What Is Search Protect? – How to Remove Search Protect Completely?

Browser hijacking is one of the most annoying problems encountered by the Internet users worldwide. The cause of this problem is that users’ computers get infected by a browser hijacker. Nowadays, there are a number of browser hijackers prowling on the Internet. Although they are not exactly the same, they have the similar payloads. In the following, we are going to talk about “Search Protect”, an irritating, long-standing & stubborn browser hijacker. We will give full information about this threat and provide the detailed steps to remove it from the infected computer. If your computer has been unluckily infected by Search Protect browser hijacker, you can read through this article and learn how to free your PC from it.


According to Wikipedia:

Wikipedia-LogoSearch Protect (also known as Search Conduit, Search Protect by Conduit) is a browser hijacker/PUP (potentially unwanted program) that steals personal and confidential information from Internet users and transfers it to some third parties. This browser hijacker is typically bundled with free downloads. It can modify the users’ browser homepage, default search engine, new tab page, and several other browser settings without any permission.


How does its publisher describe it?

officialwebsitesSearch Protect is a free desktop application that saves your perferre browser’s homepage and search settings so that they can’t be changed by software you download from the Internet. Search Protect may alert you if a third party attempts to change your browser’s default search or homepage settings.


How do Internet users think about it?

victimsMost Internet users consider Search Protect as a malware or potentially unwanted program since it comes into their computers furtively and interferes with their normal online activities by modifying the web browser settings without any consent. What’s worse, it is very stubborn that even though users have tried several times but still cannot completely remove it.



The following are some questions raised by the victims:

Overview of Search Protect:

Search Protect is a program developed by the Conduit. LLD, claiming to protect users’ browser settings from being taken over by third-party software. But in essence, it is a rebarbative browser hijacker designed to automatically replace users’ existing homepage, search page, or startup page with its own, for the purpose of generating advertising revenue. Typically, it is installed with various types of software downloaded from the Internet by using the “bundling” technique. The so-called “bundling” allows software manufacturers to inject a potentially unwanted program into their own software and further promote it to their users during the software inistallation process. Software known to contain Search Protect includes DivX, Maxthon, Video Performer, ViddyHD, Kies, and Adober Dreamweaver.

Here is a screenshot showing that the browser hijacker is bundled with the software downloaded:

software with search protect installer

Once being installed on the targeted computers, this browser hijacker will add startup entries to the Windows registry in order to make sure it can run automatically on each boot. Additionally, it will alter browser settings, including settings of homepage, search page and starttup page without any permission. Consequently, users’ browser homepage will be changed to “search.conduit.com” and default search engine becomes “Search Protect”. You see? It claims to protect browser settings but actually make changes to users’ browser settings itself. Besides, it will block users’ attempts to reset the browser settings or restore it back to the default. That is to say, it makes sure the malicious settings remain unchanged. There is no doubt that Search Protect is associated with malware and should be removed as quickly as possible.

Here is the screenshot showing how your browser homepage looks like when your PC gets infected by the browser hijacker:


Tips: If your antivirus program cannot detect and remove this threat, then you can try using the tool below. It is an advanced anti-malware program designed to deal with various types of malware threats. It will help resolve your malware issues effectively!

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Signs of Having Search Protect on the Computer

  • The browser homepage is replaced by “search.conduit.com” without any consent.
  • Default search engine is set as “Search Protect” without any consent.
  • Unwanted toolbars or extensions with name “Search Protect” or “Search Conduit” are being installed on the browsers.
  • The icon of “Search Protect” (a blue icon with a white magnifying glass) appears on the system tray in the bottom right corner of the computer screen.
  • The program named “Search Protect” appears in the list of all installed programs.


Effects of Getting Infected by Search Protect

  • User can’t access the Internet via their prefered homepage and search engine.
  • Users may be provided unreliable search results when using the malicious search engine to do a searching.
  • Users receive excessive ads on their browsers and cannot stop them effectively even though they have installed an ad blocker on their browsers.
  • Users may be always redirected to advertising websites, phishing websites, or even malicious websites when they attempt to visit perticular websites by typing their URLs into the address bar.
  • Users’ page-loading speed and overall PC performance are decreased.
  • Users’ computer system and web browser may freeze or crash time and again.
  • Users’ personal information (IP address, browser type, search terms, frequently-visited sites) is collected and shared with third parties without any consent.
  • Users are disrupted by all kinds of annoying ads every time they visit online shopping sites or log into their email accounts.


Steps to Remove Search Protect Completely

If your computer has been infected by Search Protect, you should take immediate action to remove it completely. The longer this threat stays on your PC, the more problems would be caused by it. Now you can follow the steps given below to remove this browser hijacker from your PC

Step 1: Uninstall the browser hijacker related program via Control Panel.

Step 2: Remove the browser hijacker from all affected web browsers.

Step 3: Remove the browser hijacker from startup and services.

Step 4: Clean all traces of the browser hijacker from the system (important).


Step 1: Uninstall the browser hijacker related program via Control Panel.


  1. Access Control Panel.

If you use Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, please click Start in the bottom left corner of the computer screen, and then click on the Control Panel menu option.


If you use Windows 8, please press Windows + X keys at the same time. This will open a menu and there you can click on Control Panel.

click control-panel-windows8

  1. Open the window that shows all installed programs.

If you use Windows XP, please located and click on the Add or Remove Programs option.


If you use Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, please find and click on the Uninstall a program (or Programs and Features) option.

uninstall a program

  1. Uninstall the browser hijacker related program.

In the window that shows all installed programs, scroll down to look for the program named by “Search Protect” or any other programs with similar names. Then, uninstall the program you don’t want by selecting it and click on the Remove (Windows XP) or Uninstall/Change (Windows Vista/7/8) button.

remove program-windows7


Step 2: Remove the browser hijacker from all affected web browsers.

If you use Internet Explorer:

  1. Remove homepage.

Click on Tools menu and then select Internet Options. Then, a window will open.

Internet options

Under the General tab, locate the Home page area, delete the malicious website URL, and type your desired homepage such as www.google.com into the box. Click Apply and then click OK to save the change.


  1. Remove toolbars or extensions.

Click on Tools menu again and select Manage add-ons this time. This will open a window that shows all installed toolbars or extensions on your IE browser. On the right side of the window, look for the browser hijacker related toolbars or extensions. Then, disable them one by one using the Disable button.

remove extension-ie

  1. Remove search engine.

Once you have disabled all unwanted toolbars or extensions, click Search Providers on the left side of the window. Then, you will be shown all search engines installed on your browser. If your default search engine has been replaced by Search Protect, you can first set your favorite search engine like Google as the default, and then remove the unwanted search engine by selecting it and clicking on the Remove button.

remove search engine_ie


If you use Google Chrome:

  1. Remove extensions.

Click the Chrome menu (Wrench or 3-bar icon), and click More tools>Extensions from the drop-down list. This will open a page where you can find all extensions installed on your Chrome browser. Look for any extensions related to the browser hijacker, and remove them by clicking the trashcan icons next to them.

remove extension-chrome

  1. Remove homepage and startup page.

On the same page, click Settings on the left side. Under the On startup section, click Set pages. Highlight the malicious website URL, and click the X button. Then, you can enter the URL of website you prefer into the Add a new page area, and then click OK to save the change.

remove startup page-chrome

Now locate Appearance, tick Show Home button, and click on Change. Delete the unwanted website URL from the Open this page area, type your favorite website URL and click OK.

tick show home button-chrome

  1. Remove search engine.

Under Search section, click on the manage search engine button.

click-manage search engines-chrome

Then, you will see a list of search engines. If you find that your default search engine has become Search Protect or Conduit, you should first make another search engine such as Google as the default, and then you can remove the unwanted search engine by highlighting it and clicking on the X button. Finally, click Done to exit.

make google as default search engine

delete search protect search engine-chrome

If you use Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Remove homepage.

Click on Firefox menu, navigate to Options and click Options.

click options-firefox

A window will open as shown below. Under General tab, locate the Home Page area, delete the malicious website URL and enter your preferred one, and click OK.


  1. Remove extensions.

Click on Firefox menu again, and select Add-ons. In the page that opens, click the Extensions tab, find out the extension related to Search Protect and then remove it by clicking the Remove button.

remove extension-firefox

  1. Remove search engine.

In the top right corner of Firefox window, find the search box, and click on the magnifying glass icon. This will drag out a drop-down menu from there you can click on Manage search engines…

click manage-firefox search engines

When a small window appears, you can start to look for any search engine you don’t want, and then remove it by selecting it and clicking on the Remove button. Finally, click OK to save the change.

remove search engine_firefox

Step 3: Remove the browser hijacker from startup and services.

Search Protect will also create startup for your Windows system, which allows it to run automatically every time the computer is booted. So, you also need to remove it from services and startup. Follow these steps:

Press Windows key + R key together. When a box appears, type msconfig.exe into it and click OK.


The System Configuration window will open. Under the Startup tab, search for any browser hijacker related startup items, uncheck them, and click Apply.

remove startup-windows7

Then, click the Services tab, find and uncheck the unwanted service item, click Apply and click OK.

remove service-windows7

Step 4: Clean all traces of the browser hijacker from the system (important).

If you think that the browser hijacker should have been completely removed from your PC after you accomplish the steps above, you are wrong. This stubborn browser hijacker will soon come back to your PC, if you only finish the former three steps. Actually, this browser hijacker will inject its malicious codes deep into your computer system which are impossibly found by your nake eyes. Besides, it will create its own files and drop them in your hard drives. Without removing these codes and files, you can’t successfully remove this browser hijacker from your machine. At this time, you need to get help from a professional tool which can thoroughly detect and remove all traces of this browser hijacker. The best choice for you is SpyHunter!

What Is SpyHunter? 

SpyHunter is an advanced anti-malware program developed by Enigma Software Group USA LLC. This program uses the latest advanced anti-malware technologies to provide the highest level of protection against today’s computer threats, and is considered as one of the top anti-malware programs. This program is able to help users clean malware, viruses, rogue antivirus programs, ransomware, and other security related issues from their computers easily and effectively.


Now you can follow the instruction below to install and use SpyHunter to clean the threats on your PC.

Download SpyHunter installer.exe by clicking the button below.


• Once the file is downloaded, double click on it, and click the Run button when a dialog box pops up. This will start the installation of SpyHunter.

SpyHunter shortcut


• Please follow the setup wizards step by step to install SpyHunter on your computer.

• Then, launch SpyHunter and perform a full system scan by clicking on the Scan Computer Now button.


• The scanning process may take 10 or more minutes. Just wait.

scanning process_spyhunter

• When the scan finishes, click on the Fix Threats button to remove all threats from your PC.

fix threats

Warm tip: The free version of SpyHunter can only detect threats on your PC. If you want to fix all threats, you should upgrade it to the registered (paid) version.

How to Avoid Installing Browser Hijackers?

  • Only download software from the trustworthy sources, like its official site or some reputable download sites. File sharing sites should be avoided, since it has a very great chance to download malware together.
  • Be cautious when installing free applications, as most of them are bundled with PUPs.
  • Select the Custom installation mode when installing software and check whether there are PUPs bundled. If there are, deselect them, before proceeding to the next step.
  • Read the EULA and check whether it is the EULA of a PUP. If it is, click the Decline button to refuse to install it.

decline installation of search protect

You know what? The best way to avoid getting infected by Search Protect  or other types of malware is to safeguard your PC with a real-time and powerful anti-malware program. Don’t still have a cool anti-malware program yet? Why not download one? SpyHunter is an excellent tool that will well protect your computer from malware attacks! Click the button below to download SpyHunter right now!




The following video offers a complete guide for Search Protect Redirect Virus removal. You’d better watch it in full-screen mode!

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