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Remove Instant Search Widget from Browsers, What Is It?

Instant Search Widget’s Rogue Behaviors

Remove instant search widget

There are many instant search widgets on the Internet and they are widely adopted by emails and search engines like Outlook and Google. But for this Instant Search Widget that lately appeared on Google Chrome, it has aroused discontents among PC users for some rogue behaviors:

  1. There’s no button that says “disable instant search” it only says enable next to the instant search widget.
  2. Instant search widget installs itself without permission and knowledge.
  3. The instant search widget gives rise to numbers of pop-up ads that ruin surfing experience.
  4. Some in-text messages are underlined with hyperlinks pointing to some commercial ends.


What Instant Search Widget Is?

Due to the above listed rogue behaviors, instant search widget has been widely accepted as virus and so most reports call is virus to gain more traffic for higher ranking in Google. This is actually one of the purposes that instant search widget serves. But then the widget is no more than a PUP (potentially unwanted program). Is it going to impose dangerous to your machine? To get more details in what instant search widget is for further information on what it is capable of, it is advisable to keep reading the rest of this article. Any question will be gladly answered by security assistance from VilmaTech Online Supports.

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A PUP can be any forms of BHO, such as adware, extension and browser hijacker/redirector. The term was created to describe a group of malicious items that utilize technologies to perform unpleasant deeds and therefore dodge automatic detection and deletion by installed anti-virus programs (note: security utilities detect virus according to virulent attribute code, without it, they can’t kill any item even some unpleasant scenarios have been incurred). The technologies employed by instant search widget are:

  1. BHO
  2. ActiveX
  3. JavaScript

These technologies have been used by programmers to preload browser widgets for quicker launch at each Windows start, to offer the most favorable search results according to browsing history and remember log-in credentials for easy access in case users forget the information.

These technologies can also be utilized maliciously, help instant search widget to load into system configuration for a persistent settlement on a target machine and take victims to the sites/ads with the content that browsing history indicates that the victim might be interested in.

Remove Instant Search Widget for Security

Though instant search widget by itself is not dangerous, it is just a PUP to publish information by force for more potential business and more traffic. Being one of the items (Cant Miss Coupons for instance) doing the same thing, instant search widget is not necessarily built strictly, thus bug can be easily found; besides, gaining soaring traffic and accessing to broader range of web sites as the widgets sticks to more computers, it becomes one of the targets by infections in the wild.

As a consequence, instant search widget would fall into the use of infections to preload virulent codes into system configuration without too much interference and record log-in credentials without knowledge, causing additional affections and information loss. Therefore, it is recommended to remove any persistent application like instant search widget for security. As anti-virus programs are not going to remove it, the below manual steps would help you out. On the occurrence of unexpected issues due to additional affection, please do feel free to get specialized technical help from VilmaTech Online Support for quick fix.

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Remove Instant Search Widget from Browsers

1.    End the processes supporting instant search widget’s operation.

Right click on instant search widget for its file name, then search for the file name in local disk to find out its path.
search for Remove instant search widget's file name

                                               (file name example)

  • Click open a folder.
  • Hit on the search icon/button.
  • Type “instant search widget” and its file name respectively into all the given blanks.
  • Press “Search button” to search for its path.

a.    show path on Task Manager.

  • Hold Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination together will bring up Task Manager (for Windows8 users, enable search charm bar and type ‘Task’ will bring up Task Manager window).
  • Hit on View tab to select “Select Columns”.

select colums to end  instant search widget's processes

  • Tick “Image Path Name” and PID.
  • Remove the processes with the path name pointing to instant search widget.

b. show path and services in “Running Tasks”.

  • To get to System Information:
  1. Windows7/XP/Vista users should access All Programs from Start Menu and select Accessories for System Tools.
  2. Windows8 users should access All Apps on Start Screen to select Accessories for System Tools.
  • Click open System Information to unfold Software Environment.
  • Choose Running Tasks will see the path for each service and program in the right pane.
  • End the services with the path name pointing to instant search widget.

access system information to remove instant search widget's services
2.    Remove files generated by instant search widget after showing hidden items.

a. unveil all hidden items.

Windows 7/XP/Vista

  • Enter into Control Panel to select “user accounts and family safety” for ‘Folder Options’.
  • Hit View tab to tick ‘Show hidden files and folders’ and non-tick ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)’.
  • Press ‘OK’ button.

show hidden files to remove the items generated by instant search widget

Windows 8

  • Click open Windows Explorer and hit on its View tab.
  • Tick ‘File name extensions’ and ‘Hidden items’.
  • Press ‘OK’ button.

show hidden files to remove the items generated by instant search widget on Windows8
b.    access to the directories found in Step1 and remove the items generated recently(if one can remember the date of instant search widget, it would be better).

  • Right click on the space to select ‘arrange icons by’/ ‘sort by’.
  • Select‘ Day’/‘Date’/‘Modified’.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the folder you are inspecting.
  • Remove files created on the day when instant search widget was firstly detected and are not seen before.

Arrangebyday - remove the items generated when instant search widget was firstly found
3.    Access registry to remove the keys and values related to instant search widget.
(tip: before removing the following items from the Database, it is recommended to backup the registry in case one doesn’t find one of the following listed items and remove the similar one due to different OS to cause problems. Video attached.)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Instant Search Widget\DisplayIcon %AppData%\[RANDOM CHARACTERS]\[RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe,0
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Instant Search Widget
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Instant Search Widget\UninstallString “%AppData%[RANDOM CHARACTERS][RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe” -u
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Instant Search Widget\ShortcutPath “%AppData%\[RANDOM CHARACTERS]\[RANDOM CHARACTERS].exe” -u
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Instant Search Widget\DisplayName Instant Search Widge

4.    Remove instant search widget extension.

Internet Explorer

  • Access IE’s Tools menu and access Manage add-ons.
  • Remove instant search widget extension in ‘Toolbars and Extensions’ and ‘Search Providers’ respectively.

remove instant search widget's extenstion on IE
Mozilla Firefox

  • Access Firefox’s Tools menu to select Options.
  • Remove instant search widget extension from ‘Extensions’ and ‘Plugins’ respectively.

remove instant search widget's extenstion on Firefox
Google Chrome

  • Click on the wrench icon and select “Tools”.
  • Remove instant search widget extension from ‘Extensions’.

remove instant search widget's extenstion on Chrome

Instant Search Widget’s Purpose

What instant search widget aims at is money. By changing DNS settings to redirect victims to its partners site, popping up the products, or simply staying on a machine, the widget manages to intercept huge traffic and obtain profitable commission from online operators for high exposure. Even so, instant search widget can be potentially dangerous due to its loose structure and the technologies it adopts.

Notice on Instant Search Widget Removal

As what has been made clear on the preceding paragraphs that instant search widget could give rise to additional affections. Seek solutions to specific virus, navigate to virus reservoir. It is important to remove the additional infections before removing instant search widget completely or else instant search widget removal contributes nothing in protecting computer from being compromised.

Besides, as instant search widget is not detected as a virus, what it generates could appear as innocuous. Without rich knowledge on computing, it is hard to tell which belong to system and which are not. If you need expert help for a complete removal, please do contact VilmaTech Online Support here.

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