Search-fine Malware

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Search-fine is a rogue browser hijacking application that can impose unwanted changes to popular browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. With the help of the settings of Search-fine, ads about websites, products, and services may use the targeted browser as an ad-display platform.

Search Fine Virus
The Search-fine malware can be seen as a classical example of a browser hijacker that uses aggressive redirection,pop-up adverts and banners

A software component like Search-fine is commonly referred to as a “browser hijacker” or a “PUP.” In spite of the fact that many users perceive such software to be malware when they are confronted with it for the first time, Search-fine differs substantially from actual malware, mostly in terms of its function and end goal.

Search-fine can be seen as a classical example of a browser hijacker that uses aggressive redirection and pop-up adverts, banners, and other types of advertising to force you to click on a particular link and get redirected to a webpage related to a specific sponsored product or a service. A common way for the creators of applications like Search-fine and Bundle extension to make money is via the use of Pay-Per-Click or Pay-Per-View payment methods. These methods work by converting each click into a small amount of money, thus, the more ads and links you click on, the greater the profit.

On a positive note, the majority of hijackers are not meant to harm the systems they are placed on. For the sake of advertising, however, such programs tend to change things like system and browser settings. The modifications include a new homepage and search engine, as well as new entries in the System Registry and Startup Items. Often, these changes are done without the user’s awareness or agreement, and as a consequence, they are referred to be potentially undesirable.

What are the possible drawbacks of not removing a browser hijacker?

The ads, banners, pop-ups and the redirects that Search-fine imposes on the screen do not seem to represent a significant threat to the computer system, virtual security, or user privacy in general. However, if not removed on time, such browser hijackers may create a wide range of issues that should not be overlooked.

To begin with, you’ll have to put up with intrusive pop-up ads that you can’t close and utilize a browser that has undergone considerable modifications. Depending on the individual level of tolerance of the user, this may or may not be a big deal.

When you are constantly exposed to some random advertising content, however, you should take with a grain of salt all the pop-ups and sponsored links a hijacker like Search-fine may display in your browser. It’s quite probable that some of the advertisements displayed by this program may lead you to rogue websites that may have phishing. These advertising might also lead you to download malware (such as Ransomware, Trojans or different viruses) masquerading as free applications.

The third key concern is the above-mentioned operating system and browser changes which despite not being malicious on their own, cannot be uninstalled with the program on, and may easily be exploited by a stealthy Trojan or a Ransomware, cryptovirus when you least expect it.

With this taken into consideration, we hope that you now understand why it is a good idea that all files and settings for Search-fine should be removed and uninstalled from your as soon as possible.


Type Adware/Browser Hijacker
Detection Tool

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Remove Search-fine Virus

To try and remove Search-fine quickly you can try this:

  1. Go to your browser’s settings and select More Tools (or Add-ons, depending on your browser).
  2. Then click on the Extensions tab.
  3. Look for the Search-fine extension (as well as any other unfamiliar ones).
  4. Remove Search-fine by clicking on the Trash Bin icon next to its name.
  5. Confirm and get rid of Search-fine and any other suspicious items.

If this does not work as described please follow our more detailed Search-fine removal guide below.

If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus 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).



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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:

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    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.


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    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.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove Search-fine 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 Search-fine from Firefox:

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

    pic 6

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Search-fine 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.


    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!

    About the author

    Lidia Howler

    Lidia is a web content creator with years of experience in the cyber-security sector. She helps readers with articles on malware removal and online security. Her strive for simplicity and well-researched information provides users with easy-to-follow It-related tips and step-by-step tutorials.


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