What is SearchWizard?
SearchWizard is software, categorized as a browser hijacker. Following successful installation, it modifies browser settings to promote feed.search-wizard.com (a fake search engine).
Additionally, SearchWizard monitors users' browsing habits. Since most users download/install this browser hijacker unintentionally, it is also classified as a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA).
Popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer are common targets of browser hijackers. This software assigns the promoted addresses of rogue search engines as the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs.
With SearchWizard installed, every search query typed into the URL bar and every new browser tab/window opened redirects to feed.search-wizard.com. Typically, fake search engines are unable to generate unique results, and so they redirect to (or cause redirection chains leading) to genuine search engines.
This is the case with feed.search-wizard.com, which redirects to Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Furthermore, these hijackers prevent users from recovering affected browsers, by resetting any changes made and/or denying access to the browser settings. Therefore, to recover a hijacked browser, SearchWizard (or similar software) must be eliminated.
As mentioned, SearchWizard can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect sensitive information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data usually contains personally identifiable information, which is commonly shared with third parties to generate revenue.
Therefore, the presence of data-tracking content can lead to financial loss, serious privacy issues and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved web searches.|
|Serving IP Address (feed.search-wizard.com)||188.8.131.52|
|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.
Quick Radio Search, Screen Dream, and Maps & Directions by QuestForDirections are some examples of other browser hijackers. They often tempt users into download/installation with offers of various functionality. In fact, the features promised rarely work, and this applies to most PUAs.
All browser hijackers operate in a similar fashion. The only purpose of these unwanted apps is to generate revenue at users experience. Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs modify browsers, cause redirects, deliver intrusive ad campaigns and track vulnerable data.
How did SearchWizard install on my computer?
Some PUAs (including SearchWizard) have "official" promotional web pages from which they can be downloaded, however, these apps also proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other programs. This deceptive marketing tactic of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is termed "bundling".
Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. skimmed or ignoring terms, skipping steps, using pre-set options, etc.) increases the risk of inadvertently allowing bundled content onto devices. Intrusive ads can also infiltrate these applications into systems - when clicked, they can execute scripts to stealthily download/install PUAs.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Research all software before download/installation or purchase. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders offer deceptive and/or bundled content.
Treat download and installation processes with caution. Read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of supplementary apps, tools, functions and other additions. The same must be extended to browsing.
Intrusive advertisements may seem legitimate and harmless, however, when clicked, they can redirect to dubious websites (e.g. gambling, adult-dating, pornography and so on). If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and immediately eliminate all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins.
If your computer is already infected with SearchWizard, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
SearchWizard browser hijacker asking for various permissions:
Website promoting SearchWizard browser hijacker (Mozilla Firefox):
Website promoting SearchWizard browser hijacker (Google Chrome);
IMPORTANT NOTE! This deceptive site asks to enable web browser notifications:
Therefore, before commencing, perform these steps:
Google Chrome (PC):
- Click the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Settings", scroll down to the bottom and click "Advanced"
- Scroll down to the "Privacy and security" section, select "Content settings" and then "Notifications"
- Click three dots on the right hand side of each suspicious URL and click "Block" or "Remove" (if you click "Remove" and visit the malicious site once more, it will ask to enable notifications again)
Google Chrome (Android):
- Click on the Menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the screen and click "Settings"
- Scroll down, click on "Site settings" and then "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs and click on them one-by-one
- Select "Notifications" in the "Permissions" section and set the toggle button to "OFF"
- Click the Menu button (three bars) on the right upper corner of the screen
- Select "Options" and click on "Privacy & Security" in the toolbar on the left hand side of the screen
- Scroll down to the "Permissions" section and click the "Settings" button next to "Notifications"
- In the opened window, locate all suspicious URLs, click the drop-down menu and select "Block"
- Click the Gear button on the right upper corner of the IE window
- Select "Internet options"
- Select the "Privacy" tab and click "Settings" under "Pop-up Blocker" section
- Select suspicious URLs under and remove them one by one by clicking the "Remove" button
- Click the menu button (three dots) on the right upper corner of the Edge window
- Scroll down, find and click "Settings"
- Scroll down again and click "View advanced settings"
- Click "Manage" under "Website permissions"
- Click the switch under each suspicious website
- Click "Safari" button on the left upper corner of the screen and select "Preferences..."
- Select the "Websites" tab and then select "Notifications" section on the left pane
- Check for suspicious URLs and apply the "Deny" option for each
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 SearchWizard?
- STEP 1. Uninstall SearchWizard application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove feed.search-wizard.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove SearchWizard browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove feed.search-wizard.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove feed.search-wizard.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
SearchWizard 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, "SearchWizard"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the feed.search-wizard.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
SearchWizard 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://feed.search-wizard.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 "SearchWizard".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the feed.search-wizard.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 "SearchWizard" 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 "SearchWizard", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.feed.search-wizard.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 "feed.search-wizard.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 feed.search-wizard.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 "SearchWizard", 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 "SearchWizard", remove hxxp://feed.search-wizard.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 feed.search-wizard.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 feed.search-wizard.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.
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