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How to remove the Show Tabs browser hijacker?

Also Known As: Show Tabs redirect
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Show Tabs browser hijacker removal instructions

What is Show Tabs?

Show Tabs is a typical browser hijacker: it modifies certain browser settings to promote a fake search engine - it changes those settings to the fxsmash.xyz address. Also, this app can read browsing history and possibly other, more personal details. Either way, a browser hijacker is a type of app that should not be installed. It is worthwhile to mention that users do not download and install apps of this type knowingly. For this reason apps like Show Tabs are called potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

fxsmash.xyz browser hijacker

As a rule, browser hijackers promote fake search engines by changing settings such as the address of a homepage, new tab, and default search engine. Show Tabs changes those addresses to fxsmash.xyz. Although, not always. In some cases Show Tabs does not make any changes and promotes fxsmash.xyz by opening it only when users enter search queries into the URL bar. The search engine promoted by Show Tabs is called fake because it shows results generated by Yahoo (fxsmash.xyz redirects users to search.yahoo.com). Although, not all fake search engines show results from legitimate search engines. Some of them provide misleading results, include unwanted ads, or show results from other dubious search engines. In one way or another, it is strongly recommended to use Google, Yahoo, Bing or another legitimate search engine and avoid using it through a fake search engine like fxsmash.xyz/browser hijacker like Show Tabs. It is important to mention that Show Tabs and other browser hijackers redo their settings after every attempt to change their address to another one. Therefore, fxsmash.xyz can be removed from settings only when the Show Tabs app is not installed on a browser or the operating system anymore.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, Show Tabs can read browsing history. However, it is common that browser hijackers collect other browsing-related data like IP addresses, geolocations, and so on. There are browser hijackers that can access personal details as well. What is worse, collected data could be used to generate revenue. For instance, it could be used for marketing purposes, sold to third parties (potentially cybercriminals). A browser hijacker can be the reason behind problems with online privacy, browsing safety, or other issues (e.g., identity theft).

Threat Summary:
Name Show Tabs
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) Show Tabs
Supposed Functionality Improved web browsing experience
Promoted URL fxsmash.xyz
Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz) 104.21.80.122
Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz) alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Fortinet (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
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)

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More examples of apps that are classified as browser hijackers are SearchConverterIt, TheStreamSearch, and Movieapp Search. Most of the apps of this type are advertised as legitimate, useful applications that are supposed to include some features, provide accurate search results, and so on. However, most browser hijackers are useless and can be the culprit of various problems. It is strongly recommended not to have any browser hijacker installed or use any fake search engine to browse the Internet.

How did Show Tabs install on my computer?

In most cases, users download and install browser hijackers and other apps of this kind in two ways: by clicking on deceptive advertisements or when software developers use a "bundling" method. Ads can cause unwanted download, installation when they are designed to run certain scripts. In the second case, PAUs are distributed using a "bundling" method - by integrating unwanted apps in downloaders and installers for other (usually, free) programs. Users download and install bundled apps when they do not check downloaders, installers for "Custom", "Advanced" and other similar settings or checkboxes. More precisely, when users do not decline unwanted offers and finish downloads and installations anyway.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Programs and files should not be downloaded from unofficial websites, third party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (like torrent clients, eMule), etc., or installed using third-party installers. They should be downloaded from official websites and via direct links. Downloaders and installers that have checkboxes or settings like "Custom", "Advanced" should be analyzed. They should be checked for offers to download or install bundled applications. Furthermore, advertisements that appear while visiting shady websites should not be trusted (clicked). Usually, ads of this kind open untrustworthy websites or cause downloads, installations of some unwanted, potentially malicious applications. Suspicious, unwanted extensions, add-ons or plug-ins installed on a browser should be removed/ The same should be applied to programs of this kind installed on the operating system. If your computer is already infected with Show Tabs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Fxsmash.xyz redirects users to search.yahoo.com (GIF):

show tabs browser hijacker shows results from yahoo

Deceptive website promoting Show Tabs browser hijacker:

Website used to promote Show Tabs browser hijacker

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Quick menu:

Show Tabs browser hijacker removal:

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

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:

Accessing Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP

Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.

Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

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:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

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.

fxsmash.xyz browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for any recently installed suspicious applications (for example, "Show Tabs"), select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted applications (which cause browser redirects to the fxsmash.xyz website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

Show Tabs browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing fxsmash.xyz related Google Chrome extensions

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "Show Tabs" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Google Chrome homepage

Click the Chrome menu icon Google Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable "Show Tabs", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.fxsmash.xyz) 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:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Google Chrome default search engine

To change your default search engine in Google Chrome: Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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 "fxsmash.xyz", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Remove from list".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the show tabs redirect, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon Google 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.

Google Chrome settings reset step 1

After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 2

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Google Chrome settings reset step 3

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing fxsmash.xyz related Mozilla Firefox extensions

Click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "Show Tabs", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Mozilla Firefox homepage

To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window disable "Show Tabs", remove hxxp://fxsmash.xyz and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Mozilla Firefox 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 Mozilla Firefox switch about:config entry button button.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with show tabs redirect removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click Safari menu, then select Preferences...

removing browser hijacker from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the preferences window select the Extensions tab. Look for any recently installed suspicious extensions and uninstall them.

Removing browser hijackers from safari step 3 - changing homepage

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.

removing browser hijackers from safari step 4 - changing the default Internet search engine

In the preferences window select Search tab and make sure that your preferred Internet search engine is selected.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 2

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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:

Removing browser hijackers from Microsoft Edge step 3

To change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge: Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) 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 Microsoft Edge (Chromium) puzzle icon near it and select "Disable".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the show tabs redirect, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

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.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing fxsmash.xyz related Internet Explorer extensions

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Internet Explorer homepage

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove hxxp://fxsmash.xyz 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:

Removing fxsmash.xyz from Internet Explorer default search engine

Click the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options 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 "Show Tabs".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the show tabs 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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

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.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Summary:

declining installation of browser hijackers while downloading free software sampleA 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.

Removal assistance:
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove show tabs redirect from your Internet browsers, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.

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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.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

QR Code
Show Tabs redirect 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 Show Tabs redirect on your mobile device.
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