Remove Search Bars
To remove a third-party search bar from your browser first try running its uninstaller, if one is available for it. It might be packaged with it or downloadable from its website. Alternatively, most reputable software products can easily be removed by using the Windows Add/Remove Programs utility:
- Click the 'Start' menu,
- Select 'Control Panel'
- Open the 'Add/Remove Programs' option.
- Search for the name of the search bar in the list of programs, click 'Change/Remove' and follow the prompts to uninstall it.
If the search bar can't be removed manually or if it keeps coming back then it's more than likely your PC is infected with adware. In any case it's a good idea to scan your system with a good antispyware program to make sure you get rid of it completely.
About Adware Toolbars
Search toolbars that track website visits and spawn pop-up ads are becoming increasingly prevalent on the internet. They can steath install without the user's knowledge, hijack their web browser and track their surfing activity. The tracked surfing data is transmitted to their home servers so that targeted advertising and pop-up ad windows can be delivered to their unsuspecting users via the bundled software. Sometimes no uninstaller is provided or if there is it may not completely remove the toolbar and all its components. They often resist all attempts to uninstall them, leaving no option than to use a spyware removal tool designed to remove them. Example adware toolbars include Security Toolbar, Lop, Gator, Mirar Toolbar and AzeSearch.
Remove Search Hijackers
Search Hijackers are spyware programs that reroute your search and URL requests through an unseen site. Search requests are captured so that targeted ad listings are displayed rather than relevant search results. Gala Search is an example of search hijacker that redirects the user to its website or otherwise unexpected websites when clicking on search results.
Error Hijackers also display ad listings by changing the error page shown whenever a URL is not found. Anti-Spyware tools can be used to safely uninstall search and error hijackers from your system.
Remove Search Engine
If your browser's homepage points to some unwanted search engine which can't be changed then your system is infected with a browser hijacker. In past variants these programs could be removed manually, but their makers are now designing them to be increasingly more effective at evading detection and removal. Most have the ability to reinstall themselves if all their components are not properly removed, so it's important to thoroughly clean your system with an anti-spyware tool designed to remove them.
Browser hijackers (aka homepage hijackers) may come with or without an associated search bar. Typically, a browser hijacker will stealth install without the user's knowledge and set the web browser home page (aka start page) to its own web site or to an affiliate web site which is usually a web search engine, directory or portal site [example]. The hijacked user then becomes a virtual captive of that site, unable to permanently change the home page to their choice. The owners and affiliates of browser hijackers earn commissions and pay-per-click income from advertisers every time the captive users search the web or buy products via the hijacker's site.
The usual procedure to change the web browser's home page is to click Tools > Internet Options and you are then given the option to change the default home page. Unfortunately this function will not fix a browser hijack problem. The solution is to remove the browser hijacker program, its reinstaller and any other hidden components using a spyware removal program.
Search Removal Tools
Anti-Malware 2.0 by Malwarebytes is a quick and reliable spyware and adware removal tool that can safely remove search bars and all types of hijackers for free. The description and threat level is displayed for all spyware and adware found so the user understands exactly what has been detected. An online update option provides ongoing protection against new variants. Extra features include backup and restore, scheduled scans, real-time protection, ActiveX and browser hijacker shields to protect your PC against new infections. Registered users have access to Customer Support for personal assistance to remove search bars and browser hijackers.
SpyHunter, a paid program by Enigma Software is a good alternative to use if Malwarebytes fails to cut the mustard: