How to remove Start.search.us.com (Removal Guide)

Start.search.us.com is a browser hijacker, which is promoted via other free downloads, and once installed it will add the Search.us.com Toolbar, and change your browser homepage and default search engine to Start.search.us.com.
Start.search.us.com virus
Start.search.us.com will display advertisements and sponsored links in your search results, and may collect search terms from your search queries. The Start.search.us.com infection is used to boost advertising revenue, as in the use of blackhat SEO, to inflate a site’s page ranking in search results.

Start.search.us.com 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.

Start.search.us.com got on your computer after you have installed a freeware software (video recording/streaming, download-managers or PDF creators) that had bundled into their installation this browser hijacker. This infection is also bundled within the custom installer on many download sites (examples: CNET, Brothersoft or Softonic), so if you have downloaded a software from these websites, chances are that Start.search.us.com hijack was installed during the software setup process.

For example, when you install VPlay, you will also agree to change your default browser homepage and default search engine to Start.search.us.com., and install the Search.us.com Toolbar.
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 Search.us.com Toolbar and Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.com. 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 Start.search.us.com  (Virus Removal Guide)

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove Start.search.us.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: Uninstall Start.search.us.com malicious programs from your computer
STEP 2: Remove Start.search.us.com virus from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
STEP 3: Remove Start.search.us.com browser hijacker from your computer with AdwCleaner
STEP 4: Remove Start.search.us.com virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
STEP 5: Double-check for the Start.search.us.com infection with HitmanPro

STEP 1 : Uninstall WebWebWeb malicious programs 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 malicious program responsible for the Start.search.us.com redirect from Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, click the Start button, then click on the Control Panel menu option.
    [Image: Control Panel in Windows Start Menu]
    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.
    [Image: Control Panel in Windows 8]
  2. When the Control Panel window opens click on the Uninstall a program option under Programs category. This option is shown by the arrow in the image below. If you are using the Classic View of the Control Panel, then you would double-click on the Programs and Features icon instead.
    [Image: Uninstall a program]
  3. When the Programs and Features or the Uninstall a Program screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and uninstall Search.us, Search.us Toolbar and any other recently installed unknown program from your computer.
    To view the most recently installed programs, you can click on the “Installed On” column to sort your program by the installation date. Scroll though the list, and uninstall any unwanted or unknown programs.
    [Image: Uninstall Start.search.us.com malicious program from Windows]
    Depending on what program has installed the Start.search.us.com 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.

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


STEP 2: Remove Start.search.us.com virus from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome

Remove Start.search.us.com virus 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 Start.search.us.com virus 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]), the 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.
    [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 to remove Enhanced-Search]
  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 Start.search.us.com virus from Google Chrome

  1. Remove Start.search.us.com extensions from Google Chrome.
    Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu  button on the browser toolbar, select Tools and then click on Extensions.
    Google Chrome Extensions
    In the Extensions tab, remove (by clicking on the Recycle Bin) Search.us.com Toolbar and any other unknown extensions from Google Chrome.
    Basically, if you not have installed an extension, you should remove it from your web browser.
    Start.search.us.com Chrome plugin
  2. Set Google Chrome default search engine from start.search.us.com to Google.
    Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu  button, then select Settings and click on Manage search engines in the Search section.
    In the Search Engines dialog that appears, select Google and click the Make Default button that appears in the row.
    Start.search.us.com Chrome hijack
    Search for Search (http://start.search.us.com) in the Search Engines list, and click the X button that appears at the end of the row.
    Start.search.us.com Google Chrome removal
  3. Change Google Chrome homepage from Start.search.us.com to its default.
    Search.us has modified your Google Chrome settings to open their webpage whenever you start your browser, so we will need to revert this modification.
    Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu  button, then select Settings and click on One the New Tab page in the On Startup section.
    [Image: Change Google Chrome homepage to its default]

STEP 3: Remove Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.com virus
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for the “Start.search.us.com” malicious files that may be installed on your computer.
  4. To remove the “Start.search.us.com” malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Remove Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.com virus

STEP 4: Remove Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.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]

Your computer should now be free of the Start.search.us.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 Start.search.us.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.

  • Cath

    Awesome – worked a treat! Thank you for the fantastic advice!

  • http://WIRECOM.CO.ZA Mark

    Hey Mate you are a very helpfull and clever dude and i thank you for supplying links and info that is legit and not infested with virus and bullshit
    THANKS YOU THIS WAS VERY HELPFULL

  • MAXJOY

    Cheers! :)

  • Lipri Rainbow Rainsword

    thx a lot

  • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

    Hello Gracie,
    You can try to remove this program with Revo Uninstaller:
    Download : http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html

    How to use Revo Uninstaller : http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_how_to.html
    Stay safe!

  • Gowda

    Thank you

  • ali

    *genuflects*
    You Sir , are a gentleman and a scholar.
    Thank you

  • Larnus

    Awesome well done man! :D

  • ozgur

    thanks mate!

  • Gal

    Thanks a lot. You realy did good!!

  • nurhakim

    Thankyou its amazing :D

  • nava500

    thank you soooooo much ,you are amazing :)

  • ramona88

    I deleted the folder C:Users[user]AppDataLocalTNT and it solved the problem. Hope it helps.

  • Sara

    I followed about 4 other articles and a few youtube videos, none of which were helpful. I had truthfully given up all hope, thought I’d have to live with the freaking search.us.com forever, until I stumbled upon this.
    I was able to remove search.us.com from Google Chrome, Firefox and Explorer easily!

    You, kind sir, are a good man. And I wish you happiness and everything nice in your life, because I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and you saved me.
    Thank you so much!

    (Ps. Apologies for being so dramatic)

  • http://malwaretips.com/ Stelian Pilici

    Hello,
    Can you please browse to C:Program Files and find the Search.us folder. In there, it should be an application called “uninstall.exe”… Double-click on it. This should bring up the uninstaller for this program.

  • 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!

  • mahesh

    Start.search.us.com is badware. thanks you very much

  • binoy

    Thanks a lot , it helped me a lot ,its very difficult to find such a sincere man in this internet era working for free