questionsdoes anyone have a method for permanent removal…

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If you don't currently have Spybot - Search & Destroy, download and run it. It will clean up a lot of malware. Assuming you're running Windows, you can probably use Microsoft Security Essentials as an anti virus product. It's free and I think it runs on Vista and above. I've been using it for quite a while now with no problems. Finally, check Firefox for unwanted extensions and/or toolbars and remove them. Hopefully, some of this will help,

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Check your host file. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)
Make sure you don't have any extra stuff after the local host. (be sure to scroll down) If there are extra entries, they could be re-routing your searches.

You could try to do a system restore if this is a recent problem.
XP: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490854.aspx
Win 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/system-restore

As for antivirus, you can install Microsoft Security Essentials for free. Also use Spybot Search & Destroy or Malwarebytes.

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To remove spyware
Malwarebytes (also my recommendation) will run with AV.
If Malwarebytes does not install because of the malware (I have seen this). Use SuperAntiSpyware

To replace AntiVirus
Make sure you uninstall your old AV but you could try Avast, I use it.

http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=5756 Malwarebytes
http://majorgeeks.com/SUPERAntiSpyware_Free_d5116.html SuperAntiSpyware
http://majorgeeks.com/Avast_Free_Edition_d1968.html Avast

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@morriea: It is not listed in my programs, that was the first stop in my quest to be rid of it. I consider it to be malware because when I go to "manage search engines" on the search engine drop down menu and remove it, it comes right back. When it move it down on the list, it moves itself back up. It does not do a proper search when asked, and it blocks me from going to many sites, even when I directly type in the address I want to visit. I did not install it and I can't find a way to uninstall it. That qualifies as malware in my book.

Hmmm, this looks like an interesting article. I couldn't find it through my afflicted laptop yesterday.
http://blog.commtouch.com/cafe/malware/how-it-works-search-engine-redirection-malware/

Maybe Yahoo isn't the culprit, but a victim as well.

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Spybot and Malwarebytes. Get and run them both. I have yet to see anything pass these two

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Thanks, guys. I will try both. For what it's worth, I am running Win7 on a Toshiba L505D laptop. My default is Firefox, although of course I still have Explorer..

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@caffeine_dude: "To remove spyware Malwarebytes (also my recommendation) will run with AV. If Malwarebytes does not install because of the malware (I have seen this). Use SuperAntiSpyware"

I did exactly that yesterday. Whatever is giving me trouble blocked my access to Malwarebytes but I was able to install and run SuperAntiSpyware. I ran it twice (reboot in between) and it found and removed some stuff, but not these persistent "search engines" and not this pop-up thing I want rid of also. I have heard good things about both Avast and MSE, haven't tried either. I need something that's very user friendly as I am not tech-oriented. I think I will try MSE first as it's free and aimed at the untech crowd like me. What I'd had was installed and set up by my computer repair guy, I guess it has been a year since I visited him and whatever he installed expired.

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@bsmith1: At the end of the day when I have everyone's suggestions I am going to copy all this and email it to myself so I can access it from the laptop tonight. I can't get to it directly, I get something like "No website configured at this address" or some such BS when I try. Thanks again for your help.

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@moondrake: The malware affecting Yahoo is much more likely than Yahoo being the problem itself. If this is a new problem, System Restore is simple and works as long as you choose a date before the problem started. I would try it before anything else.

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Another vote for malwarebytes. A while back I was having redirect issues and that is what saved me. I had to go through a couple times because I missed getting it all but it worked. If you can, download the program on a usb drive and run it from there. I had trouble getting through on the affected computer to the website.

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Don't click on links you don't know what they are.

Don't download crap from sketchy sources.

Download, install and run this:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Then download, install and run this:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials

When you install something and it asks to install a TOOLBAR say NO.

One time, a friend asked me to come over and fix her computer because it was acting funny. I go over there and open her browser and there are like six different toolbars installed. I couldn't stop laughing. That wasn't even the probably but FFS say NO TO THE TOOLBARS.

And as @morriea said, doing a system restore is easy and never a bad option. But if you do that, still download the programs I mentioned above.

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@moondrake: While you are at it you should also install AdBlock for Firefox

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/

It will make your browsing experience much more enjoyable.

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You'll have to copy/paste my first host file link. The (file) part at the end is part of it.

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To remove Yahoo (I assume you mean a browser add-on), just go to add/remove programs. It is not malware and should be listed in your programs. Also you can just disable the ad-on in your browser.

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@moondrake: Using Firefox, I had the same problem as you. After several tries to remove Yahoo and 2 other search engines, I finally have it down to 2 for the past few months, with none returning.
I clicked on "manage search engines", highlighted each one and removed those not wanted. I did that about 10 different times and it finally worked. Now I just use Ixquick HTTPS as my search engine, and one other as a backup.

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@iggz: I actually employ the "just say no" policy. I also rarely visit websites with which I am not familiar. I am not sure how these search engines crept in. I don;t even websurf much on the laptop. I think the main problem is that I was evidently without protection for a while. Thanks for the links.

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Another vote here for Spybot and Malwarebytes, followed by MSE. Good luck!

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Congratulations, I am sorry I stopped looking at your post. It seems like you got it with some help and some research.

Avast would like you to give them an email every year to keep the thing going. You can enter anything@bla.com it will not ask you to confirm. MSE i was recommending but I have seen it spin out of control.

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@moondrake: Were you successful? How about an update.

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@tbgolladay: So far I have run SuperAntiSpyware (several times) and Malwarebytes and it is still there. I think Spybot will be next. I only have about an hour each evening to call my own so I have to do it step by step. I think McAffee may have been running this whole time, I got a popup looking to update last night. But I thought it was off so I have to look into it. I was in the middle of running the Malwarebytes scan so I just dismissed it at the time. I have discovered that Explorer seems to be clean, which is great as it is allowing me to access the clean-up sites. After running all these laundry programs if it is still there I am going to try uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox and see if that gets rid of it.

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@moondrake: have you done a system restore? You could just restore to like a month ago, it wouldn't hurt anything.

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@iggz: I haven't ever done a system restore. The warnings always scare me off. I am not a techie, so if anything gets screwed up I am not in a position to fix it. I am also not sure when this started so it's hard to pick a restore point. I don't use this computer primarily for web searching, I use an elderly desktop for that. This one is mostly photo storage, games and email. I purchased a couple of programs online a couple of months ago and I don;t want to risk eliminating them in a system restore. It's a last resort if none of the less "salted earth" measures succeed.

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Okay, for those still interested, I seem to have solved the problem. Both Malwarebytes and Super kept finding and deleting something called Babylon. Every time I ran them. So I opened Firefox again, and using "manage search engines", deleted all the search engines except Google. This time they stayed gone. But in my browser window it said "babylonsearch.com". I thought, hey, that's what the anti-malware programs keep trying to get rid of.. So I did a search on it and got this page:
http://www.techimo.com/forum/networking-internet/268235-help-remove-babylon-search-malware.html
It recommends editing the registry, which was daunting, but at the very end it said something about add-ons which I think someone mentioned here as well. Someplace else I was reading aboutbabylon called it an extension, so I went to Firefox support and asked about disabling extensions. That led me here:
http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/disable-or-remove-add-ons?esab=a&s=disable+extensions&r=0&as=s

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I followed the directions and found a bunch of toolbars there, topping the list was babylon. I selected "remove" on all of them, restarted Firefox, and it appears to actually be gone at last. It took me a circuitous route to get there as I have a poor grasp of how all this works, but you all got me started on the path that led to the solution. Thanks for your patience and help. I am posting all this in the hopes that it might help someone in the future.