Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar?
The LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar is a potentially unwanted application created by Mindspark Inc. This browser add-on is compatible with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox and promises to help users ensure their safety by announcing the latest crimes committed in the local area, providing the FBI's most wanted criminals list, informing how to protect families, and more.
Although this functionality might seem legitimate, users should be aware that this software is considered a potentially unwanted application or adware, since it infiltrates Internet browsers using a deceptive software marketing method called 'bundling' and causes unwanted Internet browser redirects to home.tb.ask.com.
Furthermore, this plug-in tracks users' Internet browsing activity by recording IP addresses, browsers types, default language settings, search queries, and other information. Most current freeware download websites use 'download clients' in order to monetize their free services - small programs offering installation of advertised browser add-ons along with the chosen program.
Internet users who do not pay close enough attention during the installation or download processes for their chosen software may inadvertently install LocalCrimeWatcher or other similar plug-ins on their Internet browsers. At time of research, this toolbar was distributed using deceptive banner adds, which appeared on various free software download websites.
The LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar is similar to other adware, which infiltrates browsers via freeware downloads. Examples include ZenSearch.com, Motitags, or FreeBillPayAlert. Commonly, these browser plug-ins add no real value for the user, and furthermore, diminish browser performance and may lead to serious privacy issues or malware infections.
Mindspark Inc. has developed more than a hundred similar potentially unwanted applications. Here is a general removal guide explaining how to eliminate them. To avoid installation of such browser extensions, be attentive when installing freeware.
Choose the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options, rather than 'Typical' or 'Quick' - this will reveal hidden adware to be installed along with the software and you will be able to decline this installation. Users who have already installed the LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar should follow this removal guide to eliminate adware from their Internet browser/s.
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- What is LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar?
- STEP 1. Uninstall LocalCrimeWatcher Internet Explorer Toolbar application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove LocalCrimeWatcher redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove LocalCrimeWatcher browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove LocalCrimeWatcher homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove LocalCrimeWatcher redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar 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 "LocalCrimeWatcher Internet Explorer Toolbar", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program (which causes browser redirects to the home.tb.ask.com website) scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
LocalCrimeWatcher toolbar removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "LocalCrimeWatcher", "Toolbar BHO", and "Search Assistant BHO", select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click on the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove home.tb.ask.com and enter your preferred URL, which will open every 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 on 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, then remove "Ask Web Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the localcrimewatcher virus, 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.
Remove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click on the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "LocalCrimeWatcher".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click on the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Options", in the opened window remove home.tb.ask.com and enter your preferred URL, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.
Change 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: "home.tb.ask.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with localcrimewatcher virus 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 localcrimewatcher virus, 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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