This page aims to help you remove iStart123. These iStart123 removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as every version of Windows.
If you are unable to browse the web in peace and the reason for that are dozens of ads, multiple tabs, and page redirects, then you are most probably facing a browser hijacker like iStart123.com. This type of programs could really cause you some major disturbance when it comes to surfing the web and, unfortunately, removing them could be a bit trickier than one could expect. But the good news is that our team has prepared a detailed removal guide, with the help of which you will be able to manually detect and delete all the hijacker related files. This, of course, will effectively save you from the flow of ads and bring your browser back to normal so that you could surf the web in peace again. Just make sure you carefully read the information below as well as the removal instructions and you will be able to clean your system in a few minutes.
Browser hijackers – how do they work?
Browser hijackers are programs that are developed to display a wide variety of ads on the user’s screen while they browse the web. This is perfectly legal activity; however, it may cause some disturbance and decrease the quality of the online experience due to the dozens of undesired messages, popping boxes, page redirects and new tabs that constantly appear. As a typical browser hijacker, iStart123.com could be related to all the activities described above. When this program operates on your system, you will probably notice some undesired changes in your browser like a different homepage, a change in the default search engine or a new add-on in the taskbar. Even your searches are more likely to be redirected to some promotional pages, hot offers, new products or sales.
In case you wonder why anyone would need to create such an annoying piece of software and bring you this entire disturbance, you should know that money stands behind it. While it may not really provide some real value to the users, this program is mainly used to generate profits for its developers through a method called Pay-Per-Click. Every click that the intrusive ads can get converts into income. That’s why the developers try to collect as many clicks as possible by displaying huge amounts of ads. This revenue usually helps them support their own software and promote it for free while earning from the ads. The developers use a method known as a software bundle that distributes browser hijacker programs along with other applications you may download from the web. This is the most common way to get iStart123, but you may also find it in spam emails, torrents, direct downloads or platforms where software is distributed for free.
iStart123 looks like a virus, could it be one?
Rest easy, contrary to what most people believe iStart123 is not considered a virus. Often, you may read about browser hijackers and their annoying activity being compared to a virus infection. Due to their rather aggressive way of displaying ads and page redirecting, these programs may indeed be easily mistaken for malicious. However, browser hijackers like iStart123 aren’t considered as such a serious threat. Security experts even consider them as harmless applications, compared to malware like Ransomware, Trojans or viruses. The worst that a browser hijacker can do is to bombard you with ads and interrupt your browsing by redirecting your searches, but it surely does not contain malicious scripts that could directly harm your system. Just for comparison, Ransomware contains a harmful script that could encrypt all your files and prevent you from accessing them, which is a really nasty and malicious action.
There are some security risks we should warn you about.
Even though browser hijackers are not capable of malicious actions themselves, there are some security risks we should warn you about. Since malware uses all the options to infect more and more unsuspecting users there’s still the possibility of coming across misleading ads which may somehow appear among the real ones. This could happen if you click on them, while you are trying to close the dozens of pop-ups that are flooding you. Although the chance is still small, you may get redirected to an illegal website or content with malicious payload. While this is a risk you can’t predict, it is a good idea not to click on any of the ads, even if you try to close them, or better just remove the browser hijacker from your system.
How to remove iStart123 completely?
As you have probably realized, browser hijackers are way harder to remove than the way they get installed. You can’t uninstall them the usual way you uninstall software because the ads-generating files usually integrate deeply inside your system files. In most cases, you need to detect them first and then delete them manually. This is exactly what we are going to show you in the removal guide below. And if you don’t want to get iStart123.com again, it is a good idea to avoid installing software from free platforms and always check what comes with it in the bundle. This could be easily done when you run the installation, click the custom/advanced option and manually unselect the potentially unwanted software that is bundled in the package. The next time you do this, you won’t have to deal with browser hijackers or any undesired bloatware later.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Your browsing is disturbed by dozens of ads, multiple tabs, and page redirects.|
|Distribution Method||Commonly found in spam emails, torrents, direct downloads or platforms, where software is distributed for free.|
|Detection Tool||iStart123 may be difficult to track down. Use SpyHunter – a professional parasite scanner – to make sure you find all files related to the infection.|
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).
- Do not skip this – iStart123 may have hidden some of its files.
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.
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 iStart123 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 iStart123 from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove iStart123 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.
- At this point the threat is gone from Chrome, but complete the entire guide or it may reappear on a system reboot.
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC simultaneously. Go to the Processes Tab. Try to determine which ones are dangerous. Google them or ask us in the comments.
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Right click on each of the problematic processes separately and select Open File Location. End the process after you open the folder, then delete the directories you were sent to.
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 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
Remember to leave us a comment if you run into any trouble!