If your antivirus software detects SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack then it indicates that your system is infected with a malicious software. The SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection is classified as the browser hijacker (sometimes called hijackware). It is a type of malicious software that modifies your PC’s web-browser settings such as homepage, new tab page and search provider. Once started, the Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack virus will change the browsers’s settings to an unwanted web-page.
When you’re performing searches using the web-browser that has been affected by the Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack, the search results will be returned from Bing, Yahoo or Google Custom Search. The devs behind the SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection are most probably doing this to earn advertisement money from the ads opened in the search results.
Some hijackers also contain adware (sometimes named ‘ad-supported’ software) that can be used to open undesired advertisements or gather a wide variety of your confidential data which can be sold to third parties. These unwanted ads can be opened 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 made to show advertisements, but certain ‘ad supported’ software is form of spyware that often used to track users to collect your user info.
The SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack usually affects only Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. However, possible situations, when any other internet browsers will be affected too. The SettingsModifier malware may change the Target property of internet browser’s shortcuts, so every time you start the browser, instead of your homepage, you will see a completely different web-page.
We strongly suggest that you perform the step-by-step guide below which will assist you to get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection using the standard features of Windows and some proven free software.
How to remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack from PC
Without a doubt, the SettingsModifier infection is harmful to your personal computer. So you need to quickly and completely remove this malware. To remove this hijacker, you may use the manual removal guidance that are given below or free malicious software removal tool like Zemana Free, MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM) or AdwCleaner (all are free). We recommend you use automatic removal way that will allow you to remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack easily and safely. Manual removal is best used only if you’re well versed in computer or in the case where browser hijacker infection is not uninstalled automatically. Read this manual carefully, bookmark or print it, because you may need to exit your internet browser or restart your computer.
To remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack, use the following steps:
- Manual SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack removal
- Delete suspicious applications using Microsoft Windows Control Panel
- Disinfect the web browser’s shortcuts to get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack
- Remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack from Internet Explorer
- Get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection from Chrome
- Remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack from Mozilla Firefox by resetting internet browser settings
- Use free malware removal utilities to completely get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection
- Block malicious, misleading and undesired web sites
- How can you prevent your personal computer from the attack of SettingsModifier infection
- To sum up
Manual SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack removal
Steps to remove the SettingsModifier virus without any software are presented below. Be sure to carry out the step-by-step instructions completely to fully remove this undesired SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection.
Delete suspicious applications using Microsoft Windows Control Panel
In order to remove potentially unwanted software such as this browser hijacker, open the Windows Control Panel and click on “Uninstall a program”. Check the list of installed programs. For the ones you do not know, run an Internet search to see if they are adware, browser hijacker or potentially unwanted software. If yes, delete them off. Even if they are just a software which you do not use, then deleting them off will increase your system start up time and speed dramatically.
Windows 8, 8.1, 10
First, click the Windows button , then click Search . Type “Control panel”and press Enter.
Windows XP, Vista, 7
First, click “Start” and select “Control Panel”.
It will show the Windows Control Panel as shown in the figure below.
Next, click “Uninstall a program”
It will show a list of all applications installed on your computer. Scroll through the all list, and uninstall any suspicious and unknown apps. To quickly find the latest installed applications, we recommend sort software by date in the Control panel.
Disinfect the web browser’s shortcuts to get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack
The Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack virus and other kinds of potential threats like malicious software and adware, may hijack various Windows shortcut files on your desktop (most often, all web-browsers shortcut files), 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 which you use to launch your browser. Next, choose the “Properties” option. Important: necessary to click on the desktop shortcut for the internet browser which is rerouted to an undesired web-page.
Further, necessary to look at the text which is written in the “Target” field. The SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection can rewrite the contents of this field, which describes the file to be start when you run your internet browser. Depending on the browser you’re 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 like “http://site.addres” which has been added here, then you should remove it, like below.
Next, click the “OK” button to save the changes. Now, when you start the internet browser from this desktop shortcut, it does not occur automatically reroute on any unwanted web-sites. Once the step is finished, we recommend to go to the next step.
Remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack from Internet Explorer
If you find that IE browser settings like default search provider, newtab and start page having been hijacked, then you may return your settings, via the “reset web browser settings” tool.
First, run the IE. Next, click the button in the form of gear (). It will open the Tools drop-down menu, click the “Internet Options” as shown on the screen below.
In the “Internet Options” window click on the Advanced tab, then click the Reset button. The Microsoft Internet Explorer will show the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” window as displayed in the following example. Select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click “Reset” button.
You will now need to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
Get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection from Chrome
Reset Google Chrome settings is a simple way to remove the browser hijacker, harmful and adware extensions, as well as to restore the web browser’s newtab, search provider and home page that have been replaced by browser hijacker infection.
- First run the Chrome and press Menu button (small button in the form of three dots).
- It will display the Google Chrome main menu. Select More Tools, then click Extensions.
- You’ll see the list of installed addons. If the list has the plugin labeled with “Installed by enterprise policy” or “Installed by your administrator”, then complete the following guide: Remove Chrome extensions installed by enterprise policy.
- Now open the Chrome menu once again, click the “Settings” menu.
- You will see the Google Chrome’s settings page. Scroll down and press “Advanced” link.
- Scroll down again and click the “Reset” button.
- The Google Chrome will display the reset profile settings page as on the image above.
- Next press the “Reset” button.
- Once this procedure is finished, your internet browser’s newtab, search provider by default and homepage will be restored to their original defaults.
- To learn more, read the post How to reset Chrome settings to default.
Remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack from Mozilla Firefox by resetting internet browser settings
If your Mozilla Firefox internet browser startpage has modified by the SettingsModifier virus without your permission or an unknown search provider displays results for your search, then it may be time to perform the web-browser reset.
Click the Menu button (looks like three horizontal lines), and click the blue Help icon located at the bottom of the drop down menu as on the image below.
A small menu will appear, press the “Troubleshooting Information”. On this page, click “Refresh Firefox” button as displayed in the figure below.
Follow the onscreen procedure to restore your FF web browser settings to its original state.
Use free malware removal utilities to completely get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection
Manual removal is not always as effective as you might think. Often, even the most experienced users can not completely get rid of browser hijacker from the infected PC. So, we suggest to check your system for any remaining malicious components with free hijacker removal applications below.
How to automatically delete SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack with Zemana
We advise you to use the Zemana Anti Malware that are completely clean your computer. Moreover, the utility will allow you to delete PUPs, malware, toolbars and ad supported software that your personal computer can be infected too.
Download Zemana on your personal computer by clicking on the following link.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: July 16, 2019
After downloading is finished, start it and follow the prompts. Once installed, the Zemana AntiMalware will try to update itself and when this process is done, press the “Scan” button for checking your personal computer for the SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack and other kinds of potential threats like malware and adware.
A system scan may take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on your PC. When a threat is detected, the number of the security threats will change accordingly. Review the scan results and then click “Next” button.
The Zemana will begin to remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack related files, folders and registry keys.
Delete SettingsModifier virus with Malwarebytes
You can remove SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection automatically with a help of Malwarebytes Free. We suggest this free malicious software removal tool because it can easily get rid of browser hijackers, ‘ad supported’ software, PUPs and toolbars with all their components such as files, folders and registry entries.
- Click the link below to download the latest version of MalwareBytes Free for Windows. Save it on your Windows desktop or in any other place.
Category: Security tools
Update: April 15, 2020
- Once the downloading process is complete, close all programs and windows on your PC. Open a directory in which you saved it. Double-click on the icon that’s named mb3-setup.
- Further, click Next button and follow the prompts.
- Once install is finished, click the “Scan Now” button for scanning your PC system for the SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection that cause a reroute to an intrusive web-page. This procedure can take quite a while, so please be patient. When a threat is detected, the number of the security threats will change accordingly. Wait until the the scanning is finished.
- When the scan get finished, MalwareBytes Free will show a list of detected threats. In order to delete all items, simply click “Quarantine Selected”. After finished, you can be prompted to reboot your machine.
The following video offers a few simple steps on how to delete hijacker infections, ad supported software and other malware with MalwareBytes AntiMalware.
If the problem with SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection is still remained
AdwCleaner is a portable utility which searches for and deletes undesired software like browser hijackers, adware, toolbars, other web browser addons and other malicious software. It scans your computer for the Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection and other kinds of potential threats such as malware and adware and prepares a list of items marked for removal. AdwCleaner will only uninstall those unwanted apps that you wish to be removed.
Click the following link to download the latest version of AdwCleaner for Windows. Save it to your Desktop so that you can access the file easily.
Author: Xplode, MalwareBytes
Category: Security tools
Update: June 30, 2021
When the downloading process is complete, open the folder in which you saved it and double-click the AdwCleaner icon. It will start the AdwCleaner utility and you will see a screen as displayed on the image below. If the User Account Control dialog box will ask you want to start the program, press Yes button to continue.
Next, click “Scan” to begin checking your PC system for the SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack and other security threats. A scan can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of files on your system and the speed of your PC system. When a malicious software, adware or PUPs are found, the number of the security threats will change accordingly. Wait until the the scanning is finished.
When the scan get finished, AdwCleaner will produce a list of unwanted and adware apps as shown in the figure below.
Make sure all items have ‘checkmark’ and press “Clean” button. It will display a prompt. Click “OK” button. The AdwCleaner will start to get rid of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection and other security threats. After that process is finished, the utility may ask you to restart your PC. After restart, the AdwCleaner will display the log file.
All the above steps are shown in detail in the following video instructions.
Block malicious, misleading and other undesired web sites
It is also critical to protect your browsers from malicious web pages and ads by using an ad-blocking application like AdGuard. Security experts says that it’ll greatly reduce the risk of malware, and potentially save lots of money. Additionally, the AdGuard can also protect your privacy by blocking almost all trackers.
Installing the AdGuard ad blocker program is simple. First you will need to download AdGuard from the following link. Save it on your MS Windows desktop.
Author: © Adguard
Category: Security tools
Update: November 15, 2018
After the downloading process is done, double-click the downloaded file to run it. The “Setup Wizard” window will show up on the computer screen as shown in the figure 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 instructions as shown on the screen below.
Click “Skip” button to close the window and use the default settings, or click “Get Started” to see an quick tutorial that will allow you get to know AdGuard better.
Each time, when you launch your system, AdGuard will start automatically and stop popups, 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, that is located on your desktop.
How can you prevent your personal computer from the attack of SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack infection
To sum up
After completing the guidance shown above, your PC system should be free from SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack virus and other security threats and other malicious software. The Edge, Internet Explorer, FF and Google Chrome will no longer open an undesired web site on startup. Unfortunately, if the tutorial does not help you, then you have caught a new hijacker, and then the best way – ask for help in our Spyware/Malware removal forum.