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Browser Keeps Switching to Yahoo Search: Here’s How to Fix It for Chrome, Firefox, Opera

Browsers let you choose which search engine you use. Some browsers will have a few popular search engines configured when you install them, and you only have to select which one you want to use. Outside of the presets, users can set any search engine they want as the default one.

The search engine can be changed whenever a user decides they want to switch. It isn’t set in stone but it is a change that must be made by the user. There are apps and add-ons or extensions that can change your search engine but they will ask for permission to make the change.

In some cases, an app can maliciously change the browser’s search engine. You may be able to change it for a session but a restart of the system or the browser itself will change it back to whatever the malicious app set. If you’ve been afflicted with an app that keeps switching the browser over to Yahoo, here are a few things you can try to fix it.

Browser switches to Yahoo Search [FIX]

1. Reset the browser

When apps, add-ons, and extensions grew malicious enough to change the search engine in a browser, browsers countered with a reset feature. Most modern browsers have one.

Reset Chrome

Chrome is easy to reset;

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the more options button at the top right, and select ‘Settings’ from the menu.
  3. Click ‘Advanced‘ at the bottom, and then scroll all the way down to the Reset and clean up section.
  4. Click ‘Restore settings to their original defaults‘. Confirm the reset.

For more details on fixing a hijacked Chrome browser, check out our detailed post.

Reset Firefox

To reset Firefox;

  1. Open Firefox and click the hamburger icon at the top right.
  2. Go to Help>Troubleshooting Information.
  3. In the tab that opens, click the ‘Refresh Firefox‘ button.
  4. Confirm the refresh and you’re good to go.

Reset Opera

To reset Opera,

  1. Open Opera and expand the side bar.
  2. Select Settings and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll to the very end, and select the Reset settings to their original defaults option.
  4. Confirm the reset.

2. Clean the registry and AppData folder

Some apps add files to the AppData folder and modify the registry. These modifications don’t go away when you reset the browser. In some obscure cases, uninstalling and reinstalling a browser won’t get rid of these files and modifications. Here’s how you can fix them.

  1. Download MalwareBytes free.
  2. Run the app and run a scan.
  3. Fix/remove the infected files that the app finds and your browser will stop switching to Yahoo.

3. Uninstall/reinstall browser

Sometimes reinstalling the browser is what you need to fix the problem. Make sure you’ve backed up your data.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  3. Select your browser, and click the Uninstall button.
  4. Once the browser has been uninstalled, download it again, and install it.

4. Audit recent apps

If your browser has just started to change its search engine, a recent app that you’ve installed is likely to blame. If you’ve installed anything from Yahoo, you should probably get rid of it.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Apps group of settings.
  3. Open the Sort by dropdown and select ‘Install Date‘.
  4. View the apps you’ve recently installed and remove anything that you suspect might be the problem.
  5. Open Control Panel.
  6. Go to Programs>Uninstall a program.
  7. Sort the listed items by date and uninstall the ones you think might be malicious.

5. Check add-ons and extensions

Sometimes, an app isn’t to blame. Add-ons and/or extensions can also hijack the browser. Normally, a browser reset should fix the problem but if the extension is syncing to your browser from an online account e.g., in Chrome, it will keep coming back. It might also have left files in your profile folder.

  1. Open your browser’s Extensions’ page or Extension Manager.
  2. Look for the most recent ones you’ve installed and remove them.
  3. Reset the browser, and your problem should go away.
  4. If removing the most recently installed add-on/extension doesn’t do the job, remove or disable all of them and then perform a reset and a scan as well.
  5. Once the problem is gone, you can activate the add-ons/extensions again.

6. Delete your profile folder

It is possible that there is a malicious file somewhere in your profile folder.

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location;
C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local
  1. Look for a folder that belongs to the browser that you use.
  2. Inside, search for a Profile folder and delete it (You will lose your bookmarks, history, add-ons, etc).
  3. Uninstall and reinstall the browser.

Conclusion

It’s rare for a browser to be hijacked but it does still happen. Even when you’re extra careful, you can end up with an infected browser. To be safe, make sure you have some sort of anti-virus app on your system. Never download apps from untrusted sources, and pay close attention to the installation process of an app so that you do not summarily allow an app to make any and all changes that it wants.

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