There is one thing that is super annoying and nobody wants to deal with – intrusive advertisements. What happens, however, when they take over your Chrome, Firefox, IE or any other browser that you are using, prompting you to different web pages, redirecting your searches and flooding your screen? Your total online experience is screwed. But this nuisance has its origin and can easily be eliminated once you eliminate the source of it. In most of the cases, this is a browser hijacker – a potentially unwanted program, installed on the PC, which is displaying these intrusive ads and modifying your homepage or search engine so that you could see as many pop-ups and sponsored notifications as possible. One of these programs, named Startpageing123 “Virus”, is the subject of our removal guide today, and on this article you can read more about it.
What is Startpageing123 “Virus” and how does it work?
Startpageing123 “Virus” is a program, which is capable of displaying a huge amount of advertisements on your screen and the moment it gets installed on your PC, it will do exactly that. Moreover, it may act a bit more aggressive than most other ads displayed online, since it may impose some changes to your browser’s homepage or search engine, or it may install some additional toolbar on it, without asking you for approval. These traits make it fit into a software category known as browser hijackers – pieces of software, developed for the need of the online advertising industry. Such browser hijackers are generally used by different vendors, software developers and marketers to promote specific services, products or websites. But they can also be involved in a remuneration method called Pay-Per-Click, which generates income for the browser hijacker developers every time you click on some of the displayed ads. Unfortunately, the benefit is only for them, and you as a user will most probably have to constantly deal with the flow of unstoppable page redirects, pop-ups, links and promotional notifications unless you fully remove the browser hijacker from your PC.
Is there something to worry about if you have Startpageing123 “Virus” on your computer?
Usually, a browser hijacker could be aggressive enough to panic the users and that’s why they may often mistake it for a virus infection. But is there really a reason to be worried about your system and safety? According to security experts – no. Programs like Startpageing123 “Virus” are legally developed pieces of software and unlike computer viruses and malware like Trojans and Ransomware, they do not aim to do harm to your PC. System corruption, data destruction, spying or blackmail cannot be caused by a browser hijacker. However, a program of this type can still have some rather annoying and potentially unwanted consequences on your machine, which could give you some good reasons to remove it.
First of all, apart from hijacking your browser, and constantly redirecting you to a bunch of aggressively popping ads, Startpageing123 “Virus” may also track your online activity. This is not malicious spying, but still could be considered to be a privacy invasion, which aims to collect information about your web searches, your browsing history, your bookmarks, the pages you visit frequently, and the things you like and share on the web. The marketers, who own the program, may use this “traffic data” for various marketing purposes or they may simply try to expose you to more of their ads, by matching them to your interests. This cannot harm your system severely, but it could eventually make it more vulnerable to different viruses and online threats. For example, in the flow of ads you are constantly redirected to, you may happen to click on some fake pop-up or insecure web location, where malware like Trojans or Ransomware could be lurking. Not that this happens very often, but still, since prevention is the best protection, it might be a good idea to uninstall the browser hijacker from your system before such a case occurs. Also, your PC performance may be hampered by the program, since a browser hijacker may be using a good amount of system resources for loading its useless ads, and this may affect the speed and the overall performance of your system. Uninstalling it could save you from that and all the related nuisance.
How may browser hijackers get installed on your PC?
Programs like Startpageing123 “Virus” are usually found in freeware or shareware platforms, spam emails, ads, free downloads, promotional links, torrents and software installers. They mostly come in software bundles along with some other program or application, like a game, optimization software, a free program that promises some functionality, a player or a new app. That’s why, to prevent them from being installed, you should always check every setup that you install on your PC for such programs. For that, carefully read the EULA before running the setup and take advantage of the “Advanced/Custom” options on it. This way, you can manually disable any additional software or potentially unwanted program and you won’t have to deal with it once the installation is completed.
How to Remove Startpageing123 “Virus”
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.
For Firefox users
Open Firefox and click on the Main Menu > Add-ons > Extensions. If you see anything suspicious there, remove it.
For IE users
When you open the browser, go to Tools > Manage Ad-ons and remove the unwanted software if you see it there. Next, go to Tools > Internet options and change the homepage URL to whatever you are normally using.
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.