How to remove software that causes redirects to nowtosearch.com
Written by Tomas Meskauskas on
What is nowtosearch.com?
Nowtosearch.com is the address (URL) of a fake search engine. While most sites of this kind cannot generate search results, this website is an exception. However, the results provided by nowtosearch.com can be irrelevant and include deceptive/harmful content.
In most cases, illegitimate search engines are promoted (through redirects) by browser hijackers. Additionally, these sites and the software endorsing them usually collect vulnerable information.
How do browser hijackers promote nowtosearch.com?
Browser hijackers reassign browsers' default search engines, homepages, and new tabs/windows to the addresses of the websites they promote. Therefore, with one endorsing nowtosearch.com installed: new browser tabs/windows opened and search queries typed into the URL bar – would result in redirects to this site.
It is pertinent to mention that browser-hijacking software often employs persistence-ensuring techniques to prevent users from restoring their browsers.
Fake search engines are typically incapable of providing search results – hence, they redirect to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other legitimate ones. While this does not apply to nowtosearch.com, the search results it generates can be inaccurate and include sponsored, unreliable, deceptive, and potentially malicious content.
Furthermore, both illegitimate search engines and browser hijackers usually collect sensitive user data. Targeted information can include: searched queries, visited URLs, viewed pages, usernames/passwords, personally identifiable details, credit card numbers, etc. The gathered data can be shared with and/or sold to third-parties (potentially, cyber criminals).
In summary, the presence of browser-hijacking software on devices can lead to system infections, severe privacy issues, financial losses, and identity theft.
|Name||nowtosearch.com browser hijacker|
|Threat Type||Browser Hijacker, Redirect, Search Hijacker, Toolbar, Unwanted New Tab|
|Affected Browser Settings||Homepage, new tab URL, default search engine|
|Detection Names||N/A (VirusTotal)|
|Serving IP Address||184.108.40.206|
|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).|
|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
We have analyzed countless fake search engines and browser hijackers; readytodistribute.com, searchmetoday.com, browsing-guard.xyz, cleanmode.xyz – are merely some examples of the former, and Infinity Search, Clipbox Tab, Bizzy Beaver, Qwik Search – of the latter.
Browser-hijacking software and the sites they promote usually appear harmless and offer various "handy" functionalities. However, these features seldom work as advertised, and in most cases – they do not work at all. It must be stressed even if a website or a piece of software operates as promised – that is not proof of either legitimacy or safety.
How did nowtosearch.com promoting software install on my computer?
Browser hijackers can have "official" promotional pages, and they are pushed through scam sites. Most users enter these webpages through redirects caused by mistyped URLs, websites using rogue advertising networks, spam browser notifications, intrusive ads, or installed adware.
"Bundling" – packing ordinary program installers with unwanted/malicious additions – is also used to proliferate browser hijackers. Download from dubious sources (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.) and rushed installations (e.g., ignored terms, used "Easy/Quick" settings, etc.) – increase the risk of allowing bundled content into the system.
Intrusive adverts are used to distribute browser-hijacking software as well. Once clicked on, some of the advertisements can execute scripts to perform stealthy downloads/installations.
How to avoid installation of browser hijackers?
We highly recommend researching software and downloading it from official/verified channels. Installation processes must be treated with care, e.g., by reading terms, inspecting possible options, using the "Custom" or "Advanced" settings, and opting out of supplementary apps, extensions, tools, etc.
We advise being cautious while browsing since fake and dangerous content usually appears legitimate. For example, intrusive ads may look innocuous yet redirect to unreliable/questionable websites (e.g., gambling, pornography, adult dating, etc.).
In case of encounters with such advertisements/redirects, check the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with browser hijackers, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Appearance of a nowtosearch.com redirect (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 nowtosearch.com?
- STEP 1. Uninstall unwanted applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove nowtosearch.com browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 3. Remove nowtosearch.com homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 4. Remove nowtosearch.com redirect from Safari.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Nowtosearch.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, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Nowtosearch.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 extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, disable the malicious extension (if present), look for a browser hijacker URL (hxxp://www.nowtosearch.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 "nowtosearch.com", when located click the three vertical dots near this URL and select "Delete".
- If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the nowtosearch.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 plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons and themes". Click "Extensions", in the opened window locate all recently-installed suspicious extensions, click on the three dots and then click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Settings", in the opened window disable malicious extension (if present), remove hxxp://nowtosearch.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 "Accept the Risk and Continue".
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 nowtosearch.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 nowtosearch.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.
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 nowtosearch.com website?
Redirects to websites like nowtosearch.com are caused because cyber criminals (e.g., developers of browser hijackers and fake search engines, etc.) generate revenue through them.
Is visiting nowtosearch.com a threat to my privacy?
Most likely, yes. Sites like nowtosearch.com usually collect (and sell) visitor data.
How did a browser hijacker infiltrate my computer?
Browser hijackers are primarily spread via deceptive promotional webpages, bundled installation setups, online scams, dubious download channels (e.g., freeware and free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks, etc.), spam browser notifications, and intrusive advertisements.
Will Combo Cleaner help me remove browser hijackers?
Yes, Combo Cleaner can scan computers and eliminate all the browser-hijacking applications present. It is noteworthy that manual removal (unaided by security software) might not be ideal, especially in cases where multiple browser hijackers have infiltrated the system. Since after one is removed – the others may simply reinstall it. What is more, removal-related settings can be unmodifiable with browser-hijacking software installed. Therefore, it is paramount to remove browser hijackers thoroughly and all at once.
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