The Search Secretly is defined as potentially unwanted application (PUA) from the browser hijacker family (sometimes named hijackware). When this unwanted software gets installed onto your computer, the Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge web browser’s settings such as home page, newtab and default search engine may be altered without permission. Whenever you run the internet browser, the Search Secretly appears as your startpage instead of your favorite homepage. All the time, while the Search Secretly web-site will be set as your home page and search engine, its authors will be able to gather user information, everything related to what are you doing on the Net.
As mentioned above, this PUA can change the default search provider on this intrusive site too, so all your search queries will be rerouted to Search Secretly. Thus the authors of the browser hijacker may gather the search terms of your queries, and redirect you to undesired web pages.
It is not a good idea to have an unwanted application like Search Secretly on your personal computer. The reason for this is simple, it doing things you do not know about. The hijacker can also be used to collect personal information that may be later sold to third parties. You do not know if your home address, account names and passwords are safe. And of course you completely don’t know what will happen when you click on any ads on the Search Secretly site.
The Search Secretly hijacker may change some settings of installed browsers, but often that the unwanted software may also infect all types of browsers by changing their desktop shortcuts. Thus forcing the user to see Search Secretly annoying web-site every time start the web browser.
We strongly advise that you perform the steps below that will assist you to remove Search Secretly using the standard features of Windows and some proven freeware.
Remove Search Secretly (removal guidance)
Most often hijackers requires more than a simple uninstall through the use of Windows Control panel in order to be fully removed. For that reason, our team created several removal solutions which we have summarized in a detailed instructions. Therefore, if you have the undesired Search Secretly browser hijacker on your machine and are currently trying to have it removed then feel free to follow the steps below in order to resolve your problem. Some of the steps below will require you to exit this site. So, please read the step by step instructions carefully, after that bookmark or print it for later reference.
Remove Search Secretly startpage without any tools
Read this section to know how to manually delete the Search Secretly browser hijacker infection. Even if the guide does not work for you, there are several free malicious software removers below which can easily handle such hijacker infections.
Delete suspicious software using Microsoft Windows Control Panel
The best way to begin the personal computer cleanup is to remove unknown and suspicious applications. Using the Windows Control Panel you can do this quickly and easily. This step, in spite of its simplicity, should not be ignored, because the removing of unneeded programs can clean up the Chrome, IE, FF and Microsoft Edge from advertisements hijackers and so on.
Press Windows button , then click Search . Type “Control panel”and press Enter. If you using Windows XP or Windows 7, then press “Start” and select “Control Panel”. It will show the Windows Control Panel as on the image below.
Further, click “Uninstall a program”
It will open a list of all software installed on your PC. Scroll through the all list, and uninstall any suspicious and unknown software.
Delete Search Secretly from FF by resetting web-browser settings
First, launch the Mozilla Firefox and click button. It will open the drop-down menu on the right-part of the browser. Further, press the Help button () as shown on the screen below
In the Help menu, select the “Troubleshooting Information” option. Another way to open the “Troubleshooting Information” screen – type “about:support” in the web browser adress bar and press Enter. It will show the “Troubleshooting Information” page as displayed in the following example. In the upper-right corner of this screen, click the “Refresh Firefox” button.
It will open the confirmation dialog box. Further, click the “Refresh Firefox” button. The Firefox will begin a task to fix your problems that caused by the browser hijacker which developed to redirect your web browser to the Search Secretly web page. When, it’s complete, press the “Finish” button.
Remove Search Secretly from Chrome
Reset Chrome settings is a simple way to remove the hijacker, harmful and ‘ad-supported’ extensions, as well as to recover the web browser’s home page, new tab page and default search engine that have been replaced by Search Secretly hijacker.
First start the Chrome. Next, click the button in the form of three horizontal stripes (). It will display the main menu. Further, press the option named “Settings”. Another way to show the Chrome’s settings – type chrome://settings in the web-browser adress bar and press Enter.
The browser will show the settings screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Show advanced settings” link. Now scroll down until the “Reset settings” section is visible, like below and click the “Reset settings” button.
The Google Chrome will display the confirmation prompt. You need to confirm your action, click the “Reset” button. The browser will start the task of cleaning. Once it’s done, the web browser’s settings including newtab page, start page and search provider by default back to the values that have been when the Chrome was first installed on your computer.
Delete Search Secretly from Microsoft Internet Explorer
First, launch the Internet Explorer, then press ‘gear’ icon . It will display the Tools drop-down menu on the right part of the web browser, then press the “Internet Options” as shown on the screen below.
In the “Internet Options” screen, select the “Advanced” tab, then click the “Reset” button. The IE will show the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” prompt. Further, click the “Delete personal settings” check box to select it. Next, click the “Reset” button as displayed on the screen below.
Once the process is finished, press “Close” button. Close the IE and reboot your PC system for the changes to take effect. This step will help you to restore your web browser’s start page, newtab and default search engine to default state.
Fix internet browser shortcuts, changed by Search Secretly hijacker infection
A browser hijacker 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/.
Click the right mouse button to a desktop shortcut that you use to start your internet browser. Next, select the “Properties” option. Important: necessary to click on the desktop shortcut for the browser which is rerouted to the Search Secretly or other intrusive web-page.
Further, necessary to look at the text which is written in the “Target” field. The hijacker infection can replace the contents of this field, which describes the file to be start when you open your browser. Depending on the internet browser you are using, there should be:
- Google Chrome: chrome.exe
- Opera: opera.exe
- Firefox: firefox.exe
- Internet Explorer: iexplore.exe
If you are seeing an unknown text similar to “http://site.addres” that has been added here, then you should remove it, as shown in the following example.
Next, press the “OK” button to save the changes. Now, when you launch the internet browser from this desktop shortcut, it does not occur automatically redirect on the Search Secretly web-page or any other annoying pages. Once the step is done, we recommend to go to the next step.
Run free malware removal utilities to completely remove Search Secretly redirect
Manual removal is not always as effective as you might think. Often, even the most experienced users can not completely remove hijacker from the infected computer. So, we suggest to scan your system for any remaining malicious components with free hijacker infection removal applications below.
Use Zemana AntiMalware to delete hijacker
Zemana Anti-Malware highly recommended, because it can scan for security threats such ad-supported software and hijackers that most ‘classic’ antivirus software fail to pick up on. Moreover, if you have any Search Secretly hijacker removal problems which cannot be fixed by this tool automatically, then Zemana Anti-Malware provides 24X7 online assistance from the highly experienced support staff.
Now you can install and run Zemana AntiMalware (ZAM) to remove Search Secretly redirect from your web-browser by following the steps below:
Click the following link to download Zemana Anti-Malware installation package called Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup on your computer.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: April 20, 2017
Run the setup package after it has been downloaded successfully and then follow the prompts to install this utility on your PC system.
During install you can change certain settings, but we recommend you don’t make any changes to default settings.
When installation is done, this malware removal tool will automatically run and update itself. You will see its main window as displayed on the image below.
Now click the “Scan” button .Zemana Free application will scan through the whole computer for the browser hijacker that made to reroute your web-browser to the Search Secretly web-site. A system scan can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your PC. When a malicious software, adware or PUPs are found, the count of the security threats will change accordingly. Wait until the the checking is finished.
Once Zemana has completed scanning your machine, the results are displayed in the scan report. You may move threats to Quarantine (all selected by default) by simply click “Next” button.
The Zemana Free will delete browser hijacker infection that cause Search Secretly web-site to appear and move threats to the program’s quarantine. After finished, you may be prompted to reboot your PC to make the change take effect.
How to automatically remove Search Secretly with Malwarebytes
We recommend using the Malwarebytes Free. You can download and install Malwarebytes to find and get rid of Search Secretly from your computer. When installed and updated, the free malicious software remover will automatically scan and detect all threats exist on the machine.
Download MalwareBytes Anti-Malware by clicking on the link below and save it to your Desktop.
Category: Security tools
Update: November 9, 2017
After the download is finished, run it and follow the prompts. Once installed, the MalwareBytes Free will try to update itself and when this task is complete, click the “Scan Now” button to perform a system scan with this tool for the hijacker which changes browser settings to replace your homepage, newtab page and search engine by default with Search Secretly web-site. This process can take some time, so please be patient. While the tool is checking, you can see how many objects and files has already scanned. Review the results once the utility has done the system scan. If you think an entry should not be quarantined, then uncheck it. Otherwise, simply press “Quarantine Selected” button.
The MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM) is a free application that you can use to remove all detected folders, files, services, registry entries and so on. To learn more about this malware removal tool, we suggest you to read and follow the step-by-step guide or the video guide below.
Delete Search Secretly browser hijacker infection and malicious extensions with AdwCleaner
AdwCleaner is a free removal tool which can scan your PC system for a wide range of security threats like ad-supported software, malware, potentially unwanted applications as well as browser hijacker which alters browser settings to replace your newtab page, start page and search provider by default with Search Secretly page. It will perform a deep scan of your PC including hard drives and Windows registry. Once a malware is found, it will help you to get rid of all detected threats from your machine with a simple click.
Download AdwCleaner from the link below and save it to your Desktop.
Author: Xplode, MalwareBytes
Category: Security tools
Update: February 8, 2018
When the downloading process is done, open the file location. You will see an icon like below.
Double click the AdwCleaner desktop icon. Once the tool is launched, you will see a screen like below.
Further, click “Scan” button . AdwCleaner utility will begin scanning the whole system to find out browser hijacker which cause Search Secretly page to appear. A system scan can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your machine. Once the checking is done, the results are displayed in the scan report as shown on the image below.
Make sure all items have ‘checkmark’ and click “Clean” button. It will show a prompt as shown on the image below.
You need to press “OK”. After finished, the AdwCleaner may ask you to restart your PC. When your machine is started, you will see an AdwCleaner log.
These steps are shown in detail in the following video guide.
Run AdBlocker to stop Search Secretly and stay safe online
Enabling an ad-blocking program such as AdGuard is an effective way to alleviate the risks. Additionally, ad-blocking applications will also protect you from harmful advertisements and web pages, and, of course, block redirection chain to Search Secretly and similar web-sites.
- Download AdGuard program by clicking on the following link. Save it on your Microsoft Windows desktop.
Author: © Adguard
Category: Security tools
Update: November 7, 2017
- When the download is complete, start the downloaded file. You will see the “Setup Wizard” program window. Follow the prompts.
- Once the installation is finished, press “Skip” to close the setup program and use the default settings, or click “Get Started” to see an quick tutorial that will allow you get to know AdGuard better.
- In most cases, the default settings are enough and you do not need to change anything. Each time, when you launch your PC system, AdGuard will start automatically and stop pop-up advertisements, web pages such Search Secretly, as well as other malicious or misleading web-pages. For an overview of all the features of the program, or to change its settings you can simply double-click on the icon named AdGuard, which can be found on your desktop.
Prevent Search Secretly browser hijacker infection from installing
After completing the step-by-step tutorial outlined above, your PC system should be clean from this hijacker and other malware. The Chrome, FF, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge will no longer show undesired Search Secretly home page on startup. Unfortunately, if the steps does not help you, then you have caught a new browser hijacker infection, and then the best way – ask for help.
Please start a new thread by using the “New Topic” button in the Spyware Removal forum. When posting your HJT log, try to give us some details about your problems, so we can try to help you more accurately. Wait for one of our trained “Security Team” or Site Administrator to provide you with knowledgeable assistance tailored to your problem with the annoying Search Secretly redirect.