Tips to Avoid Malware in the Future

If you have malware on your computer, you can always install an antimalware program and run a scan to try to remove it. But some experts suggest that even if you do that, it is not a given that all malware can be removed—once it gets access to your system, some of its associated files may prove close to impossible to extract.

So naturally, that means you should try preventing the malware from getting on your computer in the first place.

Here are some of the most common ways you can avoid getting malware on your PCs:

  • Be cautious when downloading. You can anticipate finding malware on some websites more than others. If you are using a reliable web browser, it should already provide timely protection by alerting you to sites littered with threats upon visiting them—do not ignore those warnings. What’s more, try not to visit any websites that you think maybe untrustworthy: Torrenting sites may offer handy legal files, and the founders are not necessarily evil, but you need to remember that random people around the world are uploading each of those files, including the directories of such sites riddled with illegal movie files. A notorious niche for malware is sites that host or share torrents for this reason—not everyone is interested in helping you download free files without getting something in return. Often that return comes in the form of malware tucked away within the files you download, tricking you into thinking that they are only movies.
  • Install (full paid versions of) third-party antimalware programs if you can. If your operating system is not providing adequate protection from malware threats, you ought to look into third-party programs. They will not always protect you in real-time for free, but the paid versions often do. That means if the program detects the file you are about to download is malware, it lets you know about it with a warning. At this stage, Microsoft Windows does not automatically block potentially unwanted programs, so third-party protection for malware may still be sensible to use.
  • Keep all data and personal information safe. The malware only becomes a problem when it nestles its way into your operating system, and in the precise location that its developer had set out for it. Simply being on your computer does not necessarily mean you encounter computer woes; it is what it does from that position that dictates your computer’s outcome. Moreover, not all malware is trying to cause computer problems. Sometimes it wants to snoop on your data instead. To keep prying malware at bay, look into ways of keeping your data safe, such as using file encryption. Windows 10 comes with EFS for encrypting individual files and also BitLocker encryption for the full disk.
  • Keep your software up to date. It does not matter what software you have; if it is outdated, then it may also be insecure. Simply being outdated software does not necessarily open up new avenues for vulnerabilities. Rather, new updates potentially close old vulnerabilities. It can be said with certainty that your software is safe to continue using if you know there are no vulnerabilities. However, if antivirus or manufacturers find vulnerabilities, updates are critical. If you do not want to follow the news every day, it is best to keep updating and know that you are safe. That means ensuring your operating systems are updated with their regular over-the-air software update rollouts. For Windows users, that means keeping the Windows Update automatic updates enabled, so the automatic updates can arrive when Microsoft has them prepared for your machine. Additionally, only uninstall a Windows update if you know your PC has an issue with its current software version.
  • Keep networks secure. All your computers (desktops, laptops, smartphones), and other peripherals such as printers, when connected to WiFi, are often connected to the same network. Ensure a secure network with a password. Otherwise, your WiFi connection will be open. The best security today is with WPA or WPA2 encryption. You typically do not have much to worry about here, as all competitive WiFi providers automatically implement it. But make sure it stays that way after you begin using it by not disabling the encryption. 
  • Do not use open WiFi. You have heard the warning: stay away from that open WiFi you get at airports, unless you need it. The idea behind this warning is because the connection is considered public that it also means people with malicious intent have easy access to it. Thus, the information on your smartphones, tablets, and laptops cannot be properly protected with open WiFi connections.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to remove the malware from your computer.

Method One: How to Remove Browser Hijacker by Resetting Browser to Default Settings and Cleaning Up Browser

If you see some of these problems, you might have malware installed on your computer. If the malware is secluded to the browser, you should be able to remove it by resetting the browser’s settings.

  • Pop-up ads continuously interrupting your web browsing experience
  • New browser tabs loading websites which differentiate from your defaults selected
  • Unwanted web browser extensions and toolbars keep coming back
  • The web browser redirects to webpages or ads that you did not request
  • Fake alerts regarding a virus or an infected device

You can avoid this unwanted software in the future by only downloading files from secure sites.

Do step 1, step 2, or step 3 depending on what it is that you would like to do.

1. To Reset Google Chrome

Here is how you can reset the browser settings from the Settings and more menu in Google Chrome:

a. Click on the Settings and more (Alt+F) three-dotted menu icon, and then click on the Settings link from the menu. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Settings

b. Scroll down and then click on Advanced at the bottom of the page. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Advanced settings

c. Under the Reset and clean up heading, click on the Restore settings to their original defaults link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Restore settings to their original defaults

d. From the Reset settings overlay, click on the Reset settings button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Reset settings dialog

e. Under the Reset and clean up heading once again, click on the Clean up computer link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Clean up computer

f. Next to where it says Find and remove harmful software, click on the Find button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Google Chrome: Find harmful software

You can now close the Google Chrome web browser and continue using your computer if you like.

2. To Reset Mozilla Firefox

Here is how you can reset the browser settings from the Settings and more menu in Firefox:

a. Click on the Settings and more three-lined menu icon, and then click on the Help link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Mozilla Firefox: Help

b. Click on the Troubleshooting Information link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Mozilla Firefox: Troubleshooting information

c. Click on the Refresh Firefox button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Mozilla Firefox: Reset Firefox

d. Click on the Refresh Firefox button when you get the confirmation dialog box.

Refresh Firefox dialog

You can now close the Mozilla Firefox browser and continue using your computer if you like.

3. To Reset Microsoft Edge

Here is how you can reset the browser settings from the Settings and more menu in Microsoft Edge:


  • As of January 2020, the new Chromium-powered Microsoft Edge browser has been made generally available, and it comes with a built-in Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) blocker. It will not have helped you in preventing any malware yet because Microsoft has the Potentially Unwanted Program blocker turned off by default. The reason for this is because it’s still debated whether a PUP is indeed malware since some PUPs can prove useful to some people, hence the term “potentially” in Potentially Unwanted Program.
  • In times past, you would have had to reset the Microsoft Edge browser from the Settings application in Windows 10. That did not make much sense if Microsoft wanted people who use other operating systems to use their web browser. And since alternative operating systems are gaining additional market share, it meant that many Mac users, in particular, could not reset Edge. In the updated Chromium-powered version of Edge, Microsoft has made a change so you can now reset the browser from its settings, similar to what you would find with Google Chrome. They have also removed the option to reset the browser from the Settings app.

a. Click on the Settings and more (Alt+F) three-dotted menu icon, and then click on the Settings link from the menu. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Microsoft Edge: Settings

b. From the Settings menu, click on the Reset Settings link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Note: You only see the left Settings menu that you need is you have expanded the browser window so that it is large enough to show up.

c. Under the Reset settings heading, click on the Restore settings to their default values link. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Microsoft Edge: Restore settings to their default values

d. From the Reset settings overlay, click on the Reset button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Microsoft Edge: Reset settings dialog

You can now close the Microsoft Edge browser and continue using your computer if you like.

While resetting and cleaning up your web browser may remove the malware from the browser directly, it is possible, depending on the malware, that there are still associated malicious files leftover on the Windows operating system. These leftover files can cause malware to change the browser’s settings again. If you need to take further action because you suspect malware is continuing to change your browser’s settings, you ought to continue with another method below that either removes the malware via a built-in antivirus like Microsoft Defender or a third-party antimalware program.

Method Two: How to Uninstall Malicious Programs Such as Web Bar Toolbar in Windows

Here’s how you can uninstall the malicious programs manually in Windows from the Control Panel:

1. Open the Control Panel.

2. From the View by drop-down menu in Control Panel’s top right side, select Categories and then under the Programs heading, click on the Uninstall a program link.

3. Find the malicious or potentially unwanted program from the list of programs, click on it once so that it is highlighted, and then click on the Uninstall button from the menu to remove it from the computer. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

You can now close the Control Panel window if you like.

Method Three: How to Remove Web Bar Toolbar Using Malwarebytes

If scanning with the Windows Security antimalware protection doesn’t remove the Web Bar toolbar, you can try installing third-party antimalware tools instead, such as Malwarebytes, and see if that removes the Web Bar toolbar instead. You can also use an antimalware program such as Malwarebytes to remove the extensions and all other related files remaining on your computer, so you don’t have to do any of it manually.

Note: Malwarebytes also has an application for smartphones that run on Android and iOS. Here is a tutorial for how to install Malwarebytes on Android:

The iOS version will be very similar, apart from needing to use the Apple App Store in place of the Google Play Store. You will not have any problems finding it because your iOS software only comes with the Apple App Store.

Here’s how to download and install Malwarebytes on your computer to remove the Web Bar toolbar:

1. Download the Malwarebytes for Windows from the Malwarebytes website.

2. If prompted by your web browser with a message that says “This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep the executable (.exe) file anyway?,” click on the Keep button.

3. If you are prompted by User Account Control asking “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device,” click on the Yes button.

4. Click on the Scan Now button to begin scanning the computer for malware and other potentially unwanted programs. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

5. Wait for the scan to complete. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

6. Select all of the malware and potentially unwanted programs that you want to be removed from the computer and then click on the Quarantine Selected button. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

7. You may get a message from Malwarebytes letting you know that all selected items have been removed successfully, but the computer must be restarted before the removal process can be completed. Select the Yes button to reboot your computer now.

8. Upon signing back in to your computer, the Malwarebytes interface will open and let you know that the scan and quarantine are complete. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Note: You can also export the scan results by clicking on Export summary from the main Malwarebytes results page and then clicking on the Export button from the scan report. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

You can now close the Malwarebytes interface and continue using your computer if you like.

That’s all.


Do I Have to Complete All the Methods Before the Malware Is Removed?

No, you do not—unless otherwise stipulated. Your computer will often be removed from all malware by using one of the methods available. It’s when you try one method, and the malware remains that you should try another method in the tutorial.

Are the Methods Listed in Order of What Should Work Better?

Not necessarily. We sometimes put the Windows Security before third-party applications because if you use Windows, you might prefer solving the problem without having installed another program on the computer. Windows Security is also free to use for your duration of using the operating system, which could mean more convenience to you.

Nevertheless, if you prefer using third-party programs, or your computer is not running Windows, then you can skip the Windows Security method and try using the third-party program recommendations instead.

Do I Have to Complete All Parts of the Windows Security Tutorial?

No, you do not. We have listed all the different ways you can run an antimalware scan with Windows Security for your convenience, but you only need to choose one of the methods to remove the malware.

Sometimes you may need to be able to get access to all options of running an antimalware scan—especially if your computer is currently being affected by the malware—which is why we have listed all the ways you can run scans with Windows Security.

Why Do You Have a Tutorial for Android but Not for iOS?

Both apps should be very similar, so we chose one app for the tutorial at this time. We may update it in the future if and when the tutorials differ enough to require separate tutorials for both platforms.

Since Android is currently the more open operating system of the two—and therefore potentially more susceptible to malware—it makes sense that in theory, more people will potentially get malware on Android than iOS at this time. What’s more, you also get far more applications to choose from on the Google Play Store than with Apple’s App Store because Android has more users.

That said, the only reason Android is more open is that people choose to open it—it does not automatically come that way out of the box. So we are not necessarily suggesting that iOS is naturally more secure than Android.