How to Remove Search-startpage.com Completely

I suspect my PC has been infected with some malware that changed my homepage to http://search-startpage.com without my permission. I check the programs list and find no suspicious programs there. I also run Norton to scan my system, no threat is detected. What should I do now?

 

Recently, a browser hijacker called Search-startpage.com is released on the Internet and it has affected a lot of computer users. One of the most obvious signs of getting infected by this browser hijacker should be the change of homepage. If your computer is also infected by this browser hijacker, it is suggested that you get rid of it out of your PC as possible as quickly.

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Analysis of Search-startpage.com

 

Name Search-startpage.com
Category Browser Hijacker
Threat Level Medium
Distribution Methods Third-party freeware/shareware; malicious websites, popup ads
Behaviors Modify Windows registry settings; change browser settings; redirect search results; generate popup ads; collect personal information for advertising purpose
Target Operating Systems Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 8.1/Windows10
Detection Tools SpyHunter
Removal Solutions Automatically remove Search-startpage.com with a malware removal tool or manually remove it step by step by following this guide

Search-startpage.com is not a malicious malware threat that can seriously damage your computer system but merely an ad-revenue focused browser hijacker pretending to be a normal search site that redirects users to unknown and questionable websites. Like Play-bar.net and Dozensearch.com, it offers the search service and allows users to search the Internet through its domain page (see the screenshot below).

search-startpage.com_homepage

At the first sight, you may consider it is a legitimate website, but soon you will find how annoying it is. To begin with, you will find that your homepage has been changed to this website http://search-startpage.com, and no matter how many times you have tried to reset the homepage, this unwanted website will pop up as your homepage each time you launch the web browser. Besides, it sets its own search engine (Search Start Page) as the default, which means that when searching the internet, by default you will get results provided by this Search Start Page instead of your previously set search engine.

However, computer experts do not recommend using this website to search the Internet, even though it looks harmless. According to research, Search-startpage.com is a website created to collect users’ online habits for advertising purpose. To make you search the Internet through its own website instead of other famous search websites like Google, Bing and Yahoo, it will modify your browser settings, replacing their homepage with its own website and setting its own search engine as the default.

After taking over your web browser, Search-startpage.com can perform the following actions:

» Redirect your search results to unknown websites

If you search the Internet with the search engine provided by the browser hijacker, you will get results that are different from what Google provides. Some results even have nothing to do with your search keywords. When you click on the search results, you may be redirected to some unknown or questionable websites.

» Display advertising content in your search results and on your page

When you do a search, the browser hijacker can display ads and sponsored links relevant to your search keywords in your search results in order to atrract your clicks. Besides, it will also show other advertising content on your pages, such as banners, pop-under ads, text links and popup windows.

» Collect your search terms and other useful data and information

Whenever you access the Internet through the website http://search-startpage.com, your personal information will be recorded by the cookies placed within the website. This informaiton may include your IP address, system version, browser type, search queries, most-visited sites and clicked ads.

If you have been infected by Search-startpage.com, you should take immediate action to remove it out of your PC so as to avoid problems like search result redirection, receiving annoying ads, and personal information being recorded. If you have difficulty in manually removing Search-startpage.com, you can download and use a professional malware removal tool to automatically get rid of it now.

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How Does Search-startpage.com Get Installed on Your PC?

Like other browser hijackers, Search-startpage.com often gets installed on your PC via third-party software. Nowadays, many software developers help promote other programs by bundling their installers with their software so as to make their own products free. Search-startpage.com, even though not a real program that will show up in your currently installed programs list, can get installed on your PC in this way. Usually, software developers promote this hijacker browser during the installation process of their software. If you install a piece of software without selecting the Custom/Advanced mode and closely inspecting each installation window, you will unknowingly install this browser hijacker on your PC and make its page as your homepage and search engine as the default. In some cases, this browser hijacker can enter your PC through malicious websites. Cyber attackers can hack some websites and make them a harbour of malware. Once you visit these hacked sites, you may automatically download malware like Search-startpage.com on your PC. Clicking on suspicious popup ads might also result in downloading of this browser hijacker. Cyber attackers like to hide download links of malware programs under popup ads, and once you click on them, you will directly download the malware programs. Hence, you should be careful when installing freeware and browsing the web.

 


How to Remove Search-startpage.com Browser Hijacker from Your PC?

Commonly, users will choose to remove a browser hijacker manually. However, the removal result is not satisfactory. After they complete the removal and restart the computer, the browser hijacker comes back. The reason for this problem should be that they do not completely clean all traces (including URL, files, entries, codes, etc) of the browser hijacker from their computer systems. In the following, we will provide two methods that show how to remove Search-startpage.com and clean all its related traces from your PC.

 

Method 1: Automatically Remove the Browser Hijacker with SpyHunter (Recommended).

Method 2: Manually Remove the Browser Hijacker Step by Step (Not for Novice Users).

 


Method 1: Automatically Remove the Browser Hijacker with SpyHunter (Recommended).

This method is highly recommended since it is easier, safer and more effective than the manual removal method. What you need to do is to run a professional malware removal tool like SpyHunter to perform a full system scan and fix the detected threats.

What Is SpyHunter?

SpyHunter is an advanced malware removal tool that can detect and remove browser hijackers, Trojans, worms, viruses, rootkits, ransomware and potentially unwanted programs from your computer completely. This tool can also provide real-time protection against malware attacks and stop any malicious processes that attempt to add start-up entries to the Windows registry. Besides, SpyHunter offers 24×7 online assistance to help solve the malware issues that cannot be fixed by the tool autoamtically.

If you have problem with removal of Search-startpage.com, please download and use SpyHunter. Now you take these steps to install and use SpyHunter and fix your malware problems immediately.

Click the button below to download SpyHunter setup file on your PC.

download-spyhunter-now

Then, double click on icon of the setup file you have downloaded just now. When a dialog box appears as below, click the Run button to allow this file to run on your PC.SpyHunter-shortcut

click-Run
Select your language and click OK.

OK-SpyHunter1

Click on CONTINUE.

continue1

Choose I accept the EULA and Privacy Policy and then click INSTALL.

INSTALL3

Now SpyHunter is being installed on your PC. Wait for the installation to complete.

installation-spyhunter

When you are prompted that the setup is successful, click on the EXIT button.

exit

SpyHunter will automatically run on your PC. Now you can start a quick scan by clicking the Scan Computer Now.

scan-computer-now

SpyHunter will start scanning for malware threats hidding on your PC. This will take quite a long time (20 minutes or more), so please be patient.

scanning process

Once the scanning is done, you will be shown all detected threats. To remove them all, you can click on Fix Threats button.

fix threats

Once SpyHunter finishes the removal of all these threats, it may require you to restart your computer. Please allow it to do so. After your computer gets restarted, Search-startpage.com should have been removed completely.

 

Method 2: Manually Remove the Browser Hijacker Step by Step (Not for Novice Users).

Main steps:

Step 1: Remove the browser hijacker from the affected browsers.
Step 2: Fix browser shortcuts modified by the browser hijacker.
Step 3: Delete the browser hijacker’s related files & folders from computer.
Step 4: Delete the browser hijacker’s related registry entries from computer.

Important Note: If you are a novice user who has less experience in manual malware removal, it is not suggested that you take the below steps to manually get rid of Search-startpage.com browser hijacker from your PC. Any wrong operation could result in system errors, data loss and other unexpected problems. For the safety reason, using an automatic malware removal tool should be a better option.

 

Step 1: Remove the browser hijacker from the affected browsers.

When hijacking your web browsers, the browser hijacker may have changed your homepage, startup page, new tab page and default search engine to its own. What you need to do is remove its website URL from the Home Page field and delete its search engine from your browsers.

Mozilla Firefox:

Open Mozilla Firefox browser. Click the Firefox menu (3-bar icon) and then click Options.

click options
In General tab, delete this link “http://search-startpage.com| from the Home Page field, and then enter a new website address that you prefer.

remove link_firefox

Then, switch to the Search tab. Under Default Search Engine, click on the drop-down arrow.

remove search engine_1

Then, you will see a list of all search engines installed on Firefox browser. Select the one you want to make as the default. For example, you can choose “Google“.

remove search engine_3

Then, navigate to the One-click search engines section, choose “Search Start Page“, and click the Remove button.

remove search engine_4

 

Internet Explorer:

Open Internet Explorer browser. Click the Tools menu (gear icon) and select Internet Options from the drop-down list.

click internet options

Under the General tab, remove the unwanted website link, type your preferred one and then click OK.

remove link-ie

Click the Tools menu again and then select Manage add-ons.

click-manage-add-on

Click Search Providers, and you will see all search providers installed on your PC. If you find a search engine called Search Start Page has been set as the default, you should first set a search engine you prefer as the default, and then right click the unwanted one, and click the Remove button.

 

Google Chrome:

Open Google Chrome browser. Click on Chrome’s Tools menu which is represented by three horizontal lines, and select the option labeled Settings from the drop-down list.

click-settings

In the open page, click Set pages under On startup.

remove startup page_1

A small window will open. If you see an unwanted website URL there, highlight it and click the X button to delete it.

remove startup page_2

Back to the Setting page, locate Appearance, tick Show Home button, and click the Change link.

remove homepage_1

In the popup Home page window, delete the unwanted website link and click OK.

remove homepage_2

Now move to the Search section, click Manage search engines.

remove search-engine_1

In the open window, if your find that your default search engine has been set to the unwanted one, you need to first make your favorite one (such as Google) as the default. Then, highlight the unwanted search engine and click the X button. Finally, click the Done button to exit the window.

delete unwanted search engine_chrome

 

Step 2: Fix browser shortcuts modified by the browser hijacker.

The browser hijacker may modify your browser shortcuts so that you will be redirected to its own domain page whenever your open the web browsers. Now follow these steps to fix the shortcuts in all affected web browsers.

Internet Explorer:

Right click the icon of Internet Explorer on your desktop and click the Properties option.

clean shortcut_ie1

Under Shortcut tab, locate Target, and then delete the unwanted website link located after “…iexplore.exe”. Click OK to save the change.

delete-shortcut_ie

 

Mozilla Firefox:

Right click the icon of Firefox on your desktop and click the Properties option.

click-properties-firefox

Under Shortcut tab, locate Target, and then delete the unwanted website link located after “…firefox.exe”. Click OK to save the change.

delete-shortcut_firefox

 

Google Chrome:

Right click the icon of Chrome on your desktop and click the Properties option.

click-properties

Under Shortcut tab, locate Target, and then delete the unwanted website link located after “…chrome.exe”. Click OK to save the change.

delete link from shortcut_chrome

 

Step 3: Delete the browser hijacker’s related files & folders from computer.

Generally, when a browser hijacker gets installed on your PC, it may created its related files and folders in your system. Some of files or codes can keep recovering the browser hijacker, and that is the reason why you cannot permanently clean the this threat from your machine even though you have tried many times.To completely remove Search-startpage.com browser hijacker, you need to delete its files and folders from your computer. Follow these steps below:

Open the local disk C, and navigate to the following directories. Look for if there are any folders or files related to the browser hijacker; if there are, delete them.

%Program Files\%
%AppData\%
%Program Files\%
%Documents and Settings\%

You can also use the Windows search function to search for the related files and folder. Double click the “Computer” icon from your desktop, enter “search-startpage” into the search box and wait for the search results. Once you find any item related to the browser hijacker, delete it from your PC.

search for files

However, this browser hijacker may hide its relevant files and folders in somewhere of your system that you can not find them easily. Actually, less general users can manually find and delete all files and folders of a malware, and as a result, they fail to thoroughly get rid of the malware. If you can not find any files and folders relevant to the browser hijacker, it is suggested that you use a tool to automtically detect and remove them instead.

 

Step 4: Delete the browser hijacker’s related registry entries from computer.

When Search-startpage.com enters your PC, it will add its related entries, keys and values to the Windows registry. You need to open the registry editor and delete all components related to the browser hijacker, especially the browser hijacker’s start-up entry which enables it to run automatically every time the Windows is launched. But you should be careful during the deletion process and avoid mistakenly deleting any important entries from the Windows registry. Below are the steps for you to follow.

Press Window key + R key at the same time, and a Run command box will open. Type “regedit” into the box and click OK. This will open the registry editor.

type-regedit

Now click Edit and select Find option.

edit-find

In the popup window, type “search-startpage” into the box and click Find Next. Wait for a while until you get the search results.

find next

Delete any entry, key or value related to the browser hijacker.

delete

To aviod missing any item, please try searching the related items several times, until you are prompted the message as shown below.

ok

Important Note: You should only delete entries related to the browser hijacker. If you cannot find any item in the search result, please do not delete other entries recklessly. This does no good to the Search-startpage.com removal and even could cause damage to your system. To be safe, it is highly recommend that you use a professional malware removal tool to help you instead.

 


Conclusion

Search-startpage.com appears to be a normal search site that provides the search service. But in fact, it is a browser hijacker that can affect many popular web browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This browser hijacker usually gets into a target computer in stealthily ways. One of the most common way is to bundled with third-party software. Once gets installed on your PC, it can modify your browser settings and replace your homepage and default search engine with its own. Although this browser hijacker doesn’t perform very malicious actions like a Trojan, it is hated by most users. One of the annoying things done by this browser hijacker is to hijack your web browsers. It keeps redirecting you to its own page and doesn’t allow you to reset the homepage back to the previous one. Its final objective is to boost website traffic and generate advertising revenue. By forcing you to access the Internet through its own website, this browser hijacker can redirect you to certain websites, display ads or sponsored links in your search results, and even collect your search terms as well as other online data. Therefore, it is necessary that you delete Search-startpage.com from your computer as quickly as possible. Above we have given two methods to perform the removal and hope that they will help you.

 


Friendly reminder: The manual removal method is not as safe and effective as the automatic removal method. In many cases, users fail to manually remove Search-startpage.com browser hijacker due to the fact that they cannot to find out and delete all its related traces from the system. Browser hijackers always deep hide their files and codes in the system, which is hard for a general user to find only with the naked eyes. Without deleting all these traces, the browser hijacker will keep coming back. Actually, using a professional tool will easily resolve this problem. With advanced scanning algorithm, the tool can quickly detect the browser hijacker’s traces and you can easily delete them with a click of mouse. What’s more, using a tool is much safer. A tool will “know” which files are safe and which files are malicious. But if you are a novice user, you may not be able to recognize them. Any wrong deletion may cause your system to crash or programs to unable to run. Therefore, to effectively and safely get rid of Search-startpage.com from your PC, you can consider using an exclusive malware removal tool.

download_malware_removal_tool_now

 

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