Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fix Firefox : How to get rid of "SweetIM" search; Why does it take over Google search engine when I directly type my keword in address bar to search?


Problem:

Anytime I type my search keywords directly into address bar in Firefox browser, instead of Google search result page, I get redirected to SweetIM search page. (This may happen with other websites or other search engines too, for instance "MyWebSearch" or many more, the solution provided here works for those cases as well.)

Cause:
Most likely this problem happens after you give privilege to SweeetIM or a third party ot install SweetIM toolbar to your browser. Although you can remove/uninstall the toolbar, but it looks like SweetIM search engine or search page, attaches to your system and remains default forever. SweetIM or similar programs, are not really spy-ware, although they may collect your search data. Therefor spy-ware removal tools will not detect them as a problem . So how SweetIM attaches itself to your browser and redirects your default search page? just by changing some settings of your Firefox browser which are a little tricky to access.

Notes:
Before using the solution below, make sure that you have already done all the following tasks, and they have not solved the problem:
  1. Go to your Firefox menus > Tools > Add-on > Extensions , make sure you have removed unwanted add-ons
  2. Go to your windows control panel > Add/Remove programs or Uninstall programs, and make sure that there is nothing related to your problem there which is not uninstalled.
  3. DO NOT bother to use spy-ware tools. Those are great tools, but not for this problem.
  4. DO NOT mess up with your windows registry. You may damage your windows.
  5. Make sure SweetIM is not default search engine in your navigation toolbar in Firefox.
Solution:
  1. Run Firefox (just as usual, no need to run it in safe mode)
  2. In the address bar type : "about:config" (do not type quotations!)
  3. You may get a message that tells you "This might void your warranty!", click on the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button. Honestly, we will be careful and will not do anything bad to your Firefox or computer.
  4. In the filter search box, type "keyword.URL" and hit enter.
  5. If status for keyword.URL shows user set instead of default and the value shows the link to SweetIM website (or anything other than your favorite search engine!) , that is the cause of your problem! Right click and choose reset from the context menu.
  6. In the filter search box, type "DefaultEngineName" and make sure status is default and value is "Google".
  7. In the filter search box, type "SearchEnginesURL" and make sure status is default and value is Mozilla's default value.
  8. Close and re-open your Firefox and enjoy your address bar Google keyword search again!

10 comments:

  1. Thank you very much! I had so much trouble trying other tips on the Internet, only this worked.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you - this is the only thing that helped get rid of the redirect. As above, lots of other tips which missed the boat on this one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have now gotten rid of the last vestiges of this malicious program. Spybot got rid of most of it, but I couldn't get rid of it from my search bar till I found your post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, It came back. I went to about:config and got rid of it again. Where else could it be hiding?
    Any help would be most appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am still having problem even after following these steps when i click the new tab button i get directed to "home.sweetim.com/?src=97&barid={5F700DBF-F663-11E1-B9A1-99ED94663031}" link every time every time i open a new tab

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Had the same problem. While in FireFox "about:config", do a search for "sweet", an entry for newtaburl will come up, right-click and reset the value .. ta-da .. the default new tab settings will be active, no more sweetim nonsense :)

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  6. Thank-you very much. Yours was the only correct solution I found to fix this.

    ReplyDelete