How To Fix Your Search Engine Changing to Yahoo

Many internet users report their search engines switching from Google or Bing to Yahoo and vice versa without them making any specific changes. If you’ve experienced this, you may have been a victim of browser hijackers who try to capitalize on Yahoo’s specific revenue model.

How To Fix Your Search Engine Changing to Yahoo

When the search engine changes to Yahoo, it not only annoys users, but it can also generate revenue for malicious websites and viruses. Luckily, there’s a way to prevent this from happening. We share the five methods you can try to fix search engine changing below.

1. Tweak the Default Search Engine

Certain apps have permission to change the user’s default browser settings, including the default search engine. If you’ve recently installed a sketchy app online, that software may have just set Yahoo to be your preferred browser during the setup.

This is one of the easiest issues to fix because all you have to do is navigate to your internet settings and change it back to Google or whatever your default search engine is.

Firefox, Chrome, Safari

Below are steps for changing this setting in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari:

  1. Open your browser.
  2. Navigate to the drop-down menu and hit “Settings.” (In Safari, “Settings” will be called “Preferences” in older versions.
  3. Press “Search Engine” for Chrome or “Search” for Safari.
  4. Enter your preferred search engine as default.


For Edge users, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to “Settings,” then go to “Privacy, search, and services.”
  2. Scroll until you see the “Address bar and search.” Click on it.
  3. Tweak your search engine to support your preferences.

Note that if the issue with your search engine redirecting lies in the particular browser extension itself, changing the default settings won’t work. In this case, you’d have to remove the add-on completely.

2. Remove Malicious Browser Add-Ons

Viruses can infect browser extensions through add-ons we download from the web. Many advanced internet users will even disable all their extensions to prevent malicious attacks.

Go over all extensions you have, especially the ones you installed around the time the redirecting issue started occurring. If there are any unverified add-ons, it may be best to remove them.

Sometimes, there won’t be any tellable signs that an add-on may be malicious. Your only solution here is to disable all extensions and then gradually add them back one by one until you find the one causing the problem.

Here’s how you can access the list of your extensions in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari:


  1. Go to “Settings” in the three-dot menu located at the top right-hand of the window.
  2. Select “Extensions.”


  1. Click on the hamburger menu.
  2. Go to “Add-ons and Themes.”
  3. Choose “Extensions.”


  1. Open the Safari menu.
  2. Go to “Settings” or “Preferences,” depending on the version.
  3. Open the “Extensions” section.
  4. For iPads and iPhones, you’ll see a “More extensions” option right away.

Once you enter the list of extensions on your browser, go over it and remove all add-ons you can’t remember installing, that you don’t use, or that look suspicious. Most malicious extensions get installed after you allow a pop-up, so this method should help get rid of most of them.

3. Do a Malware Scan

Browser extensions are often to blame for the search engine switching issue. However, they’re not the only ones.
Unwanted software on your computer can also be the cause. Luckily, all it takes is a fast scan by a reliable malware detector. Most of these viruses aren’t very dangerous and are easy to detect by most antivirus software.
If you’re a Windows user, run the Windows Defender, which is the in-built virus scanner for the system.

  1. Open the “Windows Security” app on your Windows. You can look for it in the Start Menu.
  2. Open the “Virus and threat protection panel” section.
  3. Perform a “Quick Scan.”
    a. (Optional) Go to “Scan Options” and do a “Full scan” if you want.
  4. Wait for the scan to complete.
    The system automatically removes any malware or viruses it detects on your device.

4. Reinstall Your Browser

Sometimes a simple browser glitch can cause unexplained errors, and a search engine switch could be one of them. If none of the options above help, you can try factory resetting your browser. In fact, this solution is beneficial even if the virus is causing the problem.

Browser resetting will basically bring your Firefox or Chrome to its original state and remove all previous data and user settings:


  1. Click on the menu or the “More” icon on your browser.
  2. Go to “Settings,” then “Reset and clean up.”
  3. Hit “Restore settings to original defaults” from the right-hand panel.
  4. Press “Reset settings” from the pop-up.

Note that resetting the default settings doesn’t remove your history, passwords, and bookmarks. Your pinned tabs, startup page, new tab page, and search engine settings will be reset.


  1. Launch Firefox on your PC or laptop.
  2. Open the hamburger menu in the top right-hand of the window.
  3. Click “Help” then “More troubleshooting information.”
  4. Click “Refresh Firefox.”
  5. Hit “Refresh Firefox” in the pop-up window to confirm your action.

The system will now clean the browser of all questionable add-ons.


The only browser you can’t reset in this fashion is Safari. Here you need to clear cookies and restore settings manually:

  1. Open the menu bar in Safari and go to “Preferences” or “Settings.”
  2. Go to “Advanced,” then check the box that reads, “Show Develop Menu in the Menu Bar.”
  3. Hit “Develop” from the top-screen menu bar.
  4. Press “Empty Caches.”
  5. In the “History” section, select “Clear History.”
  6. A new pop-up will appear. Select the dropdown menu showing next to “Clear” and enter a time period (today, yesterday, last hour, etc.) or go for “All History.”
  7. Hit “Clear History.”
  8. Go back to “Settings” and open the “Privacy” tab.
  9. Open “Manage Website Data.”
  10. Press “Remove All” in the pop-up.
  11. Exit Safari and relaunch the app. All your browser settings will be reset.

As you can see, clearing up Safari is a bit more intensive than other browsers. However, the steps are easy to follow, can help get rid of the issue, and speed up your internet experience overall.

You can always simply disable the extensions you find strange and refrain from clearing Safari settings if this is easier for you to do. 

Also, many users consider browser resetting to be too much. However, they aren’t aware that you don’t interfere with that much by doing this. Your Google account backs up most information you need, so it’s very easy to pick up where you left off after the reset.

5. Remove Programs You Don’t Recognize

Changes in browser settings aren’t always due to viruses in the browser itself. The issue may also come from a program on your computer. Here’s how you can check your device for unwanted programs:


  1. Open the “Control Panel” by looking for it in the search bar.
  2. Go to “Programs and Features,” then “Uninstall a Program.”
  3. Remove a program by right-clicking on it and selecting “Uninstall.”
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the action.


  1. Open the “Finder” icon from the dock.
  2. Hit “Applications” from the sidebar.
  3. Open the suspicious application and see if it has an uninstaller.
  4. Click on the uninstaller and follow the on-screen instructions.  If there isn’t an uninstaller, drop the application in the Trash.
  5. Empty the Trash to permanently delete the application.

What Is a Browser Hijacker?

Over the course of this article, we’ve been referring to browser hijackers. But what exactly is it, and where does it come from?

Browser hijacker viruses are malicious pieces of code that can change your browser settings without you knowing it. The virus can redirect you to any website without your permission when your browser is hijacked. It can also change your homepage, your default browser settings, or even the URLs of the new tabs you open.

These enemy programs can also infect your device with different types of malware. This malware can end up stealing your personal data, installing spyware on your PC, and much more.

Why Browser Hijackers Love Yahoo

The browser issue that changes the search engine to Yahoo is often associated with browser hijacking. Since Yahoo is completely free to use, the user can’t benefit from this hijacking action in any way.

Yahoo has a special revenue-sharing policy where all clicks made on Yahoo ads will allocate a specific amount of revenue to the site that brought the user to Yahoo. Basically, Yahoo pays websites that bring people to this search engine who then click on text-based links made by advertisers.

Also, hackers use the virus to collect users’ data and track their internet activity. Identity theft is very rare in browser hijacking, but it’s still a threat to your online security.

As you can see, the search engine redirecting doesn’t come from Yahoo directly. However, it’s still a significant problem that needs to be cleared up.

The Most Effective Way to Fix the Search Engine Changing to Yahoo Issue

An online search that unexpectedly produces results from Yahoo could mean that you’re another victim of hackers or browser hijackers. If so, the most effective solution is to remove any extension that could feature malicious software. The second most effective way is to change your browser’s default settings.

If the two recommended solutions don’t help, you can proceed to the other three fixes we covered in this article. One of them is bound to help.

Which method did you try to fix the search engine unexpectedly changing to Yahoo? Was there an unknown browser extension in your add-ons list that was causing the problem? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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