How to remove Ghost Search

Despite of installed security software like anti-malware or anti-virus application, adware still manages to sneak into the computer because of the discrete techniques that are applied during their deployment. One of the adware that can penetrate a computer easily is called Ghost Search. Mainly, this is a browser hijacker type of threat that visibly take over the homepage by assigning own URL Portal.ghost-search.com.

Ghost Search spreads on the internet basically via freeware or shareware. Cyber offenders who created this adware are taking advantage of the software bundling technique to quickly get inside the computer without catching the attention computer users. When we say “bundling,” this is not the usual software package that we normally encounter with legitimate apps where it discloses clearly the contents and provides detailed information on each included software. In addition, computer users are presented with option whether to include surplus programs during installation. The package where Ghost Search is integrated is on opposing side. It does not inform users about the attached application and as such, Ghost Search gets onboard discretely while installing the freeware.

Right after the successful infiltration of Ghost Search, there will be abrupt changes visible on the internet browser program. One of which is the newly appointed default search engine on homepage that utilize the server Portal.ghost-search.com. Ghost Search likewise placed added links and shortcut icons on the desktop asserting to give web users quick access to useful information, where in fact, these are just sponsored links.

Portal.ghost-search.com

It is clear that main objective for creating Ghost Search is to gain online revenue through ads and sponsored links. Aside from paid links, web users may experience high volume of exhibited ads when searching the internet via this questionable search engine. Actually, there is no illegal in generating profit via online ads, what is worrisome about Ghost Search is, it forces self-installation and take advantage of the situation to convert the infected browser program into a money making device.

Ghost Search Removal Procedure

Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting browser hijacker and pop-ups.

In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.

Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of browser hijacker like Ghost Search through this procedure.

1. Download the application from the following page:

2. Save the file to your preferred location.

3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.

CC for Windows Installation

4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.

5. The tool will update the signature file, please wait for this process to complete.

6. To begin checking for threats like Ghost Search, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.

CC for Windows Start Scan

7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Ghost Search hijacker including all malicious objects from the computer.

Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows includes Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.

Step 1 : Delete Ghost Search Browser Extension

Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Ghost Search.

Remove Ghost Search Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Chrome URL

3. Find Ghost Search or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.

Uninstall Ghost Search Extension from Mozilla Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.

Firefox URL

3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.

4. Look for object that is pertaining to Ghost Search and remove it from the browser.

After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that Ghost Search is also gone from the homepage.

Remove Ghost Search Add-ons from Internet Explorer and Edge Browser

1. Open Internet Explorer program.

2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.

Internet Explorer Add-ons

3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Ghost Search from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete unwanted entry from Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Ghost Search is still present on the IE browser and there are still unwanted homepage and pop-ups, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.

5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.

6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on 'Installed On' column.

Add-Remove Malware

7. Select Ghost Search or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 2 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus

To remove Ghost Search automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful anti-virus tool is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering browser hijacker like Ghost Search that slows down online browsing activities.

1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.

2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process.

3. On first windows of installation wizard, click Next to continue. Then, it will display the program’s License Agreement. You need to Accept the terms in order to proceed. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.

Screenshot of Sophos EULA Page

4. On succeeding windows, click Next or Continue to carry on with the installation. After completing the installation process, Launch Sophos Virus Removal Tool.

5. Internet connection is required when running this scanner in order to download important updates. Make sure that everything is up-to-date to effectively remove malicious program like Ghost Search.

6. Click the  button to  carry out the Scan. This will check the system for presence of malicious objects, malware, and viruses. The tool reveals items that were found linked to Ghost Search and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Ghost Search browser hijacker. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.

Step 3 : Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner

In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Ghost Search on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications as well as invalid browser entries that produces hijacking, redirects, and pop-ups.

1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.

2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Ghost Search.

3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.

AdwCleaner

4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Ghost Search. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings that is associated with the hijacker.

5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.

6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.

Check if your internet browser application is no longer being bothered by Ghost Search. If the browser hijacker still persists, please continue with the steps below to reset internet programs to default settings.

Optional : Reset Internet Browser Program

Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with Ghost Search. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.

Restore Google Chrome to Default Settings

Resetting Google Chrome to default settings is helpful in deleting hard-to-remove extension such as from Ghost Search. This method is highly advisable to perform if you have difficulty in removing unwanted extension.

1. Open Google Chrome Internet browser.
2. On the address bar, type chrome://settings/reset and press Enter key.
3. Under Reset and clean up section, choose Restore settings to their original defaults.
4. Click Reset settings button to clear all entries of Ghost Search.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Ghost Search extension and associated objects.

Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default

This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Ghost Search. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.

1. Input the string about:support on Firefox web address and press Enter on keyboard.
2. You will now see the Troubleshooting Information page of Mozilla Firefox.
3. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tune up. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
4. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
5. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. Ghost Search should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.

Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.
2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.
3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference. Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain in the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by Ghost Search and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.

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