Search Tab is a browser hijacker that targets multiple internet application. It is compatible to widely used browser software including Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Edge. Makers of Search Tab are relying on typical approach to spread the adware while masking as valuable freeware and is presently hosted on several websites. Though, this direct infection method was found to be a letdown for adware developers because only a handful of web users are attracted to Search Tab. On the other hand, Search Tab code is injected to legitimate shareware that computer users typically download like utilities, games, media player, and similar apps. So far, this tactic is the best mode that attackers have assessed as the primary means to successfully spread Search Tab.
Once installed and active on the browser, Search Tab will take control of the browser and changes every aspect to dominate the internet software. For one thing, Hp.hsearchtab.org becomes the new search engine and the same feature is set as the default start-up page. At first, Hp.hsearchtab.org may appear as valid search tool because it resembles the appearance of legitimate search engine. But when web user starts to operate the newly modified internet program, they will start to experience hindrance and issues. Searching the internet with this different setup was found to be unproductive. Search Tab will never present accurate search results and in fact, it produces a result page that is full of paid links and irrelevant results.
It is very frustrating to learn that an unknown program as Search Tab has eliminated legitimate search tool from the browser. In addition, web users are totally unaware of its entry and approval were never given to replace their old preferences. As a result, computer security experts listed Search Tab under the group of potentially unwanted program (PUP). With that being said, user must remove this threat from the computer as soon as possible to avoid further harm.
Search Tab Removal Procedure
Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised computer.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Stage 1: Delete 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 Search Tab.
Remove Search Tab Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Search Tab or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.
Uninstall Search Tab Extension from Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.
4. Look for object that is pertaining to Search Tab and remove it from the browser.
Remove Search Tab Add-ons from Internet Explorer
1. Open Internet Explorer program.
2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.
3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Search Tab from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Search Tab is still present on the IE browser, 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.
7. Select Search Tab or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
Stage 2: 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 Search Tab on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications.
1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)
2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Search Tab.
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.
4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Search Tab.
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.
Stage 3: Scan the Computer with Sophos Virus Removal Tool
Lastly, we will scan the computer with a multi-function security program. This will inspect the computer for possible presence of virus, malware, rootkit, adware as well as unwanted homepage like Search Tab.
1. Download Sophos Virus Removal Tool from the link below. Save the file on your computer where you can easily access it.
Sophos Virus Removal Tool Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. Once the download completes, browse the location of the file. Double-click to run the program and begin the install process. If Windows prompts for User Account Control, please click Yes to proceed.
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.
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 Search Tab.
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 Search Tab and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.
Stage 4: Remove Hp.hsearchtab.org Pop-up Notification
These procedures in stopping Hp.hsearchtab.org pop-up notification may only be effective if relevant extension do not exist on the browser. If ever there is a relevant extension currently installed, this push notification configuration will reinstate during browser start-up. So, make sure that you have removed any malicious extension from the browser before executing the following steps.
For Google Chrome Users
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type the following strings in the address box and press Enter on your keyboard: chrome://settings/content/notifications
3. Navigate to “Allow” section and find Hp.hsearchtab.org from the list.
4. Click on More Actions and select Block from the options.
5. Please restart Google Chrome browser.
For Mozilla Firefox Users
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser program.
2. Type the following strings on address bar and press Enter on keyboard: about:preferences#privacy
3. Under Permissions section, click on Settings button beside Notifications.
4. Look for Hp.hsearchtab.org and set the status to Block.
5. Lastly, click Save Changes and restart Mozilla Firefox browser.
Option: Alternative Method to Clean Up Internet Browser from Search Tab
Not all adware and PUP’s are the same. Some cannot be removed by deleting relevant extensions and codes. On this instances, resetting the browser to default configuration is the only best solution. If Search Tab is still bothering you after completing all the steps above, please execute the procedures below to reset the settings of affected browser program.
Use Chrome Clean Up Tool to Delete Search Tab
1. Open Google Chrome application.
2. Type this strings in the address box: chrome://settings/ and then, press Enter on keyboard.
3. Scroll down and expand Advanced settings area.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the page until you see Reset and Cleanup section.
5. Click on Clean Up Computer. On next page, please click FIND to proceed.
This feature of Google Chrome aims to find harmful software and remove it instantly. If unable to delete Search Tab, the other option is to Reset Google Chrome settings to its original defaults. Just go back to previous page (Clean Up Computer) and reset the settings. See more details on this page.
Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default
If Mozilla Firefox is affected by Search Tab and procedures above were not helpful, we suggest that you carry out these steps. This process can fix the issue by restoring Firefox browser to default factory state. Most browser data will be affected but not bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and internet cookies. Extensions and other installed plug-ins maybe deleted by this function. Therefore, if you wish to remove specific extension only, please see manual add-on removal from this link.
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and type the following in the address bar: about:support
2. Browser will be directed to a page of Troubleshooting Information. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating ‘Give Firefox a Tune Up‘. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
3. Confirmation window will pop-up, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
4. The reset process will automatically close the browser and proceed with the restoration. Next, it will display a list of restored data. Search Tab should be gone by now. Click Finish to close the current window and open a fresh window of Mozilla Firefox.