iStart Search Bar

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*Source of claim SH can remove it.

iStart Search Bar is a notorious software application that predominantly targets Windows-based browsers. The application functions by triggering the launch of advertising websites without the user’s permission. Moreover, iStart Search Bar tampers with various browser settings to produce more adverts and monitor the user’s online activities.

iStart appears in the top right corner of your desktop whenever you start windows

How to remove iStart Search Bar?

If your browser has recently fallen victim to aggressive ads generation, it is crucial to take immediate action and remove iStart Search Bar from your device. The presence of this software can result in various unpleasant and frustrating experiences, including the unauthorized alteration of essential browser elements such as the default homepage and search engine tool. Moreover, you may also notice that new toolbar buttons have been added without your permission, and aggressive and suspicious pop-ups and banners appear on your screen even when you are not browsing on sites that are known for such adverts.

These intrusive behaviors of the iStart Search Bar virus can make your browsing experience unbearable, and therefore it is recommended to remove it as soon as possible. Even if you decide to tolerate the ads, changes to your browser, and automatic page redirects, it is still in your best interest to uninstall iStart Search Bar. The main reason behind this is the potential security vulnerabilities this app may create if allowed to stay in your browser for a long time. To ensure the safety of your device and personal information, it is essential to remove iStart Search Bar completely.

What is iStart?

iStart is a browser hijacker application that may appear relatively benign at first glance. While some experts label it as malicious software, the iStart hijacker program generally lacks any severe destructive capabilities. The ultimate objective of applications of this type is to benefit their creators by presenting paid ads and website promotions that users are supposed to engage with. There is no incentive for these programs to harm the user’s computer.

iStart Webssearches
The iStart Webssearches virus

That said, it is still not advised to keep iStart on your browser. The primary security concern is that the content typically promoted by software programs of the hijacker category tends to be unreliable, misleading, or fraudulent. It is conceivable that you might land on a site offering low-quality downloads masquerading as useful applications. Some of the advertisements displayed on the sites you are redirected to could attempt to deceive you by making false claims or posing as warnings about hidden malware on your computer that can only be eliminated if you download the advertised software. However, it is crucial not to trust such dubious online warnings as they are more likely to infect your computer with malware like Trojan or Ransomware viruses than anything else. To avoid these risks, it is best to close the site and refrain from visiting it again.

Is iStart a virus?

iStart is not a virus and can not directly corrupt or damage your computer system or data. However, iStart can still expose you to significant security vulnerabilities that may allow hackers to gain unauthorized access to your system. This could lead to more dangerous forms of malware such as Trojan viruses, Spyware, and Ransomware viruses, among others, wreaking havoc on your system and compromising your sensitive data.

Therefore, if you want to put an end to the intrusive ads and automatic page redirects, it is recommended that you follow the iStart removal instructions provided below. By doing so, you can quickly and easily eliminate the browser hijacker and safeguard your computer against potential security threats.


NameiStart Search Bar
TypeBrowser Hijacker
Detection Tool

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How to uninstall iStart Search Bar

A quick way to uninstall iStart Search Bar from your browser is to go to its Settings, open More Tools/Add-ons, and then select the Extensions tab. Once you get there, search for any iStart Search Bar-related extensions and remove them by clicking on the Trash bin icon or the Remove button that is next to them. If that doesn’t resolve the problem and the browser hijacker keeps disturbing you, then please follow the detailed steps in the removal guide below:


For the smooth completion of the steps in this guide, we highly recommend that you boot your computer in Safe Mode.

Before you do so, however, first Bookmark this page so you can load it quickly after the reboot.



*Source of claim SH can remove it.

Browser Hijackers like iStart Search Bar may run one or more processes related to their activity in the Windows Task Manager. To find these processes and stop them, first, press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC together and click on the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Then, look carefully at the list of processes and try to locate the ones that are related to the browser hijacker. When you find a process that you believe is linked to iStart Search Bar, right-click on it and tap on Open File Location.

Open the Task Manager and look at the processes shown in the Processes tab related to iStart Search Bar that are using up a lot of CPU

After that, drag and drop the files from that location in the free online virus scanner that is available here and run a scan:

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    End the right-clicked processes if its files turn out to be malicious and delete their folders from the file location. 


    Next, type Control Panel in your Windows search field and navigate to Programs>>>Uninstall a program.

    Once you get there, search for suspicious entries in the list of programs and Uninstall them if they appear to be questionable or seem to be related to iStart Search Bar.

    After that, close the Control Panel and head to the Windows Search Field. Type msconfig in it and press enter. After that, select the Startup tab and see if iStart Search Bar has added some entries there. If you find any, remove their checkmark and click OK. Pay extra attention to entries with Unknown Manufacturer and remove their checkmark as well if they seem to be unwanted or dangerous.

    Deactivate any suspicious or unfamiliar Startup items related to iStart Search Bar


    *Source of claim SH can remove it.

    Next, open the Registry Editor by typing Regedit in the windows search field and clicking OK. In it, press CTRL and F keyboard keys simultaneously and type the Name of the problematic browser hijacker in the Find box that pops up on the screen. Click on Find Next and if the find function detects entries with that name in the Registry, right-click on them and delete them. If no entries are detected in this way,  go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

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

    When you remove the iStart Search Bar-related traces from the Registry, close it and go to your desktop.

    Press the Start and R keyboard keys together and copy this in the Run box that pops up:

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

    Next, click OK and you should see a Hosts file open on your screen. Scroll down and find Localhost. If your computer is hacked, you will see suspicious IPs below Localhost, just as explained in the image below:

    Check if there are any IPs placed by the iStart Search Bar virus and if they should be removed.

    If you see dangerous IPs below “Localhost” in your Hosts file, write to us in the comments.

    If you see nothing suspicious, move to the next step.


    Next, click on the Windows Start button and navigate to Network Connections. Once in it follow these instructions:

    1. Highlight the Network Adapter you are using and right-click on it.
    2. Next, click on Properties and highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), then click the Properties button.
    3. After that make sure that the Obtain DNS server automatically” is selected  and then click on Advanced
    4. In the Advanced TCP/IP Settings window, click on the DNS tab and remove any rogue DNS. Click  OK after that.
    Erase any Internet Protocol (IP) addresses conected to iStart Search Bar that you may observe listed in that particular section.


    The instructions in this step will help you remove iStart Search Bar from the most commonly used web browsers. Make sure that you apply these instructions in all browsers that have been affected in order to get rid of the browser hijacker completely.

    Note: For demonstration purposes, below we are showing the instructions in Google Chrome but you can apply the same for Firefox, IE or any other browser that you are using.

    Right-click on the browser’s shortcut icon and select Properties.

    iStart Search Bar browser hijacker Taskbar properties

    Once you get inside the Properties window, tap on the Shortcut tab at the top. Then, find where it writes Target, and remove everything that has been added after .exe. Click OK to save the changes.

    Removing iStart Search Bar related Google Chrome extensions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove iStart Search Bar from Internet Explorer:

    Launch the Internet Explorer browser and click  IE GEAR From the slide-down menu that shows up, select Manage Add-ons.

    Locate the add-ons associated with iStart Search Bar and deactivate it/them.

    Find the iStart Search Bar-related add-ons (it could be one or more) and Disable it/them. After that go back to IE GEAR, click it, and then select Internet Options. Check the homepage section for changes in the URL and if there are any, set your desired homepage and click on Apply.

    firefox-512 Remove iStart Search Bar from Firefox:

    In Firefox the instructions are almost identical. Simply open the browser and click  mozilla menu. After that, select Add-ons > Extensions and when you find extensions related to iStart Search Bar in the list, remove them.

    Removing iStart Search Bar related Mozilla Firefox extensions

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove iStart Search Bar from Chrome:

    Finally, close Chrome (or whichever is the affected browser) and navigate to: 

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

    Search for a folder named Default, and right-click it. Then, RENAME that folder to Backup Default and restart the browser.

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default to remove iStart Search Bar

    If iStart Search Bar doesn’t want to get removed after you complete these steps, scan your computer with the recommended removal tool and follow its instructions. Also, feel free to share your comments or questions with us in the comments section below this post.

    What is iStart Search Bar?

    iStart Search Bar is a rogue search engine installed in the browser by the iStart search browser hijacker. iStart Search Bar seeks to monitor user searches and redirects them to sponsored content, which could sometimes result in the system’s exposure to malware. Oftentimes, sites promoted by browser hijacker apps like iStart Search, and Captcha Wizard Top are known to contain misleading elements such as fake ads, questionable downloads, and links that may redirect to malware-filled pages. If the iStart Search Bar search engine is added to your browser, then you may also notice additional unwanted changes. For instance, some unwanted extensions may have been added to the browser without your approval and the browser’s homepage may have been replaced with an unknown site. Researchers report that the iStart Search Bar is closely related to other rogue websites like,, and so if you are frequently getting redirected to them, this is yet another sign that you have a hijacker in your browser. In such cases, it’s important to quickly find an effective way to delete everything related to the unwanted software and to restore the regular settings of the browser in order to secure your PC and avoid getting exposed to more serious and problematic forms of malware.

    About the author

    Brandon Skies

    Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.


    • this is a solution to removing iStart search bar in windows 7 64 bit…been trying for days and finally got rid of it…noticed in programs and features a program called ” Search Bar ” uninstalled it and iStart search bar is gone finally…hope this helps others…good luck


      • Hi, My problem is there is a separate browser called Internet-Start on my desktop and when i right click and open the location, it shows cmd in the Windows32 folder. Can you please help me remove this iSearch/Internet-Start browser?


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