If your computer has been infected by a browser hijacker, you might feel stressed, scared, anxious or all of the above. Especially if this happens to be the first time for you dealing with this type of software, discovering it might come as quite a shock.
Typically, among the first signs of an infection like this are the changed homepage and new default search engine of your Chrome, Edge, Opera, Firefox or other browser. In addition, users also report being frequently redirected to various sponsored web pages they never intended to visit without even clicking on anything. Not to mention all the annoying ads that are constantly crowding your screen, from popups, to banners, box messages and even in-text links. A program that does exactly this and more is Clean My Chrome and we’re here to help you remove it from your PC. Below we will provide you with all the necessary information regarding this particular browser hijacker and after that you can turn to our detailed removal guide. It will walk you through the process of locating and removing Clean My Chrome from your machine.
The question everybody wants to know the answer to: are browser hijackers a safety hazard?
Yes and no. Technically, programs like Clean My Chrome are not considered malicious, they’re not viruses and will therefore not aim to harm your computer, destroy data, steal from you or in any other way inflict any damage. That’s what you can expect from, say, a Trojan or ransomware. This type of software has a completely different purpose, one that doesn’t involve gaining anything from you in a forceful or illegal manner. Nevertheless, browser hijackers are still seen as potentially unwanted programs and that is because they could potentially expose you to different risks, though perhaps not intentionally. Furthermore, these programs tend to use large amounts of system resources such as RAM and CPU time, without necessarily offering any useful functionality in return. Browser hijackers like Clean My Chrome exist for the purpose of advertising and promoting certain websites, products and services. Their aim, in fact, is to get users to interact with as many of their ads and get redirected to certain pages as often as possible. This user activity then converts to profit for the developers of this software.
That much you may have already figured out on your own. But what users may not already know is that fact that to achieve this and maximize profits, browser hijackers are often programmed to look into your browsing history and monitor what you do online. Most often this involves keeping track of your latest online search requests, as well as taking note of the websites you like to spend the most time on. Sometimes even social media activity may be taken into account. And all of this is done to determine the kind of content you’re interested in. Once that’s done, the program in question, like in this case Clean My Chrome, can then rearrange the ads on your screen, positioning those that are deemed to be more attractive to you in such ways that you will be bound to notice them. But whether or not the users would knowingly have agreed to this whole practice remains a question, as most times browser hijackers like Clean My Chrome end up on people’s computer without them even realizing they’ve let them in.
This brings us to a very important aspect of browser hijackers: distribution. As opposed to viruses such as ransomware, spyware, etc., programs like Clean My Chrome actually require your permission to get installed on your computer. And typically they do this by ‘latching’ onto other programs’ installers. This is a very common techniques known as program bundling that developers use when they want to distribute less desirable software, like hijackers, adware and similar. So, they add it to the installation manager of some other program that people would willingly download, typically for free. And when those users aren’t too careful during the installation process of the said program, they end up also installing whatever added installs there were. To avoid this, all you have to do is pay more attention to the setup. Select the more detailed Advanced or Custom settings of the installation manager and that way you will get to see a list of any added components. Moreover, you will also get to select which of those added components actually gets to make it in your computer and which will be left behind from the installation process.
Clean My Chrome Removal
Before you begin completing the steps from the following guide, we advise you to place a bookmark on this page or have it opened on a separate device since some of the following steps will require you to close your browser.
Enter Safe Mode. If you don’t know how to do it, use this guide.
Open the Task Manger by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Go to the processes/details Tab and take a look at the resulting list. If you see a process with the name of the unwanted program or looks shady, right-click on it and select Open File Location. If you believe it is part of the infection, delete the files.
Use the Winkey+R key combination to open the Run window and in the search field type appwiz.cpl. Hit Enter and in the resulting list, look for recently installed programs that look potentially unwanted. If you find anything – uninstall it.
Re-open Run and this tie type msconfig. Hit Enter again and in the resulting window, go to the Startup tab. See if there are any shady programs there and if anything looks suspicious uncheck it and then select OK.
In the Start Menu search field, copy-paste the following line: notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts . Open the first result and look at the bottom of the file where it says “Localhost”. If there are any IP addresses below that, tell us what they are in the comments since they might be coming from the unwanted software.
Type Network Connections in the Windows search field and click on the first result. Right-click on the adapter that you are using at the moment and go to Properties > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) > Properties.
If the DNS line is not set to Obtain DNS server automatically, make sure to check that option.
Now go to Advanced > DNS tab and remove everything in DNS server addresses, in order of use.
Right-click on your browser’s icon and select Properties. Delete everything in Target that is after .exe”.
For Chrome users
Close Chrome and go to this folder: C:/Users/*Your username*/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. Change the name of the Default folder to Backup Default. Re-open Chrome.
Open Run (Winkey+R), type Regedit and click on OK. Next, press Ctrl+F and type the malware name. Hit Enter and delete everything that gets found.
If there are no results from the search, manually visit those folders in the Registry Editor.
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main
If you find there any suspicious keys that have names with a lot of random letters and numbers, delete them or if you are not sure, tell us in the comments what you saw.