- How To Remove?

Type: PUP is a search engine that has been noticed to be added to Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers without users consent. It is not a virus however it can be categorized as a potentially unwanted program in some cases. That happens if some PUP or application bundle installs Duckduckgo without full explanation.

If you haven’t downloaded this application by yourself it was most likely installed together with some free software that you were installing. Although users are able to detect this attempt to install additional application, very often they just hit on Next button without following what installation steps say. This is a common mistake that should not be made. You can avoid many unwanted programs if you are more careful about your installations.

Note. DuckDuckGO is fully legitimate privacy browser engine. You should not be concerned with its safety on itself and many people use it for privacy concerns (it does not track the users as major search engines do). However, we have discovered that some not-so legitimate websites, like browser hijacker or virus, use DuckDuckgo engine for searches and links to this website. It should not be a major security concern while there are no links to unreliable websites on website.

Basically, this start page might be considered as unwanted only for one reason – it gets installed without discrete notification to users and they feel tricked. There are various messages on online forums, like this on Mozilla support forum, complaining about duckduckgo:

duckduckgo complaints

Even though we are not sure, presence of Duckduckgo add-on on your computer might be cause by some malware that is operating on your computer. That might be the reason you can’t remove this add-on from your web browser manually. In this case we would recommend to scan a computer with anti-malware application that is good at detecting and removing malware – like Reimage.

Lastly, can be considered as a computer virus? Definitely not. It is efficient and safe web search provider and it can’t be categorised as a virus by any means. However, if it is operating on your computer and you wish to switch back to Google or any other website to be your homepage, feel free to remove duckduckgo from your system.


Remove from your browser if you haven’t installed it by yourself. Go to Control Panel -> Add and Remove programs list and uninstalling it from there. It is important that you remove all other programs installed with the hijacker, as some of them might redownload or reset back browser settings. Scan your computer with anti-malware application to detect the virus. You should also check browser extensions for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. If you do not see listed, you should use other anti-malware tools. Uninstalling the program from your computer doesn’t change your search providers. You will have to do it manually by yourself. Depending on the browser you are using, follow the instructions below:

On Internet explorer:

  1. Click arrow on the right of search box.
  2. Do the following: on IE8-9 choose Manage Search Providers, on IE7 click Change Search Defaults.
  3. Remove from the list.

On Firefox :

  1. Enter “about:config” in url bar. This will open settings page.
  2. Type “Keyword.url” in the search box. Right click it & reset it.
  3. Type “” in the search box. Right click it & reset it.
  4. Type “” in the search box. Right click it & reset it.
  5. Search for “browser.newtab.url”. Right-click and reset. This will make sure that the search page won’t launch on each new tab.

On Google Chrome:

  1. Click 3 horizontal lines icon on browser toolbar.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Basics ->Manage Search engines.
  4. Remove unnecessary search engines from list.
  5. Go back to Settings. On Startup choose Open blank page ( you can remove undesired pages from the set pages link too).

Automatic removal tools

Note: Reimage trial provides detection of parasites and assists in their removal for free. You can remove detected files, processes and registry entries yourself or purchase a full version.  We might be affiliated with some of these programs. Full information is available in disclosure     

About the author

 - Main Editor

I have started in 2007 after wanting to be more or less independent from single security program maker. Since then, we kept working on this site to make internet better and safer place to use.

September 26, 2013 05:12, November 29, 2017 11:33

17 thoughts on “

  1. Really fake what you say, if anything, and ‘just the opposite:
    the best engine in the world for privacy.
    You should tell explorer, quavers, work that are real spies web navigation of what I say I have proof to the contrary of what is’ written on this site I think a trap site.
    Always remember to be wary browsers spying and officers will also do the other.
    Meditate people meditate.

  2. They don’t need damage control. DuckDuckGo may be a worthy competitor, but Google is fucking MASSIVE compared to DDG.

  3. Gedd: we do not claim that DucktoGo is fake. However, If it was changed without user consent, we recommend changing back. It is all about consent and fully understanding what you are getting.
    Personally, I have tried DuckToGo, did not like it, but have nothing against it in the long run. Competition is good.

  4. Well, don’t call it a virus then? How about that?
    A virus is malicious, but DuckDuckGo’s only purpose to to supply anonymous searching and a mind for the protection of personal privacy. If anything, DuckDuckGo is a viable replacement for Google as it’s taking the spotlight from a company that is based around invading peoples privacy.

    I have reported this issue to @duckduckgo on Twitter, and replied with, and I quote:
    “@heysilverblood Oh dear. Thanks for letting us know. Will look into it…”

    Please only stick to intentionally malicious solutions if you wish to retain a good reputation for a network that alerts people of “VIRUSES”.

  5. Personally, I do not find any place in text where we claim it is virus (we label it as PUP). Read the term definition 🙂

  6. Actually, a lot of search engines are installed by third party programs for affiliate commissions (and sometimes for free, I guess). So “does not install itself” is not purely true.

  7. Thank you for this information. DuckDuckGo found its way onto my husband’s computer, and he has no idea how. He doesn’t download programs onto his computer, because, as someone who was born long before personal computers were ever even imagined, and who never worked with them in his professional life, he doesn’t even know how. He doesn’t intentionally click on any ads in the side bar, so it’s a complete mystery how this happened. Although it may not technically be a virus, if any program or application can hijack your computer in any way (e.g., by changing your homepage and/or your preferred search engine), without your knowledge or express consent, that’s just quibbling over semantics, in my opinion. Because of this, I will never use DuckDuckGo on my computer – they are banned. Personally, I use as my preferred search engine, and I’ve never heard of them engaging in such behaviors.

  8. Completely false statements. Nothing is changed without out user consent. In fact user must positively choose to make it the default search engine.

  9. In the default toolbar version – yes.
    However even then some users complain when their family members install and change browser settings without their consent.

  10. My guess is that if your husband is as incompetent or uneducated as you indicate, he probably doesn’t know what he clicked on or installed, and neither do you. If he didn’t click on ANYTHING, it would be pretty difficult to get a “virus’. Maybe he just doesn’t want you to know what he is looking at. Its also possible that you work for the NSA and are part of the DDG attack squad.
    StartPage may have been around longer, but there are several unsettling thinks about it that will keep me using DDG.
    StartPage and Ixquick are both owned by Netherlands-based Surfboard Holding BV who also owns Sweet Page, also known as Sweet Page search engine may be promoted by different programs and you may not be provided by the information about the changes that will be made on the browsers. Sweet Page is bundled with several browser hijackers.
    When you search with StartPage the Web results are generated by Google.
    Other virus removal sites say this about StartPage; StartPage a browser hijacker that is bundled with certain free programs that you can download from download portals and are usually bundled. This adware is considered a browser hijacker because it changes your web browser’s homepage and default search provider to StartPage with minimal consent. This adware will append the argument http://StartPage to your web browser’s shortcut which cause it to load when you open your browser even if you reset it. More importantly it installs in the browser and injects new content such as advertisements. Since there are multiple websites who say this about StartPage, it’s interesting how such a well informed person as you are has “never heard of them engaging in such behaviors”. StartPage is rumored to be a Google collaborator. Startpage is not blocked nor throttled by Google while nearly every other privacy search engine is.
    Startpage does not serve requests that hide useragent
    Startpage’s “crystal clear” privacy policy does not contain a clear definition of “personal information”: it is questionable whether IP addresses, useragents and other browser identifying information are included. Some search results seem to indicate that some information is getting through.

  11. We list startpage and ixquick as undesirable search engines. Personally, the way search engine collects data is secondary concern for me (as long as it is disclosed properly and personalised data is not sold further). The main question is if user gave someone a well informed consent to get the search engine changed to other one. If not, then we tell how to revert the settings back (and in many cases search for malware is highly desirable, especially for sweet-page or similar search engines). If they have made the choice themselves, they can use sweetpage or conduit as their search engine, even if I would not recommend doing so.

  12. Best browser out there, unlike google who know your every move (or shopping habit) ,give it a try, it’s great.

  13. Let’s separate search (Duckduckgo ) and software, which can set browser search provider to anything. Duckduckgo is legitimate and does not hide the change instructions. Nor its addons hide it. However, there were cases when Duckduckgo was installed without user consent using 3rd party software. Such software might hide the uninstall instructions.

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