How to Remove HomeTab by Simply Tech LTD.

by News Editor on September 9th, 2014 in Security Tips.

HomeTab describes itself as a web browser extension that allows synchronization between your PC and your Android device in order to bring you a better browser experience. This program can be distributed by bundling to free software using pay-per-install marketing method; so it may sneak to your PC as a part of another installation without you noticing this.


For Hometab Automatic Removal, Click here to download
Ad-Aware Web Companion


Here are a few facts about HomeTab extension

•    During installation, 3 scheduled tasks are created to automatically start with every user logon without his approval – Browser Updater, Protected Search and System Sockets:


 
•    It adds one of its processes to the Exceptions list of your Windows firewall (also, without any user notification):


 
•    With every PC launch, 2 processes start automatically and always run on the background (unless you stop them manually) – SystemSockets.exe and ProtectedSearch.exe:


 
•    If installed, you can find HomeTab toolbar in your Extensions tab in Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer (since recently, Google created new policy to protect users from malicious software, so you won’t see this extension in Google Chrome):


 
•    You cannot simply disable it in Internet Explorer, as ‘Disable’/‘Enable’ options are greyed out:


 
•    The most annoying thing is changing your start page, as well as your default search engine to search.hometab.com or search.certified-toolbar.com domains in all your browsers:


 
If you want to remove HomeTab from your PC, please find below step-by-step instructions.

HomeTab Automatic Removal

To remove HomeTab (search.newhometab.com) from your computer, follow these steps:

1.    Download the Ad-Aware Web Companion (download here)

2.  Launch the Ad-Aware Web Companion installer "webcompanioninstaller.exe" by double-clicking on the setup file and follow the instructions to install the software.

3.  During the installation, Ad-Aware Web Companion will remove HomeTab and prompt you to setup your desired home page and default search engine.


HomeTab Manual Removal

Note. This is a self-help guide. Use it at your own risk. This article is provided "as is" and to be used for information purposes.
If the automatic removal via Ad-Aware Web Companion failed, we recommend to follow these steps:


1.    Before you start, please make sure you are logged as a system administrator. Also, please save a copy of your important documents/files on an external hard drive.

2.    From your desktop, click on Windows Start button and choose Control Panel option (Windows 8 users: right-click on ‘Windows Start’  icon (by default, it is located in the left bottom corner of your screen), and choose Control Panel from the context menu):
•    Click ‘Programs and Features’ (Windows Vista, 7 and 8)/‘Add or Remove Programs’ (Windows XP),
•    Find ‘HomeTab’ by SimplyTech LTD in the list, right-click on it and choose ‘Uninstall’,
•    If you see a window below, please make sure you choose a ‘Restore my browser previous search settings’ option and click ‘Next’:



•    Wait a few moments to complete the uninstallation process,
•    Restart your PC.

3.    Now please make sure that your browser is clean:

Mozilla Firefox


•    Click on the Menu button  in the right upper corner of Firefox window (older versions of browser: click on the orange ‘Firefox’ logo in the upper left corner) -> find Add-ons section -> check ‘Extensions’ and ‘Plugins’ tabs, and if you find HomeTab extension here, please click on ‘Remove’ button.
•    Again click on the Menu button -> Options :
•    In the General tab ‘Home Page’ field, please type a web address of your preferred home page in ‘http://…’ format.
•    In the Security tab make sure that all the 3 options ‘Warn me when sites try to install add-ons’, ‘Block reported attack sites’ and ‘Block reported web forgeries’ are checked.
•    In the main Firefox window, click on a small triangle in the ‘Search Engines’ field (right upper corner)  , and choose ‘Manage Search Engines…’ option. Highlight all the unwanted search engines and click on ‘Remove’ button.
•    Restart Firefox.

 Google Chrome

•    Type chrome://settings in the Chrome address bar and press ‘Enter’ to open Chrome Settings menu;
•     In the ‘On Startup’ section -> ‘Open a specific page or set of pages.’ Option -> click on the ‘Set pages’ link -> if you find ‘search.hometab.com’ or ‘search.certified-toolbar.com’ here, hover your mouse to this line for a ‘Delete’ option to appear, and click ‘x’ to remove this page from startup;
•    In the ‘Appearance’ section, when the ‘Show Home button’ is checked, if you see ‘search.hometab.com’ link, please click on ‘Change’ and remove it from your browser;
•    In the ‘Search’ section, click on ‘Manage search engines…’ -> hover your mouse cursor to any search engine for the ‘Make default’ and ‘Delete’ menu to appear. You can delete all the unnecessary search engines here, and make default your desired one (note. While an engine is set to ‘Default’, you are unable to delete it. Therefore, firstly choose a new default search tool. Once done, you will be able to remove old default item.)



•    Click on ‘Show advanced settings…’ link in the bottom of the page -> in the ‘Privacy’ section please make sure that ‘Enable phishing and malware protection’ box is checked;
•    Restart Google Chrome.

Internet Explorer

•    When IE window is opened, press Alt+x keys on your keyboard to open Tools menu -> Manage Add-ons -> ‘Search Providers’ section -> if you have ‘WebSearch’ here, highlight it and click on ‘Disable’/‘Delete’ button;
•    Again open Tools menu -> Internet Options -> General Tab -> ‘Home page’ section: if you see unwanted link here, highlight and delete it using context right-click menu -> type a new web address you want to set up as your home page, and click ‘Apply’. You can also set other custom settings of your startup page display in the ‘Startup’ section (to start with your last session, for example):



•    In the Privacy tab, ‘Pop-up Blocker’ section you can restrict any pop-ups to appear by checking appropriate button (you can exclude websites you trust using a ‘Settings’ button)
•    Restart Internet Explorer.

4.    Please make sure that hidden files in your Windows Explorer are visible: Start –> Control Panel (Appearance and Personalization) –> Folder Options –> ‘View’ tab –> find ‘Hidden files and folders’ and choose an option ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’.

5.   
Follow this path - C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\Local\Temp (XP users: C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Local Settings\Temp) -> highlight all the files/folders here -> press ‘Shift’+’Delete’ and click ‘Yes’ to completely clean this folder (Note. If you receive messages that some files cannot be removed, just skip the file in question).

6.    Please find the directories below and make sure that all the HomeTab files/folders are removed (you may not find some of the components, it is normal):

C:\Program Files(x86)\HomeTab
C:\Program Files(x86)\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins\Web Search.xml
C:\Windows\Launcher.exe
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\Browser Updater\Browser Updater
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\ProtectedSearch\Protected Search
C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\SystemSockets
C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\LocalLow\SimplyTech
C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\LocalLow\HomeTab
C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\Roaming\SimplyTech
C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME\AppData\Roaming\SimplyTech (XP users: C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Local Settings\Application Data\SimplyTech)

7.    Now please remove HomeTab traces from your registry. Before you start, please make sure you understand how important this part of your PC is. You cannot restore data from here once you delete something (‘Ctrl+Z’ never works in Registry Editor). And if you delete an incorrect component by mistake, it may damage your OS and make it unusable.

•    To open the Registry, press ‘Win+R’ keys on your keyboard -> in the opened window type regedit and press ‘Enter’.
•    Highlight main registry section called ‘Computer’ -> press Ctrl+F keys on your keyboard -> make sure Keys, Values, Data check-boxes in the ‘Find’ window are checked -> type HomeTab in the search field and click OK. Search results will highlight a key/value/data that contains HomeTab components. If you find the exact match with the name of program you want to remove, right click on the element in question and choose ‘Delete’ from the context menu. If it’s a value/data, right click on the value and choose ‘Modify’, then highlight harmful data and press ‘Delete’ key on your keyboard.
•    Use F3 key to continue the search and to find all the necessary files.
•    Repeat the above procedure with the following key-words: ProtectedSearch, SimplyTech
•    Exit the registry editor.

8.    Finally, please install Ad-Aware to make sure you don’t have any infections on your machine:

•    Click here to download Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+, and follow installation instructions from Ad-Aware User Guide (‘Installation and Uninstallation’ -> ‘Ad-Aware Install’ section).
•    Perform a full scan of your PC with Ad-Aware (following Ad-Aware User guide: ‘Scanning System’ -> ‘Running a scan’ section).
•    Restart your PC.

Lastly, it is recommended to always keep your antivirus program up-to-date with a real-time protection turned on, and perform weekly full scans to stay protected at all times.