If your internet browser’s start page or search engine are being re-directed to the web-site called Soft searches, then you most likely have a browser hijacker installed on your PC system. The hijacker will change your internet browser’s start page, new tab and search provider by default so that they automatically open the Soft searches web-site and use it for searches. If you would like to remove Soft searches and are unable to do so, you can use the instructions below to find and get rid of this hijacker and any other malicious software for free.
Except that the Soft searches may impose certain undesired changes to web browser’s start page and new tab, it also changes your search engine, which leads to the fact that use of the browser’s search becomes uncomfortable. The reason for this is that the search results will consist of lots of ads, links to unwanted and ad web pages and only the remaining part is search results for your query from well-known search providers such as Google or Bing.
Table of contents
- What is Soft searches
- How to remove Soft searches redirect
- How to remove Soft searches redirect without any software
- Use free malware removal utilities to completely remove Soft searches
- How to block Soft searches
- How can you prevent the Soft searches hijacker infection
- To sum up
Some hijackers also contain adware (sometimes called ‘ad-supported’ software) that can be used to show annoying advertisements and or gather a wide variety of your data that may be transferred to third parties. These unwanted ads can be displayed as pop-unders, pop-ups, in-text ads, video advertisements, text links or banners or even massive full page ads. Most of the ad-supported software is created to show ads, but certain ‘ad supported’ software is form of spyware that often used to track users to gather lots of personal data.
The Soft searches browser hijacker infection usually affects only the Google Chrome, FF, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. However, possible situations, when any other internet browsers will be affected too. The hijacker infection will perform a scan of the PC for internet browser shortcuts and change them without your permission. When it infects the web browser shortcuts, it’ll add the argument such as ‘http://site.address’ into Target property. So, each time you run the web browser, you will see the Soft searches unwanted web page.
The guidance below explaining steps to get rid of Soft searches problem. Feel free to use it for removal of the hijacker that may attack Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge and other popular web browsers. The guidance will help you revert back your certain settings of all your typical internet browsers that previously replaced by hijacker infection.
How to remove Soft searches redirect
As with uninstalling ad-supported software, malware or PUPs, there are few steps you can do. We suggest trying them all. If you do only one part of the guide, then it should be use malware removal tool, because it should remove hijacker and stop any further infection. But to completely get rid of the Soft searches you will have to at least reset your web-browser settings such as new tab, homepage and search provider by default to default state, disinfect browsers shortcuts, delete all unwanted and suspicious software, and remove hijacker by malicious software removal utilities. Some of the steps below will require you to close the web site. So, please read the few simple steps carefully, after that bookmark or print it for later reference.
How to remove Soft searches redirect without any software
Most common browser hijacker infections may be deleted without any antivirus applications. The manual hijacker removal is guidance that will teach you how to remove the Soft searches homepage.
Delete Soft searches related applications through the Control Panel of your system
It’s of primary importance to first identify and get rid of all potentially unwanted software, ad-supported software applications and hijackers through ‘Add/Remove Programs’ (Windows XP) or ‘Uninstall a program’ (Windows 10, 8, 7) section of your Windows Control Panel.
Press Windows button , then press Search . Type “Control panel”and press Enter. If you using Windows XP or Windows 7, then click “Start” and select “Control Panel”. It will show the Windows Control Panel as shown in the figure below.
Further, click “Uninstall a program”
It will display a list of all software installed on your computer. Scroll through the all list, and uninstall any suspicious and unknown software.
Fix infected internet browsers shortcuts to remove Soft searches home page
A hijacker infection can hijack various Windows shortcuts on your desktop (most often, all web-browsers shortcuts), so in this step you need to check and clean them by removing the argument like http://site.address/.
Open the properties of the web-browser shortcut. Right click on the shortcut of infected web browser and choose the “Properties” option and it’ll display the properties of the shortcut. Next, choose the “Shortcut” tab and have a look at the Target field as shown in the figure below.
Normally, if the last word in the Target field is chrome.exe, iexplore.exe, firefox.exe. Be sure to pay attention to the extension, should be “exe”! All shortcuts which have been modified by hijacker like Soft searches usually point to .bat, .cmd or .url files instead of .exe as shown on the image below
Another variant, an address has been added at the end of the line. In this case the Target field looks like …Application\chrome.exe” http://site.address like below.
In order to fix a shortcut, you need to insert right path to the Target field or remove an address (if it has been added at the end). You can use the following information to fix your shortcuts which have been modified by hijacker infection.
|Google Chrome||C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe|
|Firefox||C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe|
|Microsoft Internet Explorer||C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe|
|C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe|
|Opera||C:\Program Files (x86)\Opera\launcher.exe|
Once is finished, press OK to save changes. Repeat the step for all browsers which are redirected to the Soft searches intrusive web-site.
Get rid of Soft searches from Firefox
If your Firefox internet browser home page has replaced to Soft searches without your permission or an unknown search provider opens results for your search, then it may be time to perform the web-browser reset.
Start the Firefox and press the menu button (it looks like three stacked lines) at the top right of the web browser screen. Next, click the question-mark icon at the bottom of the drop-down menu. It will display the slide-out menu.
Select the “Troubleshooting information”. If you’re unable to access the Help menu, then type “about:support” in your address bar and press Enter. It bring up the “Troubleshooting Information” page as shown below.
Click the “Refresh Firefox” button at the top right of the Troubleshooting Information page. Select “Refresh Firefox” in the confirmation prompt. The Firefox will begin a procedure to fix your problems that caused by the Soft searches browser hijacker. Once, it’s finished, click the “Finish” button.
Remove Soft searches from Google Chrome
Run the Reset browser utility of the Chrome to reset all its settings like newtab, home page and search provider by default to original defaults. This is a very useful tool to use, in the case of web-browser hijacks such as Soft searches.
Open the Google Chrome menu by clicking on the button in the form of three horizontal stripes (). It will show the drop-down menu. Next, click to “Settings” option.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the “Show advanced settings” link. Now scroll down until the Reset settings section is visible, as shown in the figure below and click the “Reset settings” button.
Confirm your action, click the “Reset” button.
Remove Soft searches startpage from IE
First, launch the Microsoft Internet Explorer. Next, click the button in the form of gear (). It will open the Tools drop-down menu, click the “Internet Options” as shown below.
In the “Internet Options” window click on the Advanced tab, then press the Reset button. The Internet Explorer will display the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” window like below. Select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click “Reset” button.
You will now need to restart your system for the changes to take effect.
Use free malware removal utilities to completely remove Soft searches
Many antivirus companies have created applications that help detect and get rid of browser hijacker infection, and thereby revert back web browsers settings. Below is a a few of the free applications you may want to use. Your computer can have a large amount of potentially unwanted software, ‘ad supported’ software and hijackers installed at the same time, so we recommend, if any unwanted or harmful program returns after restarting the PC, then start your personal computer into Safe Mode and run the anti malware utility again.
Remove Soft searches redirect with Zemana Anti-malware
We recommend using the Zemana Anti-malware which are completely clean your system of the browser hijacker. The utility is an advanced malware removal program created by (c) Zemana lab. It is able to help you delete potentially unwanted applications, browser hijacker infections, adware, malware, toolbars, ransomware and other security threats from your system for free.
Download Zemana AntiMalware on your PC system from the link below. Save it on your desktop.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: March 3, 2018
After the downloading process is finished, close all windows on your PC system. Further, open the setup file named Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup. If the “User Account Control” dialog box pops up like below, click the “Yes” button.
It will open the “Setup wizard” that will help you install Zemana AntiMalware on the computer. Follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
Once install is finished successfully, Zemana Anti-Malware will automatically launch and you can see its main window as shown on the image below.
Next, click the “Scan” button to begin checking your system for the Soft searches hijacker infection and other web browser’s harmful extensions. A system scan can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your system. When a malicious software, ad supported software or potentially unwanted applications are detected, the number of the security threats will change accordingly.
As the scanning ends, it will open a list of detected items. Next, you need to press “Next” button.
The Zemana AntiMalware will remove Soft searches browser hijacker infection and other kinds of potential threats such as malware and ad-supported software and move threats to the program’s quarantine. After disinfection is finished, you can be prompted to reboot your computer.
How to get rid of Soft searches with Malwarebytes
Delete Soft searches browser hijacker infection manually is difficult and often the browser hijacker infection is not completely removed. Therefore, we suggest you to run the Malwarebytes Free that are completely clean your PC system. Moreover, the free program will allow you to remove malware, PUPs, toolbars and ad supported software that your computer can be infected too.
Download Malwarebytes Free by clicking on the link below.
Category: Security tools
Update: March 20, 2018
When downloading is complete, run it and follow the prompts. Once installed, the Malwarebytes will try to update itself and when this process is finished, click the “Scan Now” button . This will begin scanning the whole system to find out Soft searches hijacker infection and other malware and adware. Depending on your computer, the scan can take anywhere from a few minutes to close to an hour. When a malicious software, ad-supported software or PUPs are detected, the number of the security threats will change accordingly. Review the report and then press “Quarantine Selected” button.
The Malwarebytes is a free program that you can use to delete all detected folders, files, services, registry entries and so on. To learn more about this malicious software removal tool, we suggest you to read and follow the tutorial or the video guide below.
Remove Soft searches hijacker and malicious extensions with AdwCleaner
The AdwCleaner utility is free and easy to use. It can scan and delete browser hijacker like Soft searches, malware, PUPs and adware in Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and MS Edge web browsers and thereby revert back their default settings (start page, new tab page and search provider by default). AdwCleaner is powerful enough to find and remove malicious registry entries and files that are hidden on the personal computer.
- Download AdwCleaner from the following link.
Author: Xplode, MalwareBytes
Category: Security tools
Update: November 17, 2018
- Select the folder in which you saved it as Desktop, and then click Save.
- When downloading is done, start the AdwCleaner, double-click the adwcleaner_xxx.exe file.
- If the “User Account Control” prompts, press Yes to continue.
- In the AdwCleaner window, click the “Scan” for scanning your computer for the Soft searches hijacker infection and other malicious software and ad supported software. While the utility is scanning, you can see number of objects it has identified either as being malicious software.
- After finished, it’ll open you the results. Make sure all items have ‘checkmark’ and click “Clean”. If the AdwCleaner will ask you to restart your machine, press “OK”.
The tutorial shown in detail in the following video.
How to block Soft searches
We recommend to install an ad-blocking program that may stop Soft searches and other annoying web-pages. The adblocker tool like AdGuard is a application that basically removes advertising from the World Wide Web and blocks access to malicious sites. Moreover, security experts says that using ad blocking programs is necessary to stay safe when surfing the Web.
Installing the AdGuard ad-blocker program is simple. First you will need to download AdGuard from the following link.
Author: © Adguard
Category: Security tools
Update: July 17, 2017
When the downloading process is finished, double-click the downloaded file to run it. The “Setup Wizard” window will show up on the computer screen like below.
Follow the prompts. AdGuard will then be installed and an icon will be placed on your desktop. A window will show up asking you to confirm that you want to see a quick tutorial as shown on the screen below.
Click “Skip” button to close the window and use the default settings, or press “Get Started” to see an quick instructions which will help you get to know AdGuard better.
Each time, when you run your PC system, AdGuard will launch automatically and stop pop-up advertisements, web pages such Soft searches, as well as other malicious or misleading sites. For an overview of all the features of the program, or to change its settings you can simply double-click on the AdGuard icon, that is located on your desktop.
How can you prevent the Soft searches hijacker infection
To sum up
Now your PC system should be clean of the Soft searches . Uninstall AdwCleaner. We suggest that you keep AdGuard (to help you stop unwanted pop-up ads and unwanted malicious web sites) and Malwarebytes (to periodically scan your computer for new malware, browser hijackers and adware). Make sure that you have all the Critical Updates recommended for Windows OS. Without regular updates you WILL NOT be protected when new browser hijackers, harmful programs and ‘ad supported’ software are released.
If you are still having problems while trying to delete Soft searches redirect from your internet browser, then ask for help in our Spyware/Malware removal forum.