Guide to Remove Effectively

Are you bothered by and struggling to remove it from your PC? If so, this post should be what you are looking for. We will offer basic information of and provide the useful guide to help you get rid of it from your machine.


If you are in a hurry to remove, you can skip to the removal guide part right now!

Basic Information of


Name (also named iStart123)
Category Browser hijacker (A browser hijacker is a type of malware that can replace your browser homepage, startup page and default search engine with its own)
Threat level Medium (This means that the malware might change settings, collect personal information and could negatively impact your computing experience)
Spreading ways Most of the time, it comes bundled with free software such as New Player, Adobe Flash Player, Java Update. In some cases, it spreads via malicious websites, suspicious links, pop-up ads, and junk email attachments.
Target OS version Windows XP、Windows 7、Windows Vista、Windows 8、Windows 8.1
Target browser type Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome
Normal install location C:Program Files
Detect name or PUP.Quick Start
Main infection signs 1. Browser homepage is changed to Default search engine is changed to Istart123.
Activities 1. Modify browser settings, DNS settings and Hosts file.
2. Change browser homepage to its own page.
3. Change default search engine to its own one.
4. Collect personal information (like IP addresses, browser type, operating system, date/time stamp, and click stream data) and share with the third parties.
5. Insert targeted advertisements into web pages.
Negative effects 1. Browsers do not work normally.
2. Browsing experience is decreased.
3. Other malware might slip into the computer.
5. Privacy is compromised.
6. Computer runs slowly. looks like a legitimate website that offers you the search function as what Google and Bing do. However, it is classified as a browser hijacker which can mess up your browser settings and generate a series of problems. If your computer gets infected by this browser hijacker, you may notice that your browser homepage is changed to and your default search engine is replaced by Istart123. Whenever you launch the browser, you will see its website pop up as your homepage. This website not only provides a search box for you to search the internet, but also offers some quick links to various websites.


Screenshot of website

Although seems to be a useful site that allows users to access the Internet, it is not so welcome and even rejected by users. Users always try every means to get rid of it out of their computers since they consider it as malware. However, most users reflect that it is hard to completely remove from their computers. Some of them have tried removing it in various ways, like uninstalling it through Control Panel, removing its extensions, and resetting web browser homepage, but none of these ways helped remove the browser hijacker from their computers. Some users have even tried removing it using well-known antivirus programs like Norton, AVG and Avast, however, the result is not satisfactory. These antivirus programs cannot detect any traces of the browser hijacker.


users' decription

Screenshots of users’ description about infection

Why some well-known antivirus programs fail to detect This is because that these antivirus programs are mainly designed to detect and remove malware threats like Trojans, worms, virues, and rootkits. Browser hijackers are not so malicoius, and they are always considered as a PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Some well-known antivirus programs don’t have related information about browser hijackers in their database, and that can explain why they cannot detect traces of

A common way to get a browser hijacker is through downloading and installing free software from the Internet. You are probably used to going to reputed download sites such as CNET, BrotherSoft, Softonic, FreewareFiles, Tucows and Sourceforge to download software you want. You trust them and you never thought that you would download badware or scamware from these sites. However, the day comes that these sites start offering installers of malware or potentially unwanted programs. So, it always happens that when downloading and installing a piece of desired software, you are recommended to install additional programs. By default, software is installed in the Express mode. If you don’t read the statements carefully in every window during the process, and rashly click the Next button, you may unwittingly install unwanted programs on their computers.

For example, when installing Adobe Flash Player, you may be presented the window as below. If you click the Next button without carefully reading what it is said within the window, you will directly install and enable in all your browsers.

software bundled with istart123

A way to avoid installation of this browser hijacker is to select the Custom mode and uncheck the box labeled “Make my browser homepage, default search and new tab”. Anyway, you need to use caution while installing any software, and look for boxes to uncheck – reputable software developers will give you the option to deselect any optional programs you don’t want to install.

Guide to Remove Effectively


dialog 2

To get rid of, you can either try the manual removal way or the automatic removal way. However, it should be noted that the manual removal is not 100% effective, since every error or deviation can result in failure. Comparatively, the automatic removal way is more effective. With a proper tool, you can easily detect all components of the browser hijacker and thoroughly remove them out of your computer. The following chart gives a general comparison between the manual removal way and the automatic removal way.

chart 1

For the sake of safety, we always recommend users, especially those who are not experienced in computer operation, to remove a browser hijacker or any other types of malware with a professional malware removal tool. The manual removal is rather risky. If any mistake occurs during the removal process, some damage may be generated to the computer system. Actually, most users are apt to automatically remove malware on their computers. The chart below reflects a tendency on how users choose the removal way:

chart 2


600px-Green_Arrow_Right.svgOption 1: Remove in the manual way.


600px-Green_Arrow_Right.svgOption 2: Remove in the automatic way.

Option 1: Remove in the manual way.


Tips: Manually removing malware from your computer may cause system damage or important data loss. To be safe, you’d better back up your important data before get down to the manual removal activity.

Step 1: Stop the browser hijacker related process.
Step 2: Remove the browser hijacker related program.
Step 3: Show all hidden files.
Step 4: Delete all browser hijacker related files.
Step 5: Delete all browser hijacker related registry entries.
Step 6: Remove the browser hijacker from the affected browsers.

Step 1: Stop the browser hijacker related process.

Open the Task Manager by pressing the key combination Ctrl+ Alt+ Delete.

Ctrl+ Alt+ Delete keysUnder Processes tab, scroll down to look for any process related to the browser hijacker (such as process with name “istart123”, or “quick start”).

stop process Once you find one, right click it, and click on the End Process button to stop it.

Step 2: Remove the browser hijacker related program.

Windows XP users: Click Start > Click Control Panel > Click Add or Remove Programs

add or remove programWindows 7/Vista users: Click Start menu > Click Control Panel > Click Uninstall a program

uninstall-a-programWindows 8/8.1 users: Right click the lower corner of the computer screen > Click Control Panel > Click Uninstall a program


In the open window, you will see all programs currently installed on your PC. Scroll down to look for any program related to the browser hijacker.
Once you find one, select it and click on the Uninstall button (Windows 7/Vista/8/8.1) or Remove button (Windows XP).

uninstall a program_Finally, follow the prompt to finish the removal process.

Step 3: Show all hidden files.

Open Folder Options window by taking these steps:
Windows X users: Click Start > Click My Computer menu > Click Tools > Select Folder Options…

tools-folder optionsWindows 7/Vista users: Start the Explorer > Click Organize > Select Folder and search options.

Windows7-folder-options_1Windows 8/8.1 users: Go to Computer, select View, click the lower part of Options item and choose Change folder and search options.


In the Folder Options window, click the View tab. Under Advanced settings, tick Show hidden files, folders and drives, non-tick Hide protected operating system files (Recommended), and click OK.

windows8-show hidden files

Step 4: Delete all browser hijacker related files.

Usually, the browser hijacker related files are located in the following directories. You can try navigating to these locations to find and delete any files related to the browser hijacker.

C:Program Files (x86)istart123
C:Users[user name]AppDataLocalistart123

Step 5: Delete all browser hijacker related registry entries.

Open the Run command box by pressing the Windows key + R key together.

WinwKey+R KeyIn the Open field, type regedit and click OK. This will open the registry editor.

type regeditClick Edit, select Find, type istart and click Find Next.

find-nextOnce you find any registry entries related to the browser hijacker, delete them all.

Step 6: Remove the browser hijacker from the affected browsers.

Internet Explorer

Right click icon of Internet Explorer browser, and select Property.

ie-click propertiesClick the Shortcut tab, locate the Target field, remove part and click OK.

ie-shortcutOpen Internet Explorer browser, click Tools and select Internet Options.

ie-internet optionsClick the General tab, remove the unwanted website URL, enter the URL of website you like, and click OK.

ie-reset homepageAt the right top corner of the browser window, click on the inverted triangle icon, and select Manage Search Providers.

ie-remove search engine 1In the open window, set the search engine you prefer as the default, and then remove the Istart123 by right clicking it and selecting the Remove option.

ie-remove search engine 2

Mozilla Firefox

Right click icon of Mozilla Firefox browser, and select Property.
Click the Shortcut tab, locate the Target field, remove part and click OK.
Open Mozilla Firefox browser, type about:config into the address bar and press Enter. In the open window, click I’ll be careful, I promise! button.

firefox-about configType istart into the Search box, then you will be shown all strings related to (In my case, I find two strings, one is about the default search engine name and other is about the browser startup page and homepage).

firefox-stringTo reset the search engine, startup page and homepage to the ones you prefer, you can right click on each string, click on Modify, delete the unwanted item, type the item you like and finally click OK.

firefox-modify string

Google Chrome

Right click icon of Google Chrome browser, and select Property.
Click the Shortcut tab, locate the Target field, remove part and click OK.
Open Google Chrome, type chrome://settings into the address bar and press Enter.

chrome-settings Locate On startup, and click Set pages.

chrome-set pagesDelete the unwanted website RUL by highlighting it and clicking on the X button and click OK.

chrome-set page 1Locate Appearance, tick Show Home button and click Change.

chrome-set homepageDelete the unwanted website URL from the Open this page field, and click OK.

chrome-set homepage 1Locate Search, and click Manage search engines…

manage-search-engineSet your favorite search engine(such as Google) as default, remove the Istart123 search engine by highlighting it and clicking on the X button and then click Done.

remove search-engine-chrome

Option 2: Remove in the automatic way.

The manual removal doesn’t ensure a complete removal of the browser hijacker due to the fact that it is a hard job for users to find out and delete all related components. If some important files are still left behind the computer, the browser hijacker can come back again after users restart their machines. To guarantee an effective removal of, it is highly recommended to download and use a professional removal tool to automatically detect and delete all its related components.

There are three tools for you to opt:

removal tools

download          download               download

These tools are designed to deal with various types malware including Trojans, viruses, worms, adware, and browser hijackers. Among these tools, SpyHunter is the optimal choice for you. Designed with advanced technologies, this tool can thoroughly scan your whole system and detect out all components related to the browser hijacker within a short time. This tool has the following features:

• Delivers ongoing protection against the latest malware, Trojans, rootkits and malicious software.
• FREE support and daily definition updates to address current malware trends.
• Spyware HelpDesk generates FREE custom malware fixes specific to your PC.

Now follow these steps to remove with SpyHunter:

» Download SpyHunter installer.exe on your PC.

» Run downloaded file by double-clicking on it and click the Run button in the pop-up window.

setup file» Follow the setup wizard to install SpyHunter on your computer.


» Once the installation finishes, SpyHunter will run automatically. Then, click Scan Computer Now to perform a full system scan.

scan computer now

» SpyHunter will start scanning your system for threats. Please wait until the scanning is over.

scan process 1

» Once the scanning is over, you will be shown all detected threats. Click Fix Threats button to remove all of them.


» Restart your computer if required.

Warm tips: The free vision of SpyHunter will only detect threats. If you want to remove the detected threats on your computer, you should upgrade to the registered version.


The following video offers a complete guide for redirect virus removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!

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