How to Remove ExploreDesktop (Mac)

Seeing an application named ExploreDesktop on a Mac computer is a sign that there is a looming additional threat or privacy theft. It is because ExploreDesktop is considered an adware that can deliver aggressive pop-up ads that can point the browser to several suspicious websites that host malicious software. Following or accessing those provided links could automatically execute the installation of other adware or malware.

How does ExploreDesktop enter the Mac computer?

One thing that should cause suspicion among Mac users is the tricky infiltration technique that ExploreDesktop carries out. Usually, questionable browser extensions, such as this, enter the computer without the knowledge of the Mac user. By making use of third-party applications where ExploreDesktop is bundled, Mac users may get a hold of this app without full knowledge. Because of this deceitful technique, computer security experts classified ExploreDesktop under the family of potentially unwanted applications (PUA).

Apart from software installers, it was observed that some infection cases of ExploreDesktop are caused by the installation of the fake software update. This is a type of aggressive advertisement that masquerades as a system alert. It lures Mac users to download the supposed software update, which in turn will install the ExploreDesktop adware.

Screenshot of ExploreDesktop for Mac

Is ExploreDesktop a virus?

Similar to ProfessionalView and TrustedAnalyser, the ExploreDesktop app may behave like a computer virus right from the start. It forces an entry into the Mac computer, and once it is in, it can produce bunches of annoyances like excessive displays of advertisements and redirects. ExploreDesktop also plays various tricks to sway web users to download and install unwanted programs. But even with these attributes, computer security analysts are certain that it is not a computer virus. Viruses are infectious and deadly to the operating system, a characteristic that ExploreDesktop does not possess. In fact, ExploreDesktop does not actually infect the computer because the Mac user perpetrates its installation by loading a dubious software bundle.

Another thing is that the ExploreDesktop app is much easier to deal with as compared to viruses. It can be eliminated with basic virus and malware scanning. Sometimes, it may require manual deletion of associated files and folders. Some may find this procedure confusing, so we made removal procedures on this page for simple and quick removal of ExploreDesktop adware.

Avoid the ExploreDesktop adware infection

To keep your Mac operating system safe and running smoothly, you must stay away from ExploreDesktop. This adware compromises your system and floods it with obtrusive pop-ups, banners, and ads that interfere with your surfing and work processes. This not only degrades the user experience but also has the potential to damage your device’s resources, take up bandwidth, and slow down your system.

ExploreDesktop also often comes packed with malware or other potentially dangerous software, putting your sensitive data and personal information at considerable risk of security breaches. Your passwords, bank information, and other private data may be stolen by these malicious apps, which can result in identity theft or financial loss. ExploreDesktop adware may compromise the integrity of your Mac’s performance, and you can safeguard yourself against privacy violations and security lapses by being proactive in preventing them. To reduce the likelihood of running ExploreDesktop on your Mac, you should update your operating system often, use trustworthy anti virus software, and exercise caution while downloading and installing new apps.

Procedures to Remove ExploreDesktop from Mac

This area contains comprehensive procedures to help you remove adware and potentially unwanted program from the computer. Guide on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.

Step 1 : - Scan the Mac Computer with Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner is a trusted Mac utility application with complete antivirus and optimization features. It is useful in dealing with adware, malware, and PUP's. Moreover, it can get rid of malicious browser hijacker like ExploreDesktop.

1. Download the tool from the following page:

2. Double-click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation.

3. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto your Applications folder icon.

4. Open your Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.

5. Wait until antivirus downloads its latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing ExploreDesktop.

Screenshot of Combo Cleaner Dashboard

To fully optimize the features of antivirus and privacy scanners, users may have to upgrade to the premium version.

Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.

Step 2 : Delete ExploreDesktop from Mac Applications

1. Go to Finder.

2. On the menu, click Go and then, select Applications from the list to open Applications Folder.

3. Find ExploreDesktop or any unwanted program.

Screenshot of Deleting App

4. Drag ExploreDesktop to Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.

5. Next, go to the Dock, right-click on the Trash icon, and click on Empty Trash.

Step 3 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to ExploreDesktop

Most adware and unwanted programs use an application called a "browser extension" to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend checking and removing the extension that is closely related to ExploreDesktop. If it is not present, look for and delete any suspicious browser extension.

Google Chrome

Remove the ExploreDesktop Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open the Google Chrome browser.

2. Input the strings below in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

chrome://extensions/

Screenshot of Chrome Extensions in PC

3. Find ExploreDesktop or a relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.

Safari

Remove Malicious Extension from Safari

1. Open the Safari browser.

2. On the top menu, click Safari > Settings or Preferences.

3. The Safari settings window will open. Please select the Extensions tab.

Screenshot of Safari Extension Removal

4. Locate the suspicious extension and click the Uninstall button to remove it from Safari.

5. You may now close the window and restart Safari.

Microsoft Edge

Remove ExploreDesktop from Microsoft Edge Browser

1. Open the Microsoft Edge program.

2. Input or copy and paste the following string in the address bar. Press press Enter on the keyboard:

edge://extensions/

Screenshot of Edge Extension on Mac

3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries for ExploreDesktop from the Installed Extensions area.

Screenshot of Edge Extension Removal - Mac

4. You may now close the window and restart the Microsoft Edge browser.

Mozilla Firefox

Uninstall the ExploreDesktop Extension from Mozilla Firefox

1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.

2. Type or copy and paste the strings below in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

about:addons

Screenshot of Firefox Extension

3. Click on Extensions from the sidebar menu.

4. Look for an entry that pertains to ExploreDesktop and Disable or Remove it from the browser using the options button.

Step 4 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed ExploreDesktop

1. Go to your Finder. From the menu bar, please select Go > Go to Folder.

2. Input the following string and press Enter on the keyboard.

~/Library/LaunchAgents

Screenshot of Go To Folder

3. You will now see a hidden folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:

  • com.ExploreDesktop.plist
  • unknown.service.plist
  • unknown.system.plist
  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.update.plist

4. The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. Attackers may use the following file names:

- ExploreDesktop, (random characters).plist

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing ExploreDesktop to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files.

5. Please click on "Show items as..."

Screenshot of LaunhAgents Folder

6. To arrange the items in chronological order, click Date Modified.

7. Drag all suspicious files that you may find to Trash.

Important: Take note of all the suspicious files, as you may also delete the same item in another folder as we go on.

8. Please restart the Mac computer.

9. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and paste the following string to easily locate the folder:

~/Library/Application Support

Screenshot of Go to Folder

10. Select any suspicious items that you have noted previously. Drag them to the Trash.

11. Repeat the process in the following non-hidden folders (without ~):

/Library/LaunchAgents
/Library/LaunchDaemons
/Library/Application Support

12. Lastly, go to your Finder > Go and open the Applications folder. Look for subfolders with the following names and drag them to Trash.

- ExploreDesktop

Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:

1. Go to Launchpad > Other folder, open the Activity Monitor.

2. Select the process you want to quit.

3. In the upper part of the window, click the Stop button.

Screenshot of Force Quit

4. Click on Force Quit button.

5. You may now delete or remove the locked file that belongs to ExploreDesktop homepage hijacker.

Step 5 : Double-check with Malwarebytes for Mac

1. Download Malwarebytes for Mac from the link below.

2. Locate the downloaded Malwarebytes-Mac.pkg and install it with the default settings.

3. Run Malwarebytes for Mac. It will check for updates and download the most recent version if one is available. This is necessary for finding recent malware threats, including ExploreDesktop.

4. Once you are on the Malwarebytes dashboard, please click on the Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

Screenshot of Malwarebytes Dashboard

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes for Mac will display a list of identified threats, and ExploreDesktop is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click the Remove button to clean the computer.

Step 6 : Fixing the Homepage and Search Engine

Google Chrome

Remove ExploreDesktop from the Homepage and Search of Chrome

1. Open the Google Chrome browser and type the following on the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard:

chrome://settings

Screenshot of Chrome Settings

2. Go to the left sidebar and click On Startup.

3. Select "Open a specific page or set of pages" in the right panel.

Screenshot of Chrome Startup

4. Locate the unwanted Homepage URL, click on More Actions (3-dot icon), and select Edit.

5. Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing ExploreDesktop. Click Save.

6. To set the default search engine, go to the sidebar, and this time, select Search Engine.

Screenshot of Default Search

7. Click on the Manage search engines and site search button in the right panel.

8. Find the unwanted Search Engine in the list. Click on More Actions, and then click Delete.

9. Go back to the left side bar and click Search Engine.

Screenshot of Search Engine Address Bar

10. In the right panel, choose a valid entry from the "Search engine used in the address bar."

You can now restart the Google Chrome browser to see if the unwanted homepage and search engine related to ExploreDesktop are gone.

Safari

Get Rid of ExploreDesktop from Safari's Homepage and Search

1. Open your Safari browser.

2. Go to the Safari Menu located in the upper left-hand corner, and then select Settings or Preferences.

3. In the General tab, remove the ExploreDesktop item or unwanted URL from the Homepage section. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.

Screenshot of Safari Home Settings

4. Next, be sure that the "New windows open with" and "New tabs open with" fields are set to "Homepage".

5. Please click on the Search tab, and in the "Search engine" section, select Google or any valid search engine.

Screenshot of Safari Search Settings

6. You may now restart the Safari browser.

Microsoft Edge

Remove ExploreDesktop from the Homepage of Edge Browser

1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser on your Mac computer.

2. In the address bar, type or copy and paste the string below, then press Enter on the keyboard:

edge://settings/startHomeNTP

Screenshot of Edge Homepage Settings on Mac

3. Go to the "When Edge Starts" area. Under the "Open these pages" section, click More Actions (3-dot).

4. Select Edit to open the Edit Page window.

5. Input your desired address to replace the homepage settings of ExploreDesktop.

Screenshot of Edge for Mac Default Homepage

6. Click the Save button. You may now restart Microsoft Edge for Mac.

Mozilla Firefox

Delete ExploreDesktop from the Homepage and Search of Firefox.

1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser on your Mac computer.

2. Type the following on the address bar, then press Enter on the keyboard:

about:preferences

3. Click Home in the sidebar area.

Screenshot of Firefox Homepage Settings

4. Under "Homepage and new windows", you may choose Firefox Home (Default) or Custom URLs.

5. If you chose Custom URLs, input the desired URL to replace ExploreDesktop settings.

6. To configure the default search engine, select Search in the sidebar to display the settings.

Screenshot of Firefox Search Settings

7. Under the Default Search Engine list, please select a legitimate one (i.e., Google).

8. Scroll down to "Search Shortcuts" and select an unwanted search engine.

Screenshot of Deleting Search

9. Click on the Remove button to delete the unwanted search engine. You may now restart the Mozilla Firefox for Mac.

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