How to remove Start-Searchers

In the assessment conducted by computer security experts, they found out that Start-Searchers browser extension is a somewhat potentially unwanted program (PUP) that is taking advantages of software bundles as primary means to spread out a copy. Different downloadable programs or freeware from several hosts are carriers of adware. These free applications could easily install Start-Searchers on the browser if user executes the installer file of the said freeware.

Normally, the applications where Start-Searchers are embedded are acting as useful media players, utilities, file converters, games, productivity apps, or necessary software update. Throughout the installation proceedings, computer users may never notice that there is an ongoing simultaneous setup of Start-Searchers. It was designed to carry out a discreet installation probably to avoid users from stopping the process. Since adware makers are heavily relying on this assertive infiltration tactics, malware researchers and computer enthusiast alike are recommending to always execute the installation of any freeware using the Advanced or Custom mode. Only in this approach, that computer user may view the list of program inclusions and they can easily exclude Start-Searchers from the installation course. Since majority of computer users takes pleasure in less complex default setup process, they ended up installing all surplus software that are embedded in the freeware and that includes Start-Searchers.

The occurrence of Start-Searchers on browser programs like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox is often distracting to web users. It can be the basis for different abnormalities on internet browser applications like the following:

  • There will be excessive pop-up ads and redirects.
  • Homepage will set to start with Start-searhers.com.
  • Push notification window would persistently show up sponsored contents.
  • Performing online search will redirect the internet program to Start-searhers.com.
  • Search results may contain invalid links and useless contents.

Start-Searchers

Knowing that Start-Searchers is not beneficial to end users. There is no significance to let it stay on the browser especially that it was deliberately developed to accomplish illicit operations. Procedures to get rid of Start-Searchers is included on this page along with malware and virus scanners that are effective in deleting hidden objects associated to Start-Searchers adware.

Procedures to Remove Start-Searchers from Mac

This section contains comprehensive guide for Mac users. It will help you remove malicious browser hijacker from internet application.

Procedures on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.

Quick Fix - Scan the System 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 Start-Searchers. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.

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 it's latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing Start-Searchers.

Combo Cleaner Scanner

6. Free features of Combo Cleaner include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus and privacy scanner, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

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

Step 1 : Delete Start-Searchers 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 Start-Searchers or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag Start-Searchers to Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.

5. Right-click on Trash icon and click on Empty Trash.

Step 2 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to Start-Searchers

1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the hijacker. To do this, please follow the following depending on affected browser.

Safari - Choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon. This will open a window showing all installed extensions.

Chrome - Select Preferences from the Chrome menu, and then click the Extensions link found on the left pane.

Firefox - Choose Add-ons from the Menu. Look at both the Extensions and Plug-ins lists when it opens a new window.

2. Once you have located Start-Searchers or any suspicious items, click on Remove or Uninstall, to get rid of it.

3. Close the browser and proceed to the next steps.

Step 3 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed Start-Searchers

1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.

~/Library/LaunchAgents

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

3. Press Command + V on your keyboard to paste the copied string. Press Return to go to the said folder.

Command + V

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

  • unknown.download.plist
  • unknown.ltvbit.plist
  • unknown.update.plist
  • com.unknown

The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. It is normally an unfamiliar file name such as the following:

- Start-searchers.com

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Start-Searchers to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files. Please press Option + Command + 4 on your keyboard to arrange the application list in chronological order.

Option + Command + 4

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

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

6. Please restart the computer.

7. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and Paste the following string to easily locate the folder.

~/Library/Application Support

8. Look for any suspicious items that are similar to the ones in Step 4. Drag them to the Trash.

9. Repeat the process on the following non-hidden folders (without ~):

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

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

1. Go to Launchpad, Utilities folder, open Activity Monitor.

2. Select the process you want to quit.

Force Quit Locked Files

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to Start-Searchers homepage hijacker.

Step 4 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac

1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from the link below.

2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac. It will check for updates and download if most recent version is available. This is necessary in finding recent malware threats including Start-Searchers.

3. If it prompts to close all running web browser, please do so. Thus, we advise you to PRINT this guide for your reference before going offline.

4. Once it opens the user interface, please click on Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.

Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac

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

Step 5 : Remove Start-Searchers from Homepage and Search

Safari

- Open your Safari browser.
- Go to Safari Menu located on upper left hand corner, and then select Preferences.
- Under General tab, navigate to Default Search Engine section and select Google or any valid search engine.
- Next, be sure that "New Windows Open With" field is set to Homepage.
- Lastly, remove Start-Searchers from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.

Google Chrome

- Open Chrome browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and press Enter on keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Click on More Actions and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing Start-Searchers. Click Save.
- To set default search engine, go to Search Engine area.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Go to questionable Search Engine. Click on More Actions and Click 'Remove from list'.
- Go back to Search Engine area and choose valid entry from Search engine used in the address bar.

Mozilla Firefox

- Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and hit Enter on keyboard : about:preferences
- On Startup area, select 'Show your home page' under 'When Firefox starts' field.
- Under Home Page field, type the desired URL to replace Start-Searchers settings.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on left sidebar to display settings.
- Under Default Search Engine list, please select one.
- On the same page, you have an option to Remove unwanted search engine.

Step 6 : Delete Start-Searchers Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Start-Searchers during user log in.

1. Go to Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

2. Select Users & Groups from the preferences window.

3. You may need to Unlock this area in order to make changes. Click on the Lock icon on lower left corner of the window.

4. Next, select user account that runs Start-Searchers.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select Start-Searchers or any suspicious entries from the list and click on the minus [-] button and confirm your actions. Please see image below for reference.

Login Items

Optional : If unable to change browser settings, execute these steps:

Some user complains that there is no way to change browser settings because it is grayed out by Start-Searchers. In such situation, it is important to check if there is unwanted profile. Please do the following:

1. Quit any running applications and launch System Preferences from your Dock.

2. Under System Preferences, click Profiles.

3. Select , Start-Searchers or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.

Remove Profile

4. At the bottom of this window, click minus [-] button to delete the account. Please refer to image above.

5. Close the Profiles window and open the affected browser to change all settings associated with Start-Searchers.

Start-Searchers Removal Procedure for PC

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.

Quick Fix - Scan the computer with Anti-malware Program

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

1. Download the free anti-malware scanner called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.

2. After downloading, install the program. It may run automatically or you have to double-click on the downloaded file MBSetup.exe.

3. Proceed with the installation using only the default setup. If you need the complete setup procedure, it is available on the download page.

4. After the installation process, click Get Started to run the program.

5. Continue with the prompts until the main program opens.

6. On Malwarebytes Anti-malware console, click on Scan to run the most comprehensive detection method and find any hidden items linked to Start-Searchers.

7. Wait for the anti-malware to finish scanning the computer.

MBAM Scan

8. When scanning is done, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will display the list of identified threats. Remove all identified threats including Start-Searchers and restart the computer to finalized the scan process.

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the browser hijacker. However, if you still find that there are still remnants of Start-Searchers on internet application, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.

Step 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 Start-Searchers.

Remove Start-Searchers Extension from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

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

Chrome Extensions

3. Find Start-Searchers or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.

Uninstall Start-Searchers Extension from Firefox

1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

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

Firefox Extensions

3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.

4. Look for object that is pertaining to Start-Searchers and remove it from the browser.

Remove Start-Searchers 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 Start-Searchers from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Start-Searchers 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.

Add-Remove Adware

7. Select Start-Searchers or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 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 Start-Searchers 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.

2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Start-Searchers.

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 Start-Searchers.

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.

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