Fix: Virus keeps opening tabs [Chrome & Firefox]

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Virus-infected browsers are no joy to deal with, but there is no need to despair.
  • Follow these easy steps to get rid of erratically-opening browser tabs in no time.
  • Check out more useful information about the world's most popular browser from our Google Chrome Guides.
  • Explore our Troubleshooting Hub as well for even more handy fixes to common and rarely encountered PC issues alike.
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Virus infection isn’t exactly a common occurrence, but certain viruses can inflict a strange behavior in both Windows 10-native and third-party applications.

One resilient virus is posing as quite a headache, even though it’s not a high-risk threat. Namely, users reported that their browser tabs are opening erratically, mostly leading to ad-bloated sites.

This can be quite an annoyance, but, with a little patience, you can resolve it. In case you’re affected by this or similar virus in your browser, make sure to check the solutions below.

As an extra caution measure, you may also install an antivirus for browsing.

How to address viruses that keep opening browser tabs in Windows 10?

1. Scan for viruses

This seemingly erratic behavior is, on most occasions, caused by adware intruders. Most of the time, those nasty applications are mistakenly installed with other third-party programs.

Once there, the adware will infiltrate your web browser (or multiple browsers, depending on the type), and, from there, it will take over.

Its main purpose is to bombard you with frequent pop-ups and ads, redirect you to enlisted sites, or even change your search engine for some barely-known, malware-plagued alternative.

But, as we already stated, this is a type of malware and, accordingly, it needs an antimalware tool to remove it.

In addition, the specific nature of various adware applications, browser hijackers, or toolbars, might be too much to handle for standard antimalware solutions.

So, firstly, let’s scan for viruses, and then if the problem is persistent, we’ll turn to an anti-adware tool provided by Malwarebytes that goes by the name AdwCleaner.

  1. Open Windows Defender from the notification area.
  2. Choose Virus & threat protection.
  3. Open Advanced scan.
  4. Choose Windows Defender Offline Scan.virus keeps opening tabs
  5. Confirm the selection and wait for your PC to restart and scan for malicious software.

If there were no detections or the problem is persistent, make sure to take the alternative approach we presented below:

  1. Download and run AdwCleaner provided by Malwarebytes. You can find it here and it’s completely free.
  2. Click on Scan.           virus keeps opening tabs
  3. Wait for the procedure to finish and clean all the applications and files that even remotely relate to browsers.

2. Check Add-ons and extensions

Life of a common user would be much harder without web-browser extensions. As you are probably aware, extensions or add-ons are provided by third-party sources and offer browser improvements in various categories.

Some of them are irreplaceable on a daily basis.

But, the fact that the third-party sources provide users with extensions opens up a loophole, a chance for malicious software to install in the background and meddle with your browser.

There are many ways an adware extension can access your browser, but only a few ways to get rid of it.

If the previous step hasn’t helped you remove suspicious extensions, you’ll need to get your hands dirty and remove them manually. Just navigate to Extensions or Add-ons (it varies) and remove every unknown or untrusted extension. Restart your browser and look for changes.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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If that’s not enough and your tabs still open uncontrollably, continue with the steps below.

3. Remove related programs

In addition to the integration trough extensions, adware viruses can come in the form of an alternative third-party program following major programs.

Most of the time, users install them mistakenly without even seeing their activity or prompt. They tend to work in the background, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Even though they are sneaky by nature, these virus-ridden applications are applications, nonetheless. So, in most cases, you’ll be able to locate them within the Programs list in the Control Panel.

From there, you can easily uninstall them and hope for the resolution.

Follow the instructions below to remove the suspicious program from your system:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type control and open Control Panel.
  2. In the Category view, select Uninstall a program.virus keeps opening tabs
  3. Find and uninstall all untrusted programs and restart your PC.

Furthermore, it’s advised to delete their remaining folders from  Program Files and AppData folders.

4. Reinstall the browser

Finally, if you’re still stuck with the haunted browser and a pesky ghost-virus that keeps opening your tabs erratically, the reinstallation of the browser itself is the next obvious step.

Now, the gravity of the problem insists on a more thorough approach than usual, so, in this case, you’ll need to clean all of the remaining leftovers that are not covered by the uninstaller.

Most of the users will turn to third-party tools, like CCleaner, in order to get rid of the remnant files. We advise you to do so, too, but to exclude the registry from any clean-up procedure. It’s just too dangerous to meddle with Windows Registry.

Furthermore, if you’re not sure how to completely remove the browser and reinstall it, follow the instructions below:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type control and open Control Panel.
  2. In the Category view, select Uninstall a program.
  3. Select the affected browser and remove it.virus keeps opening tabs
  4. Now, you can run CCleaner and remove the remaining files. You can do it manually in the Program Files (Program Files x86) and AppData folders.
  5. Restart your PC.
  6. Download the browser installation file and install it.
  7. Check for changes and make sure that the problem is gone.

With that, we can conclude the article. We hope that you found it helpful and informative. In addition, make sure to take better care of third-party programs or add-ons, and don’t click on pop-ups and suspicious links.

What’s your experience with the browser viruses and how do you usually deal with them? Tell us in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about virus opening browser tabs

  • Why does my computer open random tabs?

This behavior usually has to do with malware caught by your browser. One solution is to clean install your browser. Make sure you remove all leftovers for a fresh installation with these specialized tools.

  • How do I remove a new tab virus?

Use a malware removal tool such as Malwarebytes. Check out more tested solutions to eradicate new tab viruses in this comprehensive guide.

  • How do I scan Chrome for viruses?

You can use Chrome’s built-in anti-malware tool, the Windows Defender, or any third-party antivirus. Check out this list of best antivirus tools for browsing while you’re at it.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2017 and was revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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