Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar (Uninstall Guide)

Hotspot Shield Toolbar is a browser hijacker, which is promoted via other free downloads, and once installed it will change your browser homepage and default search engine to search.conduit.com, and add its toolbar on your …

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

Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 browser hijacker 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 search.conduit.com, and install the Hotspot Shield 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar and search.conduit.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 Hotspot Shield 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.

Hotspot Shield Toolbar – Virus Removal Guide

This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar programs from your computer
STEP 2: Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar from your web browser
STEP 3: Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar browser hijacker with AdwCleaner
STEP 4: Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
STEP 5: Double-check for the Hotspot Shield Toolbar infection with HitmanPro

STEP 1 : Uninstall Hotspot Shield Toolbar program from your computer

  1. To uninstall Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Protect by conduit, Hotspot Shield Toolbar and any other recently installed or unknown programs from your computer.
    [Image: Uninstall Hotspot Shield Toolbar from Windows]

Depending on what program has installed the Hotspot Shield toolbar, 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar from your web browser

Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar from Internet Explorer

  1. Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar extension from Internet Explorer.
    Open Internet Explorer,then click on the gear icon [Image: Internet Explorer gear icon] (Tools for Windows XP users) at the top (far right) and then  select Manage add-ons.
    [Image: Manage Add-ons in Internet Explorer]
    From the Toolbars and Extensions tab, select Hotspot Shield Toolbar, then click on Disable.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Toolbar Internet Explorer extensions]
    NOTE: Hotspot Shield Toolbar may have added additional plugins which you will need to remove. We recommend that you remove any unwanted or unknown add-ons from Internet Explorer.
  2. Set Internet Explorer default search engine from Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search (search.conduit.com) to Bing.
    To change your default search engine, click on the gear icon [Image: Internet Explorer gear icon] , select Manage Add-ons, and then, under Add-on Types, click Search Providers.
    Select Bing and on click the Set Default button.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search Internet Explorer]
    To remove Conduit Search from Internet Explorer, select Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search and click on Remove.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search Internet Explorer removal]
  3. Change your Internet Explorer homepage from search.conduit.com to its default
    To change your Internet Explorer homepage to its default settings, click on the gear icon [Image: Internet Explorer gear icon] , select Internet Explore options, and in the General tab,under the Home page section, click on Use default to restore Internet Explorer default home page.
    [Image: Set Internet Explorer to its default homepage]

Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar from Mozilla Firefox

  1. Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar extensions from Firefox.
    At the top of the Firefox window, click the orange Firefox button, then select Add-ons.
    Firefox addon menu
    Select the Extensions tab, then remove Hotspot Shield 10.16.4.19 extension from Mozilla Firefox.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Toolbar Firefox extension]
    NOTE: Hotspot Shield Toolbar may have added additional extensions which you will need to remove. We recommend that you remove any unwanted or unknown extensions from Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Reset your default search engine and home page from Conduit Search to their default.
    To reset your search engine and homepage to their default, we will use the SearchReset extension.This add-on is very simple: on installation, it backs up and then resets your search preferences and home page to their default values, and then uninstalls itself. This affects the search bar, URL bar searches, and the home page.
    You can download SearchReset from the below link, and then we will just need to install it to revert Firefox to its default settings.
    SEARCHRESET DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open another web page from where you can download the SearchReset Firefox extension)
    [Image: SearchReset extension]

Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar from Google Chrome

  1. Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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) the Hotspot Shield 10.16.4.12 extension from Google Chrome.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Toolbar Chrome extension]
    NOTE: Hotspot Shield Toolbar may have added additional extensions which you will need to remove. We recommend that you remove any unwanted or unknown extensions from Google Chrome.
  2. Set Google Chrome default search engine from Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search 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.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search Chrome redirect]
    Search for Conduit in the Search Engines list, and click the X button that appears at the end of the row.
    [Image: Hotspot Shield Customized Web Search Chrome removal]
  3. Change Google Chrome homepage from search.conduit.com to its default.
    Conduit has modified your Google settings to open their webpage whenever you start your browser, so we will need to revert this change.
    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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar browser hijacker with AdwCleaner

The AdwCleaner utility will scan your computer for Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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.
    [Image: 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 Search button as shown below.
    [Image: AdwCleaner scanning for Hotspot Shield Toolbar]
    The program will now start to search for Hotspot Shield Toolbar malicious files that may be installed on your computer. When it has finished it will display a notepad screen that contains a log file of all the Hotspot Shield extensions, files, and registry keys that have been detected.
  4. To remove the Hotspot Shield Toolbar malicious files that were detected in the previous step, please click on the Delete button on the AdwCleaner screen.
    [Image: Adwcleaner removing Hotspot Shield Toolbar]
    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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar virus with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

  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 Hotspot Shield malicious files.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Quick Scan]
  4. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for Hotspot Shield Toolbar as shown below.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scanning for Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar]

STEP 5: Double-check for the Hotspot Shield Toolbar infection with HitmanPro

  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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar malicious files.
    HitmanPro detecting for Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar 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 Hotspot Shield Toolbar from your machine, please start a new thread in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.

If we have managed to help you, please share this guide to help others.

2 thoughts on “Remove Hotspot Shield Toolbar (Uninstall Guide)”

  1. I followed your suggestions and got rid of the culprit. Thank you very much. I have Malwarebytes but hadn’t thought to use it since I didn’t even know it was in my browser.

  2. Thanks for providing us information about removal of Hotspot shield toolbar. Now i will follow your instruction for uninstallation of this toolbar. But i think that hotspot shield is the best software for all those who want to get free us ip address automatically. Therefore if anyone want to get free version of HSS then visit this link. http://bit.ly/1wqUtBu

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