Firefox Search Engine Default Problem
July 13, 2018 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I prefer Ixquick as my search engine. It doesn't record the searches. So I set this as default in Firefox. But lately my preference is reset to the Firefox default search engine--Yahoo. This happens repeatedly. I don't want to use Yahoo. I want Ixquick. So I go into preferences and choose Ixquick again. Then, repeat the above. What's up with this? Can I permanently set my preferred search engine in Firefox?
posted by partner to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When you say you set this as a default, did you do it through the options menu accessed through the upper right hand corner? If so, the other thing to try is to disable all the other one-click search engines except for Ixquick (on the same tab where you can set your default search engine). IIRC, I had a few tussles with Firefox early on regarding my preferences for search engines, but it has been very well-behaved over the past several years.
posted by DrGail at 5:27 PM on July 13, 2018

Yahoo isn't the Firefox default. You may have malware. Do a scan with (free) adwcleaner.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yahoo isn't the Firefox default. You may have malware.

It was the default from 2014 to late 2017, but I agree this smells like malware. There are quite a few questions on Mozilla Support and elsewhere similar to yours. Other than running a malware scanner like adwcleaner, a quick first place to check would be your Firefox add-ons. It seems like a common hijacker malware add-on is called “Search Web,” but I’m sure there are others.
posted by musicinmybrain at 6:09 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Does that do the same job that Malwarebytes's free edition used to do before they rolled in the automatic free trial of their always-on protection layer? If so, it's a beautiful thing, and thank you for bringing it to my attention; having to turn off all the real-time stuff every time I just want to exercise their otherwise excellent on-command scanner has been a real nuisance.
posted by flabdablet at 1:45 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hadn't head of Ixquick, so I, uh, googled it out of curiosity. Wikipedia says has been redirected to as of late April. Perhaps the redirect broke Firefox's setting?
posted by hoyland at 5:28 AM on July 14, 2018

Are you regularly updating any other software? Sometimes the install/update process has a tiny checkbox to change your browser settings if you don't catch it and uncheck it.
posted by soelo at 8:10 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sometimes the install/update process has a tiny checkbox to change your browser settings if you don't catch it and uncheck it.

And it's fairly typical for leaving those boxes checked to install a shitty little piece of crap that keeps on hijacking your browser search settings for as long as it's not removed.

Anything by Ask or Conduit or Uniblue, or anything described as a "toolbar", or any kind of "optimizer" or "boost" or "driver updater" or "cleaner" can just be reefed out without a second thought and your machine will be better for it. The only updaters I can think of that are actually trustworthy come from, and those you just download and run directly; they don't get installed in their own right, so they don't show up in your list of installed programs.

Malwarebytes will clean these things up as well, if you'd rather not trust your own judgement about what you actually need installed. Try adwcleaner first (it's from the same people).
posted by flabdablet at 10:39 AM on July 14, 2018

Echoing the likelihood of malware. The redirects should be working regardless of which plugin you are using, but for modernity’s sake, you can try uninstalling and then installing the current StartPage plugin directly from If that doesn’t work, try emailing directly and someone will personally assist you.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 12:51 PM on July 14, 2018

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