What is PDF Opener?
The PDF Opener browser hijacker promotes pdfsrch.com, the address of a fake search engine. Like most apps of this type, PDF Opener achieves this by changing browser settings. Furthermore, browser hijackers usually gather details relating to users' browsing habits.
These apps are categorized as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), since people tend to download and install them inadvertently.
PDF Opener is advertised as a tool which allows users to convert various files to PDF documents, however, this app changes the address of the default search engine, homepage, and new tab to pdfsrch.com (the address of a fake search engine). In this way, it forces users to visit this address when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into the URL bar.
Note that pfsrch.com is a fake search engine, since it provides results generated by the Yahoo engine by redirecting users to search.yahoo.com. Therefore, pdfsrch.com does not generate any unique, individual results. Note that, in some cases, fake search engines display misleading results.
Furthermore, many browser hijackers collect browsing-related information. For example, IP addresses, entered search queries, addresses of opened pages, geolocations, and other browsing data. Some apps of this type gather sensitive, personal details as well.
Developers misuse the data to generate revenue by selling it to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) who also misuse it in other ways. In summary, users who have browsers hijacked by these apps can experience problems relating to privacy, browsing safety, and it is possible that recorded data might even be used to steal their identities.
It is not safe to have PDF Opener or other browser hijackers installed on the browser or operating system. Therefore, never download or install these PUAs.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Browser Extension(s)||PDF Opener|
|Supposed Functionality||Conversion of various files to PDF documents.|
|Serving IP Address (pdfsrch.com)||126.96.36.199|
|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.
More examples of apps categorized as browser hijackers are Get Forms Plus, Cranchit and Online Templates. These applications are advertised as supposedly improving the browsing experience, delivering various features or other value, however, most are useless and simply cause issues.
If PDF Opened or other PUAs are installed on the browser or operating system, remove them immediately.
How did PDF Opener install on my computer?
In most cases, users download and install PUAs by clicking deceptive advertisements (which execute certain scripts) or through the download/installation set-ups of other (usually free) programs. PUAs are often included in various download/installation set-ups as "additional offers".
This PUA distribution method is called "bundling". Offers to download or install PUAs can usually be found in "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual", and other settings of the software setup, however, many people fail to check and change the settings. This allows included PUAs to be downloaded and installed with the required software.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Download software from official, trustworthy websites and through direct links. It is not safe to use third party downloaders/installers, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), unofficial websites or other similar channels to download or install programs - they might be used to distribute PUAs and malicious programs.
Check "Advanced", "Custom" and other settings of the download/installation setup and dismiss any offers to download or install unwanted software before completing the process. Do not click intrusive ads that appear on untrusted, dubious web pages. They can open various potentially malicious websites or cause download/installations of PUAs.
These ads might also appear on legitimate pages. Remove all unwanted apps (extensions, add-ons, plug-ins) already installed on the browser immediately.
Also remove software of this kind that is installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with PDF Opener, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Website promoting PDF Opener browser hijacker:
Notification stating that PDF Opener can read and change various data, and perform other tasks:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is PDF Opener?
- STEP 1. Uninstall PDF Opener application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove pdfsrch.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove PDF Opener browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove pdfsrch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove pdfsrch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
PDF Opener browser hijacker removal:
Windows 11 users:
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:
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:
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:
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.
In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "PDF Opener"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the pdfsrch.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
PDF Opener browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" 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:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://pdfsrch.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:
Click the "gear" 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 "PDF Opener".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pdfsrch.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.
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 wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "PDF Opener" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "PDF Opener", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.pdfsrch.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:
To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the 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 "pdfsrch.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pdfsrch.com redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the 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.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "PDF Opener", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "PDF Opener", remove hxxp://pdfsrch.com and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change your 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 button.
Computer users who have problems with pdfsrch.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, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...
In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.
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.
In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge 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:
Click the Edge 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:
To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge 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 near it and select "Disable".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the pdfsrch.com redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
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.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
A 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.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove pdfsrch.com redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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