What is HideMySearches? And how does it function?
HideMySearches is a questionable search engine that claims to protect a user’s privacy while browsing the web. It also claims to improve the browsing experience of users by generating improved search results. However, what it really brings users is not enhanced browsing experience and definitely not privacy but modified search results, not improved one, as well as dozens of ads like pop-ups, banners, in-text links, etc. HideMySearches modifies search results to make room for sponsored content from its affiliated third parties which means that its developers doesn’t really aim to improve users’ browsing experience but to fill their pockets.
Once installed, HideMySearches will change the default search provider and homepage in the browser. So the next time you open your browser, you will be seeing HideMySearches as the homepage. This kind of behavior is common on browser hijackers and unsurprisingly, HideMySearches is also categorized as one. Needless to say, this program can’t be trusted and isn’t safe to use.
What’s alarming about this browser hijacker though is that it records a couple of information about your browsing-related activities. This information includes not just your browsing history, search queries, ads clicked, etc., but also your IP address. IP address which is considered to be a personally identifiable information. The harvested information by HideMySearches will be used to deliver more ads to users. Some of these ads are even intrusive to the point where it’s hard to close them, while some of them could reroute you to suspicious web pages. So if you wish to browse the web without any program tracking and recording your every move, you have to get rid of HideMySearches as soon as you can.
How is HideMySearches distributed over the web?
The same way as other browser hijackers, HideMySearches travels the web as a part of software bundles that are usually found on peer-to-peer sharing networks or free sharing sites. Note that installation of such packages without caution can lead to infiltration of unwanted programs like HideMySearches. This is why using the Advanced or Custom setup is recommended as it lets you get rid of any extra add-ons in the package. Thus, you must use it whenever you install any software bundle.
Remove HideMySearches by following the removal instructions provided below.
Step 1: Close the browser infected with HideMySearches but if you are unable to do so, you can close it via Task Manager. Tap Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open the Task Manager and from there, end the browser’s process.
Step 2: Afterwards, you have to flush the DNS cache. To do that, just, right click on the Start button and click on Command Prompt (administrator). From there, type the “ipconfig /flushdns” command and hit Enter to flush the DNS.
Step 3: After that, restart your computer and then open all the browsers infected by HideMySearches. Reset all the affected browsers to default to their default state.
- Open Google Chrome, then tap the Alt + F keys.
- After that, click on Settings.
- Next, scroll down until you see the Advanced option, once you see it, click on it.
- After clicking the Advanced option, go to the “Restore and clean up option and click on the “Restore settings to their original defaults” option to reset Google Chrome.
- Now restart Google Chrome.
- Open Mozilla Firefox and tap Ctrl + Shift + A to access the Add-ons Manager.
- In the Extensions menu Remove the unwanted extension.
- Restart the browser and tap keys Alt + T.
- Select Options and then move to the General menu.
- Overwrite the URL in the Home Page section and then restart the browser.
- Launch Internet Explorer.
- Next, click the wrench icon for Settings.
- Then click Internet Options.
- After that, go to the Advanced tab.
- From there, click the Reset button. This will reset Internet Explorer’s settings to their default condition.
- Now click OK to save the changes made.
- Restart your computer.
Step 4: Next, tap the Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box and type “appwiz.cpl” in the field and press Enter to open the Programs and Features in Control Panel.
Step 5: From the list of programs installed, look for HideMySearches or any unfamiliar program that could be related to it under the list of installed programs and once you’ve found it, uninstall it.
Step 6: Edit your Hosts File.
- Tap the Win + R keys to open then type in %WinDir% and then click OK.
- Go to System32/drivers/etc.
- Open the hosts file using Notepad.
- Delete all the entries that contain HideMySearches.
- After that, save the changes you’ve made and close the file.
Step 7: Hold down Windows + E keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
Step 8: Navigate to the following directories and look for suspicious files associated to the browser hijacker such as the software bundle it came with and delete it/them.
Step 9: Close the File Explorer.
Step 10: Empty the contents of Recycle Bin.
Refer to the advanced instructions given below to ensure the removal of HideMySearches as well as all the file residues it left behind.
Perform a full system scan using [product-code]. To do so, follow these steps:
- Turn on your computer. If it’s already on, you have to reboot it.
- After that, the BIOS screen will be displayed, but if Windows pops up instead, reboot your computer and try again. Once you’re on the BIOS screen, repeat pressing F8, by doing so the Advanced Option shows up.
- To navigate the Advanced Option use the arrow keys and select Safe Mode with Networking then hit
- Windows will now load the Safe Mode with Networking.
- Press and hold both R key and Windows key.
- If done correctly, the Windows Run Box will show up.
- Type in the URL address, [product-url] in the Run dialog box and then tap Enter or click OK.
- After that, it will download the program. Wait for the download to finish and then open the launcher to install the program.
- Once the installation process is completed, run [product-code] to perform a full system scan.
- After the scan is completed click the “Fix, Clean & Optimize Now” button.