Remove PDFSearchly (PC and Mac)

This post provides a description and steps to get rid of PDFSearchly. The content is comprises of Quick Fix for Mac, Mac Removal Guide, Homepage and Search Cleanup, and Removal Steps for PC.

Home page showing the unwanted address PDFSearchly is certainly infected with an adware that specializes in browser hijacking. The fact that homepage default address is taken over by PDFSearchly, it only signifies that the browser configuration is already compromised and changes were made without user’s permission. This force entry of PDFSearchly is also the validation for it to be classified as a threat bearing the traits of potentially unwanted program (PUP).

Is PDFSearchly a computer virus?

Being in the list of PUP does not necessary mean that the subject is a computer virus. Technically speaking, threat like PDFSearchly pursue internet browser programs like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. It does not spread to other computers, infect files, neither have an effect in the operating system at all. PDFSearchly is a browser risk that produces excessive display of advertisements on the internet software. Pop-ups and redirects from this adware are unusual and somehow aggressive that interferes with user’s browsing activities.

Even though PDFSearchly is not a virus, the mere presence of this browser hijacker can cause risk to online safety and web user’s privacy. Like other editions as SuperPDFSearch and SearchConverterPro, PDFSearchly is equipped with a code that records browsing data on the browser and it is committed in logging information like search keywords, favorite websites, and personal details of the web user.

Screenshot of PDFSearchly website

Risks to online privacy and security

Aside from the privacy issues, PDFSearchly redirects and pop-ups usually points internet browser program to suspicious sites that are known carrier of adware or malware. The destination pages often operate a drive-by-download scheme that automatically installs malicious applications onto visitor’s computer. Sadly, this maybe just the first stage of attack. If the website was able to drop a Trojan, it can fetch additional infectious content that could lead to more issues and infections.

Virus removal guide may be too complicated to deal PDFSearchly adware. Therefore, we published an appropriate approach to get rid of PDFSearchly browser hijacker using a combination of manual technique combined with effective anti-virus and anti-malware scans.

Procedures to Remove PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly. 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.

Install Combo Cleaner

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 PDFSearchly.

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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly or any unwanted program.

Delete Unwanted App

4. Drag PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly

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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly

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:

- PDF Searchly

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

3. Click on Force Quit button.

4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly.

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.

MBAM for Mac

5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly. 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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly Login Items

Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly.

5. Click on Login Items tab.

6. Select PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly. 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 , PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly.

PDFSearchly 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 Sophos Virus Removal Tool

To remove PDFSearchly automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful malware and virus removal app is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering browser hijacker like PDFSearchly 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.

Screnshot of Sophos Installer

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 PDFSearchly.

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 PDFSearchly and other suspicious entities. Be sure to remove all identified threats.

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the browser hijacker. However, if you still find that there are still remnants of PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly.

Remove PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.

Uninstall PDFSearchly Extension from 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 PDFSearchly and remove it from the browser.

Remove PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If PDFSearchly 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 Malware

7. Select PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly 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 PDFSearchly.

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 PDFSearchly.

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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