Games Search browser hijacker removal instructions
What is Games Search?
In most cases, apps like Games Search hijack browsers by changing their settings. They are used to promote fake search engines. Games Search promotes the games-search.net address. It is known that it can read browsing-related data and might be capable of accessing other, sensitive information too. Typically, users do not download and install browser hijackers on purpose. They agree to install them without knowing about it. For this reason, Games Search and other apps of this kind are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).
Most browser hijackers change the address of a default search engine, homepage, and (or) new tab to make sure that users would visit a certain address each time they open the browser (or a new browser window), new tab, and (or) enter search queries into the URL bar. Games Search changes those settings/addresses to games-search.net - the address of a fake search engine that shows results generated by Yahoo (games-search.net redirects users to search.yahoo.com). Although, there are many fake search engines that include links to unreliable websites in their results. Fake search engines are useless and can promote untrustworthy pages. Therefore, it is strongly advisable not to use them as tools to search the web. It is important to mention that most browser hijackers do not allow users to remove their addresses from the settings unless users uninstall them. In this case, games-search.net can be removed or changed to another address only when Games Search is no longer present (installed on a browser).
Another reason to get rid of any installed browser hijacker is that it may be collecting information relating to Internet browsing activities such as Internet Protocol addresses, geolocations, entered search queries, addresses of visited websites, or other browsing data, and even sensitive details (e.g., passwords, credit card details). It is known that the data that browser hijackers gather tend to be misused for marketing purposes or monetized in other ways (in some cases, developers of browser hijackers sell collected information to third parties). In conclusion, users who have a browser hijacker installed on their browser or the operating system are likely to encounter problems with browsing safety, online privacy, or other issues.
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Browser Extension(s)||Games Search|
|Supposed Functionality||Improved browsing experience|
|Serving IP Address (games-search.net)||220.127.116.11|
|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 Malwarebytes.
To summarize, browser hijackers are designed to force their users to visit certain pages (use fake search engines) and collect information relating to their Internet browsing activities and sometimes even sensitive data. As mentioned in the paragraph above, the changes made by browser hijackers can be undone only after their removal. Instructions on how to remove a browser hijacker are provided below. More examples of apps of this type are Bright Tab, Quick Recipes, and HDSportsSearch.
How did Games Search install on my computer?
One of the popular ways to distribute potentially unwanted applications (including browser hijackers) is to bundle them together with other (mainly free) programs. Users cause unwanted downloads, installations when they do not opt out bundled apps, which usually can be done using "Advanced", "Custom", "Manual" settings, or by unticking certain checkboxes that downloaders, installers have. Another deceptive method to distribute PUAs is by designing advertisements to run certain scripts. Those ads download or install unwanted apps when users click on them. It is noteworthy that most of those ads appear on untrustworthy, deceptive websites.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
Applications should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Apps that are promoted via third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule), on unofficial pages, etc., should not be downloaded. It is essential not to use third-party installers too. Furthermore, downloaders and installers that have settings like "Custom", "Advanced", or some checkboxes should be checked for offers to download or install unwanted applications. Also, it is not advisable to click on ads if they appear while visiting questionable pages. Quite often, those ads are used to promote shady pages or even cause unwanted downloads, installations. Lastly, a browser should not have any unwanted, unknown or suspicious extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on it. There should not be any suspicious programs installed on the operating system too. If your computer is already infected with Games Search, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.
Games-search.net redirects to search.yahoo.com (GIF):
Website promoting Games Search browser hijacker:
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is Games Search?
- STEP 1. Uninstall Games Search application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove Games Search browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove games-search.net homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove games-search.net redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
- STEP 6. Remove games-search.net redirect from Internet Explorer.
Games Search browser hijacker removal:
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.
Windows XP users:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 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.
Mac 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, "Games Search"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the games-search.net website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Games Search browser hijacker 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 "Games Search" 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 "Games Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.games-search.net) 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 "games-search.net", 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 games-search.net 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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Games Search", 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 "Games Search", remove hxxp://games-search.net 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 games-search.net 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 games-search.net 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.
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://games-search.net 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 "Games Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the games-search.net 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.
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 games-search.net redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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