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How to remove the Utilitool browser hijacker

Also Known As: feed.utilitooltech.com redirect
Damage level: Medium

What is Utilitool?

Utilitool is a browser hijacker, which is promoted as a multi-purpose tool. It operates by modifying browsers and promoting feed.utilitooltech.com, a fake search engine. Additionally, it has data tracking capabilities, which it employs to gather browsing-related information.

Due to the dubious methods used to proliferate Utilitool, it is also classed as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).

feed.utilitooltech.com browser hijacker

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer are common targets of browser hijackers. After successful installation, these rogue apps assign the addresses of their fake search engines as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab/window URLs.

These alterations may seem insignificant, however, they significantly diminish the browsing experience - each new tab/window opened and each search query typed into the URL bar redirects to the fake search engine. Utilitool promotes feed.utilitooltech.com in this manner.

Few bogus search engines can generate search results, and therefore they redirect to (or cause redirection chains ending with) a legitimate site. Utilitool's fake search engine (feed.utilitooltech.com) is no exception - it redirects to search.yahoo.com.

These modifications cannot be undone without removing the browser hijacker, since any changes users attempt to make are automatically reset (if access to the browser settings is permitted at all).

Most browser hijackers have data tracking capabilities, including Utilitool, which can record browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries, etc.) and users' personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). It is highly likely that this sensitive data will then be shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to misuse it for profit.

Software capable of data tracking is a serious safety concern - its presence on systems can lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. Therefore, you are advised to remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name Utilitool
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.
Browser Extension(s) Utilitool
Supposed Functionality It is supposedly a multi-purpose tool.
Promoted URL feed.utilitooltech.com
Affected Browser Settings Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.
Symptoms Manipulated internet browser 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.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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Browser hijackers often seem legitimate and temp users into downloading/installing them with a wide variety of "useful" features. While the range of functions promised is broad, the hijackers behave in a similar or identical fashion. Their features rarely work as advertised and, in most cases, are nonoperational.

 Search by Live PDF ConverterDaily Online ManualsForms Guru, and MyTelevisionOnline Search are some examples of similar apps. Legitimate appearance and so-called "useful" capabilities (which usually do not work) are traits associated with all PUAs.

In fact, the sole purpose of all unwanted content/PUAs is to generate revenue for the developers - it is not created for user convenience and poses a threat to them. PUAs hijack browsers, force-open untrustworthy and malicious websites, deliver intrusive advertisements (pop-ups, surveys, banners, etc.) and gather private data.

How did Utilitool install on my computer?

While Utilitool has an "official" download web page, promotional sites are not the most common mode of PUA proliferation. Typically, these applications proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other programs. "Bundling" is the term used to describe this deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing normal content with unwanted or malicious software.

When downloading/installing, ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options increases the risk of potential system infiltration and infections. Intrusive ads also proliferate PUAs. When clicked, they can execute scripts designed to stealthily download/install unwanted apps.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are advised to research software before downloading/installing. All downloads should be performed from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels (free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks [BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.] and other third party downloaders) can offer deceptive and/or bundled content.

Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and so on.

Intrusive advertisements rarely seem suspicious, however, they can cause redirects to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you experience redirects of this kind, inspect the device and remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins.

If your computer is already infected with Utilitool, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Utilitool browser hijacker asking for various data-related permissions:

Utilitool browser hijacker asking for permissions

Website promoting Utilitool browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Utilitool browser hijacker

Yet another site used to promote Utilitool browser hijacker:

Utilitool browser hijacker-promoting website

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Quick menu:

Utilitool browser hijacker removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.

Windows 10 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.

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.

macOS (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.

feed.utilitooltech.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

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

Utilitool browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing feed.utilitooltech.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 feed.utilitooltech.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://feed.utilitooltech.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 feed.utilitooltech.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 "Utilitool".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the feed.utilitooltech.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 feed.utilitooltech.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 "Utilitool" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing feed.utilitooltech.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 "Utilitool", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.feed.utilitooltech.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 feed.utilitooltech.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 "feed.utilitooltech.com", 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 feed.utilitooltech.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 feed.utilitooltech.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 "Utilitool", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing feed.utilitooltech.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 "Utilitool", remove hxxp://feed.utilitooltech.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing feed.utilitooltech.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: "extensionControlled"
Set both results to "false" by either double-clicking each entry or clicking the Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with feed.utilitooltech.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 (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate any recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage and new tab settings:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section look for the name of the browser hijacker and click "Disable".

Change your default Internet search engine:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Privacy and services", scroll to bottom of the page and select "Address bar". In the "Search engines used in address bar" section look for the name of the unwanted Internet search engine, when located click the "Disable" button near it. Alternatively you can click on "Manage search engines", in the opened menu look for unwanted Internet search engine. Click on the puzzle icon Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the feed.utilitooltech.com redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset 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.

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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.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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