SearchZ Search Engine is a browser hijacker that will set the homepage and search engine of your web browser to http://www.searchz.co.
This itself is not considered malicious as there are many legitimate programs that change these settings as well. What is considered malicious, though, is that it will also append the argument http://www.searchz.co to random Windows shortcuts on your desktop and your Windows Start Menu.
SearchZ Search Engine browser hijacker 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 SearchZ Search Engine without your knowledge.
SearchZ Search Engine browser hijacker uses a variety of Registry entries to hijack your browsers even after you clean your shortcuts or change your homepage settings. For example, this browser hijacker adds the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Policies\Google\Chrome\HomepageLocation and HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Policies\Google\Chrome\RestoreOnStartupURLs\1 registry policies that will automatically open Chrome to the http://www.searchz.co site even if your shortcuts are cleaned and you have your homepage set to another location.
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 SearchZ Search Engine redirect (Removal Guide)
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 SearchZ Search Engine redirect, follow these steps:
- STEP 1: Scan your computer with Zemana AntiMalware Free
- STEP 2: Scan your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
- STEP 3: Scan your computer with HitmanPro
- (OPTIONAL) STEP 4: Reset your browser to the default settings
STEP 1: Scan your computer with Zemana AntiMalware Free
Zemana AntiMalware Free is a second opinion malware scanner which can detect malicious programs that your antivirus has failed to find.
- You can download Zemana AntiMalware Free from the below link:
ZEMANA ANTIMALWARE FREE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will start the download of “Zemana AntiMalware Free”)
- Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Portable” to perform a system scan with Zemana AntiMalware Free.
You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this program. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to allow Zemana AntiMalware to run.
- When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button to perform a system scan.
- Zemana AntiMalware will now scan your computer for malicious programs. This process can take up to 10 minutes.
- When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware that has been detected. To remove all the malicious files, click on the “Next” button.
Zemana AntiMalware will now start to remove all the malicious programs from your computer. When the process is complete, you can close Zemana AntiMalware and continue with the rest of the instructions.
STEP 2: Scan your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a powerful on-demand scanner which will remove the SearchZ Search Engine redirect from your machine. It is important to note that Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.
- 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”)
- Once downloaded, close all programs, then double-click on the icon on your desktop named “mbam-setup” to start the installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
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.
- When the installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
To install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
- Once installed, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will automatically start and will update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for the SearchZ Search Engine browser hijacker. When Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is scanning it will look like the image below.
- 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 Anti-malware has found, click on the “Remove Selected” button.
- 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.
STEP 3: Scan your computer 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.
- 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”)
- Double-click on the file named “HitmanPro.exe” (for 32-bit versions of Windows) or “HitmanPro_x64.exe” (for 64-bit versions of Windows).
Click on the “Next” button, to install HitmanPro on your computer.
- HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
- 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.
- Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
(Optional) STEP 4: Reset your browser to the default settings
This step needs to be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.
- In this first step, we will remove any unwanted extension that SearchZ Search Engine browser hijacker might have installed. To do this, click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three vertical dots. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled More Tools, and then click on Extensions.
In the Extensions tab, remove any unwanted extension by clicking the Remove (trash can) icon. Basically, if you have not installed an extension, you should remove it from your web browser.
- Next, we wil set the Google Chrome default search engine from SearchZ Search Engine to Google. To do this, click the Chrome menu button, then select Settings, and in the “Search” section, select Google from the drop-down menu.
- Finally, we will check if the startup page has not been modified by this browser hijacker. To do this, click the Chrome menu button, then select Settings, theb in the On Startup section, click on One the New Tab page
You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.
- Open Internet Explorer, click on the “gear icon” in the upper right part of your browser, then click again on Internet Options.
- In the “Internet Options” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
- In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
- 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.
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.
- In the upper-right corner of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu button (), then click on the “Help” () button.
- 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.
- Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
- To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
- 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“.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove SearchZ Search Engine redirect from your machine, you can ask for help in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.