Remove “Settings Manager” by Aztec Media Inc (Virus Removal Guide)

Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc is a potentially unwanted program that is designed to protect its own search engine (default-search.net) and make sure this program remains installed and unchanged by other third party programs.

[Image: Settings Manager by Aztec Media virus]

The Settings Manager program is a part of the “Search Protect” program, and is developed by Aztec Media Inc, a company known for their malicious programs.
Settings Manager is typically added when you install another free software (video recording/streaming, download-managers or PDF creators) that had bundled into their installation this program. Very often users have no idea where did it come from, so it’s not surprising at all that most of them assume that Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc is a virus.
This program is also bundled within the custom installer on many reputable download sites, so if you have downloaded a software from these websites, chances are that Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc was installed during the software setup process.
Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc it’s technically not a virus, but it does exhibit plenty of malicious traits, such browser hijacking, and in general just interfering with the user experience. The industry generally refers to it as a “PUP,” or potentially unwanted program.

Settings Manager (by Aztec Media Inc) is a web browser extension that will integrate itself into Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. The extension/toolbar will modify the browser’s search and home pages as well as various other features such as 404 erros and DNS redirections, etc as well as may change some browser settings that might cause lessen its security levels. This is a potentially unwanted program and may interfere with the functions of some of the browser’s normal features and web search behaviors. In many cases in addition to modify the search provider and default home pages, the toolbar will push additional advertisements to the browser.

When installed, the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc program will change the default search engine and home page to default-search.net in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome, and if you try to revert to their default settings, this program will not allow you to perform these changes.
The message of the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc pop-up is:

New Add-on or Extension Notification

Settings Manager has blocked an attempt to add a new add-on to Internet Explorer.

Click here to change your settings

Distributed by Aztec Media Inc.

Settings Manager is bundled within the installer of many free programs, with the sole purpose of install Yahoo Search on your computer and making the removal process of this program more difficult.

You should always pay attention when installing software because often, a software installer includes optional installs, such as this Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc browser hijacker. 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 Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc 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.

STEP 1 : Uninstall Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc 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. 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 or Windows Vista

    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 “Settings Manager”” by Aztec Media Inc.
    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 programs.
    The malicious program may have a different name on your computer. If you cannot find any unwanted programs on your computer, then you can proceed with the next step.
    If you are having issues while trying to uninstall the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc program, you can use Revo Uninstaller to completely remove this unwanted program from your machine.

    [Image: Uninstall Settings Manager from Windows]


STEP 2: Use Zemana AntiMalware Portable to remove Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc browser hijacker

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

  1. You can download Zemana AntiMalware Portable from the below link:
    ZEMANA ANTIMALWARE PORTABLE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will start the download of “Zemana AntiMalware PORTABLE”)
  2. Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Portable” to perform a system scan with Zemana AntiMalware.
    Zemana AntiMalware portable
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Zemana to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Zemana AntiMalware User Account Control
  3. When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button to perform a system scan.
    Zemana AntiMalware Free Scan
  4. Zemana AntiMalware will now scan your computer for malicious programs. This process can take up to 10 minutes.
    Zemana AntiMalware scanning for virus
  5. 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 Removing forwindownet.com Virus
    Zemana AntiMalware will now start to remove all the malicious programs from your computer.

STEP 3: Scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to remove Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc malware

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a powerful on-demand scanner which will remove the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc redirect from your machine. 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 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 Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc 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.

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

If you are still experiencing issues with the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc 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 programmes. 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 button
  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 Show advanced settings link (as seen in the below example).
    Google Chrome Advanced Settings
  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 browser 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.
    Reset Google Chrome 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 computer should now be free of the Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc browser hijacker.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove Settings Manager by Aztec Media Inc redirect from your machine, you can ask for help in our Malware Removal Assistance forum.

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STELIAN PILICI
I've started MalwareTips in 2010 to help people solve their computer problems. 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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