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Danger level 7
Type: Browser Hijackers
Common infection symptoms:
  • Hijacks homepage
  • Changes default search engine


Search.startjoytabsearch.com is a new product by Imali Media, the same company that has released Betternewtabsearch.com, Easysearchit.com, Happygamesearch.com, and other browser hijackers that are discussed on this website. In fact, these infections are practically identical, and the only change might be seen in the easy-access links that are displayed. Also, the search engine employed to deliver search results could be different from one infection to the next. In our case, it was found that Yahoo Search (search.yahoo.com) can be used to display search results. Even though this search engine is well-known and trusted, it would be a mistake to use it when it is linked to a browser hijacker. Our research team strongly advises removing Search.startjoytabsearch.com, and if you need more information about this, you can read the report. Note that the removal guide is displayed below.

StartJoyTab is an extension that is most likely to be responsible for Search.startjoytabsearch.com. This add-on is compatible with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers, but, at the moment, the Chrome installer does not work. Although the same website (startjoytab.com) is introduced to the users of both browsers, the Chrome installer is directly linked to the Chrome web store installer, and this one has been taken down. This is not that surprising, considering that the hijacker does not have a good reputation. Unfortunately, the official site is unlikely to be the main channel of distribution. According to our research, it is most likely that you will acquire Search.startjoytabsearch.com along with the StartJoyTab add-on via a third-party installer that might be promoted on unreliable file-sharing websites. It is most probable that you will acquire it packaged with other unreliable, removal-deserving threats as well.

When Search.startjoytabsearch.com changes the homepage, it might introduce you to easy-access links to different websites. Our researchers have found two different versions of this hijacker. One of them displays more social media-related links (e.g., instagram.com, facebook.com, or twitter.com), and the other one promotes video streaming-related links (e.g., hulu.com, netflix.com, or tvguide.com). It is most likely that all links represented via Search.startjoytabsearch.com are authentic and harmless, but you should stay vigilant nonetheless. What is more disconcerting for us is that the hijacker can redirect you to a search engine where sponsored links could be added along with legitimate search results. Is it dangerous to interact with these search results? The thing is that you will not know until you click on the suspicious links, and it might be too late to reverse the damage once you do.

We have good news for you. It is not difficult to delete Search.startjoytabsearch.com from your web browsers. But before you get rid of this annoying, untrustworthy hijacker, we recommend scanning your operating system using a trusted and legitimate malware scanner. If you have installed the extension responsible for the hijacker bundled with other programs, it is possible that they are unreliable or even malicious. A legitimate malware scanner can inspect your PC and uncover malware in no time. Because some infections manage to hide themselves – they can slither in without your permission or they can use disguises – a reliable malware scanner can be of great assistance. Hopefully, even if malware is found, it is not critically dangerous or very complex, and you can eliminate it yourself.

The instructions below reveal how to eliminate the undesirable Chrome and Firefox extensions, as well as modify the homepage settings. Your homepage should be restored as soon as the extension is deleted, but we have added additional steps just in case. What if you are unable to eliminate existing threats manually? If that happens, we encourage everyone to use automated malware detection and removal software, especially if you want your operating system protected in the future as well. Hopefully, you understand by now how important it is to delete Search.startjoytabsearch.com from your browsers. If you want to discuss this further, we always welcome discussions in the comments section below.

Search.startjoytabsearch.com Removal

Google Chrome:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer by tapping Win+E keys.
  2. Enter %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\ (Windows XP users enter %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\) into the box at the top.
  3. Open the Default folder (or a Chrome profile folder with a unique name) and then go to Extensions.
  4. Right-click and Delete the folder named kjacmkcnocmcgnecpjjfciacpidojhbl.
  5. Go back to the Default folder and modify the files called Preferences and Secure Preferences (open the file, overwrite the hijacker’s URL, and save the file).
  6. Go back to the Default folder and then open the Local Storage folder.
  7. Right-click and Delete these hijacker-related files:
    • http_startjoytab.com_0.localstorage-journal
    • http_startjoytab.com_0.localstorage
    • http_search.startjoytabsearch.com_0.localstorage-journal
    • http_search.startjoytabsearch.com_0.localstorage

Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer by tapping Win+E keys.
  2. Enter %AppData%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\ into the box at the top.
  3. Open the folder with a unique name that represents your Firefox profile and then move to extensions.
  4. Delete the files called startjoytab-the-extension1@mozilla.com.xpi and startjoytab-engine.xml.
  5. Go back to the profile folder and then open the file called prefs.js.
  6. Find the user_pref("browser.startup.homepage", "http://search.startjoytab.com"); string and overwrite the hijacker’s URL in it. Save the file before you close it.
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