If you’re reading this post, the chances are, you are doing so via the internet browser that has been hijacked with something called Search Messenger. Search Messenger is classified as browser hijacker. Most commonly it’s installed without your permission. It takes control of your web-browser and alters your homepage, newtab and search engine by default to its own. So, you’ll find a new homepage and search provider installed in the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge web-browsers.
Besides the fact that Search Messenger hijacker changes your start page, this annoying page may set yourself as your search provider. But, obviously, it does not give you a good search results, as they will consist of a large amount of ads, links to unwanted and ad sites and only the remaining part is search results for your query from the major search providers. Of course, the very fact that you encounter with the inability to properly search the Internet, is an unpleasant moment. Moreover, the Search Messenger browser hijacker can gather a wide variety of personal data, and in the future to transfer it to third parties. What creates the risk of theft of your personal data.
Also, adware (sometimes called ‘ad-supported’ software) can be installed on the PC system together with Search Messenger browser hijacker. It will insert a huge count of advertisements directly to the web-pages which you view, creating a sense that ads has been added by the makers of the page. Moreover, legal ads can be replaced on fake advertisements which will offer to download and install various unnecessary and harmful applications. Moreover, the Search Messenger browser hijacker infection has the ability to collect a wide variety of personal information that can be later used for marketing purposes.
In addition to that, as was mentioned earlier, some hijackers like Search Messenger to also alter all web browsers shortcuts that located on your Desktop or Start menu. So, every infected shortcut will try to redirect your browser to unwanted web-pages, certain of which might be harmful. It can make the whole PC system more vulnerable to hacker attacks.
Thus, it is clear that the presence of browser hijacker on your computer is not desirable, and you need to clean up your system as quickly as possible. Follow the steps below in order to delete Search Messenger from Chrome, FF, Microsoft Edge and IE.
How to remove Search Messenger from PC
In the step-by-step instructions below we will have a look at the hijacker and how to remove Search Messenger from Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and MS Edge web browsers for Windows OS, natively or by using a few free removal tools. Some of the steps below will require you to close the web page. So, please read the step by step instructions carefully, after that bookmark or print it for later reference.
Manual Search Messenger redirect removal
Read this section to know how to manually remove the Search Messenger hijacker. Even if the few simple steps does not work for you, there are several free malicious software removers below which can easily handle such browser hijackers.
Remove potentially unwanted software using Windows Control Panel
In order to remove Search Messenger, first thing you need to do is to remove unknown and suspicious programs from your computer using Windows control panel. When deleting this browser hijacker infection, check the list of installed programs and try to find suspicious programs and delete them all. Pay special attention to recently installed programs, as it is most likely that the Search Messenger browser hijacker infection сame along with it.
- If you are using Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 then click Windows button, next click Search. Type “Control panel”and press Enter.
- If you are using Windows XP, Vista, 7, then click “Start” button and click “Control Panel”.
- It will open the Windows Control Panel.
- Further, click “Uninstall a program” under Programs category.
- It will show a list of all programs installed on the computer.
- Scroll through the all list, and delete suspicious and unknown software. To quickly find the latest installed software, we recommend sort software by date.
See more details in the video instructions below.
Fix browser shortcuts, changed by Search Messenger hijacker infection
When installed, this browser hijacker may add an argument similar to “http://site.address” into the Target property of the desktop shortcut for the FF, Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge. Due to this, every time you open the web browser, it will open the intrusive homepage.
Open the properties of the web browser shortcut. Right click on the shortcut of infected internet browser and choose the “Properties” option and it will display the properties of the shortcut. Next, choose the “Shortcut” tab and have a look at the Target field as shown in the following example.
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 that have been modified by browser hijacker like Search Messenger usually point to .bat, .cmd or .url files instead of .exe as shown on the screen below
Another variant, an address has been added at the end of the line. In this case the Target field looks such as …Application\chrome.exe” http://site.address as displayed on the screen 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 that have been altered by browser hijacker.
|Google Chrome||C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe|
|FF||C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe|
|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 done, click OK to save changes. Repeat the step for all internet browsers which are redirected to the Search Messenger annoying web-page.
Delete Search Messenger from Firefox
Resetting your Firefox is good initial troubleshooting step for any issues with your internet browser program, including the reroute to Search Messenger page.
First, launch the Firefox and press button. It will display the drop-down menu on the right-part of the internet 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 open the “Troubleshooting Information” page as displayed in the following example. In the upper-right corner of this screen, press the “Refresh Firefox” button.
It will display the confirmation dialog box. Further, click the “Refresh Firefox” button. The Firefox will begin a procedure to fix your problems that caused by the hijacker which cause Search Messenger web-page to appear. After, it’s finished, press the “Finish” button.
Get rid of Search Messenger redirect from IE
The Internet Explorer reset is great if your web browser is hijacked or you’ve unwanted add-ons or toolbars on your internet browser, that installed by a malicious software.
First, run the IE, click ) button. Next, click “Internet Options” as displayed in the following example.
In the “Internet Options” screen select the Advanced tab. Next, click Reset button. The IE will show the Reset Internet Explorer settings prompt. Select the “Delete personal settings” check box and click Reset button.
You will now need to restart your machine for the changes to take effect. It will remove hijacker infection which cause a redirect to Search Messenger web-site, disable malicious and ad-supported web-browser’s extensions and restore the Internet Explorer’s settings like new tab page, start page and search engine by default to default state.
Remove Search Messenger from Google Chrome
Reset Chrome settings is a simple way to get rid of the hijacker, harmful and ‘ad-supported’ extensions, as well as to recover the internet browser’s newtab, home page and search provider by default that have been modified by Search Messenger browser hijacker.
- First, launch the Chrome and click the Menu icon (icon in the form of three horizontal stripes).
- It will display the Chrome main menu, press the “Settings” menu.
- Next, click “Show advanced settings” link, that located at the bottom of the Settings page.
- On the bottom of the “Advanced settings” page, press the “Reset settings” button.
- The Google Chrome will display the reset settings prompt as on the image above.
- Confirm the browser’s reset by clicking on the “Reset” button.
- To learn more, read the blog post How to reset Chrome settings to default.
Search Messenger automatic removal
There are not many good free anti-malware programs with high detection ratio. The effectiveness of malicious software removal utilities depends on various factors, mostly on how often their virus/malware signatures DB are updated in order to effectively detect modern malicious software, adware, browser hijackers and other potentially unwanted software. We suggest to run several programs, not just one. These programs that listed below will help you delete all components of the hijacker from your disk and Windows registry and thereby get rid of Search Messenger redirect.
Remove Search Messenger with Zemana
Zemana Anti-Malware highly recommended, because it can scan for security threats such ad-supported software and hijackers which most ‘classic’ antivirus programs fail to pick up on. Moreover, if you have any Search Messenger hijacker infection removal problems which cannot be fixed by this utility automatically, then Zemana Free provides 24X7 online assistance from the highly experienced support staff.
- Download Zemana by clicking on the following link. Save it on your Windows desktop or in any other place.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: July 16, 2019
- Once the download is finished, close all programs and windows on your machine. Open a file location. Double-click on the icon that’s named Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.
- Further, press Next button and follow the prompts.
- Once installation is done, click the “Scan” button for scanning your machine for the hijacker infection which cause Search Messenger web site to appear. A scan may take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of files on your computer and the speed of your PC system.
- After Zemana Free completes the scan, Zemana will open a scan report. In order to delete all threats, simply press “Next”. When finished, you can be prompted to restart your PC system.
Scan and free your personal computer of browser hijacker infection with Malwarebytes
Manual Search Messenger homepage removal requires some computer skills. Some files and registry entries that created by the browser hijacker can be not completely removed. We advise that run the Malwarebytes Free that are completely free your computer of hijacker infection. Moreover, the free application will allow you to get rid of malicious software, potentially unwanted applications, adware and toolbars that your machine can be infected too.
Download MalwareBytes Anti-Malware on your machine by clicking on the link below.
Category: Security tools
Update: April 15, 2020
Once the downloading process is finished, close all windows on your computer. Further, start the file named mb3-setup. If the “User Account Control” dialog box pops up as on the image below, click the “Yes” button.
It will display the “Setup wizard” that will allow you install MalwareBytes Free on the system. Follow the prompts and don’t make any changes to default settings.
Once installation is finished successfully, click Finish button. Then MalwareBytes Free will automatically launch and you can see its main window as displayed in the figure below.
Next, press the “Scan Now” button to perform a system scan with this utility for the browser hijacker which developed to redirect your browser to the Search Messenger web page. A system scan may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your computer.
When the system scan is complete, MalwareBytes Anti Malware (MBAM) will display a screen which contains a list of malware that has been detected. When you are ready, click “Quarantine Selected” button.
The MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) will start to delete hijacker that modifies browser settings to replace your home page, newtab page and search engine by default with Search Messenger web site. Once the task is complete, you can be prompted to restart your computer. We recommend you look at the following video, which completely explains the procedure of using the MalwareBytes to remove browser hijackers, adware and other malicious software.
Remove Search Messenger browser hijacker and malicious extensions with AdwCleaner
AdwCleaner is a free removal tool that can be downloaded and run to remove hijackers, ‘ad supported’ software, malware, potentially unwanted software, toolbars and other threats from your computer. You can use this tool to detect threats even if you have an antivirus or any other security program.
Download AdwCleaner tool by clicking on the following link and save it directly to your Windows Desktop.
Author: Xplode, MalwareBytes
Category: Security tools
Update: June 30, 2021
Once the download is complete, open the file location and double-click the AdwCleaner icon. It will start the AdwCleaner tool and you will see a screen as shown on the image below. If the User Account Control dialog box will ask you want to run the program, press Yes button to continue.
Next, click “Scan” to begin scanning your system for the hijacker which made to redirect your internet browser to the Search Messenger web-site. This procedure can take quite a while, so please be patient. While the AdwCleaner utility is scanning, you can see how many objects it has identified as being infected by malicious software.
When the system scan is complete, AdwCleaner will display a screen which contains a list of malware that has been detected as shown in the following example.
In order to remove all items, simply click “Clean” button. It will show a prompt. Click “OK” button. The AdwCleaner will delete hijacker which redirects your web browser to intrusive Search Messenger web site and add items to the Quarantine. After finished, the tool may ask you to restart your system. After reboot, the AdwCleaner will open the log file.
All the above steps are shown in detail in the following video instructions.
How to block Search Messenger
If you surf the World Wide Web, you cannot avoid malvertising. But you can protect your internet browser against it. Download and run an ad blocking program. AdGuard is an ad-blocking which can filter out a large number of of the malicious advertising, stoping dynamic scripts from loading malicious content.
Installing the AdGuard ad-blocker program is simple. First you’ll need to download AdGuard from the link below and save it directly to your Microsoft Windows Desktop.
Author: © Adguard
Category: Security tools
Update: November 15, 2018
After downloading 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 guide like below.
Click “Skip” button to close the window and use the default settings, or press “Get Started” to see an quick guide which will assist you get to know AdGuard better.
Each time, when you start your system, AdGuard will launch automatically and block popups, web-sites such Search Messenger, as well as other harmful or misleading web-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, which can be found on your desktop.
Prevent Search Messenger hijacker from installing
Now your PC system should be free of the browser hijacker that causes web-browsers to display undesired Search Messenger site. Delete AdwCleaner. We suggest that you keep Zemana Anti Malware (to periodically scan your PC for new browser hijackers and other malicious software) and AdGuard (to help you block annoying popup advertisements and malicious web-pages). Moreover, to prevent browser hijackers, please stay clear of unknown and third party programs, make sure that your antivirus program, turn on the option to find PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).
If you need more help with Search Messenger related issues, go to our Spyware/Malware removal forum.