This page aims to help you remove Startme.online. Our removal instructions work for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, as well as every version of Windows.
In the event that your computer has been infected by a program called Startme.online, please don’t panic and remain calm. This is what’s known as a browser hijacker and the internet is littered with them. You can find them on any file-sharing platform or similar and there’s hardly an internet user out there who’s never encountered one at least once in their lifetime. Browser hijackers like this typically take hold of your browser (hence, ‘hijacker’) and begin to introduce their own rules to it: a new homepage; a new default search engine; ads being generated all over the place, etc. In addition, you can even find yourself often being redirected to various websites without even having clicked anything! To make matters worse, you can be using Chrome, Firefox, Explorer or even some other browser – and you will still be dealing with all the same things. This article is dedicated to explaining exactly what Startme.online is up to and why. But we also aim to help our readers by offering a set of removal instructions that will help you locate and uninstall this hijacker all on your own. You will find those below on this same page.
What is the purpose of a browser hijacker like Startme.online? Should you be concerned?
Well, you likely already are concerned for the safety of your computer and who can blame you? But luckily, Startme.online is not a malicious program and doesn’t pose a real threat to either you or your system. That being said, though, just because it’s not a virus doesn’t mean that it’s perfectly harmless either. We have a category for programs like this called PUPs or potentially unwanted programs and it’s for all those pieces of software that don’t provide users with any useful functionality, but don’t seek to cause them any damage either. Browser hijackers exist for the sole purpose of profiting their developers by generating and displaying large quantities of online ads on users’ screens. The more those users interact with the said ads, the larger the profits. Therefore, a program like Startme.online will be determined to make sure you as a user interact with as many online ads as possible.
But how would it go about that? Of course, there’s the simple aggressive display that can get you to accidently click on a popup or banner, just because they’ve all of a sudden flooded your screen while you were in the middle of something. But that’s not effective enough. So, instead, the developers of such software have programmed it to kind of spy on users’ browsing habits and extract certain information like websites visited, search queries, type of content shared and liked on social media, etc. This is how the hijacker can conclude which of its online ads are more likely to attract your attention. So it can then start making more emphasis on those ads, as opposed to just some random ones.
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 Startme.online 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 Startme.online from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Find the adware/malware —> Remove.
Remove Startme.online 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.
To remove parasite on your own, you may have to meddle with system files and registries. If you were to do this, you need to be extremely careful, because you may damage your system.
If you want to avoid the risk, we recommend downloading SpyHunter - a professional malware removal tool - to see whether it will find malicious programs on your PC.
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
However, despite this sounding like a very clever tactic, it is still an intrusion of sorts and most people don’t take kindly to that. But even that’s not the worst that can come of Startme.online’s presence on your computer. To make the whole advertising processes possible, these programs usually meddle with your system registry files, as well. This could potentially backfire horribly for your system and result in the infection with viruses of the scariest type like ransomware and Trojans. The reason is that they effectively weaken your system’s defense mechanisms and make it more vulnerable to external threats.
So the obvious solution here to preventing any real damage, as well ridding yourself of the constant annoyance that are the ads is to simply remove Startme.online and be done with it. After that you could also make the effort to be more considerate of you computing habits, so as to prevent other such programs from getting installed. For example, as in the vast majority of cases users tend to install browser hijackers as part of some other program they downloaded for free, you can be more mindful of your download sources. Besides that it will certainly go a long way if you learn to always customize the installation process of any new program. The advanced or manual settings will almost always disclose information regarding any added installs, and you will also have the option to remove them from the setup before you launch the installation process.
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||The first things you are likely to notice are the changed homepage and default search engine, as well as a large number of popups, banners and other ads in your browser|
|Distribution Method||Mainly with the help of program bundles, aka when software is installed using the default settings of the wizard.|
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!