Removal guide for the Free Online Manuals browser hijacker

Also Known As: search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Free Online Manuals browser hijacker removal instructions

What is Free Online Manuals?

Free Online Manuals is yet another rogue application that is identical to My Forms Suite, Local Weather Radar, Quick Email Login, and many others. By offering easy access to various user manuals, Free Online Manuals attempts to give the impression of legitimacy, however, it is categorized as a potentially unwanted application (PUA) and a browser hijacker. There are three main reasons for these negative associations: 1) stealth installation without users' consent; 2) tracking of browsing activity, and; 3) modification of browser options.

search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com browser hijacker

This browser-hijacking application promotes a fake search engine - search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com. To achieve this, Free Online Manuals hijacks the most popular browsers and assigns search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com as the new tab URL, default search engine, and homepage. These changes may seem insignificant, however, users are unable to revert them, since search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com continually reassigns options (or simply prevents access) when attempts are made to change them. Therefore, users cannot return browsers to their previous states and are forced to visit search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com when they search via the URL bar or simply open a new browser tab/window. These unwanted redirects significantly diminish the browsing experience. In addition, search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com generates not unique search results - it simply redirects users to search.yahoo.com when a search query is entered. Therefore, users simply end up searching the web via Yahoo (a legitimate search engine) and search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com becomes redundant. Free Online Manuals and search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com also record information relating to browsing activity. Collected data (IP addresses, website URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, and similar) usually include personal details that developers sell to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals). These people generate revenue by misusing private information. Therefore, data tracking might lead to serious privacy issues or even identity theft. We strongly recommend that you eliminate the Free Online Manuals browser hijacker and never return to search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com.

Threat Summary:
Name Free Online Manuals
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Detection Names Avast (Win32:AdwareSig [Adw]), DrWeb (Adware.Spigot.145), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of Win32/WinWrapper.V Potentially Unwanted), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.Win32.WebSearch.gen), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Browser Extension(s) Manuals, Free Online Manuals
Supposed Functionality This browser hijacker supposedly allows easy access to various user manuals.
Promoted URL search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com
Serving IP Address (search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com) 52.44.251.77
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine
Symptoms Manipulated Internet browser(s) settings (homepage, default Internet search engine, new tab settings). Users are forced to visit the hijacker's website and search the Internet using their search engines.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake flash player installers.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites.
Removal

To eliminate search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect our malware researchers recommend scanning your computer with Spyhunter.
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As mentioned above, Free Online Manuals is identical to dozens of other browser-hijacking applications. All offer useful functionality, however, these claims are merely attempts to give the impression of legitimacy. Applications such as Free Online Manuals are designed only to generate revenue for the developers. These applications cause unwanted redirects and gather information. In this way, browser hijackers diminish the browsing experience and affect system performance.

How did Free Online Manuals install on my computer?

Free Online Manuals is free for anyone to download on its official website, however, it usually infiltrates computers without consent, since developers proliferate it using intrusive advertisements and a deceptive marketing method called "bundling". Intrusive advertisements (which are often delivered by adware-type apps) redirect users to dubious websites and execute scripts designed to download/install other dubious sites. "Bundling", on the other hand, is stealth installation of third party applications with regular software. Developers are not honest enough to adequately disclose installation of third party applications. Therefore, they hide all information regarding modification of browser settings behind "Custom/Advanced" settings (or other sections) of the download/installation processes. Furthermore, many users often click advertisements and skip download/installation steps. This behavior often leads to inadvertent installation of third party applications such as Free Online Manuals.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

To prevent this situation, be very cautious when browsing the Internet and downloading/installing software. The main reasons for computer infections are poor knowledge of these threats and careless behavior. Bear in mind that intrusive advertisements usually seem legitimate, however, they often lead to dubious websites (gambling, pornography, adult dating, and similar). If you experience these ads/redirects, eliminate all suspicious applications and browser plug-ins. Pay close attention when downloading/installing software. Carefully study the procedure using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings. Opt-out of additionally-included programs and decline offers to download/install them. Download your programs from official sources only, using direct download links. Third party downloaders/installers often include rogue apps, and thus these tools should not be used. The key to computer safety is caution. If your computer is already infected with Free Online Manuals, we recommend running a scan with Spyhunter for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Free Online Manuals browser hijacker installer set-up:

Official Free Online Manuals browser hijacker installation setup

Website promoting Free Online Manuals browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Free Online Manuals browser hijacker

Instant automatic removal of search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect: 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 search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect. Download it by clicking the button below:
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Quick menu:

Free Online Manuals 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

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

Free Online Manuals browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.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.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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 Online Manuals".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect, 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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 Online Manuals" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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, disable "Free Online Manuals" look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com) 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com", 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 search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect, 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.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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 Online Manuals" (or simply "Manuals"), as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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, disable "Free Online Manuals" (or simply "Manuals") remove hxxp://search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com 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 search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect 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 search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect 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
search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect 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 search.hfreeonlinemanuals.com redirect on your mobile device.
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