Remove “Search Assist” pop-up ads (Virus Removal Guide)

If you are seeing in-text and pop-up advertisements from Search Assist within Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome, then your computer is infected with an adware or a potentially unwanted program.
[Image: Search Assist pop-up ads]
The Search Assist pop-up infection is designed specifically to make money. It generates web traffic, collects sales leads for other dubious sites, and will display advertisements and sponsored links within your web browser.
Search Assist it’s technically not a virus, but it does exhibit plenty of malicious traits, such as rootkit capabilities to hook deep into the operating system, browser hijacking, and in general just interfering with the user experience. The industry generally refers to it as a “PUP,” or potentially unwanted program.

Search Assist is an ad-supported (users may see additional banner, search, pop-up, pop-under, interstitial and in-text link advertisements) cross web browser plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, and distributed through various monetization platforms during installation.
Search Assist is typically added when you install another free software (video recording/streaming, download-managers or PDF creators) that had bundled into their installation this adware program. When you install these free programs, they will also install Search Assist as well. Some of the programs that are known to bundle Search Assist include 1ClickDownload, Superfish, Yontoo and FBPhotoZoom. Very often users have no idea where did it come from, so it’s not surprising at all that most of them assume that Search Assist is a virus.

Once installed, the Search Assist browser extension will highlight words on the websites that you are visiting transforming them into hyperlinks. These Search Assist links are placed inside your text (hence the name), and they come with a double underline to differentiate them from normal links. Once the user rolls the mouse over the link the advertising will pop. Should the user click on the Search Assist links the browser extension developer will get an affiliate revenue.
Search Assist will also display advertising banners on the webpages that you are visiting, and as you browse Internet, it will show coupons and other deals available on different websites.
These Search Assist ads will be shown as boxes containing various coupons that are available or as underlined keywords, which when clicked will display an advertisement that states it is brought to you by “Search Assist”.
[Image: Search Assist pop-up virus]
You should always pay attention when installing software because often, a software installer includes optional installs, such as this Search Assist adware. 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 Search Assist pop-up ads (Removal Guide)

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove Search Assist from 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: Uninstall Search Assist program from your computer
STEP 2: Remove Search Assist pop-up ads from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
STEP 3: Remove Search Assist adware from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome with AdwCleaner
STEP 4: Remove Search Assist pop-up virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
STEP 5: Double-check for the Search Assist infection with HitmanPro

STEP 1 : Uninstall Search Assist program from your computer

In this first step, we will try to identify and remove any malicious program that might be installed on your computer.

  1. To uninstall the Search Assist program from your computer, click the Start button, then select Control Panel, and click on Uninstall a program.
    If you are using Windows 8, simply drag your mouse pointer to the right edge of the screen, select Search from the list and search for “control panel“. Or you can right-click on a bottom left hot corner (formerly known as the Start button) and select Control Panel from there, then select Uninstall a program.
    [Image: Uninstall a program]
  2. When the Add/Remove Programs or the Uninstall a Program screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and uninstall Search Assist, LyricsViewer, LyricXeeker, Plus-HD 1.3, LyricsGet, BetterSurf, Downloadkepper, SurfEnchance, Feven 1.7, LyricsWoofer, LyricsFan, SimpleLyrics and any other recently installed or unknown programs from your computer.
    [Image: Uninstall Search Assist malicious program from Windows]

If you are having issues while trying to uninstall the Search Assist program, you can use Revo Uninstaller to completely remove this unwanted program from your machine.

Depending on what program has installed the Search Assist adware infection, the above program may have a different name or not be installed on your computer. If you cannot find any unwanted or unknown programs on your machine, then you can proceed with the next step.


STEP 2 : Remove Search Assist pop-up ads from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome

Remove Search Assist ads from Internet Explorer

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the gear icon [Image: icongear.jpg] (Tools for Windows XP users) at the top (far right), then click again on Internet Options.
    Internet Options in IE
  2. In the Internet Options dialog box, click on the Advanced tab, then click on the Reset button.
    Reset Internet Explorer
  3. In the Reset Internet Explorer settings section, check the Delete personal settings box, then click on Reset.
    Internet Explorer back to its default settings  to remove Search Assist virus
  4. When Internet Explorer finishes resetting, click Close in the confirmation dialogue box and then click OK.
  5. Close and open Internet Explorer.

Remove “Ads by Search Assist” from Mozilla Firefox

  1. At the top of the Firefox window, click the Firefox button, go over to the Help sub-menu (on Windows XP, click the Help menu at the top of the Firefox window), and select Troubleshooting Information.
    Firefox Troubleshooting Information
  2. Click the Reset Firefox button in the upper-right corner of the Troubleshooting Information page.
    Firefox default settings  to remove Search Assist virus
  3. To continue, click Reset Firefox in the confirmation window that opens.
  4. Firefox will close and be reset. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click Finish

Remove “Ads by Search Assist” from Google Chrome

  1. To remove the Search Assist extensions from this web browser, click the Chrome menu Chrome menu  button on the browser toolbar, select Tools and then click on Extensions.
    Google Chrome Extensions
  2. In the Extensions tab, remove Search Assist, LyricsViewer, LyricXeeker, Plus-HD 1.3, LyricsGet, BetterSurf, Downloadkepper, SurfEnchance, Feven 1.7, LyricsWoofer, LyricsFan, SimpleLyrics and any other unknown extensions by clicking the trash can [Image: Remove an extension from Chrome] icon.
    Basically, if you have not installed an extension, you should remove it from your web browser.
    [Image: Search Assist Chrome extensions]

STEP 3: Remove Search Assist adware from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome with AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner utility will scan your computer for Search Assist malicious files 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.
    Picture of 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.
    Picture of AdwCleaner Scan button
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for Search Assist malicious files that may be installed on your computer.
  4. To remove the Search Assist malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Clean button.
    Picture of AdwCleaner Clean button
    AdwCleaner will now prompt you to save any open files or data as the program will need to reboot the computer. Please do so and then click on the OK button.

STEP 4: Remove Search Assist pop-up virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.

  1. You can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free from the below link, then double-click on the icon named mbam-setup.exe to install this program.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK(This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free)
  2. When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the setup process, then at the last screen click on the Finish button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware final installation screen]
  3. On the Scanner tab, select Perform quick scan, and then click on the Scan button to start searching for the Search Assist malicious files.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Quick Scan]
  4. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for Search Assist as shown below.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scanning for Search Assist virus]
  5. When the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scan has finished, click on the Show Results button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scan results]
  6. You will now be presented with a screen showing you the computer infections that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has detected. Make sure that everything is Checked (ticked), then click on the Remove Selected button.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware removing Search Assist]

STEP 5: Double-check for the Search Assist 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.).

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a 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.
    HitmanPro scanner
    Click on the Next button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
    HitmanPro installation
  3. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for Search Assist malicious files.
    HitmanPro detecting for Search Assist virus
  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 Search Assist adware.
    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 30 days activation button]

Your computer should now be free of the Search Assist infection. If your current anti-virus solution let this infection through, you may want to consider purchasing the PRO version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to protect against these types of threats in the future, and perform regular computer scans with HitmanPro.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Search Assist 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.

  • IcySparks

    It was listed in my computer programs as “PureLead”, if that helps anyone find it. I didn’t have any programs under the names the article suggested.

    • Rella

      Also found mine under PureLead

      • Ariel Starlex

        I ALSO found mine under PureLead.

        • Alli

          I ALSO ALSO found mine under PureLead.

    • chuck

      I found mine under there as well, but it won’t let me remove it.

  • RavenTazECW

    Driver Fusion stuck this into my browser, I believe. Couldn’t find Search Assist in my programs, so I deleted Driver Fusion and it got rid of the browser links from Search Assist.

  • jon

    “scorpion saver” was the one on mine

  • Mike

    The program name I found was “Pure Leads”.

    • Charlie

      I also found this one.

    • Eric

      same here

  • Zack

    Another program name this software can be found under is “Sendori”. I just uninstalled Sendori from my PC and this also removed the Search Assist.