Removing search-startpage.com

Removing search-startpage.com

I have had several computers come to me where when I have opened a browser it defaults to search-startpage.com. This is a nasty piece of adware and should be removed as soon as it is detected. This can be used to remove any adware that you may have got, just replace search-startpage.com with the adware in question such as conduit.

Please note: cheekyfactor.com or the owners of this site cannot be held responsible if things go wrong. You perform these tasks at your own risk. This is for advanced users only.

The first way of attempting to remove this pesky nuisance is to download and install MalwareBytes, run a scan and quarantine any threats that are identified.

The second way, and I feel more satisfying is the manual way.

Click on your start button (or use Cortana), type in Uninstall a program, in this click on it, it may come up with Add or remove programs, it’s all the same.

Uninstall anything that looks suspicious, for example “Search Protect by Conduit”, “Optimizer pro” and anything else that doesn’t look right. You can search Google (or any other search engine) to see what different things are.

Suspicious software could include the following (this is list is not exhaustive):

  • browser defenced
  • HD-Plus
  • vplay
  • browser protected by conduit
  • browser protect
  • less tabs
  • yealt
  • delta search, babylon
  • webcake
  • privacy safe guard
  • videosaver
  • lyricscontainer
  • unfriend checker
  • coupon amazine
  • tidenetwork.com
  • price peep today
  • download terms
  • yantoo

Now to remove from your browser, this will vary between browsers.

For Google Chrome

Click on the options icon at the top right hand side of the browser, click on Settings.

Under search engine, change this to a more suited engine such as Google or Bing. Click on manage search engines and remove the dodgy looking one, in this case secure.homepage-web.com.

Under the start-up area, where it says open a specific page or set of pages, remove search-startpage.com, add the pages you want to open on start up.

Finally, remove any unwanted and suspicious extensions. Click on the widget, more tools, then extensions, remove anything that doesn’t look right.

You may need to reset Google Chrome by going into settings, then advanced settings and reset Chrome.

For Mozilla Firefox

Navigate to Help, then troubleshooting information. Once you are in you will have the option to reset Firefox. Follow Firefox’s prompts to reset Firefox. That should get rid of the unwanted search-startpage.com. It will reset everything else as well, but that’s a price worth paying.

For Internet Explorer

I’m not a massive fan of Internet Explorer, but if you insist on using this this is how to disable it for IE. Go to tools and navigate to Internet Options. Go to the general tab under homepage you will see the pesky search-startpage.com, change it to what you want your homepage to be, this can be anything, google.com.au, bing.com, or your own website, say cheekyfactor.com.

Now remove any add ons that look a little suspicious, either go back into Internet options, or stay there. Click on programs and manage add ons. Disable search-startpage.com and any other unwanted and suspicious add ons.

If that doesn’t work hit the gear icon, click on tools and go back into Internet options. Go to the advanced tab and hit the reset button. You will be prompted by IE to delete your personal settings, hit reset again. This will take it back to factory reset.

So what’s next?

So, we now have to remove the pesky little thing from the Windows Shortcuts, whichever browser was infected find it and right click on it. Go into properties.

Click on the shortcut tab and remove any reference to www.search-startpage.com, this will be in the “target” field.

Now we have to remove it from the registry. Click on your start/windows key and type in regedit (you may also use Cortana). Once open go into Edit, then find. Search for search-startpage.com and click find next, this will highlight all references. You can now delete all references to to search-startpage.com – don’t delete the full string, just delete the search-startpage.com element of the string. Keep pressing F3 to find all references.

Finally…

Now, lets stop it from running when you boot the machine up. Either click on the start button or hit that Windows key, type in MSCONFIG. When this eventually loads click on Startup and uncheck any suspicious start up applications, these may be plain to see, but check for spelling errors as well. You may also want to uncheck any other suspicious, unknown and unwanted applications. They will normally contain what the adware is called, for example search-startpage.com. Now lets get rid of these applications from services. In MSCONFIG, in services hide all your Microsoft services then as you did with the startup tab find any reference to search-startpage.com. Again, you may want to do this with any other services that are unknown or unwanted.

Finally, click OK.

That should resolve the issue.

There are other AdWare removers, other than MalwareBytes which I use for Malware I wouldn’t like to recommend any as I simply don’t know. If you need to use AdWare removers be careful, do your research as some may make it a lot worse. There are a lot of malicious programs out there that say they remove AdWare, but in fact install more, even holding your machine to ransom. I had one machine like that recently that was bought  to me, the only way to fix it was to reinstall Windows which we don’t really want to do if we can avoid it.

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