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Remove pop-ups, redirects, and other malware

If you're seeing pop-up ads that won't go away, ads from sources you don't recognize, or you suddenly have a homepage that you know you didn't set, you might have an unwanted program called malware installed on your computer.

Check if you have malware

If you have one or more of these symptoms, it's likely that your device is infected with malware.

  • Your browser doesn't block pop-up ads from showing
  • Your homepage, startup page, or search engine has changed to a site you don't recognize
  • Unfamiliar extensions or toolbars are added to your browser
  • You're seeing a search engine that looks like Google, but with the wrong logo or web address
  • You see ads that are labeled "Ads by [name]", but you don't recognize the name.

Ways to remove malware

If malware on your computer has changed your settings, follow the steps below to reset your settings and remove unwanted programs.

Get rid of unwanted programs

You should remove malware and other computer programs that you don't remember installing. You have to remove these programs before you can get your settings back to normal.

Programs to remove

Here are some common programs that are known to change your search settings.

  • Delta Search

Windows users

To help find these tricky files, you can download and run the Chrome Cleanup Tool, which searches your computer for suspicious programs and offers to remove them for you. 

Mac users

  1. Open Finder.
  2. On the left side, click Applications.
  3. Look for any programs you don't recognize.
  4. Double click Uninstall or Uninstaller and follow the steps for uninstalling the program. If you don't see these options, drag and drop the icon from the Applications folder into the Trash.
  5. Empty your trash when you're done.
Reset your browser settings

After you have removed unwanted programs from your computer, reset your browser settings.

Learn how to reset your settings on Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Get help from the Search forum

If resetting your browser settings doesn't work, visit the Google Search Forum. In your post, mention what steps you've already taken to fix the problem.

Report bad sites or programs to Google

Tips to protect your browser in the future

Only download from sites you trust

Sometimes you download a program you want, but the program also contains bad software. Even though you can see and use the program you wanted, the bad program might be running in the background. These programs can do things like add toolbars or ads to your browser.

To avoid this problem, only download programs from trusted sites.

Carefully review updates for your extensions

Safe extensions that you already have on your computer are sometimes purchased by hackers. When you update the extension, they can install malware onto your computer.

To prevent this, always read through the update notification carefully.

Katie is a Search expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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