Remove Hao123.com virus (Removal Guide)

Hao123 is a browser hijacker, which is promoted via other free downloads, and once installed it will add the Hao123 Toolbar, and change your browser homepage to hao123.com.
This in itself is not considered malicious as there are many legitimate programs that change these settings as well. What is considered malicious, though, is that it will also append the argument http://www.hao123.com/ro/newtab?si=41460&shortcut=true&tid=293 to random Windows shortcuts on your desktop and your Windows Start Menu.
[Image: Hao123.com homepage virus]

Hao123.com will display advertisements and sponsored links in your search results, and may collect search terms from your search queries.
Hao123.com is available in 10 languages, and depending on your location, this program may have set as your browser start-up page: en.hao.123, br.hao.123, tw.hao.123, ar.hao.123, sa.hao.123, ae.hao.123, id.hao.123, th.hao.123, jp.hao.123 or vn.hao.123.
Hao123.com got on your computer after you have installed another free software or add-on that had bundled into their installer this browser hijacker.
For example, when you install vPlay, you will also agree to install Hao123 Toolbar, and change your default browser home page to Hao123.com. However, when you uninstall vPlay from your computer, your web browser’s default settings will not be restored. This means that you’ll have to remove Hao123.com from your favorite web browser manually.

You should always pay attention when installing software because often, a software installer includes optional installs, such as this Hao123 Toolbar. Be very careful what you agree to install.
Always opt for the custom installation and deselect anything that is not familiar, especially optional software that you never wanted to download and install in the first place. It goes without saying that you should not install software that you don’t trust.

How to remove Hao123.com (Virus Removal Guide)

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove Hao123.com from your Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.
STEP 1: Remove Hao123.com browser hijacker from your computer with AdwCleaner
STEP 2: Remove Hao123.com from Internet Explore, Firefox and Google Chrome with Junkware Removal Tool
STEP 3: Clean up the various Windows shortcuts that have been hijacked by Hao123.com virus
STEP 4: Remove Hao123.com malicious files with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
STEP 5: Double-check for the Hao123.com infection with HitmanPro
(OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Reset your browser settings to remove Hao123.com from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome

STEP 1: Remove Hao123.com browser hijacker with AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner utility will scan your computer and web browser for malicious files, adware browser extensions and registry keys, that may have been installed on your computer without your knowledge.

  1. You can download AdwCleaner utility from the below link.
    ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download AdwCleaner on your computer)
  2. Before starting AdwCleaner, close all open programs and internet browsers, then double-click on the AdwCleaner icon.
    AdwCleaner Icon
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
  3. When the AdwCleaner program will open, click on the “Scan” button as shown below.
    Click on Scan button to find Hao123.com virus
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for the “Hao123.com” malicious files that may be installed on your computer.
  4. To remove the “Hao123.com” malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Remove Hao123.com virus with AdwCleaner
  5. AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or documents, as the program will need to reboot the computer. Please do so and then click on the OK button.
    AdwCleaner removing Hao123.com virus

STEP 2: Remove Hao123.com from Internet Explore, Firefox and Google Chrome with Junkware Removal Tool

Junkware Removal Tool is a powerful utility, which will remove Hao123.com browser extensions from Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome, and will double-check for any other compromised Windows shortcuts.

  1. You can download the Junkware Removal Tool utility from the below link:
    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will automatically download the Junkware Removal Tool utility on your computer)
  2. Once Junkware Removal Tool has finished downloading, please double-click on the JRT.exe icon as seen below.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool]
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run Junkware Removal Tool, please allow it to run.
  3. Junkware Removal Tool will now start, and at the Command Prompt, you’ll need to press any key to perform a scan for the Hao123.com virus.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool scanning for Hao123.com homepage]
    Please be patient as this can take a while to complete (up to 10 minutes) depending on your system’s specifications.
  4. When the scan Junkware Removal Tool will be completed, this utility will display a log with the malicious files and registry keys that were removed from your computer.
    [Image: Junkware Removal Tool final log]

STEP 3: Clean up the various Windows shortcuts that have been hijacked by Hao123.com virus

This infection has hijacked your browser shortcuts, so in this step we will need to manually clean them by removing the Hao123.com argument.

  1. Search for your browser shortcut (Desktop, Taskbar or Start Menu Shortcut), then right-click on it and select Properties.
    [Image: Firefox Shortcut properties]
    To view the Properties menu for the browser shortcuts pinned to your Task Bar, right-click on the browser shortcut from the Taskbar, then right-click again on the browser icon as see in the below image. Alternatively, you can just Unpin the browser shortcut from your task bar, then you can add it back after you have removed the “Hao123.com” argument from the original browser shortcut.
    [Image: taskbar shortcut hijacker]
  2. In the Shortcut tab, in the Target field, remove the http://Hao123.com argument. Basically, there should be only the path to browser executable file. Nothing more.
    These are the default shortcut path that should be in your Target box, if the Hao123.com argument is there, then you should remove it.

    If you are using this browser: In the Target field you should have:
    Internet Explorer “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”
    Chrome “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” for Windows 32 bit OR “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” for Windows 64-bit
    Firefox “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” for Windows 32-bit OR “C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” for Windows 64-bit

    [Image:  Hao123.com hijack]


STEP 4: Remove Hao123.com virus from your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free uses industry-leading technology to detect and remove all traces of malware, including worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware, and more.
It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware works well and should run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free)
  2. Once downloaded, close all programs, then double-click on the icon on your desktop named “mbam-setup-consumer-2.00.xx” to start the installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware setup program]
    Picture of User Account Control You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this file. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
  3. When the installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard]
    To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Final Setup Screen]
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will automatically start and you will see a message stating that you should update the program, and that a scan has never been run on your system. To start a system scan you can click on the “Fix Now” button.
    [Image: Click on the Fix Now button to start a scan]
    Alternatively, you can click on the “Scan” tab and select “Threat Scan“, then click on the “Scan Now” button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Threat Scan]
  5. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now check for updates, and if there are any, you will need to click on the “Update Now” button.
    [Image: Click on Update Now to update Malwarebytes Anti-Malware]
  6. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for the Hao123.com virus. When Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is scanning it will look like the image below.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware while performing a scan]
  7. When the scan has completed, you will now be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has detected. To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes Anti-malware has found, click on the “Quarantine All” button, and then click on the “Apply Now” button.
    [Image: Remove the malware that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has found]
    Please note that the infections found may be different than what is shown in the image.
  8. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found. When removing the files, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may require a reboot in order to remove some of them. If it displays a message stating that it needs to reboot your computer, please allow it to do so.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware while removing viruses]
    After your computer will restart, you should open Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and perform another “Threat Scan” scan to verify that there are no remaining threats

STEP 5: Double check for the Hao123.com infection with HitmanPro

HitmanPro is a second opinion scanner, designed to rescue your computer from malware (viruses, trojans, rootkits, etc.) that have infected your computer despite all the security measures you have taken (such as anti-virus software, firewalls, etc.). HitmanPro is designed to work alongside existing security programs without any conflicts. It scans the computer quickly (less than 5 minutes) and does not slow down the computer.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Double-click on the file named “HitmanPro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “HitmanPro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows). When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below.
    [Image: HitmanPro start-up screen]
    Click on the “Next” button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
    [Image: HitmanPro setup options]
  3. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for Hao123.com malicious files.
    [Image: HitmanPro scanning for malware]
  4. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove Hao123.com malware.
    [Image: HitmanPro scan results]
  5. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    [Image: HitmanPro Activate Free License]

(OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Reset your browser settings to remove Hao123.com from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome

If you are still experiencing issues with the Hao123.com redirect in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, we will need to reset your browser to its default settings. This step needs to be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.

Remove Hao123.com from Internet Explorer

You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the “gear icon[Image: icongear.jpg] in the upper right part of your browser, then click again on Internet Options.
    [Image: Internet Options in Internet Explorer]
  2. In the “Internet Options” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer]
  3. In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer to its default settings]
  4. When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box. You will now  need to close your browser, and then you can open Internet Explorer again.
    [Image Reset Internet Explorer settings]

Remove Hao123.com from Mozilla Firefox

If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu button ([Image: Firefox Menu button]), then click on the “Help” ([Image: Firefox Help button]) button.
    [Image: Click on the Menu button then Help]
  2. From the Help menu, choose Troubleshooting Information.
    If you’re unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.
    [Image: Troubleshooting Information in Firefox]
  3. Click the “Reset Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    [Image: Reset Firefox to its default settings]
  4. To continue, click on the “Reset Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    [Image: Click on the Reset Firefox button]
  5. Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.

Note: Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Remove Hao123.com from Google Chrome

  1. Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines ([Image: Chrome's main menu button]) .When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.
    [Image: Click on Settings button]
  2. Chrome’s Settings should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Show advanced settings link (as seen in the below example).
    [Image: Click on Show advanced settings link]
  3. Chrome’s advanced Settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the Reset browser settings section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the Reset browser settings button.
    [Image: Click on Reset browser button]
  4. A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue on with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the Reset button.
    [Image: Click on Reset button to restore Chrome to default settings]

Your computer should now be free of the Hao123.com infection. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Hao123.com hijacker from your machine, please start a new thread in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.

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ABOUT STELIAN PILICI

I am the creator and owner of MalwareTips.com.
My area of expertise includes malware removal and computer forensics. I'm active in the various online anti-malware communities where I do researches for new malware threats as they are released.
I live in Bucharest (Romania), where I run my own local computer repair shop.
I repair both hardware and other operating systems related issues, however most of my business is malware related problems.

You can follow me on Google+ and I will keep you up-to-date with the latest computer infections and malware threats.

  • sandyyap

    thank u so much. i am so hateful towards china apps like funshion now as it was funshion who introduce it into my com.

  • deng

    Thx alot even though it take a long time

  • raj kamal roy

    hey thnx a lot for ur kind support and sharing such useful info. keepit up dear.

  • sabrina

    thank you so so much for sharing the effective step by step tutorial! its such a relief to computer noobies like me to have your guide to remove this annoying virus. once again, greatly appreciate your good work.

  • wei

    hi man! thx for the help, but i did all the steps you mentioned upstairs and the result was hao123 still appears both in internet explorer and firefox. anyways thank you a lot!

    • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

      Hello,
      Can you please copy/paste here what you have in the your browser shortcut in the Target field (see STEP 3 for instructions).

      Stay safe!

  • Andy

    After following all your steps hao123 is finally gone! Thank you SO much Stelian for this, you are a saint!

  • Claudia Almeida Bastos

    Hi Stelian, thank you so much for the initiative! These pesky malwares are driving me crazy!! Did everything on your list (including the steps you provided at the bottom with Junkware) but Hao 123 still shows up when I use Google Chrome.

    I got it removed from everywhere else (Firefox and IE and functioning properly) but Chrome, this makes me think that Hao is still on my computer even though it doesn’t come up in other browsers.

    Any other tricks you think might help? My last resort is to format the damn computer. I appreciate all your kind support!! Love your blog!

    Claudia

    • Raouf

      Try Step 3 on the browser icons next to the start button. Worked for me.

  • Mo D

    Sorry but your instructions did not work with explorer, firefox or chrome. In chrome hao123 did not appear in extensions but its there anyway. Will appreciate your help. Mo D.

    • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

      Hello,
      Did you check your shortcuts as seen on STEP 3??

  • morrice123

    How can we kill the guys who created hao123?

  • Honey

    Hello, Stelian. Thank you very much for these tips. Last night, I spent a few solid hours trying different methods to get rid of Hao123. I did follow your instruction above but Hao123 was still not removed. Thanks to your recent suggestion to EMAN ELBANNA, it finally did the trick. please keep the good work!

  • Judy

    Thanks for this. I still have a bit of cleaning up to do, but your instructions helped solve the immediate problem. By the way, do you happen to know where the developers of hao123 live? I’d like to share some opinions with them.

  • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

    Hello Harrison,
    Lets try to remove this infection:
    STEP 1: Run a scan with AdwCleaner
    1. Download AdwCleaner from here: http://general-changelog-team.fr/fr/downloads/finish/20-outils-de-xplode/2-adwcleaner

    2.Close all open programs and internet browsers.

    3.Double click on adwcleaner.exe to run the tool.

    4.Click on Delete, then confirm each time with Ok.

    STEP 2: Run a scan with Junkware Removal Tool

    1.Download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop from the below link:

    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL : http://thisisudax.org/download

    2. Double-click on the JRT.exe icon to start this utility.

    3. The tool will open and start scanning your system. Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system’s specifications

    Stay safe!

  • eman elbanna

    i did all the steps you mentioned and still the HAO123.com is opening everytime i open chrome
    i didn’t find a way to remove it from the target as you mentioned in step 3 for firefox shortcuts

    • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

      Hello,
      Lets try to remove this infection:
      First, please download and run this program to fix your Hosts file: http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/repair_hosts_file.html
      Next, lets perform the following scans:
      STEP 1: Run a scan with AdwCleaner
      1. Download AdwCleaner from here: http://general-changelog-team.fr/fr/downloads/finish/20-outils-de-xplode/2-adwcleaner

      2.Close all open programs and internet browsers.

      3.Double click on adwcleaner.exe to run the tool.

      4.Click on Delete, then confirm each time with Ok.

      STEP 2: Run a scan with Junkware Removal Tool

      1.Download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop from the below link:

      JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL : http://thisisudax.org/download

      2. Double-click on the JRT.exe icon to start this utility.

      3. The tool will open and start scanning your system. Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system’s specifications

      Stay safe!

  • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

    Hello Mauro,
    Lets try to remove this infection:
    STEP 1: Run a scan with AdwCleaner
    1. Download AdwCleaner from here: http://general-changelog-team.fr/fr/downloads/finish/20-outils-de-xplode/2-adwcleaner

    2.Close all open programs and internet browsers.

    3.Double click on adwcleaner.exe to run the tool.

    4.Click on Delete, then confirm each time with Ok.

    STEP 2: Run a scan with Junkware Removal Tool

    1.Download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop from the below link:

    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL : http://thisisudax.org/download

    2. Double-click on the JRT.exe icon to start this utility.

    3. The tool will open and start scanning your system. Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system’s specifications

    Stay safe!

    • Ng Zhen Hao

      Thx for sharing! the Hao123 is gone after i used the junk removal tool as suggested!

  • Bob

    i cant remove hao from chrome extensions as the delete option is not available, please advise

    • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

      Hello,
      Lets try to remove this program:
      STEP 1: Run a scan with AdwCleaner
      Please run AdwCleaner (as seen on STEP 3) to remove this infection!

      STEP 2: Run a scan with Junkware Removal Tool

      1.Download Junkware Removal Tool to your desktop from the below link:

      JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL : http://thisisudax.org/download

      2. Double-click on the JRT.exe icon to start this utility.

      3. The tool will open and start scanning your system. Please be patient as this can take a while to complete depending on your system’s specifications

      Waiting for your reply to see how everything is running…

  • Hate Chinks & Rude Chinese

    Thank you! Hao123 is by a stupid, greedy and careless Chinese company, like all crazy and uncivilized everything else they do to the modern world by stealing and cheaping. Keep up with the good work!