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Search giants such as Google, Yahoo and Bing all offer reskinned versions of their search engines. Many software manufacturers choose to have their own custom search facilities for the end users of their products, companies can gain financially by referring user searches to these services. Regrettably this has led to virus-like behaviour in some applications, where they force search queries carried out on a browser to their skinned search engine, and make it very hard for users to remove this behaviour from their browser.

Search Engine

If you find your web browser default search engine has been changed, this article is for you. Changing back browser settings usually isn’t too difficult. If a program has managed to change your browser’s default search engine, it is likely that when you type in a search query in the omnibar at the top of the browser, the search is being carried out somewhere you don’t desire. You can change it back easily:

Mozilla Firefox

  • Click the search bar in Firefox and type in about:preferences#search
  • A drop down menu under the title Default Search Engine can be clicked, and a list of search engines will be listed. Select the one you wish to use for searches

Google Chrome

  • Right-click inside the omnibar at the top of the Chrome browser window and select Edit search engines in the menu
  • Click the 3 dot icon on the right of the search engine you wish to make the default, and click Make default

Microsoft Edge

  • In Edge, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the window
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • Click Advanced in the sidebar
  • Scroll down and click Change search provider
  • Select the search engine you wish to use and click Set as default

If there aren’t any search engines listed other than Bing in the Change search provider settings, first visit the search engine website within the edge browser, it will then appear as an option in the settings menu.

Safari

  • With Safari open, click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen
  • In the menu, click Preferences..
  • Click the Search tab of Preferences
  • A dropdown menu labelled Search Engine enables selection of the default, this can either be Google, Yahoo, Bing or DuckDuckGo

Homepage

Unscrupulous programs love changing homepages on users browsers. Often filled with advertisements or directing to strange search engines. As discussed above, the purpose is for the program developer to gain financially each time an advertisement is clicked or a search is made on the sub-par search engine. Changing back the home page is simple:

Mozilla Firefox

  • Click the search bar in Firefox and type in about:preferences#home
  • In the drop down menu labelled Homepage and new windows there are three options:
    • Firefox Home (Default) – this homepage shows a search bar and icons for your most visited websites based on your history
    • Custom URLs… – selecting this option results in a text field displaying below the dropdown where a custom URL can be entered (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)
    • Blank Page – Unsurprisingly loads up a blank page, a good option for slower computers
  • The drop down below labelled New tabs provides options for what should be displayed when opening a new tab:
    • Firefox Home (Default) – this homepage shows a search bar and icons for your most visited websites based on your history
    • Blank Page – Unsurprisingly loads up a blank page, a good option for slower computers

Google Chrome

Homepage behaviour

  • With Chrome open, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the screen
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • Click on Appearance in the sidebar
  • Ensure the Show Home button toggle is set to enabled
  • There are two options for what the home button should do when clicked:
    • New tab page – this homepage shows a Google search bar and icons for your most visited websites based on your history
    • Enter custom address – in the text field a custom URL can be entered (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)

 

On start-up behaviour

  • With Chrome open, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the screen
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • Click On start-up in the sidebar
  • Three options exist for homepage setup on Chrome:
    • Open the New Tab page – this homepage shows a Google search bar and icons for your most visited websites based on your history
    • Continue where you left off – when Chrome next opens, the tabs that were open when Chrome was last closed show up
    • Open a specific page or set of pages – clicking Add a new page here shows a text field where a custom URL can be entered (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)

Microsoft Edge

Set your home page

  • In Edge, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the window
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • Ensure the toggle labelled Show the Home button is enabled
  • In the drop down menu labelled Set your home page, there are 3 options:
    • Start page – this homepage shows a Bing search bar and new headlines
    • New tab page – this homepage shows a Bing search bar, icons for your most visited websites based on your history and new headlines
    • A specific page or pages – shows a text field where a custom URL can be entered (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)

Open Edge with

  • In Edge, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the window
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • In the drop down menu labelled Open Microsoft Edge with, there are 4 options:
    • Start page – this homepage shows a Bing search bar and new headlines
    • New tab page – this homepage shows a Bing search bar, icons for your most visited websites based on your history and new headlines
    • Previous pages – when Edge next opens, the tabs that were open when Edge was last closed show up
    • A specific page or pages – shows a text field where a custom URL can be entered (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)

Open new tabs with

  • In Edge, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the window
  • Click Settings in the menu
  • In the drop down menu labelled Open new tabs with, there are 4 options:
    • “Top sites” and suggested content – this opens a new tab with a Bing search bar, icons for your most visited websites based on your history and new headlines
    • Top sites – his opens a new tab with a Bing search bar, icons for your most visited websites based on your history
    • A blank page – Unsurprisingly loads up a blank page, a good option for slower computers

Safari

  • With Safari open, click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen
  • In the menu, click Preferences..
  • On the General tab is a text field labelled Homepage
  • Enter the Homepage URL of your choice (i.e. www.google.comwww.startpage.com)

Toolbars & Extensions

The world of browser extensions is a big one, thousands of applications have been built to make web browsing easier and with added functionality. Problem is, extensions and toolbars can appear in browser through installing other applications. The same story as above takes place, these extensions redirect searches and trigger advertising, all for financial gain of the app developer. If you have found yourself with any unrecognised extensions or toolbars:

Mozilla Firefox

  • Click the search bar in Firefox and type in about:addons
  • A list of extensions will be displayed, click on the 3 dot icon on the right of any extension you want deleted and click Remove

Google Chrome

  • With Chrome open, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the screen
  • Hover over More Tools and select Extensions in the sub-menu
  • A list of extensions will be displayed, click the Remove button for any extension you want deleted

 

Microsoft Edge

  • In Edge, click the 3 dot overflow icon in the top right of the window
  • Click Extensions in the menu
  • Any installed extensions will be listed here, click the cog/gear icon for any extension you want deleted, then click the Uninstall button

 

Safari

  • With Safari open, click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen
  • In the menu, click Preferences..
  • Click the Extensions tab of Preferences
  • Any installed extensions will be listed here, click any in the sidebar you wish to remove, then on the right pane click the Uninstall button

In a small number of cases, doing any of the above might not be permanent, and next time the browser is opened unexpected behaviour and redirects still occur. This is referred to as browser hijacking and can usually be picked up with a TotalAV virus scan. Sometimes it can require a bit more work to remove.

Source : Official TotalAV Brand
Editor by : BEST Antivirus KBS Team

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