What to do if Microsoft Edge is hijacked

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
1 Comments
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Microsoft Edge is a fantastic browser, but even it isn't safe from hijacking.
  • The article below will showcase some of the things that you can do if your Edge browser has been hijacked.
  • To learn more about using this browser, visit our dedicated Edge Hub.
  • If you want to know how to remove malware, visit our Malware Removal section.
microsoft edge hijacked

Windows 10 brought us a new browser called Microsoft Edge and for the most part, users are quite pleased with it. Unfortunately, some users reported that Microsoft Edge has been hijacked by a malicious website.

While this might seem like a major security problem, in fact, it’s quite easy to fix. Usually, when Microsoft Edge is hijacked, you’ll see the same page every time you open Edge.

That page usually comes with an error message that asks you to call a certain number in order to fix the security problem. This is just a scam — your computer isn’t infected by a virus or malware despite what the error message says.

This message appears because you’re stuck on a scam website but you can easily fix this problem by following one of our solutions.

The solutions listed below will also help you if you are experiencing any of these issues:

  • Microsoft Edge hijacked
  • Edge browser hijacked
  • Microsoft Edge homepage hijacked
  • Edge hijacked
  • Hijack.edge.dom storage

We strongly recommend securing your browser from the start with a full-dedicated VPN tool. 

Get now Private Internet Access, for enhanced security. It protects your PC from attacks while browsing, masks your IP address and blocks all unwanted access. 


Quick Tip:

Hijacked software can be quite tricky to recover and fix. That is why we are recommending that you try Opera before going through the entire troubleshooting process.

The reason we recommend Opera is because it is very similar to Edge, as they both share the same Chromium engine, and because Opera is also very secure compared to other browsers.

This is thanks to the extremely efficient built-in VPN, and the built-in ad-blocker. So not only will you be able to surf the Internet again, but you will be able to do it without worrying about adware or spyware.

Opera

Opera

An excellent web browser that offers many useful tools, including the ability to save and print your web pages.

How do I fix an Edge browser that has been hijacked?

  1. Turn on Airplane mode
  2. Turn off your internet connection
  3. Quickly open a new tab
  4. Open one of your favorites
  5. Clear Edge cache
  6. Create a web shortcut on your desktop
  7. Create a .html file on your Desktop
  8. Perform a Cortana search
  9. Use Ctrl + W shortcut
  10. Delete Microsoft Edge folder from AppData
  11. Use Command Prompt to close Microsoft Edge
  12. Perform winsock reset
  13. Edit hosts file

1. Turn on Airplane mode

If Microsoft Edge is hijacked, try turning on Airplane mode. To turn airplane mode on, click the network icon in the Taskbar and choose Airplane mode from the menu.

Once Airplane mode is enabled, open Microsoft Edge and close the tab. Close Microsoft Edge, turn off Airplane mode and everything should be back to normal.


2. Turn off your internet connection

  1. Open Edge and click more icon in the top left. Choose Settings from the menu.more-settings
  2. In the Open with section choose A specific page or page, select Custom from the menu and enter the address of that page.
    specific-page
  3. Click the plus button and your new start page should be added. If you have more than one page on this list, you might have to drag your recently added website to the top of the list or remove all other websites.
    add-specific-page

To fix the problem with hijacked Microsoft Edge, you can also just turn your internet connection off. After you’ve disabled your internet connection, open Edge and close that website.

Once you’re done, turn on your internet connection and the problem should be fixed. In addition to closing that tab, a few users recommend changing your start page.


3. Quickly open a new tab

In order to fix this problem, users are advising to quickly open a new tab before the error message appears. To do that, make sure to press New Tab button as fast as you can when Microsoft Edge starts.

If you manage to open a new tab, you can easily close the malicious tab that is giving you the error message.


4. Open one of your favorites

Microsoft Edge will display you the same message every time you open it, but you can fix this error by opening one of your favorites. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Go to this file:
    • C:\Users\your user name\Favorites.
  2. In the Favorites folder you should see some of your websites.
  3. Double-click any of them and it should open in Microsoft Edge.
  4. Now just close the problematic tab and the issue should be fixed permanently.

If you don’t have any favorites, you can just open any other file in Edge, an image or a PDF for example, and close the problematic tab.


5. Clear Edge cache

 

  1. Start Edge and keep pressing Ctrl + T to open a new tab.
    • If you manage to do so successfully, the error message shouldn’t appear.
    • You might have to try this a couple of times before you manage to do it properly.
  2. Close the problematic tab.
  3. Click the More icon in the top right corner and choose Settings from the menu.
  4. Scroll down to Clear browsing data section and click Choose what to clear.
    clear-edge
  5. Select Browsing history, Cookies and saved website data, Cached data and files and click Clear.
    clear-browsing-data
  6. After the browsing data is cleared, restart Edge and your problem should be fixed.

6. Create a web shortcut on your desktop

  1. Right-click your Desktop and choose New > Shortcut.
    new-shortcut
  2. Enter www.google.com or any website address in the input field and press Next.
    create-shortcut
  3. Now enter the name of your shortcut and click Finish.
    create-shortcut-2

After you’ve created the shortcut, just double-click it and it should open Microsoft Edge in a new window and allow you to close the problematic tab.

7. Create a .html file on your Desktop

  1. Create a new text file using Notepad.
  2. Open the newly created file.
  3. Go to File > Save as.
    save-as
  4. When the save dialog opens, make sure to set Save as type as All files and enter file.html as the File name.
    save-html
  5. Click Save.
  6. Run file.html from your desktop. It should open Edge if Edge is set as your default browser.
  7. When Edge opens, close the problematic tab and the problem should be fixed.

8. Perform a Cortana search

A Cortana search can also do the trick: after searching for anything on the web with Cortana, open the search results in Edge.

A new tab should be open with your search results and allow you to close the problematic tab.


9. Use Ctrl + W shortcut

Try using the Ctrl + W shortcut. In order to do this, you’ll have to quickly press Enter to close down the notification and then press Ctrl + W to close the malicious tab.

This can be a bit tricky to perform, so you might have to try it a few times. Some users also suggest pressing the Esc key for about 15-30 seconds before the notification window disappears completely.

We’re not certain if pressing Esc key fixes the issue, but it’s worth trying out.


10. Delete Microsoft Edge folder from AppData

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type %localappdata%. Press Enter or click OK.
    localappdata-run
  2. When Local AppData folder opens, navigate to the following folder:
    • Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbweAC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\Recovery\Active
  3. Delete all the files from Active folder and check if the problem is fixed.

11. Use Command Prompt to close Microsoft Edge

  1. Press <strong>Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt from the menu.
    command-prompt-start-menu
  2. When Command Prompt starts enter tasklist and press Enter.
    cmd-tasklist
  3. You should see a list of all running processes. Locate MicrosoftEdge.exe and find its PID.
    • In our example, the PID was 9436, but we have to mention that you’ll most likely get a different number.
  4. Enter taskkill /f /pid 9436 and press Enter to run it.
    • Remember, 9436 is just an example, so make sure to use the correct PID that corresponds to the Microsoft Edge process on your computer.
      taskkill-cmd
  5. If you did everything right, Microsof Edge should close. Now start Microsoft Edge again and check if the issue is resolved.

12. Perform winsock reset

  1. Make sure Microsoft Edge isn’t running.
  2. Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
    command-prompt-admin
  3. Type netsh winsock resetrong> and press Enter.
    cmd-netsh-winsock-reset
  4. Restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved.

13. Edit hosts file

  1. Open Notepad and choose File > Open.
  2. Navigate to this location:
    • C:\Windows\System32\driversetc.
  3. Make sure to select All files from the menu in the bottom right corner.
    all-files
  4. Choose hosts and click Open.
  5. At the bottom of the file insert the following:
    • 127.0.0.1 harmfulwebsite.com
  6. Remember to replace harmfulwebsite.com with the actual address of the website that is hijacking Microsoft Edge.
  7. Save changes
  8. Open Edge and close the problematic tab.
    • Optional: If the issue is fixed, remove the changes you made to the hosts file.

To complete your solution, you’ll need to memorize the name of the website that hijacks Microsoft Edge. We’ll use harmfulwebsite.com as an example, but you need to make sure to use the proper web address.

As you can see, this isn’t as serious problem as you first thought, and in most cases, you can fix it just by turning off your internet connection and closing the problematic website.

These scams aren’t uncommon and we’ve already covered how to fix system32.exe failure error, so if you need more information feel free to check that article out.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

  • The method I used today to get around this was to go to Run and run microsoft-edge:http://www.google.com. This opens the browser to that page (similar to making the shortcut you mentioned but skipping a step). And this allowed me to access settings. Hope that helps too!