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Remove HighlightSearches PUP

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rp_adware-2-150x150.jpgA new ad-related program that appears to hijack possibly all browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome) installed on the user PC has appeared by the name of HighlightSearches. The program may claim that it takes the user to ‘the next page faster’, according to some reports, however in reality is a PUP(Potentially Unwanted Program). There have been reports that it displays ad-supported search results that might in some cases redirect to third-party sites.

Download a System Scanner, to See If Your System Has Been Affected By HighlightSearches.

HighlightSearches – How Does It Work?

This application may come on the user computer as a result of the ‘Fast Clicking’ syndrome in some users when installing free programs from the web. Some Setup programs may have such ‘extras’ embedded in them. These PUPs are usually included in some of the installation steps that most users tend to overlook.

Once this unwanted program is installed on a certain computer, it may begin to run a process in the Windows Task Manager, by the name of abengine.exe, report affected users. The program content may be situated in C:/Program Files(x86)/Highlightsearches folder. In there, an ‘uninstall’ program may be found that deletes it. However, users claim that after uninstall some files could be restored for the program to work again on the browsers. This can usually be done by adding registry values in the Windows Registry Editor.

PUPs such as these are usually created with the purpose of making profits to their developers, by taking advantage of pay-per-click schemes and third party affiliate relationships. HighlightSearches may change some settings on the browser to allow the installation of LSOs(Local Shared Objects) or HTTP cookies. These cookies may aggregate non-personal information about the user’s online clicks, web searches or browsing history. This is usually done with the purpose of displaying ad content based on those, increasing the likely-hood of a user clicking on them.

After being clicked on, the ad-supported results may lead to some malicious third-party sites, that could be associated with:

-Non-personal information stealing.
-Obtaining of personally identifiable information (PII).
-Downloading of malicious files onto the victim’s PC (Trojan Horses, Ransomware, Adware, Rootkit, Viruses, Worms, etc.)
-Fake tech support toll-free scams.
-Hoax prize claiming (‘Fill out this form to get it now!’).
-Hoax product trials (‘Complete free registration here!’).

The abovementioned methods cyber-crooks use to obtain data via third-party scam domains are probably not even the half of their real number because attackers are developing new tactics on a daily basis. This is why it is highly recommended to change your browsing behavior and inform yourself about the latest threats regularly.

Removal Manual for HighlightSearches Ads

If you have detected any advertisements or applications with text similar to ‘Powered by HighlightSearches’, ‘by HighlightSearches’ or programs and features associated with HighlightSearches, security experts advise to remove any traces of the software swiftly. To do this, their recommendations are to follow the step-by-step guide below to uninstall this program. Since it may still be active after uninstalling, an imperative advice is to download and scan your computer with a special anti-malware tool that will eliminate all traces of it. Also, by installing such cyber-protection software, you are insuring yourself from future attacks against your PC information.

Spy Hunter scanner will only detect the threat. If you want the threat to be automatically removed, you need to purchase the full version of the anti-malware tool.Find Out More About SpyHunter Anti-Malware Tool / How to Uninstall SpyHunter

1. Remove/Uninstall HighlightSearches

1. Remove/Uninstall HighlightSearches in Windows

Here is a method in few easy steps to remove that program. No matter if you are using Windows 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program get left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, mistakes with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:

  • Hold the Windows Logo Button and “R” on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear (fig.1).
  • uninstall-virus-fig1

  • In the field type in “appwiz.cpl” and press ENTER (fig.2).
  • uninstall-virus-fig2

  • This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC.
    Select the program that you want to remove, and press “Uninstall” (fig.3).
  • uninstall-virus-fig3

    Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall HighlightSearches.

    2. Restore the settings in your browser

    2. Remove HighlightSearches from your browser

    Remove a toolbar from Mozilla FirefoxRemove a toolbar from Google Chrome Remove a toolbar from Internet Explorer Remove a toolbar from Safari
    Start Mozilla Firefox Open the menu window


    Select the “Add-ons” icon from the menu


    Select HighlightSearches and click “Remove


    After HighlightSearches is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red “X” in the top right corner and start it again.

    Start Google Chrome and Open the drop menu


  • Move the cursor over “Tools” and then from the extended menu choose “Extensions
  • uninstall-fig8

  • From the opened “Extensions” menu locate HighlightSearches and click on the garbage bin icon on the right of it.
  • uninstall-fig9

  • After HighlightSearches is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red “X” in the top right corner and start it again.
  • Start Internet Explorer:

  • Click “‘Tools’ to open the drop menu and select ‘Manage Add-ons’
  • uninstall-fig10

  • In the ‘Manage Add-ons’ window, make sure that in the first window ‘Add-on Types’, the drop menu ‘Show’ is on ‘All add-ons’
  • uninstall-fig11

    Select HighlightSearches to remove, and then click ‘Disable’. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected toolbar, and some additional toolbars might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click ‘Disable’.


    After HighlightSearches has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red ‘X’ in the top right corner and start it again.

    Start Safari

    Open the drop menu by clicking on the sprocket icon in the top right corner.

    From the drop menu select ‘Preferences’
    In the new window select ‘Extensions’
    Click once on HighlightSearches
    Click ‘Uninstall’


    A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall HighlightSearches. Select ‘Uninstall’ again, and the HighlightSearches will be removed.

    3. Remove HighlightSearches automatically with Spy Hunter Malware - Removal Tool.

    3. Remove HighlightSearches automatically with Spy Hunter Malware – Removal Tool.

    To clean your computer with the award-winning software Spy Hunter – donload_now_140
    It is highly recommended to run a scan before purchasing the full version of the software to make sure that the current version of the malware can be detected by SpyHunter.


    Berta Bilbao

    Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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