How to remove browser hijackers in Windows 10

Aleksandar Ognjanovic By: Aleksandar Ognjanovic
4 minute read
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Usually, when people refer to malware, they’re talking about a Trojan32-like virus freely roaming through your system. However, there are much less dangerous, but still threatening, adware attacks that can create a lot of trouble.

One of the most common adware bugs is a browser hijacker, a remarkably sturdy and resilient annoyance, that takes a full control of your browser. And Windows 10 users are not spared.

Namely, what browser hijacker usually do is:

  • Infiltrates to your PC while installing a third-party program or browser extension.
  • It’s mostly a toolbar extension that changes your home page and search engine within the affected browser.
  • It’s easily recognizable as it bombards users with pop-ups and ads.

Furthermore, it’s not so easy to deal with it, since it tends to integrate and dig in deep, so even if you reinstall your browser, it’ll still be there.

Provoking and making your browser completely unusable. Because of that, we offer a step-by-step list of instructions you should follow in order to relieve yourself of this vermin.

Steps to remove browser hijacker in Windows 10

  1. Uninstall toolbars from Control Panel
  2. Scan for viruses
  3. Reset the browser to default settings

QUICK TIP: UR Browser is immune to browser hijackers

download UR browser

Before we list the detailed instructions on how to efficiently remove browser hijackers, you should know there’s an interesting browser out there called UR Browser that’s virtually immune to browser hijackers.

Once you’ve installed it on your Windows 10 computer, you’re safe from trackers, ads and cyber threats.

UR automatically blocks cookies, trackers and browser hijackers thus keeping your information safe from prying eyes.


If you prefer to continue using your current browser, then follow the steps listed below to uninstall browser hijackers.

Step 1: Uninstall toolbars from Control Panel

The first thing you should do is to uninstall a core program that controls a browser hijacker.

Search for everything suspicious as they tend to hide behind various programs, starting from toolbar extensions and reaching to performance boosters and even codec packs. Everything suspicious needs to go.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. In the Search bar, type Control, and open Control Panel.
  2. From the Category view, select Uninstall a program.
  3. Navigate to one (or multiple) suspicious and untrusted programs.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  4. Right-click on a program and uninstall it.
  5. Restart your PC.

After that, let’s clean up everything that’s left behind this vicious intruder.

Step 2: Scan for viruses

You can use basically any virus solution for this but, in our experience, the tool best-suited for the job is AdwCleaner provided by Malwarebytes.

This is a tool, as you can see from the name itself, in locating and terminating all kinds of adware, including the nasty browser hijacker we’re dealing with at the moment.

In addition, in case the browser hijacker ‘carried’ additional infections, you should always run a deep scan with any given antivirus solution you have at your disposal.

Here’s how to use AdwCleaner to clean up the remaining malicious software:

  1. Download AdwCleaner for free, here.
  2. Run the tool (you don’t have to install it).
  3. Choose Scan and wait for the procedure to finish.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  4. Let the AdwCleaner clean your PC and close it.
  5. Restart your PC.

After that, you should be out in the clear. However, as we already mentioned, a generic browser hijacker will almost always tweak your homepage and additional settings in the browser properties.

Some of those can be quite touchy so you should inspect everything before you use the browser again.

Step 3: Reset the browser to default settings

Or you can, having in mind that you know stored password, reset the browser to default settings. That way, you can be certain that there are no leftovers.

Here’s how to restore default settings on most popular browsers in Windows 10:

Chrome

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click on the 3-dot menu and open Settings.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  3. Scroll down and open Advanced.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click Reset.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open Mozzila Firefox.
  2. Click on the 3-line menu and open Help.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  3. Open Troubleshooting information.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  4. Click Refresh Firefox.

Opera

  1. Close the Opera browser.
  2. Unable Hidden files in the Explorer’s toolbar under the View tab.
  3. Navigate to these two locations and delete Opera Stable folders in both:
    • Profile: C:Users:your username:AppDataRoamingOpera SoftwareOpera Stable
    • Cache: C:Users:your username:AppDataLocalOpera SoftwareOpera Stablehow to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  4. Start the browser and everything should be restored to default settings.

Edge

  1. Start Edge.
  2. Click on the 3-dot menu and open Settings.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  3. Choose Clear Browsing data and then Choose what to clear.
  4. Click Show more and check all the boxes.how to remove browser hijacker windows 10
  5. Click Clear and restart Edge.

That should do it. In case you have additional hardships with browser hijacker in Windows 10, or maybe a solution or 2 you like to share, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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