What is "Certified Search" browser toolbar?
Certified Search is a browser hijacker program that modifies your Internet search settings and it changes your Internet home page to Certified toolbar search engine (search.certified-toolbar.com – DON'T visit this link).
Why you should remove it?
The "Certified Search" toolbar was most probably installed on your computer without your knowledge. These toolbars are quite often bundled in the installation files of other legitimate programs (software tools and stuff). People go through the installation (of the legitimate software) without noticing that they are also installing additional software (the toolbar) that is not necessary for the legitimate software to run.
These toolbars ("Certified Search" in this case) proceed to hijack your browser settings without your knowledge and replace the default search engine (99% Google) to their search engine, that emulates Google's search appearance, but with banners and text ads added all over the place. They also modify the search results to promote products and also install some flashing ads on the browser's toolbars. Some of these programs also log your browsing habits and spy on your sensitive data like passwords and emails.
You MUST remove these toolbars A.S.A.P. Your computer is at a great risk! Never underestimate the power that these little browser toolbars can have on your life.
How to remove it
Beware, just uninstalling it from control-panel by Add or Remove programs (or Programs and Features in newer versions of Windows) will NOT make it go away. There are some extra steps you have to follow to make it go away.
First of all uninstall these two "applications" from Windows:
- Certified Toolbar.
- Protected Search.
In case you don't know how to do that, here is what you have to do:
- For Windows 8/7/Vista click at: Start > Control Panel >Programs and Features.
- For Windows XP click at: Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs.
Now that you have done that, you must clean your internet browsers from toobars, plugins and extensions that are still in there, and also change the default search engine back to google or to whatever you like to use. The instructions on how to do that are different for each browser. Here are detailed instructions for "Internet Explorer", Firefox and Chrome.
Clean "Certified Search" from Google Chrome
Click on chrome's menu (the gear icon at the upper right corner) and choose "Settings". On "Startup" section, choose "Set Pages" and delete the unwanted home page (search.certified-toolbar.com) from there by pressing the "X" symbol on the right. Then set your preferred startup page (for example http://www.google.com) and press "OK".
Then on “Appearance” section, select the “Show Home button” checkbox and choose “Change”. Delete the unwanted webpage (search.certified-toolbar.com) from "Open this page" box. Set your preferred webpage to open when you press your “Home page” button and click “OK”.
Then go to the “Search” section and press the “Manage search engines“ button. Select your preferred default search engine and press "Make default". Choose the unwanted search engine (Certified search) and remove it by pressing the “X” symbol. Choose “Done” to close “Search engines” window.
Finally, choose “Extensions” on the left pane. Remove any unwanted extension from there by pressing the "recycle icon" to the right.
Clean "Certified Search" from Internet Explorer
From Internet Explorer's main menu, click "Tools " and choose "Internet Options". At "General" tab, delete the unwanted home page (search.certified-toolbar.com) from "Home page" box & type your preferred homepage (e.g. www.google.com).
Then at the "Search" section, click on "Settings". Click on “Search Providers” options at the left pane, choose the one you want and press "Set as default" and select the unwanted search provider (certified search) and click "Remove".
Finally, click on "Toolbars and Extensions" options at the left pane, select any unwanted toolbar or extension (certified search) that exists there and click "Disable" on all of them.
Clean “Certified Search” from Firefox
To clean “Certified Search” from FF, first click “Options” on the main menu and in the “General” tab, delete the unwanted homepage (search.certified-toolbar.com) from the “Home Page” box and set your preferred homepage (eg. www.google.com).
Then, go again to the Firefox menu and under “Tools”, select “Manage Add-ons”, click “Extensions” on the left pane and remove the unwanted extension (Certified search) by clicking the “remove” button.
Finally, click on the “Plugins” options at the left pane and disable any unwanted plugin found there by clicking the “Disable” button.
But we are not done yet! We have to clean the remaining malicious registry entries and files left in our system
We will need a couple of free excellent software tools to scan and clean the computer. First download “AdwCleaner” utility. After you download it, close all open programs and run AdwCleaner. At the main window press the “Scan” button. Wait until the scan is completed, review its findings and press the “Clean” button to remove all the entries it has found.
One final step. Download and install "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free". (Beware: at the last screen of installation uncheck the box next to "Enable free Trial of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO" in order to use the free version of this GREAT software). Run it and go to the "Scanner" tab and click "Quick Scan" and wait until this process is finished. Click the "Show Results" button and review its findings and then select all of them (right click to "Select All" of them). Click the "Remove Selected" button.
That's all folks! It might sound like a lot of work, but in reality you'll be free from the "Certified Search" nuisance in less than 15 minutes if you follow these instructions. Did it work for you? Please leave a comment in the comment section below or even better: like and share this blog post in the social networks to help spread the word about these really annoying crap windows hijackers.