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How to remove Quick WordCount browser hijacker?

Also Known As: fxsmash.xyz redirect
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Medium

Quick WordCount browser hijacker removal instructions

What is Quick WordCount?

Quick WordCount is advertised as a browser extension that counts the number of paragraphs, words, and characters in a text. Although it is known that this app hijacks browsers by changing their settings - Quick WordCount changes certain settings to fxsmash.xyz, an address of a fake search engine. Usually, browser hijackers promote fake search engines and collect browsing data. It is common for apps of this type to be downloaded and installed unintentionally. For this reason, they are also known as potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

fxsmash.xyz browser hijacker

Usually, the main purpose of browser hijackers is promote a fake search engine (its addresses) by changing settings such as the address of a new tab, homepage, and default search engine. Therefore, a hijacked browser is forced to open a specific address every time a new browser tab, a window is opened, or a search query into the URL bar is entered. As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, Quick WordCount is designed to promote the fxsmash.xyz address - a fake search engine that shows results generated by Yahoo (search.yahoo.com). Typically, the aforementioned browser settings cannot be changed while a browser hijacker is installed. It means that users who have the Quick WordCount browser hijacker installed on a browser cannot remove fxsmash.xyz address from its settings unless they uninstall that application. It is important to mention that fake search engines can be designed to generate misleading results (promote untrustworthy pages) and show unwanted ads. In one way or another, it is highly advisable not to use fake search engines like fxsmash.xyz or apps like Quick WordCount.

One more reason not to trust browser hijackers like Quick WordCount is that they can be designed to collect Internet Protocol addresses, geolocations, addresses of visited pages, entered search queries, and other information related to the browsing habits of their users. Although, sometimes browser hijackers can access information that could be used to steal online accounts, identities, make fraudulent purchases. More precisely, apps of this type can be capable of gathering login credentials, credit card details, names, surnames, etc. In such cases, apps of this type can be the reason behind the monetary loss, identity theft, problems related to online privacy, browsing safety, and other issues. Users who have apps of this type installed on their browsers or computers are advised to uninstall them as soon as possible.

Threat Summary:
Name Quick WordCount
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) Quick WordCount
Related Domain (Download Page) umxs[.]xyz
Detection Names (Donwload Page) alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Fortinet (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Supposed Functionality Paragraph, word, and character counter
Promoted URL fxsmash.xyz
Detection Names (fxsmash.xyz) alphaMountain.ai (Suspicious), Forcepoint ThreatSeeker (Suspicious), Fortinet (Malware), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (fxsmash.xyz) 104.21.80.122
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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There are many browser hijackers like Quick WordCount available for download on the Internet. There is one app that is quite similar to Quick WordCount (it promotes the same address). That browser hijacker is called Simple Note. More examples of apps of this type are Search by QuickNewtab, Media Tab, and SearchConvertersWeb. The only main difference between them is the addresses they are designed to promote. It is common for browser hijackers are advertised as useful, legitimate applications. However, most of them have one purpose - to generate revenue for their developers by promoting shady addresses and gathering data.

How did Quick WordCount install on my computer?

Typically, users download and install potentially unwanted apps accidentally: by clicking advertisements designed to execute certain scripts or, while downloading, installing programs that are bundled with those unwanted apps. It is common that PUAs are distributed by integrating them in downloaders, installers for other programs as extra offers. This distribution method is known as "bundling". In most cases, users can disagree to download or install additionally included apps by changing "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings, or by unticking ticked checkboxes. It is worth mentioning that PUAs are bundled mainly with free programs/freeware.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Questionable sources, channels like third-party downloaders, Peer-to-Peer networks (e.g., torrent clients, eMule) unofficial websites should not be used to download any files or programs. Third-party installers should not be used to install programs too. It is recommended to download files or apps only from official websites and via direct links. Advertisements appearing on shady pages, if clicked, can open other unreliable websites or even download, install unwanted software. Therefore, it is recommended not to click those ads as well. Additionally, it is advisable to inspect downloaders and installers that have "Custom", "Advanced", or other settings, or ticked checkboxes. It is common for those downloaders, installers to include unwanted offers. Any suspicious plug-ins, add-ons, extensions installed on a browser should be removed. Programs of this kind installed on the operating system should be uninstalled too. If your computer is already infected with Quick WordCount, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Fxsmash.xyz shows results generate by search.yahoo.com (GIF):

quick wordcount browser hijacker fxsmash.xyz redirects to search.yahoo.com

Website promoting Quick WordCount browser hijacker:

quick wordcount browser hijacker deceptive download page

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Quick menu:

Quick WordCount 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, "Quick WordCount"), 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.

Quick WordCount 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 "Quick WordCount" 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 "Quick WordCount", 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 fxsmash.xyz 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 "Quick WordCount", 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 "Quick WordCount", 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 fxsmash.xyz 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 fxsmash.xyz 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 "Quick WordCount".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the fxsmash.xyz 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 fxsmash.xyz 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
fxsmash.xyz 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 fxsmash.xyz redirect on your mobile device.
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