When Start.me gets installed on your system, your default browser (be it Chrome, Firefox, Explorer or other) usually starts to behave strangely. Sudden page redirects, modifications in its homepage or search engine may take place without your approval and as a result, a flow of aggressively popping ads, banners and promotional messages may cover up your entire screen.
This is a typical browser hijacking activity and in the next lines, we are going to tell you how exactly to deal with it. For that, we have prepared a special removal guide with exact instructions on how to uninstall Start.me and remove its changes. First, however, we would advise you to read the information that follows below, because it will give you a good idea about the typical behavioral traits of such software.
The main reason for writing this article is Start.me – a legitimate browser extension that modifies the new-tab page of the user’s browser, thus allowing for more customization options, easier access to various forms of web resources and other useful features. However, we haver received reports that Start.me sometimes gets promoted and potentially added to user’s browser by actual hijackers. Although many users might indeed find Start.me to be useful and helpful, we still need to elaborate upon the methods it could might get added to your browser via hijacker applications and what you’d need to do if such a thing happens to you. Remember, getting your new-tab page changed with Start.me might actually be an improvement but if it happened without your knowledge or permission, this might indicate a browser hijacker-related issue that needs to be taken care of.
What is actually a browser hijacker?
Hijackers are often mistaken for viruses or some other type of a nasty online infections, similar to Trojans and Ransomware. However, we have some good news. Most such programs have no malicious capabilities and are not among the cyber infections that can cause many problems for their victims. Apart from messing with your Chrome, IE or Firefox browser (or any other browser you might be use), such software cannot typically cause you any major system harm, corrupt your files, steal your passwords or involve you inn some type of a cyber crime. These harmful activities are specialties of the real viruses and a threat the likes of a Trojan or a Ransomware will definitely not spare you from them.
A browser hijacker, on the other hand, is only seen as a potentially unwanted program, which is related to common browsing disturbance and some indirect risks. As we mentioned, it could try to alter the functionality or appearance of your browser by adding to it a new search engine, a new homepage or in this case – a new new-tab page such as Start.me. Still, it is not fatal if you have such software on your system, but there are also a number of reasons why you may want to uninstall it. Even if Start.me isn’t causing you any problems, there might be other things caused by the hijacker that could actually cause some irritation and maybe even expose your system to certain indirect risks. The most obvious irritation coming from hijackers could be the constant redirect to unwanted web pages. In most of the cases, such a technique is used to help these pages increase their rank or sales, so it is not surprising that they are full of commercial ads, links, banners, and similar content. It is not advisable to open them because you can never be sure how safe they are and some ads may eventually mislead you or trick you into installing some other potentially unwanted programs or even dangerous viruses on your computer. As mentioned above, after the hijacker becomes part of the system, it may change some of the browser settings such as a cover page (or new-tab page), a default search engine, and so on. After changing the browser configuration, this threat may begin to track the victim’s browsing habits and may collect information about the most frequently visited web pages and the data that is entered when visiting these pages. Although this activity is not considered dangerous, it could still be seen as a privacy violation and a good reason for this software to be uninstalled.
How did the browser hijacker promoting Start.me has gotten inside my computer?
A browser hijacker may appear in your browser after downloading free software. In most of the cases, the programs used to distribute such software are free installers, download managers, torrents, spam email attachments, PDF creation programs, and other similar applications that are available for free. Keep in mind that you should monitor the installation process of each of these programs because they may contain different components. Usually, the presence of additionally bundled applications like the browser hijackers promoting Start.me is indicated somewhere in the installer with a small print, so you must always choose Custom or Advanced settings to install free software and uncheck the pre-loaded bookmarks. You should know that the browser creators usually have nothing to do with this issue. In fact, the browser hijacker is hiding on your computer. To remove it, use the instructions below.
How do I remove such unwanted software?
First of all, you should know that removing a browser hijacker requires certain knowledge about computers and their systems. That’s why, if you are not really confident in detecting and deleting the hijacker that has added Start.me to your browser manually, it’s better to think about automatically removing the unwanted program with the help of a specialized removal tool like the one suggested below. Still, if you think you can handle manual removal of the program, here’s the guide to follow.
|Name||Browser hijackers promting Start.me|
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Sudden page redirects, new toolbar or search engine in your browser.|
|Distribution Method||Spam, email attachments, ads, pop-ups, torrents, free installers and bundles.|
Some threats of this type reinstall themselves repeatedly if you don't delete their core files. We recommend downloading SpyHunter to scan for malicious programs. This may save you hours and cut down your time to about 15 minutes.
How to Remove the browser hijacker promoting Start.me
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).
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
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:
This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at: https://howtoremove.guide/online-virus-scanner/
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:
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:
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.
- Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click Properties.
- The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
- 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.
Remove the browser hijacker promoting Start.me from Internet Explorer:
Open IE, click —–> Manage Add-ons.
Find the threat —> Disable. Go to —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.
Remove the browser hijacker promoting Start.me from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove the browser hijacker promoting Start.me from Chrome:
Close Chrome. Navigate to:
C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:
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—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!