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How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

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How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Within the last few days I noticed that my default search engine, both on the Firefox homepage and on the search bar, had been changed to Yahoo. I changed both back only to find that the settings reset themselves whenever the browser is closed.

Since then I've browsed scores of help threads on this and other forums looking for a solution. Nothing works. I've checked for yahoo software and AVG, I've booted in safe mode, I've disabled suspect plugins and add-ons, I've deleted the unwanted search options in the browser and on the hard drive. No dice.

I want to know how to change my default search engine back to google.

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New Contributor

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

For those having similar problems, it appears that the culprit was a program called SearchSettings.exe that was running in the background on my computer. The program is often part of a search bar package. In the case of my machine, though, the search bar is not installed and thus doesn't show up in my browser add ons or my Add/Remove programs menu.

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Site Moderator

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

New Contributor

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Thanks, but I already ran that (one of the many pieces of advice given to others I followed). It didn't have any impact.

Site Moderator

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Try deleting prefs.js and user.js http://kb.mozillazine.org/Prefs.js_file

New Contributor

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Thanks, I've just taken your advice. Unfortunately it didn't help though. I deleted the files, restarted the browser, changed the default browser (deleting all other than Google), and then restarted again. On each restart Yahoo was still the default.

Odd side not: whatever is doing this restores the other search options too, not just Yahoo. Ebay, Bing, etc. were deleted and they're back too.

Site Moderator

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Did you install official Firefox or Firefox with Yahoo?

New Contributor

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

I installed Firefox with Yahoo. Hated its guts and uninstalled it. Then installed ordinary Firefox (which was working without this issue for some time).

Site Moderator

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Check the browser.search.defaultenginename pref on the about:config page and make sure that it is set to the default value Google.

  • browser.search.defaultenginename

Try to rename or delete the prefs.js file and possible numbered prefs-##.js files and a possible user.js file to reset all prefs to the default values.

New Contributor

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Thank you, Cor-el. I had already taken both of those steps but I tried them again at your suggestion. I found and deleted the prefs.js file. I could find no user.js file this time (I did before and had deleted it). The deletion didn't alter anything.

I did make sure that my toolbar customizations are being saved (they are) so I take it that the problem isn't that preferences aren't being saved at all.

Site Moderator

Re: How can I change my hijacked defalt search options back to normal?

Did you check for extensions that may be changing the search engine setting?


Check for the presence of a mozilla.cfg file in the Firefox program folder to initialize some prefs.

This also involves the presence of a .js (JScript) file, probably in "defaults\pref" folder, that specifies to read this mozilla.cfg file.

If you have .js files apart from the channel-prefs.js file, that sets app.update.channel, in the defaultspref folder then open this file in an editor like Notepad and please post its content. Also please post the content of the mozilla.cfg file.

If you have this mozilla.cfg file then best is to do a clean reinstall of Firefox and remove the Firefox program folder.


Try to boot the computer in Windows Safe mode with network support (press F8 on the boot screen) as a test to see if that helps.