HotStart Search is a type of browser hijacker that tends to acts as a useful tool. It pretends as real to make you believe that it can enhance your search results by using the engine from hotstartsearch.com. However, in reality, cyber criminals used this program as a disguise so as many users do attract easily to download an adware.
The very moment this program get into your PC, major trouble surely waits. Not just on your entire system but as well as to your personal data. For it has the ability to collect your private data. The main goal why HotStart Search was created is to gain revenue through advertising method. It intends to steal your vital and even sensitive information so that attackers may use it on their marketing campaign.
In addition, functions of HotStart Search are to redirect you hotstartsearch.com. It can trace your browsing activity. It feeds you countless of annoying ads. Moreover, this adware can replace your home page with a search box of HotStart Search.
Unclear intentions of this program convince many security experts to consider it as a redirect virus. Even though it looks like a genuine search engine, you have to remove it as soon as you can. Looks can be deceiving as always. Be aware and smart in installing any program to your PC. You have to make sure that it is a useful program and not part of so many adware currently flooding the Internet.
As many other Hijackers, HotStart Search can be remove by just uninstalling them from Add or Remove of Windows control panel. There are also some cases that you need to delete extensions or add-on and scan the PC with anti-virus program to remove it.
What are the Symptoms of HotStart Search presence?
HotStart Search modifies the home page of the affected Internet browser. Instead of the default home page of yours, this adware will replace it and set hotstartsearch.com as your current search engine. Please see image above for reference.
Follow these Procedures to Remove HotStart Search
Procedure 1: Uninstall HotStart Search from Windows Control Panel
1. Begin the removal process by uninstalling the adware program from Windows. To do this, we need to open Control Panel. Please ensure that you are logon with the Administrative privilege to access this function.
How to access Control Panel in Windows XP, Windows Vista/ 7
- Click on Start button that can be found on bottom left corner of the screen.
- From the list, choose Control Panel to access settings of Windows and make the needed changes.
How to access Control Panel in Windows 8
- The easiest way to access Control Panel on Windows 8 is through the Search function.
- Simply press Windows Key + Q on your keyboard to display the Charms Bar. Alternatively, you can drag mouse pointer to lower-right portion of desktop until the Charms Bar slide-out.
- Click on the Magnifying Glass icon and search for 'Control Panel'. Click the item on the result to access this feature.
2. Under Programs, click on Uninstall a program. It will open a program and features window where-in you can uninstall, change, or repair installed software.
3. Look for the name HotStart Search or any related term. Please note that the adware may change the title anytime. Once found, please select the item you wanted to remove.
4. Click on Uninstall button to remove the program automatically.
5. If it prompts for confirmation, please click OK to proceed.
Procedure 2: Scan Computer in Safe Mode Using Anti-Malware Tool
In troubleshooting a PC, one common step is to boot operating system into Safe Mode with Networking. The same approach will be used in the removal of HotStart Search. Please execute instructions based on your Windows OS version.
Start in Safe Mode with Networking (Windows XP/Vista/7 Instruction)
- Please restart the computer and just before Windows start, press F8 on your keyboard repeatedly. You will be presented with Advanced Options Menu.
- From the selections, choose Safe Mode with Networking. Please use keyboard's arrow up/down to navigate between selections and press Enter to proceed.
Start Windows 8 in Safe Mode with Networking
- Please restart the computer and as soon as it begins to start, please press Shift+F8 keys.
- Instead of seeing Advance Boot Options, Windows 8 will display Recovery Mode. Continue with the given steps until you reach Safe Mode function.
- Click on 'See advanced repair options'.
- Then, click on Troubleshoot.
- Next, please select Advanced options.
- On the next window, please choose Windows Startup Settings.
- Lastly, click on Restart button. Windows 8 will now restart and boot into Advanced Boot Option wherein you can run the system in Safe Mode with Networking.
Scan and remove HotStart Search files with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
To remove HotStart Search, download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware by clicking on the button below. This tool is effective in getting rid of Trojans, viruses and malware.
1. After downloading, please install the program using the default settings.
2. At the end of the installation, please make sure that it will download necessary updates.
3. Once update has completed. The tool will launch.
4. Thoroughly scan the computer and remove all threats detected by this anti-malware program.
Procedure 3: Manually remove settings created by HotStart Search on Internet ExplorerIf the hijacker was not removed properly during the scan, you can use this guide to uninstall it from the computer. We prepared procedures to remove this unknown search program from various Internet browsers including Internet Explorer 8/9, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Uninstall HotStart Search from Internet Explorer 8:
1. Launch the program Internet Explorer 8.
2. On top menu, please navigate to Tools > Internet Options.
3. It will open the options window; make sure that you are viewing the General tab. Look for the area that says "Search" and click the Settings button.
4. You will see a list of search providers. Select your preferred search provider and click the button Set as default to replace HotStart Search.
5. You may now remove HotStart Search from the list. Highlight the item and click on Remove button.
For Internet Explorer 9:
1. Launch the program Internet Explorer 9.
2. On top menu, please navigate to Tools > Internet Options.
3. On General tab, proceed to Change search defaults and click the Settings button.
4. You will see a list of search providers. Select your desired search provider and click the button Set as default to replace HotStart Search.
5. You may now remove HotStart Search from the list.
Procedure 4: Instructions to uninstall HotStart Search from Mozilla Firefox
1. Launch the program Mozilla Firefox.
2. On the address bar, type about:config and press Enter on the keyboard to view the list of preferences.
3. If it display a warning message stating that the action might void your warranty, just click "I'll be careful, I promise!"
4. Type HotStart Search (or Root Name Only) in the search box to display the list of references that were altered by the adware. Please refer to the image below.
5. There is no button to remove the preference set by HotStart Search. All you need to do is restore it to Firefox's default settings. Right-click on the item and select Reset from the drop-down list.
6. After resetting all affected preferences, you can now restart Firefox.
7. Navigate to toolbar and on Google's Search box, click the arrow down sitting right beside the 'G' logo.
8. Click on Manage Search Engines... from the drop-down list to see all search engines installed in Firefox.
9. Choose your preferred default search provider by placing it at the top most position. Highlight the item and click on Move up until it reaches the first spot.
10. To remove HotStart Search from Firefox, highlight on its name and click the Remove button.
Procedure 5: Delete HotStart Search from Google Chrome
1. Launch the program Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Wrench or 3-Bars icon on top right corner of the browser.
3. Choose Settings from the drop down list. It will open a window containing Google Chrome settings.
4. Find the area that says "Search". This is located in the middle part of the page.
5. Click on Manage search engines. It will show a list of Search engines including the default one.
6. Mouse-over to your preferred search engine and click Make default.
7. Then, to remove HotStart Search from Google Chrome, mouse-over to that item and click on the X mark.
Protect your PC from HotStart Search or Similar Attack
Turn On Safe Browsing Features
Internet Explorer - Activate SmartScreen Filter
Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 has this feature called SmartScreen Filter. It helps detect phishing web sites and protect you from downloading malicious files online. To turn on SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:
1. Please open Internet Explorer.
2. On top menu, select Tools (IE 9). For IE 8, please look for Safety menu.
3. Select SmartScreen Filter from the drop-down list and click on Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
4. Please restart Internet Explorer.
Google Chrome's Enable Phishing and Malware Protection
With Google Chrome's Phishing and Malware Detection feature, you will have lesser risks browsing the web. It will display a warning when the site you are trying to visit is suspicious. To enable Phishing and Malware Protection, please do these steps:
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Click on the Customize and control Google Chrome (3-Bars Icon) located on top right corner of the browser.
3. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
4. Once on the settings page, click on Show advanced settings... at the bottom of the page to see the rest of the Chrome setup.
5. Locate Privacy section and mark 'Enable phishing and malware protection'.
6. Please restart Google Chrome. New settings keep your browser safe while surfing the web.
Mozilla Firefox - Block Attack Sites and Web Forgeries
Phishing and Malware Protection is a built-in feature on Firefox version 3 or later. It warns you when a page you are trying to visit contains phishing content or an attack site designed to drop threats on the computer. To help you keep safe while browsing the Internet using Firefox, please follow this guide:
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. On top menu, click on Tools. Then select Options from the list.
3. Select Security and put a check mark on the following items:
- Warn me when sites try to install add-ons
- Block reported attack sites
- Block reported web forgeries