficult part of the prevention process. Try to stick only to pages with a rather good reputation and learn to avoid all torrents, emails, bundles and hyperlinks that don’t appear to be trustworthy.



Name Hotleaf
Type Browser Hijacker
Danger Level Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)
Symptoms Some annoying browser appearance and behavior changes – new homepages, redirecting and constant streams of irritating ads.
Distribution Method Most commonly found inside bundles, but also inside torrents, spam and other contaminated web pages.
Detection Tool

Keep in mind, SpyHunter’s malware detection tool is free. To remove the infection, you’ll need to purchase the full version. More information about SpyHunter and steps to uninstall.

Hotleaf “Virus” Removal

If you are a Windows user, continue with the guide below.

If you are a Mac user, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you are an Android user, please use our Android Malware 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).



We get asked this a lot, so we are putting it here: Removing parasite manually may take hours and damage your system in the process. We recommend downloading SpyHunter to see if it can detect parasite files for you.

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 Hotleaf “Virus” 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 Hotleaf “Virus” from Firefox:

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

pic 6

Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Hotleaf “Virus” 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.


To remove parasite on your own, you may have to meddle with system files and registries. If you were to do this, you need to be extremely careful, because you may damage your system.

If you want to avoid the risk, we recommend downloading SpyHunter
a professional malware removal tool.

More information on SpyHunter, steps to uninstallEULAThreat Assessment Criteria, and Privacy Policy.

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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