Written by Tomas Meskauskas
Damage level: Medium
Linkey virus removal guide
What is Linkey?
Created by Aztec Media Inc, the Linkey or Linkey Project browser plugin claims to make users' Internet browsing experience more productive by displaying quick links to popular games, videos, social webistes, etc. This extension is compatible with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Internet users should be aware that while Linkey may appear to be a legitimate add-on, it is categorized as adware or a potentially unwanted application since it installs on browsers without users' consent and modifies the homepage setting by assigning it to linkeyproject.com Furthermore, this plugin is known to diminish Internet browser performance and track users' Internet surfing activity by recording IP addresses, browser types, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cookie information, and the web pages visited.
Commonly, computer users install this add-on unwillingly when downloading free software. This plug-in is distributed using a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling'. To avoid installation of Linkey, or other adware, be attentive when downloading free software since, today, most freeware download websites monetize their free services by employing 'download clients' offering installation of advertised browser plug-ins together with the chosen free program. Thus, reckless free software downloading can result in adware infections. For these reasons, you are advised to eliminate this potentially unwanted program from your Internet browser/s.
Linkey is similar to other adware, which installs with free software downloaded from the Internet. Examples include Movies toolbar, Sense, and MyStart toolbar. To avoid installation of these potentially unwanted applications, check each download step of any freeware you wish to install on your computer. If you are offered installation of additional browser plug-ins with the chosen freeware, opt-out by clicking on the 'decline' button. When installing downloaded programs, choose the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' installation options, rather than 'Quick' or 'Typical' - this will reveal installation of any bundled adware. Computer users who experience browser redirects to linkeyproject.com should use this removal guide to eliminate adware from their Internet browsers.
Linkey adware is known to cause browser redirects to default-search.net website, to remove this browser hijacker please follow this removal guide.
Deceptive free software installers used in Linkey adware distribution:
Linkey virus removal:
- What is Linkey?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Linkey application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Linkey redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove Linkey browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove Linkey homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
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 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 "Linkey," select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling Linkey, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. Recommended malware removal software.
Remove Linkey from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove Linkey Project from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "Linkey", select this entry and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click "Tools" (or the gear icon in Internet Explorer 9) select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove linkeyproject.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter about: blank to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the Linkey add-on, 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 Linkey from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click on "Extensions". Locate: "Linkey", select this entry 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://www.linkeyproject.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the Linkey add-on, 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 Linkey from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove "Linkey for Firefox".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click "Tools", then select "Options", in the opened window, remove linkeyproject.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change new tab settings:
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: "linkey"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with removal of the Linkey add-on can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
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.
Linkey Virus is an adware program that tracks user's Internet browsing and generates intrusive online advertisements. Most commonly adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate user's Internet browsers through free software downloads. Internet users should know that nowadays most of free software download websites are using download clients to manage their freeware download process, unfortunately some of the mentioned download clients don't properly disclose the fact that advertised browser plugins or toolbars will be installed together with the free program that users have decided to download.
Download clients and installers that are used to distribute adware commonly hide the “decline” button that can be used to opt-out of installing the advertised potentially unwanted applications. Some of the malicious free software download websites doesn't allow to download the chosen freeware if users decide to decline the installation of promoted software. Notice that the safest source for downloading free software is it's developers website. Screenshot of the free software download clients that are used in Linkey Virus distribution:
To avoid installation of Linkey Virus be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. If your download is managed by a download client be sure to decline installation of promoted browser plug-ins and toolbars:
When installing the already downloaded free program choose “custom” or “advanced” installation options – this step will reveal all of the potentially unwanted applications that are being installed together with your chosen free program:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove Linkey Virus from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware removal forum.
If you have additional information on Linkey Virus or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.