How to remove software causing redirects to charmsearching.com
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is charmsearching.com?
charmsearching.com is the address of a fake search engine. These bogus web search engines are usually promoted by Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs), classified as browser hijackers. This software operates by making modifications to browser settings to promote fake search tools (including charmsearching.com).
Additionally, most browser hijackers and bogus search engines have data tracking capabilities, which are used to monitor users' browsing habits.
How do browser hijackers promote charmsearching.com?
Following successful infiltration, browser hijackers reassign the homepage, default search engine and new tab/window URLs to the addresses of bogus search tools. These seemingly minor modifications significantly affect the browsing experience.
To elaborate, with a browser hijacker promoting charmsearching.com installed, each search query typed into the URL bar and new browser tab/window opened redirects to charmsearching.com. As mentioned, fake search engines are rarely capable of providing search results, and so they redirect (or cause redirection chains leading) to legitimate search engines.
Note that charmsearching.com is no exception to this, as it also cannot generate unique results, however, to which genuine search engine (e.g. Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.) it redirects to depends on users' geolocations.
Furthermore, recovering an affected browser without removing the browser hijacker is impossible, since they can restrict/deny access to the browser settings and/or undo any permitted changes made. Furthermore, most browser hijackers can track data.
They monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information extracted from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). The gathered data is then monetized by sharing with and/or selling to third parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
In summary, the presence of data-tracking software on browsers/systems can lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To ensure device integrity and user safety, it is crucial to eliminate all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.
|Name||charmsearching.com browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab.|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine.|
|Serving IP Addresses||184.108.40.206; 220.127.116.11; 18.104.22.168; 22.214.171.124; 126.96.36.199|
|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.
Fake search engine and browser hijacker examples
Customsearch.info, quicknewtab.com, s3redirect.com, and pdfsrch.com are some examples of other bogus search engines, and ConvertItSearch, AnyStationSearch, Kibo Web, and HDSportSearchs of browser hijackers. These fake search engines and browser hijackers often seem legitimate and useful.
They typically offer a wide variety of "useful" functionality, ranging from providing accurate search results to easy access tools for specific online content, however, the features promised are seldom operational. In fact, this information is true of most PUAs.The only purpose of these unwanted apps is to generate revenue for the developers.
Rather than delivering any real value, PUAs can hijack browsers, cause redirects, run intrusive advertisement campaigns and collect private data.
How did charmsearching.com install on my computer?
PUAs are often downloaded/installed together with other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".
By rushing through download/installation of software (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using "Quick/Express" settings, etc.) many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content into their devices. Intrusive advertisements proliferate PUAs as well.
When clicked, the ads can execute scripts to download/install these applications without users' permission. Some PUAs have "official" download web pages from which they can be downloaded.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
You are advised to research all software before download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. Unofficial and free file-hosting websites, Peer-to-Peer sharing networks (BitTorrent, Gnutella, eMule), and other third party downloaders commonly offer harmful and bundled content, and are therefore untrusted and should be avoided.
When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all possible options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, and so on. Intrusive advertisements typically seem legitimate, however, they can redirect to dubious and malicious sites (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating, and many others).
If you encounter ads or redirects of this kind, inspect the system and remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate it.
Appearance of charmsearching.com redirecting to the Google search engine (GIF):
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 charmsearching.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove charmsearching.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove charmsearching.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove charmsearching.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove charmsearching.com redirect from Internet Explorer.
charmsearching.com redirect 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, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications that cause browser redirects to the charmsearching.com website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
charmsearching.com redirect removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
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 all 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, look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.charmsearching.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 "charmsearching.com", and 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 charmsearching.com browser hijacker, 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 all 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 remove hxxp://charmsearching.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 charmsearching.com browser hijacker 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 charmsearching.com browser hijacker, 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.
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://charmsearching.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 "charmsearching.com".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the charmsearching.com browser hijacker, 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.
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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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the purpose of forcing users to visit charmsearching.com website?
Redirects to sites like charmsearching.com are generated because cyber criminals (i.e., developers of fake search engines and browser hijackers) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting charmsearching.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Websites like charmsearching.com typically collect information relating to their visitors.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily distributed through bundled software installers, online scams, dubious download channels (e.g., unofficial and freeware sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), fake updates, spam browser notifications, and intrusive ads.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your device and eliminate installed browser-hijacking apps. It has to be mentioned that manual removal (unaided by security programs) might not be a perfect solution, especially when multiple browser hijackers are present. Since when one browser hijacker is removed - the others may re-install it. Furthermore, browser-hijacking software might render removal-related settings unmodifiable. Therefore, browser hijackers must be removed thoroughly and all at once.
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