This page aims to help you remove Startpage Search Engine. These Startpage Search Engine removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as every version of Windows.
Recently, a lot of complaints have been received concerning a potentially unwanted program named Startpage Search. This newly released piece of software seems to share similar traits with a type of programs known as Browser Hijackers. Similarly to the Hijackers, Startpage Search tends to get inside the user’s IE, Firefox or Chrome browser and mess with its settings, change its homepage, install a new search engine toolbar and redirect your searches to various promotional pages. Additionally, there are several other potential problems that the user might experience with this program but we will tell you more about that a bit later. Generally, if you currently have this program installed on your machine, you most likely want to uninstall it and have it fully removed due to its invasive and unpleasant behavior. We will help you with that in our Startpage Search removal guide where you are advised to go after you finish reading this article (the instruction manual is right below it).
A threatening virus or a mere inconvenience?
There are different opinions about whether or not Startpage Search and Hijackers in general are to be regarded as malware. Undoubtedly, there is no shortage of similarities between PC viruses and unwanted programs like Startpage Search. However, there are also certain significant differences that need to be mentioned.
- The first and, in our opinion, most important one is the way that they are used and their primary purpose. While malicious threats such as Ransomware and Trojans try to either lock with your personal files (Ransomware) or damage crucial system data (Trojan horses), Browser Hijackers are mostly used for online advertising. Surely, the marketing methods employed by these programs are more often than not aggressive and overly obstructive, yet Hijackers hardly ever cause any actual direct damage to your system or do anything with your personal documents.
- Secondly, programs like Startpage Search are in no way trying to hide their presence – quite the opposite. On the other hand, when talking about viruses, it is widely known that hackers who make them try to program them in such a way so that they are as difficult to detect as possible.
- Lastly, though Browser Hijackers might be unwanted, this does not mean that they are illegal. A lot of applications of this type are legal products and some of them have even been developed by big and well-known companies. None of this applies to the viruses we mentioned.
Browser Hijackers can still be quite problematic
In the beginning of this article we mentioned some of the most common issues cause by Startpage Search and other similar software. Those, however, were only part of the problems that an application of the Hijacker type can be responsible for.
- Another common method of aggressive advertising employed by these programs is when they generate a huge number of obstructive promotional banners, pop-ups and box messages in your browser. Usually, the only way to get rid of them is to uninstall the Hijacker and should you accidentally click on any of those nagging ads, you might potentially get redirected to certain shady websites with questionable content.
- To make those ads appear more likable, some Hijackers might try to gather personal information from your browser by monitoring your online searches and recent browser history so as to determine what you like and what your preferences are and later modify the ads accordingly.
- One other common issue with programs the likes of Startpage Search Engine is that they might attempt to make modifications to your Registry so as to make your browser more vulnerable to aggressive advertising and to also make it more difficult for you to get rid of the ads.
Avoiding Browser Hijackers
There’s only one thing left that we need to inform you about before you go to the our guide and use it to remove the pesky application. In this final paragraph, you need to learn about the different methods and precautions that you must employ so as to ensure that your PC does not get any more Hijackers installed on it. Read the following tips carefully and always use them from now on.
- If you end up visiting a shady site with sketchy-looking pages and a lot of big and colorful banners, you should probably leave it. This type of sketchy and obscure websites are commonly used as a way of spreading unwanted software such as Hijackers.
- Prior to opening any new emails, take a moment to figure out what they are about and who sends them. If any of their details looks suspicious (unknown sender, no topic, file attachment) and you cannot be sure that its contents are safe, you should probably not open it or interact with its contents.
- Know that getting a reliable anti-malware tool can greatly help you decrease the chances of landing some unwanted piece of software such as Startpage Search Engine.
- Lastly, always take a your time to look through the setup wizards of new programs that you are about to install in order to see if there are any applications bundled with them. If you are given the option to customize the installation, be sure to take advantage of that. If you see that there are indeed added installs, look them up in order to determine whether or not they are potentially unwanted and if they turn out to be undesirable, uncheck them before you move on to install the main piece of programming.
|Name||Startpage Search Engine |
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||The expected Hijacker symptoms are new browser toolbars and search engines, intrusive online ads, new starting page and obstructive page redirects.|
|Distribution Method||Most of the time, this type of programs are being distributed via spam messages, software bundling and deceitful online banners/pop-ups.|
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Remove Startpage Search Engine
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 Startpage Search 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 Startpage Search from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove Startpage Search 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!