Search Microsoft Security
Search Microsoft.com

Fix your hijacked web browser

Fix your hijacked web browser

Browser hijacking is a type of online fraud. Scammers use malicious software (malware) to take control of your computer's Internet browser and change how and what it displays when you're surfing the web.

If you keep your computer updated with the latest security software updates and practice safe Internet browsing, you're already doing a lot to help keep the hijackers away.

Don’t know if your browser has been hijacked? Read about the signs in What is browser hijacking?

If you are already a victim of a hijacked browser, the following instructions can help you free your browser from the hackers, restore browser settings, and boost browser security.

Help free your browser from hackers

Antivirus and antispyware software helps prevent and detect malware. If any malware does manage to bypass your firewall, antivirus and antispyware software will help remove that potentially dangerous software. If you have Windows 8 installed, antivirus software is included with the operating system. You are not required to do anything to set it up. If you are using earlier versions of Windows, Microsoft provides free antivirus software called Microsoft Security Essentials. Many of our partners also offer antivirus software.

Help restore your browser home page

If your home page keeps changing back to another page, this might be a sign that your computer is infected with a virus. After you have updated your computer with the latest antivirus software, restore your browser home page.

Learn how to change your home page in Internet Explorer

Download Internet Explorer

Help boost browser security by disabling add-ons

Many browser hijackings come from add-on software, also known as browser extensions, browser helper objects, or toolbars. These items can improve your experience on a website by providing multimedia or interactive content, such as animations. However, some add-on software can cause your computer to stop responding or display content that you don't want, such as pop-up ads. Internet Explorer warns you in the notification area of your browser if an add-on is slowing down your computer. You can also view the add-ons that you already have installed and disable the add-ons that you don't want by clicking the gear icon, and then clicking Manage add-ons.

To learn more, see Protect yourself when you use ActiveX controls.

Technical assistance

Contact your antivirus software vendor for assistance with identifying or removing virus or worm infections. If you need more help with virus-related issues, go to Microsoft Support. For worldwide support, see Worldwide Computer Security Information.

If you prefer to bring your computer to a local repair shop or have a repair person come to you, use the Microsoft Pinpoint tool to enter your ZIP Code and find a Microsoft partner in your area.

For general security information, visit the Virus and Security Solution Center.