How to remove “Ads by DNS Unlocker” Adware (Virus Help Guide)

DNS Unlocker is an adware program that displays pop-up ads and unwanted advertisements on web pages that you visit. These advertisements will be shown as boxes containing coupons, as underlined keywords (in-text ads), pop-up ads or advertising banners.

Ads by DNS Unlocker adware

What is DNS Unlocker?

DNS Unlocker is advertised as a “DNS service you can easily access Geo restricted content you like from around the world and unblock websites and Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer or Pandora“. Though this may sound like a useful service, the DNS Unlocker program can be intrusive and will display advertisements whether you want them to or not.

The DNS Unlocker advertisements may have a different text under the pop-up: “Powered by DNS Unlocker“, “Brought to you by DNS Unlocker“, “RocketTab powered by DNS Unlocker“, “Ads by DNS Unlocker” or “Ads powered by DNS Unlocker“.

These ads are aimed to promote the installation of additional questionable content including web browser toolbars, optimization utilities and other products, all so the DNS Unlocker publisher can generate pay-per-click revenue.

Ads by DNS Unlocker virus

DNS Unlocker changes your computer’s DNS servers to ones under their own control. This allows them to not only monitor what sites you are visiting, but to also replace requests from legitimate ad servers with their own ad servers.
These DNS servers are one of the main reasons that people find it difficult to disable DNS Unlocker ads from displaying on their browser. This is because if you uninstall the DNS Unlocker program, but do not disable their DNS servers, they will continue to hijack ads and display ones of their own choosing.

When your machine is infected with the DNS Unlocker adware, other common symptoms include:

  • Advertising banners are injected with the web pages that you are visiting.
  • Random web page text is turned into hyperlinks.
  • Browser popups appear which recommend fake updates or other software.
  • Other unwanted adware programs might get installed without the user’s knowledge.

To make matters worse, you will also find that DNS Unlocker will cause your computer to act more sluggish or for your web browser to freeze.

How did DNS Unlocker get on my computer?

DNS Unlocker is commonly bundled with other free programs that you download off of the Internet. Unfortunately, some free downloads do not adequately disclose that other software will also be installed and you may find that you have installed DNS Unlocker without your knowledge.

You should always pay attention when installing software because often, a software installer includes optional installs. 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.
The below instructions are for Windows users, however we also have an Android guide and a Mac OS guide which should help clean up your device.

How to remove “Ads by DNS Unlocker” adware (Virus Removal Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
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.

To remove the DNS Unlocker Adware, follow these steps:


STEP 1 : Uninstall DNS Unlocker version 1.4 from Windows

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

  1. Go to the uninstall menu.

    Windows 10 or Windows 8.1

    1. To uninstall a program on Windows 10 or Windows 8, right-click on the Windows Start button and choose “Control Panel” from the pop-up menu.
      Control Panel in Windows 10
    2. When the “Control Panel” window opens click on the “Uninstall a program” option under “Programs” category.
      Uninstall A Program on Windows 10

    Windows 7

    1. If you are using 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]
    2. When the “Control Panel” window opens click on the “Uninstall a program” option under “Programs” category.
      [Image: Uninstall a program]

  2. When the “Programs and Features” screen is displayed, scroll through the list of currently installed programs and uninstall “DNS Unlocker version 1.4” by www.dnsunlocker.com
    The malicious program may have a different name on 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 through the list, and uninstall any unwanted or unknown programs.

    If you cannot find any unwanted programs on your computer, you can proceed with the next step.

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

    Uninstall DNS Unlocker version 1.4


STEP 2: Use AdwCleaner remove to “Ads by DNS Unlocker” adware

AdwCleaner is a free utility that will remove the DNS Unlocker adware and other malicious programs that may be installed on your PC.

  1. You can download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES ADWCLEANER DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will start the download of “Malwarebytes AdwCleaner” on your computer)
  2. When Malwarebytes AdwCleaner has finished downloading, please double-click on the AdwCleaner icon to perform a system scan with this program.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner Icon
    If Windows prompts you as to whether or not you wish to run AdwCleaner, please allow it to run.
    Windows asking permission to start Malwarebytes AdwCleaner
  3. When the Malwarebytes AdwCleaner program will open, click on the “Scan” button as shown below.
    Scan your computer with Malwarebytes AdwCleaner to remove adware
    AdwCleaner will now start to search for the DNS Unlocker adware and other malicious programs.
  4. To remove the malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the “Clean” button.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner removing Adware
  5. Malwarebytes AdwCleaner will prompt you to save any open files or documents, as the program will need to reboot the computer to complete the cleaning process. Please do so, and then click on the “OK” button.
    Malwarebytes AdwCleaner finishing malware removal
    When your computer reboots and you are logged in, Malwarebytes AdwCleaner will automatically open a log file that contains the files, registry keys, and programs that were removed from your computer. Please review this log file and then close the notepad window. You can now continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes to scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a powerful on-demand scanner which will scan your PC for adware, browser hijackers, Trojans and other types of malware. It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will 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 open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware”)
  2. When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your computer.
    Malwarebytes installer
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Malwarebytes User Account Control Prompt
  3. When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Setup Malwarebytes installer
    To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Completing the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Perform a system scan with Malwarebytes
  5. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
    This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning for malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has detected.
    To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Malwarebytes Quarantine Selected
  7. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found.
    To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes removing malware from computer
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 4: Double-check for malicious programs with HitmanPro

HitmanPro can find and remove malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. HitmanPro is designed to run alongside your antivirus suite, firewall, and other security tools.

  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. When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on the “hitmanpro” file to install this program on your computer.
    HitmanPro icon
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    HitmanPro User Account Control Pop-up
  3. When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
    HitmanPro setup process
  4. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
    HitmanPro scanning for Ads by DNS Unlocker virus
  5. 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 malware.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  6. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Activate HitmanPro to remove malware
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 5: Reset the web browser to its default settings

In this last step, we will need to reset your browser to its default settings to remove the DNS Unlocker browser hijacker.

Google Chrome


Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programs. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.

  1. Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.
    Google Chrome Settings menu
  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 Advanced link (as seen in the below example).
    Click on Chrome Advanced button
  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 settings button.
    Google Chrome Reset 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.
    Restore Google Chrome to default settings

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” 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]

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, then click on the “Help[Image: Firefox Help button] button.
    Firefox Help button
  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.
    Troubleshooting Information in Firefox
  3. Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    Refresh Firefox button
  4. To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Reset Firefox settings to default
  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“.
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.

Your PC should now be free of the DNS Unlocker adware.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Ads by DNS Unlocker adware from your computer, please do one of the following:

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STELIAN PILICI
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.

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