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How to eliminate ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker

Also Known As: protabs.xyz redirect
Damage level: Medium

What kind of application is ProTabs Default Search?

ProTabs Default Search is a browser hijacker that promotes the protabs.xyz address - a fake search engine. It does that by changing the web browser's settings. Typically, users end up having their browsers hijacked inadvertently.

protabs.xyz browser hijacker

ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker in detail

ProTabs Default Search makes protabs.xyz as the default search engine, homepage, and new tab page. Protabs.xyz redirects users to bing.com - it shows results generated by Bing. It is important to mention that fake search engines can be used to promote dubious pages and show results generated by untrustworthy search engines.

Threat Summary:
Name ProTabs Default Search
Threat Type Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab
Browser Extension(s) ProTabs Default Search
Supposed Functionality Improved browsing experience
Promoted URL protabs.xyz
Detection Names (protabs.xyz) N/A (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)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
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More about browser hijackers

Browser hijackers often are designed to keep their settings unchangeable until users remove them. Also, lots of apps of this type are capable of collecting information about their users. Apps like ProTabs Default Search and fake search engines are not trustworthy.

More examples of browser hijackers are Keep Fast Search, MyADBlocksSearch, Search With Incognito.

How did ProTabs Default Search install on my computer?

Browser-hijacking apps often are bundled with other programs. They get downloaded or installed through downloaders and installers for other programs. Although, it happens when users download or install programs without changing "Advanced", "Custom", or other settings presented in downloaders and installers.

In other cases, browsers get hijacked through advertisements designed to run certain scripts (and download or install unwanted apps) or fake installers downloaded from shady websites.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Download applications and files from official websites and direct download links. Check downloaders and installers for "Custom", "Advanced" and other settings to see if they can be used to deselect unwanted apps before downloading and installing programs. Also, do not click on advertisements displayed on questionable pages.

If your computer is already infected with ProTabs Default Search, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate this browser hijacker.

Protabs.xyz redirects to bing.com (GIF):

protabs default search browser hijacker protabs.xyz redirects to bing.com

Browser notification informing about what ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker can do:

protabs default search browser hijacker notification

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:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner 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. 7 days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

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:

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.

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.

macOS (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.

protabs.xyz browser hijacker uninstall via Control Panel

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

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

ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Google Chrome logoRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Removing protabs.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 "ProTabs Default Search" and other recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons, and remove them.

Change your homepage:

Removing protabs.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 "ProTabs Default Search", look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.protabs.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 protabs.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 "protabs.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 protabs.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 protabs.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 "ProTabs Default Search", as well as all other recently installed browser plug-ins.

Change your homepage:

Removing protabs.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 "ProTabs Default Search", remove hxxp://protabs.xyz and enter your preferred domain, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change your default search engine:

Removing protabs.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 protabs.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 protabs.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.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the purpose of forcing users visit protabs.xyz website?

The amount of revenue creators of the protabs.xyz generate directly depends on the number of page visits. Thus, its creators are interested in making their page as much visitable as possible.

Is visiting protabs.xyz a threat to my privacy?

Fake search engines (pages like protabs.xyz) can be designed to collect information about their users. The same applies to browser hijackers.

How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?

Usually, browser hijackers are distributed using browser notifications, intrusive advertisements, and other social engineering tactics, and downloaders/installers for other programs, fake installers.

Will Combo Cleaner help me remove ProTabs Default Search browser hijacker?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan the operating system and remove existing browser-hijacking applications. It will remove all browser hijackers at one (if there are multiple apps of this type present). It is worth mentioning that browser hijackers can reinstall one another. Thus, it can be difficult to remove multiple browser hijackers manually.

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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.

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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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

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

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