Remove PixelWillow (Mac Adware)

It’s possible for the intrusive PixelWillow application to appear unannounced on Mac computers. It frequently shows up on the computer uninvited when bundled with an app that the user has downloaded. The main way for PixelWillow to get into a computer is through interactions between Mac users and unlawful websites, particularly torrent and piracy websites. Mac security experts categorize the installation as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) because it was not requested.

Is PixelWillow a virus?

The same deceptive techniques are also used by similar programs like ServiceCommand and CyberSpaceLogin to infiltrate the computer. Some Mac users interpret the unauthorized access as a virus infection as a result of this strategy. PixelWillow is, fortunately, not regarded as a computer virus. This indicates that the aforementioned program is less dangerous and might not harm the system.

There is agreement that PixelWillow should also be classified as Adware or Ad-supported software in addition to PUA. Once this program has gained access to the computer, it can start the aggressive advertising, such as pop-ups and redirections, from being displayed. In addition, it will overrule the search preferences to deliver a search page result that is crammed with sidebar advertisements, banners, and sponsored links.

Screenshot of PixelWillow

What to do with PixelWillow?

The fact that PixelWillow has not been classified as a computer virus does not guarantee that having it on a Mac computer is secure. While the internet is still available, it is still dangerous to browse. Links in the ads that can appear as a result of their appearance frequently reroute the browser to malicious websites. For this reason, it is strongly advised that PixelWillow be deleted. In the next section, a comprehensive guide to removing this malware from a Mac computer is offered. Make sure to carefully follow the directions and do not omit the recommendation to run a computer virus and malware removal program scan.

Procedures to Remove PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow.

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 PixelWillow.

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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow or any unwanted program.

Screenshot of Deleting App

4. Drag PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow

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 PixelWillow. If it is not present, look for and delete any suspicious browser extension.

Google Chrome

Remove the PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow and Disable or Remove it from the browser using the options button.

Step 4 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed PixelWillow

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.PixelWillow.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:

- PixelWillow, (random characters).plist

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing PixelWillow 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.

- PixelWillow

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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow.

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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow. 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 PixelWillow are gone.

Safari

Get Rid of PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow.

Screenshot of Edge for Mac Default Homepage

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

Mozilla Firefox

Delete PixelWillow 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 PixelWillow 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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