Written by Tomas Meskauskas
Damage level: Medium
Hao123.com - how to eliminate browser redirects to hao123.com?
What is Hao123.com?
The Hao123.com website was created by Baidu (one of the largest web services companies in China). This is a legitimate website, which enhances Internet users' browsing experience by providing easy access to trending sites, quick Internet search access, etc. While this site is not malicious, many computer users refer to it as the Hao123.com virus. These associations are made since the site is promoted using 'Hao123 client', a program provided as free software. This software modifies Internet browser settings and sets Hao123.com as the user's default search engine and homepage.
Hao123 client is promoted via free download websites using 'download clients', which offer installation of additional promoted software to users downloading freeware. When installing free software downloaded from the Internet, users are advised to inspect each installation step and select the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' options, rather than 'Quick' or 'Typical'. After choosing advanced installation, ensure that you opt-out of installation of additional browser toolbars or add-ons and disallow any suggested changes to your Internet browser settings.
The Hao123.com website is not malicious or related to virus or malware infections, however, Hao123 client, with its deceptive means of promotion, is categorized as adware. Commonly, browser redirects to Hao123.com are caused by reckless free software installation. This browser hijacker is similar to other browser settings-changing adware such as istart123.com, v9.com, omiga-plus.com, and default-search.net To avoid installation of this adware, express caution when downloading free software since, today, most freeware download websites employ deceptive 'download clients', which trick computer users into installing advertised browser plug-ins together with the chosen free software. Advertised browser extensions rarely add any real value for the user, and moreover, often cause browser redirects and generate intrusive ads. When downloading free programs, closely inspect each step and decline installation of any promoted browser plug-ins. When installing downloaded freeware, select the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options - this will reveal any bundled adware listed for installation and allow you to decline it. If you feel that your Internet browser settings were modified without your consent, use the removal guide provided to eliminate these issues.
Deceptive free software installer used in Hao123.com browser hijacker distribution:
- What is Hao123.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Hao123-Client application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Hao123.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Hao123.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove Hao123.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
Hao123.com redirect removal:
Windows 7 users:
Click "Start" ("Windows Logo" in the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose "Control Panel". Locate "Programs" and click "Uninstall a program".
Windows XP users:
Click "Start", choose "Settings" and click "Control Panel". Locate and click "Add or Remove Programs".
Windows 8 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose "Uninstall a Program".
In the uninstall programs window: look for "Hao123-Client", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program that causes browser redirects to Hao123.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Hao123.com homepage and default Internet search engine removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser hijackers:
Remove Hao123.com redirect from Internet Explorer:
Remove Hao123.com related Internet Explorer add-ons:
Click the "gears" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://hao123.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.
Change your default search engine:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing", or any other preferred search engine as your default, then remove "hao123".
If you continue to have problems with browser redirects to hxxp://hao123.com, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click "Start", click "Run", in the opened window type "inetcpl.cpl". In the opened window click the "Advanced" tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type "inetcpl.cpl" and click enter. In the opened window click the "Advanced" tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the "gear" icon. Select "Internet Options". In the opened window, select the "Advanced" tab and click the "Reset" button.
Remove Hao123.com redirect from Google Chrome:
Remove Hao123.com related Google Chrome extensions:
Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious add-ons, select these entries and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, click "set pages", hover your mouse over hxxp://hao123.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
Change your default search engine:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings," in the "Search" section, click "Manage Search Engines...", remove "hao123" and add or select your preferred Internet search engine.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the hao123.com browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select "Tools". From the opened menu select "Extensions". In the opened window, select "Settings" (at the left corner of the screen) and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the "Show advanced settings…" link. After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the "Reset browser settings" button. In the opened window, click the "Reset" button.
Remove hao123.com redirect from Mozilla Firefox:
Remove hao123.com related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:
Click the Firefox menu(at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove any recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage click on the Firefox menu(at the top right corner of the main window) then select "Options," in the opened window remove hxxp://hao123.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open every time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change default search engine:
In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "hao123"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
If you continue to have problems with browser redirects to hxxp://hao123.com, reset your Mozilla Firefox settings to default.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window click the Firefox menu,in the opened menu click the "Open Help Menu" icon, then select "Troubleshooting Information", in the opened window click the "Reset Firefox" button.
A browser hijacker is a type of adware that alters user's Internet browser settings by changing one's homepage and default Internet search engine to some unwanted website. Most commonly this type of adware infiltrates user's operating system through free software downloads. While browser redirects might seem as a low risk security infection, computer users should know that the websites to which they are being redirected to commonly contain deceptive online advertisements and the Internet search engine that is presented in such websites might return shady Internet search results. Using such websites for one's daily Internet searches might easily end up in privacy issues, identity theft or malware infections.
A computer that is affected by a browser hijacker is exposed to high risk security infections. To prevent further privacy and security issues it's recommended removing any Internet browser settings altering adware as soon as possible. Here are some examples of free software download clients that are used in Hao123.com Redirect distribution:
To avoid installation of Hao123.com Redirect be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. If your download is managed by a download client be sure to opt out of installing advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine:
Some of the mentioned free software download clients don't allow downloading the chosen free program if user decides to decline installation of it's offered toolbars, in such cases it's recommended to cancel the installation and look for an alternative download source.
Symptoms indicating that your Internet browsers are affected by a browser hijacker:
- Your homepage and/or default Internet search engine is changed.
- Appearance of new toolbars.
- Slow performance of Internet browsers.
- New Bookmarks or Favorites added.
- You can't change your homepage or default search engine.
- You see online ads on your screen that are not served by the website.
- You get redirected to pages you never intended to visit.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove Hao123.com Redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on Hao123.com Redirect or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.