In this article we are going to try and help you remove the Loadstart.net “virus”. Our instructions cover all Windows versions as well as most browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc.
If your browser has started broadcasting ads or its default homepage and search engine have been changed, or in case it has begun redirecting you to unfamiliar pages, it is very likely that it has been contaminated with a browser hijacker. An example of such software is Loadstart.net “virus”, which we will be thoroughly discussing below.
What is a browser hijacker?
A browser hijacker is a program that possesses the features listed above: it could completely modify the settings and the appearance of all your browsers – Chrome, Explorer or Firefox. It might greatly annoy you with its regular advertisement streams in the form of pop-ups, tabs, colorful banners or differently-shaped box messages. The possible redirection that might come as a result of its activity could really scare you, because the loaded pages might be unknown. Also, you may not really like the new homepage and search engine this program could set on your browser. Overall, its effects on your computer are not harmless, but might be greatly disturbing. In fact, this often leads people to believe that they’ve gotten involved with a virus. As a typical example of a browser hijacker, Loadstart.net “virus” isn’t even close to any known kind of malware. For instance, typical Ransomware will self-install on your computer, access your data storages and encrypt all the used data from there, which Loadstart.net “virus” cannot do. Another example is a typical malicious program like any Trojan – it will sneak into your PC using a vulnerability and it will allow the hackers behind it to spy on you, even watch you through your web camera, copy your private credentials and rob you, or hijack your identity and use it for illegal activities. None of this is something any kind of browser hijacker could do.
Anyway, why is this program bothering you with all the modifications that it causes?
All the annoying changes that Loadstart.net might result in are actually legal and don’t cause any real damage to your PC. Its creators have programmed this piece of software to just advertise new homepages, search engines, products, services and so on. Promoting these things is neither malicious, nor illegal. Of course, the streams of pop-ups and banners that might be overwhelming you while you are surfing may not be pleasant at all, but they are not something dangerous. In fact, the reason why developers create hijackers is the fact that using them for advertising later makes them sufficient a profit. However, if it is not a virus, how did your PC end up being contaminated? Well, Loadstart.net could come from a lot of diverse sources. Any torrent or shareware-spreading website might have it incorporated inside and once you visit or download anything from such a place, you give Loadstart.net permission to enter your PC. It could also be hiding inside program bundles. However, simply downloading the bundle will NOT infect you with an ad-producing program. Installing it improperly, on the other hand, may leave you infected.
What is a program bundle? How should it be installed?
A program bundle usually represents several free programs put together and distributed as a package. It’s fairly common that these bundles will include irritating programs, like Adware-based pieces and browser hijackers. The proper way of incorporating such a bundle into your system in case you want a program from it is NOT to install the whole content, but only the particular piece that you really need. The installation feature that will give you that chance is the custom (also called advanced) one. Use it for the completion of the installation process, and you will have the opportunity to opt out of all the programs that you do not want. We should also mention the installation steps you cannot afford to select, if you want a healthy and safe system. They are all the ones that promise a quick or automatic installation, as they tend to install the entire content of any bundle, including the annoying ad-generating programs.
How is it possible to remove such a disturbing hijacker?
The process of removing Loadstart.net could be completed via the Guide you will find after the summary. It has been created with the purpose of helping in such unpleasant situations. Please don’t hesitate to write to us, if you have any questions or simply want to let us know that we were able to help.
Remove Loadstart.net “Virus” (Chrome/Firefox)
Many types of malware will restrict your access to their core files. It is highly recommended that you reboot your PC in safe mode before attempting to use this guide.
- To enable Safe Mode reboot you PC, then hit F8 repeatedly. When the corresponding menu opens please select Safe Mode with Networking.
WARNING! If you are using Windows 8,0 or later and/or your operating system is installed on a fast SSD drive this may fail to work. In this case click here to see how to start your PC in Safe Mode.
#1: Uninstall the malicious program from your control panel
Enter control panel to look for any suspicious programs, which may have installed on your PC. To do that:
- Navigate to your Desktop
- Press simultaneously the Win button together with the R button (Win+R)
- In the Run window that just opened type appwiz.cpl
- Go through the list of programs and find Loadstart.net or anything else that may seem suspicious. Right-click on it and choose the uninstallation option
WARNING! Carefully read any confirmation messages that may be created in the process. Sometimes you may get offers to download more Adware applications and this can be linked to either the Yes or the No answer depending on the wording!
Go through the list of programs again and check online for any potentially unwanted programs. We have an article that covers this awesome free software that makes sure that your computer is free from bloatware and programs that you don’t need.
#2: Remove Loadstart.net From Chrome
Now we’ll remove the extensions that the malware has attached to your browser.
- Open your Google Chrome browser.
- Type chrome://extensions/ in the URL address bar and press Enter.
- Click on “Developer Mode” on the top right and look for the extension installed by Loadstart.net and anything that might be related to it. Copy their IDs (the string of letters), then remove them by clicking on the trash bin icon.
- Type Regedit in the Windows Start Menu and press Enter. Go in : HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Google\Chrome\Extensions and delete the entries corresponding to the suspicious IDs you recorded.
#3: Remove Loadstart.net From Firefox
- Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type “about:support” in the URL address bar and press Enter.
- Click on the “Refresh Firefox” button on the right and confirm.
#4 Remove Loadstart.net From Internet Explorer
- Open your Internet Explorer internet browser.
- Click on the Gear icon on the up right, then on manage add-ons.
- Go through the list disable any suspicious extensions.
#5 Remove any leftover parasitic processes
From the task manager:
- Use Ctrl + Shift + Esc and open the Task manager, then click on the Processes
- Go through the list of processes and look for unknown or otherwise suspicious entries.
- If you see anything suspicious right click on the process and shoes Open File Location, then terminate the process and delete any files you find in the directory.
WARNING! If the directory you open from this menu has no files inside of it it’s probably because the malware has hidden them. You need to reveal hidden files and folders in order to be able to see them. Click here if you don’t know how to do that.
From the start menu:
- Press simultaneously the Win button together with the R button (Win+R)
- In the Run window that just opened type msconfig
- Click on the Startup tab.
This menu controls which programs are loaded when windows starts after a reboot. Disable anything that seems suspicious. Optionally you can also disable any program that you don’t need and also has a high impact on your startup time.
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