Solution: Remove startsearcher.com Google Chrome search hijacker

Today I encountered an irritating Google Chrome search hijack which wasn’t removable via the usual methods. ¬†Attempting to remove the rogue search engine via the Chrome options menu simply produced a yellow bar at the top of the screen which read:

Some options are managed by your administrator.

Even completely uninstalling Chrome and removing the existing User Data folder under Chrome’s AppData directory didn’t fix the problem.

Shortly thereafter, however, I discovered another location where Chrome settings can be preset/mandated: the registry.  Specifically, two locations:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome

and

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Google\Chrome

The specific keys which needed deletion in this case were:

  • DefaultSearchProviderName
  • DefaultSearchProviderSearchURL
  • HomepageLocation
  • HomepageIsNewTabPage

I had to remove them from both registry areas.  But after this, the problem was gone.

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