Written by Tomas Meskauskas on (updated)
What is ProductivityBoss?
According to the developers, the ProductivityBoss browser toolbar helps to save time and money by finding the most relevant services - "Manage online bill payments to save time and money. Find low gas prices, shorten URLs, look-up addresses & more. Organize your time and get things done faster by planning ahead."
Although some users may find this toolbar legitimate and useful, it is considered to be a browser hijacker and a potentially unwanted program (PUP). These negative associations are made due to ProductivityBoss's rogue behavior - it infiltrates systems without users' permission, modifies Internet browser settings, and collects various Internet browsing-related information.
After ProductivityBoss successfully installs on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, it assigns the browser default search engine, homepage, and new tab URL settings to the ask.com website. Furthermore, this browser toolbar is delivered with a number of browser extensions/apps developed to prevent users from reverting these changes.
ProductivityBoss significantly diminishes the Internet browsing experience, as users are redirected to ask.com without their consent. This toolbar continually monitors Internet browsing activity and gathers various types of information. The developers of this toolbar (Mindspark Interactive Network) co-operate with third party companies with whom this information is shared.
The information may contain personally identifiable details, which are misused to generate revenue. This situation can lead to privacy issues, and for these reasons, you are strongly advised to uninstall ProductivityBoss from your system immediately.
ProductivityBoss is not the only toolbar developed by Mindspark Interactive Network. This company has released dozens of PUPs claiming to be legitimate. Although the features offered by toolbars such as MetroHotspot, WebmailWorld, DailyRecipeGuide, AutoPCBackup, and PConverter are different, they have identical behavior to ProductivityBoss.
Rather than providing the functionality promised, ProductivityBoss causes unwanted browser redirects and collects user/system information. Toolbars developed by Mindspark Interactive Network are designed to generate revenue and provide no real value for the user.
How did ProductivityBoss install on my computer?
ProductivityBoss is available for download on its official website, however, it is likely to be distributed using the 'bundling' method - stealth installation of third party apps with regular software.
Research shows that many users are unaware that developers intentionally conceal installation of bogus apps within the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' settings. Therefore, by rushing the download and installation procedures, users skip most/all of the steps, thereby inadvertently installing applications such as ProductivityBoss.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?
The key to computer safety is caution. The download and installation procedures should not be rushed. Closely observe these processes, analyzing each step to ensure that no additional applications are included. Select the 'Custom' or 'Advanced' options, rather than 'Quick' or 'Typical' - this will reveal any hidden rogue applications listed for installation and allow you to opt-out.
ProductivityBoss browser hijacker installer set-up:
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 ProductivityBoss?
- STEP 1. Uninstall ProductivityBoss application using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove ProductivityBoss redirect from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove ProductivityBoss browser hijacker from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove ProductivityBoss homepage and default search engine from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove ProductivityBoss redirect from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
ProductivityBoss browser hijacker 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 “ProductivityBoss Internet Explorer Toolbar”, select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted programs that cause browser redirects to the ProductivityBoss website, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
ProductivityBoss browser hijacker removal from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove browser redirects:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "ProductivityBoss", "Toolbar BHO", and "e5bar.dll", select these entries and click "Remove".
Change your homepage:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Internet Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://home.tb.ask.com 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:
Click 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 and then remove "Ask Web Search".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the productivityboss browser hijacker, 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 extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Tools" and click "Extensions". Locate "ProductivityBoss", select this entry and click the trash can icon.
Change your homepage:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "Settings". In the "On startup" section, click "set pages", hover your mouse over hxxp://home.tb.ask.com and click the x symbol. Now, you can add your preferred website as your homepage.
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" section, click "Manage Search Engines...", remove "Ask" and add or select your preferred domain.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the productivityboss 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 plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click "Extensions" and remove "ProductivityBoss 188.8.131.52843".
Change your homepage:
To reset your homepage, click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), then select "Options", in the opened window, remove hxxp://home.tb.ask.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 "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "ask.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.
Computer users who have problems with productivityboss 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 productivityboss 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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