Remove Search-tap Hijacker

Search-tap is a homepage and search hijacker that can manipulate the browser if associated extension is installed. It is observed that the unknown program is the one responsible for overriding homepage and new tab with the Search-tap.com web address. In some instances, this URL is not visible on the browser. But once a user does an online search using the address bar, it is noticeable that the queries are directed to the sub-pages of the said domain.

This homepage hijacker is using various methods to spread the code over the internet. Hence, during the diagnosis of Malwarefixes team, browser redirect is the main source of Search-tap. Web users may bump into malicious web pages when visiting sites that employs drive-by-download scheme. Search-tap will pop-up from nowhere prompting user to download the tool in order to have a convenient and enhanced web search.

Screenshot of Search-tap

Search-tap is a search hijacker

Once installed successfully, it will take control of the browser and dominate search settings. As mentioned, all queries are redirected to own server before releasing the actual outcome on Yahoo or Bing Search. Makers of Search-tap intend to monitor user’s online searching habits. They aim to collect various data and keywords from web users. Sadly, collected information may be sold to third-party partners or may be used illegally to boost its advertising revenue.

It is obvious that Search-tap was made with the sole purpose of generating unlawful online profit. The misleading technique it is using to deploy its code is the same method applied to spread malware. Thus, we highly suggest removing Search-tap as soon as possible to avoid any further harm. Execute the guide on this page for effective removal of Search-tap and all relevant objects.

Search-tap Removal Procedure

Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised Windows computer. Aside from removing the malicious browser extension, this guide is also helpful in deleting browser hijacker and pop-ups.

In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.

Quick Fix - Scan the PC with Combo Cleaner for Windows

Combo Cleaner is a trusted PC security and optimization tool equipped with powerful virus and malware detection engine. This program can get rid of browser hijacker like Search-tap through this procedure.

1. Download the application from the following page:

2. Save the file to your preferred location.

3. Double-click the downloaded file CCSetup.exe and install with the default settings.

CC for Windows Installation

4. At the end of the setup process, click Finish to run Combo Cleaner.

5. The tool will update the signature file, please wait for this process to complete.

6. To begin checking for threats like Search-tap, click on the Start Scan button. Wait for this scan to finish.

CC for Windows Start Scan

7. At the end of the scan process, click on Remove all threats to delete Search-tap hijacker including all malicious objects from the computer.

Free features of Combo Cleaner for Windows includes Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus, privacy scanner, and to delete identified threats, users have to upgrade to a premium version.

Please continue with the succeeding removal procedures if your are comfortable to manually get rid of the threat and malicious items linked with it.

Step 1 : Delete Search-tap 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-tap.

Remove Search-tap 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 Search-tap or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome browser.

Uninstall Search-tap Extension from Mozilla 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 Search-tap and remove it from the browser.

After deleting the malicious browser extension, it is expected that Search-tap is also gone from the homepage.

Remove Search-tap 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 Search-tap from Toolbars and Extension. Additionally, delete unwanted entry from Search Providers section.

4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.

If Search-tap is still present on the IE browser and there are still unwanted homepage and pop-ups, 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 Search-tap or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.

Step 2 : Scan the computer with Sophos Antivirus

To remove Search-tap automatically, scanning the computer with this powerful anti-virus tool is recommended. This scanner does not just uncover known threats like viruses or malware, it is also effective in discovering browser hijacker like Search-tap 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.

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 Search-tap.

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

Screenshot of Sophos Virus Scan

The above procedures should have totally eliminated the Search-tap browser hijacker. However, if you found that there are still remnants of the threat, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.

Step 3 : 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-tap on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications as well as invalid browser entries that produces hijacking, redirects, and pop-ups.

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 Search-tap.

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 Search-tap. It will also check for suspicious entries on browser settings that is associated with the hijacker.

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.

Check if your internet browser application is no longer being bothered by Search-tap. If the browser hijacker still persists, please continue with the steps below to reset internet programs to default settings.

Optional : Reset Internet Browser Program

Cleaning your internet browser from clutter and unwanted add-on/extension is a must when dealing with Search-tap. The procedure below discuss on resetting various browsers to its default state.

Restore Google Chrome to Default Settings

Resetting Google Chrome to default settings is helpful in deleting hard-to-remove extension such as from Search-tap. This method is highly advisable to perform if you have difficulty in removing unwanted extension.

1. Open Google Chrome Internet browser.
2. On the address bar, type chrome://settings/reset and press Enter key.
3. Under Reset and clean up section, choose Restore settings to their original defaults.
4. Click Reset settings button to clear all entries of Search-tap.
5. Close the existing tab and restart Google Chrome. That should have removed Search-tap extension and associated objects.

Reset Mozilla Firefox to Default

This section describes how to remove unwanted extension from Firefox that may be related to Search-tap. This process can fix many browser issues by restoring Firefox to factory settings without affecting your essential information (bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and Internet cookies) on the browser. If you desire to remove only specific extension, please see manual removal of add-on from Firefox.

1. Input the string about:support on Firefox web address and press Enter on keyboard.
2. You will now see the Troubleshooting Information page of Mozilla Firefox.
3. You will notice a section on upper-right corner of the screen stating Give Firefox a tune up. Click the Refresh Firefox button.
4. If confirmation window appears, click Refresh Firefox to continue.
5. Firefox browser will close and start the resetting process. When done, it will display a list of restored data. Search-tap should be gone by now. Click Finish to open a fresh version of Firefox.

Restore Internet Explorer to Default Settings

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to top menu. Click Tools, and then Internet Options.
2. Select Advanced tab on Internet Options window.
3. On lower part of the window, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings area, click the Reset button. Please see image for reference. Your data like favorites, bookmark, and history will remain in the browser. However, this process may delete add-ons by Search-tap and other unknown objects. If you prefer to carry out the procedure manually, please add-on removal from Internet Explorer.

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