Is your browser hijacked by hotwebfree.com? How can you get rid of such potentially unwanted programs from the PC? How does it arrive on your machine? Is it safe to leave hotwebfree.com on the browsers? How to completely delete it? This post will provide you a brief introduction of the site and show you how to entirely remove hotwebfree.com.
What is hotwebfree.com?
Hotwebfree.com is a browser hijacker that may change your browser homepage, search engine and other settings. It often comes bundled with other free applications and enters the PC without users’ knowledge. If you find it frequently shows up as the homepage or startup page when you open the web browser, it seems that the browser is hijacked. Usually, browsers including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome will be affected. Every time you start the browser, this unwanted site loads automatically.
Screenshot of the site:
The site looks like other famous search providers and it also provides search services. It claims to provide easy access to the most popular and trending sites such as Facebook, Twitter, outlook, Gmail, Youtube, etc. In addition, it promises to help users to search materials and websites conveniently and find relevant information quickly. However, hotwebfree is also an ad-supported platform that displays a lot of advertisements. The ads not only appear on its homepage, but also show in the search results. When you enter a keyword in the search engines provided by it, numerous ads related to your keyword will be displayed in the search results. For example, if you type “remove malware” into the search box and press Enter key, many ads related to that search query are showed.
Those advertisements are “Powered by Google Custom Search”. Usually, they recommend you to download some products to meet your needs. Please be cautious of the products advertised and avoid downloading some fake programs that provides you nothing useful but consumes up your hard disk space or even steal your personal data. Since hotwebfree is not responsible for any third-party content displayed or promoted by it, you’d better not click on those ads or visit external sites provided by that site.
Though hotwebfree claims that it will not disclose your personal information or provide such information to any third party, please note that your personal data may be transferred to locations outside of the territory where you are accessing hotwebfree’s services or disclosed to its related corporations, licensees, business partners and/or service providers for some specific purposes. To prevent further problems caused by the browser hijacker, we suggest you remove Hotwebfree.com as soon as possible.
Note: To get rid of the unwanted programs and other possible malware completely, a professional malware removal tool will be your best choice. If you find it difficult to delete the threat manually, download and install a removal tool instantly!
How can hotwebfree.com be distributed?
Usually, such potentially unwanted programs spread in the following 4 ways:
- Being bundled with freeware. Many free applications on the internet probably come with adware, browser hijackers and other PUPs. If you don’t pay attention when downloading and installing software, your computer may be invaded by those unwanted programs.
- Drive-by downloads. An HTML exploit may be used by PUPs to allow a mere visit to a web page to drop and execute the PUP installer.
- Other malware. Some Trojans and viruses may also install adware and other potentially unwanted programs on the PC as part of their payload.
How to remove hotwebfree.com from the PC completely?
Below are some ways to remove the browser hijacker from your computer.
Step1: Perform a full system scan with SpyHunter
Before resetting your browser homepage, search engine and other settings, run your anti-malware program to scan the system and make sure that your PC is free of Trojans and viruses. SpyHunter is able to find and remove malware including Trojans, rootkits, adware, spyware and other PUPs. If your machine is infected, download and install SpyHunter on your PC and then scan for malware. All the threats on your PC will be detected and cleaned up entirely and quickly.
- Download and install SpyHunter.
- Update the SpyHunter to the latest version.
- Click on Scan Computer Now button to start a system scan. But before scanning, close your running folders and programs.
- SpyHunter will scan for all the malicious objects on your machine. This may take a few minutes to finish.
- When the scan is completed, hotwebfree.com and other malware will be displayed in the scan results. Click on Fix Threats button to clear of them. (Please register for the full version of SpyHunter before deleting the threats completely.)
Step2: Uninstall suspicious programs using Control Panel
If you are running Windows XP / Vista / 7: Click on Start button in the lower- left corner of the screen and select Control Panel. Click on Programs and Features or Uninstall a program and your list of installed programs will be displayed (Win 7/Vista). For Windows XP, double click on Add/Remove Programs. Find the program which was installed recently but unfamiliar to you and uninstall it from your PC.
If you are running Windows 8 / 8.1: Right-click on the Start button in the lower-left corner or press the Windows key + X to open the menu instead, and then select “Programs and Features“.
When all the installed programs are showed, select the one that are associated with the hotwebfree.com and then click on Uninstall button to get rid of it.(Take Chrome for example)
If you are running Windows 10: Click on the Start button in the lower-left corner and click on Settings. Click on System and then click on App & features on the left side. Find the programs related to hotwebfree.com and click on Uninstall button to remove them.
If the adware or the program you don’t want is not listed in the installed programs list, you can uninstall it in the registry editor. But this method is ONLY suggested for advanced computer users.
Modifying the Windows registry is a quite risky task. Any incorrect changes in the registry may lead to terrible consequences to your system. Your Windows may even fail to start due to the wrong deletion of registry information. Thus, make a backup of the registry before making any modification on the Windows registry. Or you can use a professional removal tool to clean the unwanted programs safely.
Enter regedit in your Start menu search box or Run box and then click on regedit under Programs in the results to open Windows Registry Editor.
Back up the registry before following the steps. See How to back up and restore the registry in Windows (Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP)
Once the registry has been backed up, click on Edit and click on Find (or use “CTRL + F”) to bring up the Find window.
Type the name of the software that you want to uninstall in the editable field next to “Find what:” and click on Find Next button or press F3 to search.
With the software key selected, double-click UninstallString in the right pane.
In the Edit String window, select the entire text in the Value data field and press Ctrl + C to copy it. Close the window, and then exit the Registry Editor.
Open the Run dialog box from Start menu and press Ctrl + V to paste the texts into the field. Press Enter or click OK.
Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the software.
If other items related to hotwebfree.com are found, read to make sure it is a link to that program. Right click on it and select Delete to clear the item. Continue clicking on Find Next button and delete all of them.
Step3: Remove the browser hijacker from Internet Explorer
Disable or remove suspicious add-on. To do this,
1 Click on Tools or the IE menu icon and choose Manage Add-ons from the menu.
2 In the window, select Toolbars and Extensions. If any add-on or toolbar related to the adware is found, select it and click on Remove button to delete it.
To change homepage, follow the steps below.
- Click on the Tools or the IE menu icon (for IE 11) and click Internet Options.
- In the Internet Options window, under the General tab, check Home page field and delete hotwebfree.com. Then enter the address of the website that you’d like to set as the default homepage instead. Click OK to save the changes.
Note: If the steps above don’t work, you can try resetting IE to defaults to fix the browser hijacking problem. To do this, follow the steps below carefully.
- Click the Tools button or the IE menu icon and then select Internet options.
- In the Internet Options window, under the Advanced tab, click Reset.
- In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box, click Reset button.
- When Internet Explorer finishes applying default settings, click Close. You may need to restart the PC to reset IE completely.
Step4: Delete hotwebfree.com from Google Chrome
You need to check and remove any dubious Chrome extensions. To do this,
1 Click on the Chrome menu icon and choose More tools then Extensions in the drop-down menu.
2 In the Extensions page, select the extension strange to you that was installed recently and click on the trashcan icon next to it to remove the item.
If your homepage or startup page has been modified, follow the steps below to reset:
1. Click on Chrome menu button and select Settings from the menu.
2.Under On startup, select Open a specific page or set of pages and click the Set pages. Delete any unwanted page and enter the URL of your preferred page and click on OK to save the changes.
3. Scroll down to Appearance, check Open Homepage button and click on Change link. If hotwebfree.com is displayed there, you need to delete it by clicking on the “X” button.
If necessary, restore your Chrome settings to the original settings to troubleshoot the problems.
- Click on the chrome menu icon and then select Settings from the menu.
- In the Chrome Settings page, click on Show Advanced Settings… at the bottom of the page and then click on Reset browser settings.
- Click on Reset button when the dialog box asking for your confirmation pops up.
Step5: Eliminate the browser hijacker from Mozilla Firefox
Some unwanted add-ons may be installed to Firefox, so you need to follow the steps below to eliminate them.
1 Click on Tools or the Firefox menu icon in the top right corner of the browser and then choose Add-ons.
2 Click on Extensions in the Add-ons Manager page. If you find any unfamiliar add-on that may be installed by Innovate Direct, click on Remove button to uninstall it immediately.
To repair the browser homepage of Firefox,
- Click on Tools or the Firefox menu and select Options from the menu.
- In the Options page, select the General on the left side. Under Startup, make sure When Firefox starts: is set to Show my home page. If hotwebfree.com is found in the Home Page field, delete it and then enter the address of your preferred page.
If the steps above fail to remove the browser hijacker from Firefox, try resetting its settings to defaults.
- Click on Firefox menu icon and click Open Help menu (question mark icon) at the bottom of the menu and then select Troubleshooting Information.
Or you can click on Help on the menu bar and select Troubleshooting Information.
- In the Firefox Troubleshooting Information page, click on Fresh Firefox… button.
- Click on Refresh Firefox button again in the pop-up window to restore the settings of Firefox.
Suggestion: Hotwebfree.com should now be removed completely from your computer. To avoid being affected by such browser hijackers as well as other unwanted programs again, you need to be cautious when surfing the Internet, especially downloading and installing freeware from the web. Never visit malicious websites and pay more attention to the software installation. Cancel any additional programs that come with the software you desire if there are options for you to choose. In addition, keep a powerful and advanced anti-virus program on the PC to defend the system against cyber threats like hotwebfree.com.
The following video offers a complete guide for Hotwebfree.com Redirect Virus removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!