How to uninstall mSearches Startpage from your browser

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

mSearches Startpage browser hijacker removal instructions

What is mSearches Startpage?

mSearches Startpage is a potentially unwanted application (PUA), a browser hijacker which promotes msearches.com, the address of a fake search engine. Generally, browser hijackers change certain browser settings to the promoted URL. Furthermore, most apps of this type collect details relating to browsing activity. People tend to download and install browser hijackers inadvertently, and are thus classified as PUAs.

new tab hijacked by mSearches Startpage

After installation, mSearches Startpage sets msearches.com as the address of the default search engine and homepage. It also changes the new tab web page (as shown in the screenshot above). Most search engines promoted by browser hijackers are fake, since they do not generate any unique results and simply provide results generated by other (usually legitimate) search engines. In some cases, fake search engines display misleading results. In any case, avoid search engines of this type. Note that mSearches Startpage ensures that users are forced to visit/use msearches.com when they open a browser and enter search queries into the URL bar (or the search bar of a modified new tab page). This can be prevented only by uninstalling mSearches Startpage - otherwise, it reassigns the aforementioned settings to msearches.com after each attempt is made to change this address to another, preferred site. Furthermore, this browser hijacker accesses and records browsing data (e.g., addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, geolocations, IP addresses, and so on). Some browser hijackers also gather sensitive information. The developers misuse the data to generate revenue, selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who then misuse it in other ways. This can lead to problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, and the data can be misused to steal users' identities. Therefore, remove any browser hijackers installed on browsers or operating systems immediately.

Threat Summary:
Name mSearches Startpage
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.
Detection Names (msearches.com) Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Browser Extension(s) mSearches Startpage
Supposed Functionality This app supposedly changes the new tab web page, which should include quick links to various sites.
Promoted URL msearches.com
Serving IP Address (msearches.com) 37.97.224.135
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)

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There are many browser hijackers on the internet. Some examples are My Package Homepage, The PDF Tools Plus and Ultra PDF Converter Plus. In most cases, they are advertised as useful, legitimate, and so on, however, they deliver none of the features promised or operate as advertised - they simply cause problems. Therefore, never trust apps of this type.

How did mSearches Startpage install on my computer?

In most cases people download and install apps of this type inadvertently by clicking deceptive advertisements, or when software developers include them into the set-ups of other programs. This distribution method is known as "bundling" and is used to trick people into downloading and/or installing PUAs together with other software that people download willingly. In most cases, offers to download or install PUAs are mentioned in "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings of the download/installation set-ups. Many people allow for potentially unwanted apps to be downloaded and/or installed when they leave these settings unchecked and unchanged.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All software and files should be downloaded from official websites (and using direct download links). Other sources such as Peer-to-Peer networks (eMule, torrent clients and so on), unofficial pages, various third party downloaders, etc., should not be used. Software should not be installed through various third party installers. If a download or installation setup contains settings such as "Advanced", "Manual, "Custom", they should be checked carefully, since they often include offers to download or install unwanted software - these must be dismissed before completing the download or installation process. Do not click intrusive ads that are displayed on dubious web pages - they can open untrusted pages or run scripts that cause download/installation of unwanted applications. If your browser causes unwanted redirects and/or displays various ads, check for any installed unwanted apps. Unwanted, suspicious/unknown extensions, add-ons and plug-ins should be removed immediately. Also remove software of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with mSearches Startpage, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

mSearches Startpage asks permission to change the new tab and read browsing history:

mmsearches startpage browser hijacker asks for a permission to be added to a browser

Screenshot of msearches.com page:

mmsearches startpage browser hijacker msearches.com web page

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Quick menu:

mSearches Startpage 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.

msearches.com browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

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

mSearches Startpage browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing msearches.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 msearches.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://msearches.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 msearches.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 "mSearches Startpage".

Optional method:

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

Change your homepage:

Removing msearches.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 "mSearches Startpage", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.msearches.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 msearches.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 "msearches.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 msearches.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 msearches.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 "mSearches Startpage", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing msearches.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 "mSearches Startpage", remove hxxp://msearches.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing msearches.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 msearches.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 msearches.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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove msearches.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

Post a comment:
If you have additional information on msearches.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 malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
msearches.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 msearches.com redirect on your mobile device.
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