Recently I downloaded and installed VLC media player and my Chrome’s homepage started to be hijacked by Play-Bar.net, which opens automatically in a new tab every time I start the Chrome browser. I tried to delete it from Chrome’s homepage settings but it still shows up on the next browser start. Also ran the Norton security tool to scan the system but nothing was picked up. Though the site seems normal and also allows me to search for information, I don’t trust it much because it redirects to a site called “search.safefinder.com” then yahoo site. Does anyone know how to get rid of Play-Bar.net completely?
What is Play-Bar.net?
Play-Bar.net is a browser hijacker that changes users’ browser settings like the default homepage, new tab and the default search engine. Similar to Web-start.org, Webstarts.biz and Yourconnectivity.net, this browser hijacker can get into the PC by being bundled with other freeware. For example, if you download and install a free application which had this browser hijacker bundled into its installation from the Internet, your browser may be affected. Usually, there is a checkbox during the installation process that asks you if you’d like to change the homepage to Play-Bar.net or install other items. If you miss it and agree to install them, your browser settings will be altered. Many popular browser including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome could be the target of this hijacker. If you carelessly invite this unwanted item to the PC, the following page will show up whenever the affected browser is started:
The site itself is not a virus, it’s more likely a potentially unwanted program. It provides search services similar to Google and Bing but we don’t encourage you to use it. Since browser hijackers are designed to make money by forcing users to visit a specific site and displaying advertising, it’s not a good idea to choose such a search provider. If you do a search on this site, you will find that the page is redirected to “search.safefinder.com” then yahoo search results page. There are some sponsored ads related to what you searched for in the search results. (As the images below shown)
The browser hijacker not only changes your browser homepage and search engine, but also collects your information for commercial uses. When you use its product, anonymous information including your IP address, referral data, and browser and platform type and your personally identifiable information, such as your name or e-mail address, will be gathered by the program. Though the Blisbury Sites claim that your information is protected, you may receive many ads and emails from third parties or the site itself. Please note that the site is responsible for the content or ads promoted or displayed by it. So be cautious when you see ads or links when surfing unfamiliar websites, for some may mislead you into downloading fake or even malicious programs.
How to prevent browser hijackers like Play-Bar.net?
As above mentioned, browser hijackers can be distributed by being bundled with other free applications. To avoid such PUPs, you need to be very careful when downloading and installing software from the Internet. Stay away from those websites that have bad reputation and never download software from unknown websites.
In addition, always choose the custom/advanced installation. This allows you to decline the special offers like Play-Bar.net during the installation. Some legitimate programs may be also bundled with additional items that you don’t need. If you get used to choosing the quick/express install, those unwanted items may be installed unknowingly.
It’s also to keep an advanced anti-malware program on the PC. Anti-malware software can safeguard your PC against a lot of cyber infections and block malicious websites. If some changes made to your browser settings, it will inform you of that promptly.
How to remove Play-Bar.net browser hijacker completely?
Usually, browser hijackers can be removed from the computer easily. You can delete it by resetting the homepage settings or removing related programs. However, some browser hijackers keep coming back even if you have modified the browser settings. If you have tried reset the browser settings but the threat keep showing up in the browsers, we suggest you use a malware removal tool to detect and clean up it completely.
Recommended solution: Download a Play-Bar.net removal tool
If the browser hijacker modifies the Windows registry or other system settings, you may fail to delete it by simply changing the browser settings. Since it’s complicated and difficult for regular users to make changes in Windows registry, it’s not suggested that you alter the registry yourself if you don’t have much experience in deleting registry entries. Under the circumstances, it’s necessary to use a professional malware removal tool to fix the problem.
SpyHunter is an anti-malware program that is able to find and remove Play-Bar.net thoroughly. In additon to browser hijackers, this tool can detect and clear other cyber threats like Trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware and so on. It shows the brief info of the threats found in the scan results and also lists the relevant malicious files. With SpyHunter, you can get rid of the browser hijacker successfully within seconds.
- Download SpyHunter to your computer.
- SpyHunter starts to scan your system for malware. To scan for viruses effectively, you may need to update the tool to the latest version before scanning. To start a new scan, click on Scan Computer Now button. The scanning may take a few minutes to finish.
- Once done, all the threats on your PC will be showed in the scan results. You can see Play-Bar.net and other threats which are visible to you but indeed exist on the system.Click on the expand button next to the infection and more details about it will be displayed. To clear them, click on the Fix Threats button.
- SpyHunter is a free virus scanner. You need to purchase its full version to completely wipe out Play-Bar.net and other infections.
Plumbytes is a tool that detects and annoying browser toolbars or extensions, spyware, hijackers like Play-Bar.net, ad injects and other types of malware. This tool is good at restoring your hijacked browser, search engine, and home page, and constantly monitoring your computer’s security. If your browser is hijacked, follow the steps below to fix it by using Plumbytes.
- Click here to download Plumbytes.
- Run the downloaded file to start the installation. Follow the instructions on the screen complete the installation. The installation process usually takes merely a few seconds.
- Once installed, Plumbytes starts to scan your system for malware automatically. The scanning may last for several minutes.
- When the scan is completed, all the threats on your PC are displayed in the scan results. You can see Play-Bar.net and other threats are showed there. To clear the infections and protect your PC, click on the REMOVE SELECTED button.
- This is also a free malware detection utility. You need to purchase its full version to completely clear all the infections.
Manually delete Play-Bar.net from your computer
Sometimes, you can restore the browser settings modified by the browser hijacker manually. The instructions below show you how to deal with Play-Bar.net without using a security tool. If this method doesn’t work, you may consider using a top malware removal tool to troubleshoot.
Step1: Uninstall suspicious programs and toolbars/add-ons/extensions
- Type programs in the search field next to the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen and select Programs and Features in the search results.
- All the currently installed programs will be displayed in the Programs and Features window. Scroll down and see if there is any program that was installed without permission. If there is, select it and click on Uninstall button.
- Click on Uninstall in the pop-up to confirm the removal. Remove the unwanted programs with the given instructions completely.
- If you are running Windows 8, hover your mouse over the Start button until the menu occurs, then right click the menu. If you use Windows 8.1, right click on the Start menu on the bottom left directly.
- Select Programs and Features from the menu.
- Search for the programs or toolbars that may come along with Play-Bar.net browser hijacker, select them and remove them by clicking on Uninstall button.
- Follow the prompts to completely remove the unwanted programs.
- Click on Start button and choose Control Panel.
- Click on Uninstall a program under Programs category (View by: Category) or Programs and Features (View by: Large icons).
- Find the programs or plug-ins that were installed without your knowledge, select them and uninstall them by clicking on Uninstall button.
- Complete the removal by following the instructions on the screen.
- Click on Start button and select Control Panel.
- Double click on Add/Remove Programs.
- Select any program unfamiliar to you that was installed recently, click on Remove button.
- Follow the instructions to complete the uninstallation.
- Click on Tools or the IE menu button, and then select Manage Add-ons.
- In the window, click on Toolbars and Extensions under Add-on Types.
- If there is any add-on that is unfamiliar to you available on the list, select it and click on the Remove button.
- Click on Tools on the menu bar or the Mozilla Firefox menu button in the top right corner of the browser and then select Add-ons.
- In the Add-ons Manager page, click on Extensions on the left side.
- Find any strange add-on that may cause Play-Bar.net browser hijacking and remove it by clicking on Remove button next to it.
- Click on the Chrome menu button in the top right corner of the browser and then select More Tools -> Extensions.
- Find any extension that was installed recently without permission and click chrome-trashcan-icon to remove it.
Step2: Delete Play-Bar.net from your browser homepage/startuppage
If the default homepage has been changed by the browser hijacker, you can follow the steps below to reset the homepage in IE, Chrome and Firefox. Sometimes, even if the antivirus program has deleted the virus, you also need to set the homepage to the site you’d like manually.
- Click on the Tools or the IE menu button and choose Internet Options.
- Under the General tab, locate to the Home page field and delete Play-Bar.net if it is there. Then enter the address of the website that you’d like to set as the default homepage instead. Click OK to save the changes.
- Click on Tools or the Firefox menu button in the top right corner of the browser and select Options.
- Click on General on the left side. Under Startup, make sure When Firefox starts: is set to Show my home page. Delete Play-Bar.net from the Home Page field if you see it there. Then enter the address of your preferred website.
- Click on Chrome menu button in the upper right corner of the browser and select Settings.
- Under On startup, select Open a specific page or set of pages and click the Set pages. Delete Play-Bar.net and enter the URL of your preferred page in the blank field and click on OK to save the changes.
- Scroll down to the Appearance section, check Open Homepage button and click on the Change link. If any unwanted URL is displayed there, please delete it by clicking on the “X” button. Then type the address of the website you’d like in the editable field and click on OK button.
Step3: Check your browser’s shortcut path
If the browser hijacker makes some changes in the properties of your browser shortcut, the browser may also be hijacked. To make sure the browser’s shortcut hasn’t been affected, follow the steps below to open the browser properties and delete harmful texts from the Target line.
- Find the IE/Firefox/Chrome browser shortcut on your desktop. Right click on it and select Properties.
- In the Properties window, select the Shortcut tab and ten have a look at the Target line. By default, the text in Internet Explorer is “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe”.
Google Chrome is “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” (32 bit)
Or “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” (64-bit)
Mozilla Firefox is “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” (32-bit )
Or “C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” (64-bit).
If you see Play-Bar.net or other strange content in the Target line, please delete them and then click on OK button to save the changes.
Step4: Restore your browser settings to defaults (optional)
If you have followed the steps above to delete Play-Bar.net but it still exists on the PC, you may consider performing a browser restore. When your browser settings are modified by a potentially unwanted program, resetting the browser settings to their original settings usually fix the problem. Please note that this procedure will remove your installed add-ons, toolbars and other customized settings.
Click on Tools or the Tools button and select Internet Options.
Under the Advanced tab, then click on Reset… .
Check the box of Delete personal settings and then click on Reset button.
You must restart the computer for these changes to take effect.
Click on Chrome menu button in the upper right corner of the browser and select Settings.
Scroll down to the end of the page and click on the Show Advanced Settings….
Click on Reset browser settings.
Click on Reset button to restore the Chrome’s settings to the original.
Click on Help on the menu bar and select Troubleshoot Information.
Or click on the Firefox menu button in the upper right corner of the browser and then click on the question button then select Troubleshoot Information.
Click on the Refresh Firefox .
Click on Refresh button to confirm the change.
The following video offers a complete guide for Play-Bar.net virus removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!