How to Remove the QTR Search Hijacker

Qtrserach.com is part of the QTR Search extension, an application endorsed as a useful search provider and online tool that protects the internet program against malicious contents. Though it seems like a legitimate app, it conceals malicious intents towards the computer’s functions. QTR Search is dubbed a potentially unwanted program (PUP) operating as a browser hijacker. The main goal of this suspicious search tool is to hijack web browsers and alter settings in order to support their malicious operations. The adware integrates the Qtrserach.com URL as the new default setting on the homepage and the new tab window.

The execution of QTR Search on the computer literally causes implications and issues. The installation of this hijacker can be intentional or accidental, depending on how web users encounter the carrier. Either way, QTR Search can penetrate without consent from web users. Usually, freeware or any unwanted applications incorporate QTR Search into internet programs. Some installers do not reveal that there is another program included in the process. If not QTR Search, the package may have alternative adware that could be more harmful.

Screenshot of QTR Search

What are the signs of QTR Search infection?

Since QTR Search can proliferate without permission, web users might later find out that this application is running on the operating system. There are signs that may occur indicating that the threat is present on the computer. Such symptoms include:

  • The home page, new tab page, and search engine mysteriously changed into Qtrserach.com.
  • Intrusive advertisements in different forms, such as banners, surveys, coupons, and pop-ups, were overlaying web page contents.
  • Browser redirects appears anywhere on computer screen. Clicking those could lead to various dubious sites.
  • QTR Search typically reduces computer performance.
  • Internet connections and browsing decreases speed.
  • Installation of unwanted application automatically, resulting to further issues on the operating system.

Threats to privacy and security

QTR Search has the ability to track private information about web users. It can also trace browser-related details such as IP address, geographical location, frequently visited pages, clicked ads, accessed websites, and any other relevant data. Moreover, it can gather the personal information of internet users, including their full name, address, username, passwords, phone number, and mobile number. Even credit card and bank account details are in danger with this threat. Confidential data like this can fall into the possession of cybercriminals and be used for blackmailing, extorting, and identity theft. Through this, they can generate income by using such methods against web users.

For Windows PC Users

QTR Search 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.

Step 1 : Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC 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 extension like QTR Search that is responsible for displaying unknown homepage and pop-ups.

To quickly remove QTR Search without going through the complicated process, please click on the button to download the removal tool. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.

Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat. The following guides are also vital in deleting malicious items from the browser configuration.

Step 2 : Get Rid of QTR Search Extension from Google Chrome

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

1. Open Google Chrome browser.

2. Type or copy and paste the following in the address bar and press Enter on the keyboard.

chrome://extensions/

Screenshot of Chrome Extensions in PC

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

Image of QTR Search Chrome Extension

If you cannot remove QTR Search because "Your Browser is Managed by your Organization", do the following:

1. Activate the Developer mode on Extensions window by using the slider.

2. Then, copy or take note of the malicious extension's ID code.

Screenshot of Chrome Developer Mode in PC

3. Open Windows or File Explorer and locate the following folder:

C:\Users\(Your Username)\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions

4. After opening the Folder, find the item that matches the Extension ID and delete it.

5. Please restart your Google Chrome browser.

Aside from this straightforward workaround, we have a separate comprehensive guide to fix the Managed by Organization issue. You can also execute that guide if the steps on this page are not enough to delete QTR Search.

Step 3 : Scan the computer with Sophos Home Antivirus

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

1. Please click on the link below to download the program.

2. After downloading, locate the file SophosInstall.exe in the Downloads folder.

3. Install by double-clicking on the file.

4. If it prompts "Do you want to allow this app to make changes on your device?" please click Yes.

5. Next, it will display the Terms and Conditions page. Click the Install button to begin.

Screenshot of Terms by Sophos Home

6. Run the installation with the default settings. Please note that an internet connection is required in order to download important updates.

7. After finishing the installation, you must login to the dashboard. If you already have a Sophos account, please login. Otherwise, please enter your details and click on the Create Account button.

8. Once you are in the Sophos Home console, click the Scan button to start checking the computer for QTR Search components.

Screenshot of Sophos Home

9. Scanning may take a while; please wait for this process to finish.

10. After scanning the computer, Sophos Home will start cleaning or deleting files infected with QTR Search.

11. You may now close Sophos Home. The computer is now free from QTR Search, as well as associated malware and viruses.

The above procedures should have totally eliminated QTR Search browser hijacker. However, if you find that there are still remnants of the virus, please proceed to the next steps below.

Step 4 : Scan with AdwCleaner and Reset Chrome Policies

In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of QTR 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.

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 QTR Search.

3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner.exe to start running the tool.

4. If Windows displays a prompt saying, "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?" click Yes to proceed.

5. On the AdwCleaner dashboard, click on Settings.

Screenshot of AdwCleaner Policies

6. While in the Settings window, please turn On the Reset Chrome Policies and Reset IE Policies.

Screenshot of AdwCleaner Scanner

7. Go back to the Dashboard and click the Scan Now button.

8. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated with QTR Search.

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

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

For Mac OS Users

Procedures to Remove QTR Search from Mac

This section contains comprehensive guide for Mac users. It will help you remove malicious browser hijacker from Google Chrome browser. Procedures 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 QTR Search.

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 QTR Search.

Screenshot of Combo Cleaner Dashboard

Mac users may need to upgrade to the premium version in order to fully utilize the functions of anti-virus and privacy scanners.

If you are comfortable eliminating the threat and any harmful things associated with it manually, please proceed with the following removal instructions.

Step 2 : Delete Suspicious Google Chrome Extension on Mac

Most adware and unwanted programs use a program called a browser extension to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend checking and removing the extension that is closely related to QTR Search.

1. Open the Google Chrome browser.

2. Type or copy and paste the following in the address bar. Next, press Enter on the keyboard:

chrome://extensions

Screenshot of Chrome Address Bar

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

If unable to remove QTR Search because browser is "Managed by your Organization", follow these steps:

1. Activate the Developer mode on Extensions window by using the slider.

2. Then, copy or take note of the browser Extension ID.

Screenshot of Malware Extension

3. Open Finder on your Mac and on top menu, click Go > Go to Folder and go the following directory:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Extensions

Screenshot of Finder

4. Once you opened the directory, find the folder that matches the Extension ID and delete it.

5. Please restart your Google Chrome browser.

Aside from this straightforward workaround, we have a separate comprehensive guide to fix the Managed by Organization issue. You can also execute that guide if the steps on this page are not enough to delete QTR Search.

Step 3 : Delete QTR Search 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 QTR Search or any unwanted program.

Screenshot of Deleting App

4. Drag QTR Search to Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.

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

Step 4 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed QTR Search

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.QTR Search.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:

- QTR Search, (random characters).plist

If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing QTR Search to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most 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 the 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 on 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 on 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.

- QTR Search

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 QTR Search 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 QTR Search.

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 QTR Search is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click the Remove button to clean the computer.

Never forget: Remove QTR Search from Homepage and Search of Chrome

1. In the address bar of Google Chrome, type or copy and paste the following. Then, 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 icon (3-dot), and select Edit.

5. Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing QTR Search. 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 icon (3-dot) and 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 QTR Search are gone.

Tutorial video to remove QTR Search

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