How to remove Ask Search & Ask Toolbar (Virus Help Guide)

Ask.com Search is a legitimate search engine, however there are plenty of browser hijackers which redirect the users search queries to Ask.com and install the Ask Toolbar. These browser hijacker will hijack your installed web browser …

Ask.com Search is a legitimate search engine, however there are plenty of browser hijackers which redirect the users search queries to Ask.com and install the Ask Toolbar.
These browser hijacker will hijack your installed web browser homepage and search engines so that it will display the Ask.com Search home page and search engine instead of your normally configured ones. When installed this type of malware will modify your web browser configuration so that the home page becomes Ask.com.

[Image: Ask toolbar and search]

Ask.com Search got on your computer after you have installed another free software or add-on that had bundled into their installer this program.
[Image: Ask Toolbar installation via Java installer]
For example, when you install vPlay, you will also agree to change your default browser home page and default search engine to Ask.com, and install the Ask 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 Ask.com Search from your favorite web browser manually.

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 Ask Search and Ask Toolbar Redirect (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 Ask Search and Ask Toolbar Redirect, follow these steps:


STEP 1: Uninstall the malicious programs from Windows

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

  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 Ask Toolbar, Ask Toolbar Updater, Ask Updater and any program developed by Ask, Spigot or Mindspark Interactive Network.
    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 Windows.

    Uninstall malicious programs


STEP 2: Use Zemana AntiMalware Free to remove Ask Search redirect

Zemana AntiMalware is a free malware scanner which can detect malicious programs that your antivirus has failed to find.

  1. You can download Zemana AntiMalware Free from the below link:
    ZEMANA ANTIMALWARE FREE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new webpage from where you can download “Zemana AntiMalware Free”)
  2. Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Setup.exe” to start the installation of Zemana AntiMalware.
    Double-click on the Zemana AntiMalware to instal it
    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.
    Zemana AntiMalware UAC
  3. Click on the “Next” button, to install Zemana AntiMalware on your computer.
    Zemana AntiMalware installation
    When you reach the “Select Additional Tasks” screen, you can opt-out the “Enable Real Time Protection” option, then click on the “Next” button.
    Opt-out of the real-time protection feature
  4. When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button.
    Scan computer with Zemana AntiMalware
  5. Zemana AntiMalware will now scan computer for malicious files. This process can take up to 10 minutes.
    Zemana AntiMalware performing a scan
  6. When Zemana AntiMalware has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found. Click on the “Next” button, to remove the malicious files from your computer.
    Zemana AntiMalware removing Ask Search and Ask Toolbar browser hijacker
    Zemana AntiMalware will now start to remove all the malicious programs from your computer. When the process is complete, you may need to restart your computer.

STEP 3: Use Malwarebytes to scan for Adware and Browser Hijackers

Malwarebytes is a powerful on-demand scanner which will remove the Ask Search and Ask Toolbar redirect from your PC. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes”)
  2. When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes 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 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 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 has detected.
    To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Malwarebytes Quarantine Selected
  7. Malwarebytes 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 and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 4: Double-check for malicious programs with HitmanPro

HitmanPro finds and removes malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. It’s 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 Ask Search and Ask Toolbar 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 Ask Search and Ask Toolbar browser hijacker
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.

(Optional) STEP 5: Reset your browser to the default settings

If you are still experiencing issues with the Ask Search and Ask Toolbar 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.

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 iconIE Icon Gear 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 ([Image: 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 web browser should now be free of the Ask Search and Ask Toolbar browser hijacker.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Ask Search and Ask Toolbar redirect from your PC, please do one of the following:

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

We're here to help!

If your device is infected with malware, you can ask for free malware removal support in the Malware Removal Assistance forum. In this support forum, a trained staff member will help you clean-up your device by using advanced tools. Never used a forum? Learn how.

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67 thoughts on “How to remove Ask Search & Ask Toolbar (Virus Help Guide)”

  1. TYVM!!! I used the JRT you mentioned below – so easy and fast! Saved me a ton of time removing ASK from 10 workstations. Wish JAVA would quit packing it in updates. Might have to ban JAVA from all workstations.

  2. This entire list of posts appears to be nothing more than testimonials, all positive, which suggests to me that they are either generated by this software or is an edited version of actual posts. In my 30+ years of being online, I have never seen software with all positive posts on anything but a much simpler utility function.

    All the sequences to follow, do not mention how to carry this procedure out on a Chromebook which uses Chrome OS and will yield screen shots that do not appear here. It started out sounding like a quick fix, which it should be, but it’s far too involved to bother with. If you want any testimonial from me, you’ll have to show the procedure on a Chromebook, not just a Chrome browser on other systems. Also, your download doesn’t see to address the Chromebooks. Numerous times I’ve downloaded things where Apple crap, PCs or Androids were the only choices. They each use a different compression technique, like Zips or EXEs on the PCs or APK files on Androids, the Apple shit I have no idea and don’t care!
    Thank you

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Malwarebytes did it in the past successfully but this time Adwcleaner did it. Thank you so much for your direction! I hate Ask too! Happens everytime I let my kids use my computer…

  4. I used to work for The Home Shopping Network. Barry Diller was the CEO at the time before he sold HSN. He bought ASK during that time. If you want to complain, find a way to complain to Barry Diller.

  5. Thank you very much. Ive been struggling to clean up my search engine. Uninstall Ask Toolbars and everything but no changes. Other website provide assistance but not as accurate as yours. Thanks

  6. thank you so much, I was able to clean up my desk top without having to beg anyone. You are lifesaver

  7. Thank you very much. I have been asking and asking people if it is safe to download tools if I have Norton 360. Never have gotten a response. In five years, you are the first person to do so and I am eternally grateful. Thank you very much. It is nice to know that Adwcleaner and Norton 360 will not conflict. May our sweet Lord in Heaven bless you for this wonderful service you are providing. God Bless You.

  8. Hello Wendy,
    All these tools do not offer real-time protection, they are nothing more than clean-up tools. So, yes, it is safe to download and run them with Norton 360 installed. :)

  9. Wow, thank you so much! If you just follow all the steps, you’ll won’t have that stupid ask anymore!

  10. Thanks man, the AdwCleaner removed basically ALL THE !$($&#!(&%#! ASK %!(#&%(@$!#$ stuff! Thanks so much! :)

  11. Good. All these steps did not work, but together, they seem to have helped a lot. Very grateful!

  12. Good, AdwCleaner worked for me, whereas Hitman pro didn’t work as they no more provide with free license and malwarebytes did not remove Ask in my case.
    Thanks for the help!

  13. Thank you very much. It took some time to find your post because Ask – kept redirecting my questions to dead websites. treacherous bastards.

  14. Hello,
    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 Clean button. Your computer should restart.

    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

    Next, please run a scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and HitmanPro as see in this guide.
    Stay safe!

  15. Hello Pam,
    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 Clean button. Your computer should restart.

    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

    Next, please run a scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and HitmanPro as see in this guide.
    Stay safe!

  16. Hello Pam,
    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 Clean button. Your computer should restart.

    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

    Next, please run a scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and HitmanPro as see in this guide.
    Stay safe!

  17. Wow! I can’t thank you enough… I would have never solved this problem without your solution. Many many many thanks!!!!

  18. Thank you very much. My problem solved with exactly those steps you described and at the end with Adwcleaner. I did’t know about you. From now on i’ll be stuck with your advices. Thank you very much who being there and make for us the net more secure. My regards…

  19. You are BRILLIANT! I barely know how to plug this think in and you were able to walk me thru this nitemare. I send appreciation thru the stratosphere to you!! Thankx man

  20. Hello,

    Can you 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

    Then run again a scan with AdwCleaner.
    Waiting for your reply to see how everything is running…

  21. Hello Michelle,
    Did you uninstall both Ask programs?
    Did you run AdwCleaner? If no, please run AdwCleaner (as seen on STEP 3) to remove this infection!

    Next please run Junkware Removal Tool:

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

    JUNKWARE REMOVAL TOOL : http://thisisudax.org/downloads/JRT.exe

    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! Stay safe!

  22. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!! I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it! I uninstalled it, yet it was still there! I am so glad that this was the first site I clicked on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  23. A simple THANK YOU!!!

    I am glad you came up first when I asked Google for help with getting “Ask” of my machine. Now if I can just figure out the rest of the crap stuck on here…

    Regards,

    jay

  24. ADWCleaner took the Ask.com toolbar and a bunch of other garbage off my computer!! Thank you so much! I had the same issue where Control Panel was telling me to close all Chrome windows although they were all closed. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  25. thank you very much!
    the AdwCleaner solved my problem, i was unable to uninstall “ask toolber” because it kept telling me to close all browsers, and I did, but it didn’t allow me to uninstall.

  26. Thanks this helped me so much Ask.com was really getting on my nerves. I will tell more people about this website.

  27. Thanks, this worked for me and I had tried everything before i found your page. I’ve shared your link with some others having the same problem. youre fantastic, thank you.

  28. Steps to remove the Ask Toolbar:

    Click on ‘Customize and Control Google Chrome’ (the button on the top right with 3 horizontal lines)
    Then click on ‘View background pages’
    Select the Ask.com Toolbar and click on the ‘End Process’ button.
    You will get a pop up, click on the cancel (X) button on that pop up.

    :)

  29. Thank you very much! Adw Cleaner works fine.
    Finally: Excellence in stupidity Ask.com is dead .
    I will be more careful next time…

  30. Thanks so much for this. Stupid Ask.com Java update…the ONE time I forgot to check the box all hell breaks loose.

    This AdwCleaner works great!

  31. Ask.com are a nasty bunch. I went to windows uninstall page & didn’t find it,there were other ways online showing how to delete it.The important thing is to close all browser windows firstly,then reboot ,or Ask.com will flood you with a large pack of rootkits & malware. I was told to look for Ask in taskmanager. Nothing.Doing an “online ESET deep test for 2 hours,the only malware they found was OF COURSE : Ask.com

  32. Thanks very much for this post – helped me get this rubbish off my computer when it sneakily installed itself!

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