What is Ad-Aware Secure Search

Note: Ad-Aware is reputable vendor of security software, with their famous antivirus and ad-blocking applications. It’s weird, that they released several browser add-ons like Web Companion or Ad-Aware Secure Search with implemented search engines from Visicom Media, known to be the developer of hijackers, adware and other potentially unwanted types of programs.

Ad-Aware Secure Search is a browser extension that can be installed in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer. It modifies new tab, homepage and search engine settings to defaultsearch.co, that redirects to lavasoft.gosearchresults.com. Unfortunately, these websites provide bad results and filled with sponsored ads. Users are unable to alter those settings until the removal of Ad-Aware Secure Search extension. However, even after complete elimination users see remnants in browsers because settings remain unchanged. Although, Ad-Aware is a vendor of security solutions, but such an alliance with advertising companies may only have a bad influence on overall computer security and users privacy. Therefore, it is better to remove Ad-Aware Secure Search and switch to using pure Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines.

Ad-Aware Secure Search

How Ad-Aware Secure Search infected your PC

Ad-Aware Secure Search is available in the Chrome Store and can be downloaded from there. Also, Lavasoft promotes it along with their security programs, so you can get it after installation of Ad-Aware Antivirus (Free or Pro), Ad-Aware Ad-Block, Web Companion or other. But the most unpleasant fact is, that Ad-Aware Secure Search can be bundled with a wide range of free utilities and programs like Adobe, Java, uTorrent, etc. In this case, users get an unexpected and unwanted additive installed along with familiar applications. There are few programs, that are able to remove Ad-Aware Secure Search and its leftover items and WiperSoft AntiSpyware and SpyHunter 5 are among them.

Download Ad-Aware Secure Search Removal Tool for Windows

Download Removal Tool

compatible with microsoft

To remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows completely we recommend you to use WiperSoft AntiSpyware from WiperSoft. It detects and removes all files, folders and registry keys of Ad-Aware Secure Search and several millions of other adware, hijackers, toolbars.

Alternative Removal Tool

Download SpyHunter

To remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows completely we recommend you to use SpyHunter 5 from EnigmaSoft Limited. It detects and removes all files, folders and registry keys of Ad-Aware Secure Search and several millions of other adware, hijackers, toolbars. The trial version of SpyHunter 5 offers virus scan and 1-time removal for FREE.

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search manually for free

Here is a manual step-by-step tutorial for full Ad-Aware Secure Search removal from your computer. This works 99% and was checked with the latest versions of Ad-Aware Secure Search installer on operating systems with the latest updates and browser versions.

Note: Ad-Aware Secure Search can be installed as Google Chrome extension as Administrator (you may see Installed by enterprise policy inscription near it), and this will not allow removal. Therefore, before starting removal process, perform these actions:

  1. Start the Command Prompt by clicking the Start menu button and typing command prompt (or just searching for “command prompt” in Windows 10 search field). Right click on the Command Prompt result and choose Run as Administrator.
  2. start command prompt as administrator

  3. Type in and execute the following commands:


    rd /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers"
    rd /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicy"
    gpupdate /force

  4. update group policy in windows

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Control Panel

To start removing Ad-Aware Secure Search you should uninstall it using Control Panel. It can be present by different names – “Ad-Aware Secure Search”. It should uninstall correctly, however, we recommend you to use IObit Uninstaller Pro to clean leftover items after uninstalling. Here are instructions for Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows XP:

  1. Click on Start button.
  2. Choose Control Panel.
  3. Click Add or Remove Programs.
  4. Find Ad-Aware Secure Search.
  5. Click Uninstall.

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows 7:

  1. Click Start button.
  2. Then go to Control Panel.
  3. Click Uninstall a Program.
  4. Find Ad-Aware Secure Search and click Uninstall.

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows 8:

  1. Hover mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner to see Menu.
  2. Click Search.
  3. After that click Apps.
  4. Then Control Panel.
  5. Click Uninstall a Program under Programs.
  6. Find Ad-Aware Secure Search, click Uninstall.

Remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows 10:

There are 2 ways to uninstall Ad-Aware Secure Search from Windows 10

Way one
  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. In opened menu choose Settings.
  3. Click on the System tile.
  4. Click Apps & features and locate Ad-Aware Secure Search in the list.
  5. Click on it and then click Uninstall button near it.
Way two (classic)
  1. Right-click on the Start button.
  2. In opened menu choose Programs and Features.
  3. Locate Ad-Aware Secure Search in the list.
  4. Click on it and then click Uninstall button above.

Cannot uninstall Ad-Aware Secure Search

In some cases Ad-Aware Secure Search won’t uninstall and gives you message that “You do not have sufficient access to uninstall Ad-Aware Secure Search. Please, contact your system administrator” when you try to remove it from Control Panel or “Access denied” error when removing Ad-Aware Secure Search folder and files. This happens, because process or service does not allow you to do it. In this case I will recommend you to use SpyHunter 5 or Malwarebytes AntiMalware or uninstall Ad-Aware Secure Search in Safe Mode. To boot in Safe Mode do the following:

  1. Reboot your computer.
  2. While it starts booting type F8 button.
  3. This will open Advanced Boot Options menu.
  4. Choose Safe Mode and wait until Windows loads.
  5. Go to Control Panel > Uninstall a program and remove “Ad-Aware Secure Search”

>> See detailed instructions and video tutorial on how to boot in Safe Mode

Remove malicious add-ons from your browsers

Uninstalling Ad-Aware Secure Search from Control Panel often does not bring desired effect. It sometimes have browser extension and it may still be active in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Here are instructions on how to remove Ad-Aware Secure Search related extension from your browsers manually.

Google Chrome:

  1. Start Google Chrome browser
  2. In address box type (or copy-paste) chrome://extensions/.
  3. Find Ad-Aware Secure Search.
  4. Click the trash can icon to remove them.
  5. Also remove other suspicious extensions from the list.

Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Start Mozilla Firefox browser.
  2. In address box type (or copy-paste) about:addons.
  3. Choose Ad-Aware Secure Search.
  4. Click Disable or Remove button.
  5. Remove all suspicious extensions from the list.

Internet Explorer (9, 10, 11):

Note: There is no feature to remove browser extensions from browser in latest version of Internet Explorer. To remove Ad-Aware Secure Search from Internet Explorer, please, perform instructions for uninstalling program from Control Panel. To disable Ad-Aware Secure Search, please, do the following:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on gear/asterisk icon in the top-right corner.
  3. In opened menu Manage Add-ons.
  4. Select Toolbars and Extensions.
  5. Click Disable Ad-Aware Secure Search.
  6. Also disable other suspicious extensions from the list.

Opera Browser:

Generally, Ad-Aware Secure Search does not install in Opera browser however you can always double check. Do the following:

  1. Start Opera browser.
  2. Go to Tools > Extensions > Manage Extensions.
  3. Find Ad-Aware Secure Search extension.
  4. Click Uninstall button.
  5. Also remove other suspicious extensions from the list.

Reset browsers settings (homepage, default search)

Ad-Aware Secure Search installs search engine that hijacks your browsers. Here is instruction to reset your browsers homepage, newtab and search engine to default values.

Google Chrome:

  1. Start Google Chrome browser
  2. In address box type (or copy-paste) chrome://settings/.
  3. Scroll down and find Show advanced settings link.
  4. Click on it and scroll down to the bottom again.
  5. Click Reset browser settings button and click Reset to confirm.

Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Start Mozilla Firefox browser.
  2. In address box type (or copy-paste) about:support.
  3. Click Reset Firefox… button.
  4. Click Reset Firefox to confirm.

Internet Explorer (9, 10, 11):

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. Click on gear/asterisk icon in the top-right corner.
  3. In opened menu choose Internet options.
  4. Click Advanced tab.
  5. Click Reset button.
  6. Choose Delete personal settings and click Reset.

Opera Browser:

  1. Close Opera and open command prompt from the start menu.
  2. Type following command del %AppData%\Opera\Opera\operaprefs.ini
  3. Start Opera.

Alternative way to remove adware browser extensions and reset browser settings

avast browser cleanup For safe and effective browser extension removal use avast! Browser Cleanup utility. Run it with administrator privileges and remove all extensions with bad rating including related to Ad-Aware Secure Search. You can also reset your browser settings for each of your browsers: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.

Download Browser Cleanup

Cleaning browsers shortcuts

shortcut cleaner You can clean your browser shortcuts manually right-clicking on your browser icon, choosing “Properties” and removing hijacker address from “Target” field (leave just the path to your browser). However it is easier to use free Shortcut Cleaner from BleepingComputer. Download it here – its FREE:

Download Shortcut Cleaner

Final tips

Be careful surfing the internet and downloading software, as programs like Ad-Aware Secure Search may become a real headache as they are hard to remove and break your privacy. To keep safe from such threats we recommend you always use antivirus and one of anti-malware programs available on the market. One of the best anti-spyware and anti-malware programs is SpyHunter 5. It can protect your PC from threats like Ad-Aware Secure Search.

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