Search.hfreeforms.co Redirect

Also Known As: Free Forms browser hijacker
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Search.hfreeforms.co redirect removal instructions

What is search.hfreeforms.co?

The search.hfreeforms.co browser hijacker is installed as an app called Free Forms, which is a fake search engine that offers quick access to popular forms. For example, IRS and tax-related forms including 1040, W-9, w-4 and 1099. It also links to various websites directly from the new tab page

search.hfreeforms.co browser hijacker

The Free Forms browser hijacker provides links to websites such as amazon.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, and youtube.com. It also displays the local weather, time, access to common tax-related forms, and 5th Avenue News. Even if this seems like a legitimate app, installing it will allow Free Forms to hijack your web browser - it will take control over the browser and modify settings. It will assign the search engine, homepage, and new tab settings to search.hfreeforms.co and record browsing-related data including IP addresses, search terms, enquiries, etc. When a search query is performed, you will be redirected to another search engine (Yahoo search). Free Forms targets most popular web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer. If your hijacked web browser is Google Chrome or Safari, it will be installed as an extension. If it is Mozilla Firefox, it will be installed as an add-on. If it is Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, it will be installed as a separate program on the Windows operating system. All collected information will be passed to third parties and used to generate revenue - this is the main purpose of most browser hijackers.

Threat Summary:
NameFree Forms browser hijacker
Threat TypeBrowser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
SymptomsManipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). User's are forced to visit hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.
Distribution methodsDeceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
DamageInternet browsing tracking (potential privacy issues), displaying of unwanted ads, redirects to shady websites.
Removal

To eliminate Free Forms browser hijacker our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Many users experience more problems than benefit from using apps such as Free Forms. When using the search engine, you may experience misleading/unwanted redirects to untrustworthy websites filled with ads, links to harmful software, and so on. There are many browser hijackers like this including, for example, ProPDFConverter, MyVideoTab, and SmartEasyMaps. In most cases, rather than providing the functionality promised, these browser hijackers collect data, generate revenue, and cause unwanted redirects. We recommend that you remove it as soon as possible.

How did Free Forms install on my computer?

There are various ways that browser hijacker can infiltrate systems - by tricking users into downloading rogue software. It is possible that you have agreed to download the Free Forms app from the freeforms.co website. Free Forms developers also use a deceptive marketing method called "bundling" (software such as a browser hijacker is installed together with other regular software that you downloaded from the Internet) and intrusive advertising. These bundled apps usually are hidden in "Custom"/"Advanced" (or similar) settings and selected to install by default. There are cases whereby carelessly clicked ads, links or buttons cause the same problem.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Be cautious when downloading and installing software, especially if it is free or downloaded from an unofficial website or torrent. Check all available settings and options or checkboxes when installing it. If you notice that there is software or extra features offered, decline. Do not click ads/pop-up ads if you are not sure if it is trustworthy, and the same applies to links and "Download" buttons. Avoid using third party software downloaders, since they are usually bundled with potentially unwanted software. Avoid visiting suspicious websites and do not downloading software from them. Have antivirus installed and enabled, and keep your browser updated. If your computer is already infected with Free Forms, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Website promoting Free Forms browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Free Forms browser hijacker

Instant automatic removal of Free Forms browser hijacker: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Spyhunter is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Free Forms browser hijacker. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Spyhunter By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Free scanner checks if your computer is infected. To remove malware, you have to purchase the full version of Spyhunter.

Quick menu:

Free Forms browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

Windows XP users:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Mac OSX users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

search.hfreeforms.co browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Free Forms"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the search.hfreeforms.co website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Free Forms browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://search.hfreeforms.co 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.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "Free Forms...".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the free forms browser hijacker, 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "Free Forms" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.hfreeforms.co) below the “Open a specific or set of pages” option. If present, click on the three vertical dots icon and select “Remove”.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings", in the "Search engine" section, click "Manage search engines...", in the opened list, look for "search.hfreeforms.co", and when located, click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the free forms browser hijacker, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Free Forms" (or simply "Forms"), as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, remove Free Forms (or simply "Forms") and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hfreeforms.co from Mozilla Firefox 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: "moz-extension"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with free forms browser hijacker removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

In the preferences window select General tab and make sure that your homepage is set to a preferred URL, if its altered by a browser hijacker - change it.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge logoRemove malicious add-ons from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions, right click your mouse on these entries and click "Uninstall".

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Change your homepage:

Changing homepage in Microsoft Edge

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings", in the opened tab, click the "+ Add new page" link, after entering your preferred URL, remove the link of browser hijackers by clicking the "X" button next to the associated URL.

Change your default search engine:

Changing default Internet search engine in Microsoft Edge

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". Click the "View advanced settings" button and select "Change search engine". In the opened tab, select your preferred Internet search engine and click "Set as default".

Optional method:

Click the three horizontal dots icon edge more icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), and select Settings.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 1

In the opened tab, click the "Choose what to clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 2

Click Show more and select everything, and then click the "Clear" button.

Resetting Microsoft Edge settings step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA browser hijacker is a type of adware infection that modifies Internet browser settings by assigning the homepage and default Internet search engine settings to some other (unwanted) website URL. Commonly, this type of adware infiltrates operating systems through free software downloads. If your download is managed by a download client, ensure that you decline offers to install advertised toolbars or applications that seek to change your homepage and default Internet search engine settings.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove free forms browser hijacker from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on free forms browser hijacker or it's removal please share your knowledge in the comments section below.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global virus and spyware activity level today:

Medium threat activity
Medium

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Free Forms browser hijacker QR code
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a machine-readable code which stores URLs and other information. This code can be read using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet. Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Free Forms browser hijacker on your mobile device.
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Platform: Windows

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