Sometimes when you’re busy working at your computer and you notice multiple Internet Explorer windows start opening at random and you cannot stop them. Sometimes, you may be even notice that your home page mysteriously changed. When you notice these, it usually means that your browser has been hijacked, usually by a piece of malware. While these symptoms are unsettling, you can reclaim Internet Explorer and return it to functionality.
Browser hijacking is the modification of a web browser’s settings by a malware, spyware or a virus. The term “hijacking” is used as the changes are performed without the user’s permission. A browser hijacker may replace the existing home page, error page, or search page with its own. These are generally used to force hits to a particular website, increasing its advertising revenue.
Some browser hijacking can be easily reversed, while other instances may be difficult to reverse. Various
software packages exist to prevent such modification.
Press “Ctrl-Alt-Del,” select “Task Manager” and click the “Processes” tab.
Find “iexplore.exe” in the running processes list and click on it. If more than one instance of iexplore.exe is running, press and hold the “Ctrl” and click each instance; doing so will enable you to select multiple instances at once.
Click the “End Process” button. All Internet Explorer windows should force close.
Click “Start,” type “inetcpl.cpl” in the Search box, and press “Enter” to bring up Internet Properties.
Click the “Delete … “ button under Browsing History, check all items in the Delete Browsing History dialog box and click “Delete.” Doing so will remove your temporary files and hopefully the culprit behind your browser hijack with them.
Click the “Privacy” tab in Internet Properties, make sure “Turn on Pop-up Blocker” is checked and click “Apply.” The Pop-up blocker helps prevent unwanted advertisement windows from appearing.
Click the “General” tab, and check the Web address listed in the Home Page section. The browser hijacker may have altered this. Change the address if needed, or click the “use blank” button if you want to open Internet Explorer with a blank page.
Launch your anti-virus program. If you don’t have one, Microsoft offers a free solution called Microsoft Security Essentials; there are also free and paid offerings on the market. If you need to install an anti-virus product at this juncture, use another computer to download the file and transfer it to your computer via flash drive or CD because Internet Explorer may still be compromised.
Update your anti-virus program’s security definitions, run a full scan, and remove any items found.
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