Also Known As: Mindspark Virus, Type: Browser Hijacker, Distribution: High
Damage level: Medium
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
Mindspark toolbar removal instructions
What is Mindspark toolbar?
The Mindspark company develops various toolbars and extensions for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Internet users can download these browser plugins from their homepage, however, they commonly install together with free software downloaded from the Internet, or via deceptive banner advertisements. Many Internet users report that Mindspark toolbars were installed on their Internet browsers without their consent. Such unwilling installation can be caused by freeware 'download clients', which advertise browser plugins during the download phase of the chosen software. Mindspark toolbars are also advertised on various download websites via banner ads. These promote the browser extensions and display download buttons. Thus, Internet users often download these toolbars in the belief that they are downloading free software.
After successful installation, the Mindspark toolbar modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the default search engine and homepage to ask.com or mywebsearch.com To avoid installation of such adware (also termed 'potentially unwanted applications'), Internet users should be attentive when downloading free software. If you are offered installation of browser toolbars together with your chosen free software, opt-out by clicking the 'decline' button. Whilst Mindspark toolbars are not related to virus or malware infections, they cause unwanted browser redirects, and thus, you are advised to eliminate them from your Internet browser/s.
Mindspark toolbars are similar to other browser plugins, which cause redirect issues, including, for example, babylon toolbar and delta search toolbar amongst many others. Commonly, Internet users install this adware without their consent and consequently experience unwanted browser redirects. Another problem with such browser toolbars is that they install together with browser 'helper objects', which prevent users from rolling back the modified browser settings to their defaults. The best way to avoid installation of these browser extensions is to download free software directly from the developers' websites. Also, when already installing freeware, choose the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options - this will reveal any hidden installation options, such as bundled toolbars, etc. If you have unwillingly installed any of Mindspark's toolbars, use the removal guide provided to eliminate them from your Internet browser/s.
The following is a list of known Mindspark-powered toolbars:
Audio to Audio
Better Career Search
Bring Me Apps
Bring Me Sports
Bring Me Sports Rugby
Bring Me Sports Tennis
Conservative Talk Now
Crazy for Crafts
Crazy for Cricket
Daily Bible Guide
Daily Dollar Guide
Daily Fitness Center
Daily Wellness Guide
Easy Home Decorating
Fantasy Football Boss
File Share Fanatic
Know the Bible
MMA in Motion
My Car Companion
My Daily Runway
My Image Converter
Play Pop Trivia
Product Recall Alert
Round Up Radio
Sample Sale Dash
Total Recipe Search
Video Download Converter
Your Local Lotto
Your Video Chat
From Doc To PDF
How to Simplified
Mindspark toolbar removal:
Windows 7 users:
Click "Start" ("Windows Logo" in the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose "Control Panel". Locate "Programs and Features."
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 screen’s bottom-left corner, select Control Panel. In the opened window choose "Uninstall a Program".
In the uninstall programs window: look for programs with publishers designated as Mindspark Interactive Network, select each and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling potentially unwanted toolbars (which cause browser redirects to the home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software. Remove all entries that this program detects to ensure your PC is clean from any possible spyware and malware infections.
Mindspark toolbars removal from browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove Mindspark toolbars from Internet Explorer:
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". Look for toolbars and browser helper objects with publishers designated as Mindspark Interactive Network. Select these entries and click "Remove".
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer.
Change default search engine:
Click on 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 and then remove "Ask Web Search" or "My Web Search".
If you continue to have problems with redirects to home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.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.
Click the "Reset" button.
Confirm that you want to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the "Reset" button.
Remove Mindspark toolbars from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate Mindspark related browser add-ons (you can refer to the list of all known toolbars developed by this company), select it/them and click the trash can icon.
Click the Chrome menu icon(at the top right corner of Google Chrome) select "Settings". In "On startup" section click "set pages", hover your mouse over home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.com and click the x symbol. Now you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
Change 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 "Ask.com" or "Mywebsearch.com" and add or select your preferred domain.
If you continue having problems with the removal of Mindspark toolbar, you can 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). 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 confirm that you want to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the "Reset" button.
Remove Mindspark toolbars from Mozilla Firefox:
Click on the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove Mindspark related browser plugins.
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 home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.com and enter your preferred domain.
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: "mindspark"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
If you continue to have problems with redirects to home.tb.ask.com or mywebsearch.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,
Select "Troubleshooting Information".
In the opened window click the "Reset Firefox" button.
In the opened window confirm that you want to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the "Reset" 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 Mindspark toolbar distribution:
To avoid installation of Mindspark toolbar 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 Mindspark toolbar from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on Mindspark toolbar or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.