How to remove InitialWindow adware?

Also Known As: Ads by InitialWindow
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

How to remove InitialWindow from Mac?

What is InitialWindow?

InitialWindow is designed to change certain browser settings to z6airr.com or adjustablesample.com (promote one or another fake search engine), serve advertisements and gather sensitive information. This app is classified both as adware and a browser hijacker. Most users download and install such apps unintentionally, therefore, they are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

InitialWindow adware

Some examples of ads that apps like InitialWindow serve are coupons, banners, pop-ups, surveys. It is common that users who click them end up on questionable websites or allow those ads to execute certain scripts designed to cause download and/or installation of some unwanted software. Also, InitialWindow is designed to promote z6airr.com (on Safari) and adjustablesample.com (on Chrome). It assigns one or another address (depending on a hijacked browser) as an address of a homepage, default search engine and new tab. Therefore, users who have installed InitialWindow visit z6airr.com or adjustablesample.com when they open a browser, new tab and enter search queries into URL bar. Z6airr.com provides results generated by Yahoo (redirects to search.yahoo.com), adjustablesample.com generates its own results. Either way, search engines that are promoted by PUAs should not be trusted. In most cases users can stop a hijacked browser from opening a certain address on the aforementioned occasions only when a browser hijacker (in this case InitialWindow) is no longer installed. Another problem with InitialWindow is that this app can read sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, telephone numbers and some other details. Such information can be misused to make fraudulent purchases, transactions, steal identities, accounts and/or for other malicious purposes. Also, it could be sold to third parties (potentially cyber criminals). Therefore, installation of InitialWindow could result in problems like identity theft, lost access to various accounts, monetary loss, issues related to web browsing safety, online privacy, and/or some other problems. If this app is installed on a browser and/or computer, then it should be uninstalled as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by InitialWindow
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), AVG (MacOS:AdAgent-L [Adw]), ESET-NOD32 (Multiple Detections), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.h), Full List (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This application belongs to Adload malware family.
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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To sum up, apps like InitialWindow can cause a variety of problems. It is worthwhile to mention that such apps often are advertised as useful, legitimate when in reality they are useless to their users and designed only to generate revenue for their developers. As mentioned in the first paragraph, most users download and/or install adware, browser hijackers and other PUAs unknowingly. More examples of apps like InitialWindow are ConnectionFormat, ExpandedSkill and CoordinatorBoost.

How did InitialWindow install on my computer?

It is common that users download and/or install adware and other PUAs through setups of other programs - when such apps are integrated in download and/or installation setups. This distribution method is called "bundling". Usually offers to download and/or install included apps can be declined in "Custom", "Advanced" settings or other settings, through checkboxes. When users download and/or install programs without checking and changing the aforementioned settings, they download and/or install included apps too. In some cases users cause such downloads and/or installations by clicking ads that are designed to run certain scripts.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download and installation setups that have settings like "Advanced" "Custom", "Manual", some checkboxes, should be checked for offers to download and/or install unwanted programs. Files and software should be downloaded from official sites, via direct links, and not from unofficial pages, through third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks like torrent clients, eMule, or other sources of this kind. Advertisements that are shown on questionable pages should not be clicked as well, they can be designed to open other sites of this kind or even execute scripts that would cause download and/or installation of unwanted software. Unwanted, unknown or suspicious apps (extensions, plug-ins, add-ons) that are installed on a browser should be removed, software of this kind that is installed on the operating system should be uninstalled too. If your computer is already infected with InitialWindow, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up window displayed once InitialWindow installation is over:

initialwindow adware pop-up displayed once installation is done

Z6airr.com displays results by Yahoo (GIF):

z6airr.com redirects to search.yahoo.com

Adjustablesample.com generates its own results (GIF):

search.adjustablesample.com provides its results

InitialWindow installed on Safari:

initialwindow adware safari extension

InitialWindow's installation folder:

initialwindow adware contents folder

Fake flash player installers like the one below disguise InitialWindow as Search Manager (searchpolicies.com):

InitialWindow installer setup

Instant automatic Mac 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 Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove InitialWindow adware using Combo Cleaner:

InitialWindow adware removal:

Remove InitialWindow-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove ads by initialwindow related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Ads by InitialWindow removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by initialwindow related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove ads by initialwindow related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove ads by initialwindow related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

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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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Ads by InitialWindow 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 Ads by InitialWindow on your mobile device.
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