Smart Captcha Virus

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Smart Captcha

Smart Captcha is an application that belongs to the software category of browser hijackers. Smart Captcha is compatible with most Windows versions and can infect popular web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge and others.

Smart Captcha
The virus will display pop up ads and notifications

If Smart Captcha has invaded your system, then you have likely noticed certain changes that have been made to the way your browser looks, as well as the way it has started behaving. For instance, some of the most common symptoms accompanying a browser hijacker infection include the change in your homepage and/or the default search engine that you use. These can be replaced by news ones, and if you try to change these settings again yourself, the browser hijacker simply won’t allow it.

This, by the way, is often a reason for people to assume that they may have been infected by some virus or malware. And aiding that confusion is also the fact that programs like Smart Captcha tend to generate massive quantities of online ads in the browsers of the infected users. Popups, box messages, in-text links and animated banners can be raining on you from every corner of your screen during browsing sessions, which is something also often associated with virus infections.

The Smart Captcha Virus

Smart Captcha is not malicious and it will not seek to harm your machine in any way. The most Smart Captcha can do is frustrate you with its constant page redirects to various sponsored web locations and it may potentially cause some sluggishness in your system if it’s using too much of its RAM and CPU to generate all the ads.

Nevertheless, browser hijackers like, Realsrv and iStart Search Bar are actually also known for their capacity to potentially expose users to danger. This can happen as a result of being redirected to a website, like, that has been compromised by cybercriminals for example, and that way your private information may no longer be safe.

Alternatively, you may even encounter malware, even such extremely harmful types as Trojans and ransomware, for instance. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and stay away from online ads to the best of your ability.

And in order to avoid being redirected to some site or page that you have no interest in anyway, it’s best to simply see to the removal of Smart Captcha altogether. We understand that this is not always as straightforward a task as it may initially sound. And the reason for that is because browser hijacker developers don’t like to give users an easy way out of these infections, so they simply omit including an uninstallation menu that most regular applications have. Therefore, if you try uninstalling Smart Captcha on your own, there’s a high chance you will miss some of the scattered components, and the hijacker will simply reinstall itself in your system again.

So to give you a hand with this, we have designed a special removal guide that you can use below. Be sure to follow the steps in it exactly as described and you should have cleaned your system from the infection in no time.


NameSmart Captcha
TypeBrowser Hijacker
Detection Tool

*Source of claim SH can remove it.

Remove Smart Captcha Virus

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

Many people can get rid of Smart Captcha from their computer by uninstalling the extensions that the hijacker has added to their browsers. That’s why we suggest that you first try the following steps to see if they can help:

  • Open the browser that is behaving strangely.
  • Find its main menu icon and click on it. In most browsers, it is located in the upper right corner of the browser’s window.
  • Choose More Tools/Add-ons depending on the browser that you are using.
  • After that, look for the Extensions option or sub-menu and open it to see all the extensions that are already installed in the browser.
  • To remove an extension or add-on that is clearly linked to Smart Captcha and could be taking over your search results, select it and click on its Remove/Trash Bin button. This will uninstall it from the browser.
  • After you do that, it’s time to restart the browser and use it for a while to see if the hijacker problem has been resolved.

Ideally, Smart Captcha should be gone after you finish the steps above. If this is not the case, and you keep seeing annoying pop-up ads, redirects, and other signs of a browser hijacking activity, use these more detailed instructions below.


Preparation! You will need to restart your computer in Safe Mode in order to finish all the steps in the guide. Using the Bookmark option on your browser is a good idea before you reboot your computer. This way, you’ll have the page with these instructions with you when the system restarts and easily finish the removal guide.

An in-depth guide on how to Reboot in Safe Mode can be found in this link. Please follow the instructions there and come back to this page when the computer restarts.



*Source of claim SH can remove it.

The first step in removing Smart Captcha is to look for dangerous Smart Captcha-related processes that the browser hijacker runs in the background. When you press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC, you can open the Windows Task Manager, which shows all of these processes.

Look for processes that have random names (it doesn’t have to be the Smart Captcha name) or use up a lot of system resources without having a good reason. A right-click on a process will give you the option to Open File Location.


All files in that location should be checked for hijacker code by running them through a professional malware scanning tool. If you don’t have a trusted virus scanner at hand, you can use our free online virus scanner below.

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    The results of the scan will help you decide if you need to stop the process of the scanned files or not.

    If danger is detected in the files, select the process you want to stop from the Task Manager, right-click it, and choose End Process Tree. So don’t forget to delete its files and folders from the place where they’re stored, too.

    Before you stop processes in the Task Manager or delete their files, make sure to do some research online and run a good virus scan. It could be very bad for your computer and the other apps if you stop legitimate processes that aren’t related to the hijacker.


    If you think that some bogus software has installed Smart Captcha in your computer, you need to find that software and get rid of it so that the browser hijacker doesn’t come back and install its components again.

    An easy way to do that is to press the Windows key and the R key on the keyboard at the same time. Then type appwiz.cpl in the Run window and click OK:


    This will open a window that shows all the programs that are currently installed on your computer. In that list, look for apps that might be linked to the browser hijacker and get rid of them. Use the Internet to find out about any third-party apps you have recently installed that could have introduced Smart Captcha to the system. If you think they’re the source, uninstall them.

    Next, you need to get rid of any startup entries that the hijacker may have added. In order to do that, type “msconfig” in the Windows search field and hit Enter. Then go to the “Startup” tab and look at the list of “Startup Items.”


    Remove the checkmark for any startup items that you believe are linked to Smart Captcha. Then, click OK to save your changes. Be very careful, though, because disabling legitimate startup entries could make your OS and apps work not so well.


    *Source of claim SH can remove it.

    Hosts is another place where Smart Captcha might have made changes. To see if this is the case, press the Windows and R keys at the same time. Then, copy and paste the line below into the Run window that opens:

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

    Next, press Enter, and scroll down the text in the Hosts file until you find Localhost. Check to see if there are any weird IPs there, like those in the example image below. If you see anything suspicious, copy the IPs and paste them in the comments below this post. The IPs will be checked by our team and we will tell you if they’re dangerous and need to be deleted or not.

    hosts_opt (1)

    Next, check for any DNS changes that Smart Captcha might have made without your permission, and then remove them. To do this, type Network Connections into the Windows search field and open the result. Then, follow the steps below and look at the explanation images:

    • Choose the Network Adapter that is currently in use and right-click on it.
    • In the pop-up menu, choose Properties.
    • Then, scroll down and find Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP) from the list and click on it.
    • Then, click on the Properties button at the bottom of the window.
    • Make sure that the option to Obtain a DNS server automatically is checked. When it is, click the Advanced button (bottom right).
    • You’ll find yourself in the Advanced TCP/IP Settings at this point.
    • If you go to the DNS tab, click the Remove button to remove everything that has been added to the DNS server addresses field.
    • Click the OK button to confirm that you’ve made the changes you want.


    If you use one or more browsers on your computer, the instructions in this step will help you get them back to the way they were before the browser hijacker changed them without your permission.

    Important! Please follow the instructions below for all of the browsers that are already on your computer. This will make sure that Smart Captcha won’t come back and bother you again when you restart the computer.

    Select your browser’s shortcut icon, and then right-click it. Then, click on the Properties button.


    Make sure you’re in the Shortcut tab. Delete everything that comes after .exe in Target, as shown in the image below. When you’re done making changes, click the OK button to save them.

    Browser Hijacker Removal Instructions

    ie9-10_512x512  Remove Smart Captcha from Internet Explorer:

    Start the Internet Explorer browser, click  IE GEAR and choose the Manage Add-ons from the slide-down menu.

    pic 3

    Disable any add-ons that could be linked to Smart Captcha.

    After that, click the gear icon IE GEAR again and select the Internet Options. If the URL of the homepage has been changed, change it to a homepage address of your choice and then save the changes.

    firefox-512 Remove Smart Captcha from Firefox:

    Launch the Firefox browser, head top right and click  mozilla menu , then select  Add-ons —-> Extensions.

    pic 6

    Remove any extensions you don’t use or that look potentially unwanted. If you need to, disable them first and then retry to remove them.

    chrome-logo-transparent-backgroundRemove Smart Captcha from Chrome:

    To complete the instructions below, first close Google Chrome. After that, open My Computer/This PC app and go to this location:

     C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:

    Rename the Folder to Backup Default

    A Folder called “Default” should be on the list. Once you find it, right-click on it. Change the name of the folder to “Backup Default” and save it that way. After that, you should restart the web browser.


    This is the last thing you need to do in this guide. You need to look in the Registry to see if Smart Captcha has added anything there without your permission. To do that:

    • Type Regedit in the search field on your computer, press Enter, and open the search result that comes up.
    • As soon as the Registry Editor window opens, press CTRL and F to open a Find window.
    • Type the name of the hijacker in the Find window and click Find Next.
    • Delete any entries that are found and remove them from the list. Keep going until there are no more results.

    After that, go to the directories below by navigating to them from the left panel of the Editor:

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

    In each of them, search for uninstall anything that you think could be related to Smart Captcha.

    Attention! Meddling with registry entries and making changes to them can be dangerous for the stability and normal operation of your computer. If you delete them, there are risks of OS corruption, therefore, if you are not sure what exactly needs to be deleted, we recommend you to use a professional removal tool or our free online virus scanner that can get rid of potentially unwanted and dangerous files without putting your computer at risk. Also, feel free to ask us any questions that you have in the comments below this post, as well.


    About the author


    Violet George

    Violet is an active writer with a passion for all things cyber security. She enjoys helping victims of computer virus infections remove them and successfully deal with the aftermath of the attacks. But most importantly, Violet makes it her priority to spend time educating people on privacy issues and maintaining the safety of their computers. It is her firm belief that by spreading this information, she can empower web users to effectively protect their personal data and their devices from hackers and cybercriminals.

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