There are few problems as enduring and annoying as that of your browser home page or search engine changing without your permission. You try searching through Google but end up being redirected to Yahoo, or your homepage suddenly becomes some dodgy knock-off that you’ve never heard of.
There are various reasons why your search engine and homepage may keep changing – from annoying extensions to sneaky “opt-out” checkboxes in software, to more malicious things like malware. We cover all the fixes for you here.
Search Engine Has Changed (to Yahoo or Another)
If your search engine or homepage keeps changing to Yahoo (or really any other search engine), then the most benign explanation is that at some point you accidentally opted in to change your search engine (usually through third-party software that has a sneaky checkbox in the installer asking if you’d like to opt out of changing your search engine, which means that by default they do change your search engine). Annoying.
If that’s happened, it could just be a case of manually changing your search engine back to the option you had initially chosen.
Click the More icon at the top right -> Settings -> Search engine and change the search engine in the drop-down menu. You can also change the homepage here by going to the “On startup” section.
In Edge, click the More icon at the top right -> Settings -> Privacy, search, and services. Scroll all the way to the bottom, click “Address bar and search,” then change the “Search engine used in the address bar” drop-down.
To change your Edge homepage, click “On start-up” in Settings on the pane on the left, then make your changes.
Search Engine Keeps Changing (to Yahoo or Another)
If your homepage or search engine keeps changing, then you may have a redirect virus. At some point you may have clicked a fake “update” pop-up telling you to do things like update your Flash Player or update your browser.
Installing such an update will hook a redirect link into your browser, changing your search engine to a different one even when you change it back. The creators of the virus then profit from any searches you make using that search engine and have access to your browsing data.
There are several different fixes for this:
2. Right-click the Start menu, go to “App and Features,” then look for an app called “Search Provided by Yahoo,” click it and uninstall it.
3. Disable browser extensions from changing your search engine back to the default. If your preferred search engine sticks with a certain extension disabled, then it’s possible that the disabled extension was causing the redirect and that it should be removed.
4. Reset your browser:
- In Chrome, go to “Settings -> Advanced -> Restore settings to their original defaults -> Reset settings.”
- In Edge, click the “More icon -> Settings -> Reset Settings -> Restore settings to their default values.”
One of the above should fix your ever-changing homepage and/or search engine, giving you back control of your browser. For more Windows tips, see our guide on how to get a list of all software installed on Windows 10. We also have a guide on how to disable auto-refresh on web pages in your browser.