My son, Robi, asked me to download a game for him called Hay Day. I went to a download site and downloaded it from there ( I can’t recall which site now). When the exe file was downloading I was warned that there was something wrong in the download by my AVG virus checker, so I stopped the download and checked the computer with the AVG and Ad Aware programs. Clean bill of health. But by then all the browsers (IE11, Chrome and Firefox) were showing mystartsearch as the search engine on the home page. If you want to know what it is, go here: http://www.techsupportall.com/how-to-remove-mystartsearch-com-homepage-removal-help/ This website suggested downloading several anti-malware products, which I didn’t do as I was suspicious about why so many were needed.
I spent hours seeking suggestions on the internet as to how to get rid of this malware getting nowhere. I reinstalled Chrome and Firefox browsers. I got rid of all extensions from the browsers, reset the home page several times on each browser, and checked there were no programs installed that could be linked to this malware. In desperation I tried to delete all references to mystartsearch in the registry using RegEdit to find anything starting with mystart. No success in stopping the malware at all and I gave up at this point. I restarted the computer and signed in with my own user name – I share this computer with my son and I have a different user profile. I expected to have the same problem with my browser settings but surprisingly I didn’t!
Which brings me to a solution less drastic than reformatting the computer as many reported they did. This works on Windows 8.1 but will probably work on earlier Windows versions.
- Transfer your files from the common folders on your profile (e.g, Music, Documents, etc) to the C drive, external drive, or somewhere else outside your profile.
- Create a new user account*. If you try to use the same Microsoft email to create the new account it will not work as Win8 won’t accept two accounts tied to the same Microsoft email account on the same computer. So use a different account – since it is on a Windows machine you may as well get another Microsoft account.
- Restart the computer and log in to this new account.
- Put all the files you had transferred out of your old malware infected account into the appropriate folders in your new account.
- You can now delete your old user profile and bid good riddance to mystartsearch.
There are a few caveats here – the new profile account I started up was malware free, but Robi didn’t transfer any files to it. So if the infection would have been passed on by his files being transferred, I can’t say. Also, as it affects browsers, perhaps if browser settings are synched across machines, which is now a common occurrence, perhaps that will continue to spread the malware.
* To create a new user account on Win 7:
- You need Administrator rights to do this
- Go to the Start Button
- Click on Control Panel
- Click on Manage another account
- Click on Create a new account