Search Engine Keeps Changing? Here's How to Fix it - Windows Basics


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Search Engine Keeps Changing? Here's How to Fix it

There are some persistent and annoying problems like the problem of browser homepage or search engine changing without your permission. You try searching through Google but end up redirected to Yahoo or your homepage suddenly becomes a sophisticated knockoff you've never heard of. There are many different reasons why your search engine and homepage keep changing – from annoying extensions to sneaky “opt out” checkboxes in software or malware. harmful. All the fixes you need are here.

1. Change the search engine manually

If your search engine or homepage keeps changing to Yahoo (or really any other search engine), the most positive explanation is that at some point you accidentally choose to change your search engine (usually through third-party software that has a cunning checkbox in the installer asking if you want to decline to change your search engine, meaning that by default, they will change your search engine). They can be quite annoying.

If that happens, it may just be a case of you changing your search engine back to the original option you selected manually.

Note: Search engine variability issues have been reported to manifest primarily on PCs – not mobile devices. This guide includes solutions to problems that occur on your computer.

Google Chrome

In Chrome, click the three dots in the top right and go to Settings -> Search engine. Change search engine via the drop-down menu on the right.

You can also change the home page by going to the On startup section, selecting Open a specific page or set of pages, and adding a page that leads to your preferred search engine.

Microsoft Edge

If you're an Edge user, click the three dots in the top right, then navigate to Settings -> Privacy, search, and services. Scroll down and click Address bar and search.

Change the drop-down menu Search engine used in the address bar.


Click Start, home, and new tabs on the left and add your favorite search engine site.

Mozilla Firefox

To restore your previous search engine, click the three-line icon in the upper right corner of Firefox, then go to Settings -> Search. Switch Default Search Engine to the engine you want to use.

To edit your Firefox home page, click Home on the left, then in the Homepage and new windows drop-down menu, switch to the page you want.


If you're using Safari on a Mac computer, go to Safari -> Settings -> Search. Change search engine via drop-down menu.

If you want to change Safari's home page, click General at the top, then enter your website address in the Homepage field.

Go to the new home page for the Safari browser on Mac.

2. Scan for viruses

If your homepage or search engine keeps changing, your browser may be affected by a browser hijacker virus. At some point, you may have clicked on a fake “update” pop-up window asking you to do things like update Flash Player or your browser. You may also have accidentally visited a shady website.

This virus has the ability to change your browser settings without your knowledge or consent. It works by hooking a redirect link into your browser, changing your search engine, even after you've changed it back. Virus creators profit from any searches you do using that search engine and have access to your browsing data.

First, run a virus scan. If your operating system's built-in antivirus software doesn't detect it, try third-party antivirus software like Malwarebytes, Avast, or Bitdefender to see if it gets to the root of the problem. This is a method to help identify virus infections on your PC (as shown in the screenshot above). An antivirus program will allow you to quarantine or remove threats.

If the problem persists even after scanning, continue with some other solutions.

3. Uninstall related software

There is a lot of software that comes with bloatware, sometimes they sneak onto your PC when you don't uncheck the box while installing the software you want – sometimes even without permission.

This software hooks into your browser and forces a redirect to your home page, even if you've changed it back.

Find this software on your Windows PC by right-clicking on the Start menu and navigating to Settings -> Apps -> Installed Apps.

On your Mac, click the Finder icon in the Dock, then click Applications in the Finder sidebar.

Remove apps with any of the following (or similar) names:

  • Search Provided by Yahoo
  • Web Companion
  • PDFPoof
  • SearchAd
  • ProMediaConverter
  • PDFOnline
  • WebDiscover

In general, uninstall any applications that you don't remember installing on your PC. If you're not sure, check the software's official page to refresh your memory.

4. Remove the faulty browser extension

If you are using extensions or add-ons in your browser, you may have accidentally installed a malicious extension, which is now messing up your settings. To find out if that's the case, the simplest solution is to disable all extensions, then enable each one individually.


Click on the three dots in the upper right and select Extensions -> Manage extensions.

With all your extensions listed, click the toggle button below to disable the extension. Do it for each extension. Relaunch the browser and check if the search engine is the one you like. If everything works as intended, start re-enabling each extension until the problem reappears. This will lead you to the culprit.


Click on the three dots in the upper right and select Extensions. Click on the Manage extensions option in the pop-up window.

Disable all extensions and restart your browser to check the results.


Click the hamburger menu in the right corner and select Add-ons and themes. Disable all add-ons by clicking the respective toggle button and restarting your browser.


On a Mac, go to Safari -> Settings and click Extensions at the top. Disable extensions by unchecking the checkboxes next to each extension.

5. Reset Your Browser

If nothing has worked so far, the final solution is to reset your browser. Doing this will remove your browser’s settings and shortcuts, as well as disable extensions and delete cookies and other temporary site data. Bookmarks, history, and saved passwords won’t be affected.


Go to Settings -> Reset Settings, and click Restore settings to their original defaults. Press on Reset Settings in the pop-up to initiate the process.


In Edge, go to Settings -> Reset Settings -> Restore settings to their default values. Press Reset in the pop-up window to confirm your choice.


Click the hamburger icon in the right corner, and select Help -> More troubleshooting information. Click the Refresh Firefox button on the right, then hit the Refresh Firefox button to start the process.


It takes a few extra steps to reset the Safari browser. Navigate to Safari -> Preferences -> Privacy. Click the Manage Website Data button, then click Remove All to delete all stored website data, cookies included.

Go back to Preferences -> Advanced, and tick Show Develop menu in menu bar.

From the menu bar, go to Develop -> Empty Caches.

Acting quickly once you spot a browser hijacker on your PC will prevent the malware from spreading on your computer. For a more secure experience while browsing, check out these Chrome security and privacy extensions. It may also be helpful to learn how to enable Strict Site Isolation in Chrome to enhance your browser’s defense against certain types of cyber threats.

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