If you’re reading this blog post, the chances are, you are doing so through the web-browser that is infected with something called Search Protector hijacker infection. The Search Protector is defined as internet browser hijacker. In many cases it’s installed without your permission. It takes control of your browser and modifies your new tab page, homepage and default search provider to its own. So, you will find a new home page and search provider installed in the IE, Microsoft Edge, Chrome and FF internet browsers.
Except that the Search Protector can make changes to web-browser’s homepage and newtab, it also replaces your search provider, which leads to the fact that use of the web-browser’s search becomes uncomfortable. The reason for this is that the search results will consist of tons of advertisements, links to unwanted and ad web pages and only the remaining part is search results for your query from well-known search engines such as Google or Bing.
Some browser hijacker infections also contain ‘ad-supported’ software (also known as adware) that has the ability to show intrusive ads or gather lots of your user data that may be sold to third party companies. These undesired advertisements can be displayed in the form of 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 display advertisements, but some ad-supported software is form of spyware that often used to track users to gather a wide variety of your confidential data.
We recommend you to remove Search Protector and free your personal computer of browser hijacker infection ASAP, until the presence of the browser hijacker has not led to even worse consequences. You need to perform the steps below that will help you to completely delete Search Protector redirect, using only the built-in Windows features and a few of specialized free tools.
Remove Search Protector from Windows 10 (8, 7, XP)
There are a simple manual tutorial below which will assist you to get rid of Search Protector from your MS Windows computer. The most effective way to remove this browser hijacker is to follow the manual removal tutorial and then use Zemana, MalwareBytes or AdwCleaner automatic tools (all are free). The manual solution will help to weaken this hijacker and these malware removal utilities will completely get rid of Search Protector and restore the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Chrome, MS Edge and Mozilla Firefox settings to default.
To remove Search Protector, execute the following steps:
- Manual Search Protector homepage removal
- How to automatically get rid of Search Protector hijacker
- Run AdBlocker to stop Search Protector and stay safe online
- How did you get infected with Search Protector browser hijacker infection
- To sum up
Manual Search Protector homepage removal
Most common hijackers may be removed without any antivirus applications. The manual hijacker infection removal is few simple steps that will teach you how to delete the Search Protector redirect.
Uninstall PUPs through the Windows Control Panel
Check out the Windows Control Panel (Programs and Features section) to see all installed applications. We recommend to click on the “Date Installed” in order to sort the list of applications by the date you installed them. If you see any unknown and dubious applications, they are the ones you need to remove.
- 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 press “Start” button and press “Control Panel”.
- It will show the Windows Control Panel.
- Further, press “Uninstall a program” under Programs category.
- It will open a list of all software installed on the system.
- Scroll through the all list, and remove dubious and unknown applications. To quickly find the latest installed applications, we recommend sort apps by date.
See more details in the video instructions below.
Remove Search Protector from Chrome
In order to be sure that there is nothing left behind, we recommend you to reset Google Chrome web-browser. It will restore Chrome settings including search provider, newtab and start page to defaults.
- First start the Chrome and click Menu button (small button in the form of three dots).
- It will display the Chrome main menu. Choose More Tools, then press Extensions.
- You will see the list of installed plugins. If the list has the extension labeled with “Installed by enterprise policy” or “Installed by your administrator”, then complete the following instructions: Remove Chrome extensions installed by enterprise policy.
- Now open the Google Chrome menu once again, press the “Settings” menu.
- You will see the Google Chrome’s settings page. Scroll down and click “Advanced” link.
- Scroll down again and press the “Reset” button.
- The Chrome will display the reset profile settings page as on the image above.
- Next click the “Reset” button.
- Once this process is finished, your browser’s newtab, search engine by default and homepage will be restored to their original defaults.
- To learn more, read the article How to reset Chrome settings to default.
Remove Search Protector search from Microsoft Internet Explorer
If you find that Internet Explorer internet browser settings such as startpage, new tab page and search engine by default having been hijacked, then you may restore your settings, via the reset internet browser procedure.
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 click the “Internet Options” as displayed on the screen below.
In the “Internet Options” screen, select the “Advanced” tab, then click the “Reset” button. The Microsoft Internet Explorer will open the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” prompt. Further, click the “Delete personal settings” check box to select it. Next, click the “Reset” button as on the image below.
When the task is finished, click “Close” button. Close the Internet Explorer and reboot your PC system for the changes to take effect. This step will help you to restore your web browser’s search engine, new tab page and home page to default state.
Remove Search Protector search from Firefox
Press the Menu button (looks like three horizontal lines), and press the blue Help icon located at the bottom of the drop down menu as displayed on the screen below.
A small menu will appear, click the “Troubleshooting Information”. On this page, click “Refresh Firefox” button as shown on the screen below.
Follow the onscreen procedure to restore your Firefox browser settings to its original state.
How to automatically get rid of Search Protector hijacker
Run malicious software removal tools to remove Search Protector automatically. The free software tools specially created for hijacker infection, ad supported software and other potentially unwanted programs removal. These tools can get rid of most of browser hijacker from Edge, Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox. Moreover, it can remove all components of Search Protector from Windows registry and system drives.
Scan and free your PC system of Search Protector with Zemana Free
We suggest using the Zemana Anti-Malware that are completely clean your machine of the hijacker. The tool is an advanced malicious software removal program designed by (c) Zemana lab. It’s able to help you remove potentially unwanted apps, browser hijacker infections, ad-supported software, malicious software, toolbars, ransomware and other security threats from your PC for free.
Please go to the link below to download Zemana Anti Malware. Save it on your Microsoft Windows desktop or in any other place.
Author: Zemana Ltd
Category: Security tools
Update: July 16, 2019
After the downloading process is done, close all software and windows on your computer. Double-click the set up file called Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup. If the “User Account Control” dialog box pops up as displayed on the screen below, click the “Yes” button.
It will open the “Setup wizard” that will help you set up Zemana Anti-Malware (ZAM) on your machine. Follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
Once installation is finished successfully, Zemana Free will automatically start and you can see its main screen as displayed in the figure below.
Now click the “Scan” button for checking your machine for the browser hijacker which modifies internet browser settings to replace your newtab page, home page and search engine with Search Protector web page. A scan can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of files on your system and the speed of your system. During the scan Zemana Free will detect threats exist on your system.
As the scanning ends, the results are displayed in the scan report. Next, you need to click “Next” button. The Zemana Anti-Malware (ZAM) will start to remove hijacker that created to reroute your internet browser to the Search Protector web page. Once finished, you may be prompted to reboot the PC system.
Automatically get rid of Search Protector redirect with Malwarebytes
We suggest using the Malwarebytes Free. You can download and install Malwarebytes to find out and remove Search Protector home page from your PC. When installed and updated, the free malware remover will automatically scan and detect all threats present on the computer.
- Please go to the following link to download the latest version of MalwareBytes Free for Microsoft Windows. Save it on your MS Windows desktop or in any other place.
Category: Security tools
Update: April 15, 2020
- Once the downloading process is done, close all apps and windows on your computer. Open a file location. Double-click on the icon that’s named mb3-setup.
- Further, click Next button and follow the prompts.
- Once installation is done, click the “Scan Now” button . MalwareBytes program will scan through the whole PC system for the browser hijacker that responsible for web-browser reroute to the unwanted Search Protector site. This process may take some time, so please be patient. While the MalwareBytes Anti Malware application is scanning, you can see number of objects it has identified as threat.
- After the system scan is done, a list of all threats found is produced. When you’re ready, click “Quarantine Selected”. After the task is finished, you can be prompted to reboot your computer.
The following video offers a steps on how to get rid of hijackers, ad supported software and other malicious software with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.
Scan your PC system and remove Search Protector with AdwCleaner
The AdwCleaner utility is free and easy to use. It can scan and get rid of browser hijacker infection responsible for redirects to Search Protector, malicious software, potentially unwanted apps and ad supported software from computer (Windows 10, 8, 7, XP) and thereby restore web browsers default settings (search engine, start page and newtab). AdwCleaner is powerful enough to scan for and delete malicious registry entries and files that are hidden on the PC.
Installing the AdwCleaner is simple. First you will need to download AdwCleaner by clicking on the following link.
Author: Xplode, MalwareBytes
Category: Security tools
Update: April 28, 2022
After downloading is finished, open the directory in which you saved it. You will see an icon like below.
Double click the AdwCleaner desktop icon. When the utility is started, you will see a screen as shown in the following example.
Further, press “Scan” button for scanning your PC for the browser hijacker responsible for Search Protector search. When AdwCleaner has finished scanning your computer, AdwCleaner will display a screen that contains a list of malware that has been found as on the image below.
Review the scan results and then click “Clean” button. It will display a dialog box as displayed in the figure below.
You need to press “OK”. When that process is done, the AdwCleaner may ask you to restart your personal computer. When your system is started, you will see an AdwCleaner log.
These steps are shown in detail in the following video guide.
Run AdBlocker to stop Search Protector and stay safe online
By installing an ad blocking program such as AdGuard, you’re able to stop Search Protector, autoplaying video ads and delete tons of distracting and unwanted ads on web sites.
Installing the AdGuard is simple. First you’ll need to download AdGuard on your Microsoft Windows Desktop from the following link.
Author: © Adguard
Category: Security tools
Update: November 15, 2018
Once the downloading process is finished, launch the downloaded file. You will see the “Setup Wizard” screen as shown on the screen below.
Follow the prompts. Once the install is finished, you will see a window as displayed on the screen below.
You can press “Skip” to close the install program and use the default settings, or click “Get Started” button to see an quick tutorial which will help 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 ups, Search Protector redirect, as well as other malicious or misleading pages. 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 did you get infected with Search Protector browser hijacker infection
Many of the free applications out there install undesired browser toolbars, adware and potentially unwanted software like the browser hijacker which reroutes your internet browser to undesired Search Protector site along with them without your knowledge. One has to be attentive while installing freeware in order to avoid accidentally installing third-party apps. It’s important that you pay attention to the EULA (End User License Agreements) and choose the Custom, Manual or Advanced install option as it will typically disclose what bundled apps will also be installed.
To sum up
Once you have finished the guide above, your PC system should be clean from this browser hijacker and other malware. The Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, FF and Edge will no longer show unwanted Search Protector web page on startup. Unfortunately, if the step-by-step tutorial does not help you, then you have caught a new 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 unwanted Search Protector redirect.