What Is QwikLinx?
QwikLinx is a web browser plugin developed by QwikLinx Inc. It’s considered to be adware, a type of malware that displays targeted ads without your consent. The default location for QwikLinx is in C:\Program Files, and the usual size is around 706,650 bytes.
QwikLinx, described as a potentially unwanted program (PUP), installs itself through deceptive strategies. Once installed, QwikLinx embeds contextual advertising links in the web pages that you visit. When you load a website, the add-on scans the content of the HTML file and creates numerous links for targeted keywords.
As soon as QwikLinx adware detects the keywords, it embeds a link that, when clicked, may display an ad to the user. If you hover your mouse cursor over the link, a small dialog box appears showing an advertisement. The ad disappears when you move your mouse cursor away. If you fail to remove the adware, your PC will be bombarded with annoying banners, coupons, pop-ups, offers, deals, notifications, and many other types of advertisements.
QwikLinx claims to help users enhance their internet browsing by providing relevant search information. As much as it may seem legitimate, QwikLinx offers no real value to users but rather only serves as a monetization tool. It earns revenue by driving traffic and increasing sales for partner websites. The adware not only shows you unwanted ads but also redirects you to malicious websites that may infect your PC with malware.
How Does QwikLinx Get to a Windows 10 PC?
The majority of users reported that the QwikLinx adware installed itself without their consent. QwikLinx is mainly installed on your browser as an extension, add-on or plugin, regardless of the browser that you’re using. It may also be installed as a Windows application, in which case it may flood your PC with unwanted ad pop-ups. The primary method of distribution is via free software bundles that you download from the internet. Usually, QwikLinx may be presented as an optional offer but designed for automatic installation.
If you fail to prevent QwikLinx from being installed on your PC, then it will infect your browser. QwikLinx can also infiltrate your PC when clicking on sponsored links when surfing, installing browser extensions or plugins already infected with this adware, opening infected email attachments, or installing genuine software that offers the installation of additional software.
Other ways that may encourage the distribution of QwikLinx include:
- sharing files through peer-to-peer networks;
- sharing files via infected media storage devices, such as USB flash drives.
Is QwikLinx Dangerous?
As we mentioned, QwikLinx is a type of adware that displays targeted ads to Windows users. Depending on the type of adware, you can face serious privacy leaks and identity theft, among other security threats. The adware usually achieves this by changing the default browser settings and manipulating your Windows registry.
QwikLinx is designed to record your keystrokes every time you enter personal details like passwords. It collects sensitive data from your system, including passwords, user ID, credit card information, bank account details, and so on. You should, therefore, remove QwikLinx from your PC as soon as you detect its presence. Failure to do so compromises the security of your Windows system.
QwikLinx has other aliases that you might stumble upon on the internet. They include:
- Win32/SquareNet.D application
How to Detect the Presence of QwikLinx on Your Computer
Luckily, it’s easy to detect if you’re infected by adware like QwikLinx. Usually, ads and questionable deals will start appearing on your PC. Likewise, you may suddenly receive fake notifications asking you to update Adobe Flash Player or any other application that’s usually offered free of charge on the official website.
Here are some of the signs to look out for if you suspect that your computer has been infected with the QwikLinx adware:
- Your browser becomes sluggish and you start to experience random and constant crashes.
- Your browser’s homepage suddenly changes, and resetting it becomes almost impossible.
- You’re constantly redirected to websites that are irrelevant to your search query.
- Ads, coupons, banners, and other types of advertisements appear out of the blue.
- If you click anywhere on the web page, several pop-up windows open.
- You may notice new extensions, plugins, and toolbars on your browser.
How to Remove QwikLinx
Before you begin the process of removing QwikLinx from your Windows PC, you first need to disconnect from the Internet. To do so, go to the Taskbar and click on the Action Center. Select “Network” and click “Disconnect”. If you’re connected via the Ethernet cable, simply unplug it.
Now that you’re offline, close all applications and follow the methods below to get rid of QwikLinx.
Method 1: Uninstall QwikLinx Manually
Usually, most applications have their own uninstall file that’s located in the same directory as the installation files. The uninstaller is placed there to enable the easy uninstallation of the application when the need arises. However, some applications are not removable via this process due to how they are embedded in your Windows system. In that case, you can use the Control Panel or Settings app to remove programs and applications from your PC.
For Windows XP users:
- Click “Start” and launch “Control Panel”.
- Open the “Add or Remove Programs” option.
For Windows 7 and Vista users:
- Click Start > All Programs > Control Panel.
- Select “Uninstall a program” under “Programs”.
For Windows 8 and Windows 10 users:
- Right-click “Start” and open “Programs and Features”.
In the list of programs and features, look for any malicious programs that you don’t remember installing. Select each one of them, and select “Remove” or “Uninstall”.
Method 2: Remove Leftover Files
When you uninstall an application, some files may be left behind. They could still spread the adware. Therefore, you’ll need to manually find and remove all components associated with QwikLinx. You can use the Windows Search tool to locate files that contain QwikLinx as part of their names.
Likewise, open the following paths and delete all occurrences of the QwikLinx file. Copy the paths below, one by one, and paste them in the “Run” dialog box (accessed via the Win + R shortcut), and hit “Enter”.
Method 3: Delete QwikLinx from Your Browser
You also need to remove malicious extensions and plugins from your favorite browsers to prevent the spread of malware.
For Chrome users:
- Launch Google Chrome, click on the menu and select More tools > Extensions.
- Select any extension that you find suspicious and delete it.
If you’re still getting ads or the homepage has been changed, resetting Chrome should resolve the problem.
- Open the Chrome menu, and click “Settings”.
- Expand the “Advanced” section and navigate to the “Reset and clean up” section.
- Open the “Restore settings to their original defaults” option and select “Reset settings” on the screen that appears next.
For Mozilla Firefox users:
- Launch Firefox and click on the menu icon in the top right corner of the browser.
- Choose “Add-ons” and select “Extensions”.
- Find any suspicious extensions and remove them.
To completely reset Firefox:
- Click the menu icon, select Help > Troubleshooting Information.
- Select “Refresh Firefox” and then click on “Refresh Firefox” to confirm your action.
For Internet Explorer users:
- Run Internet Explorer and click on the menu icon (the gear icon in the top right corner of the browser).
- Select “Manage Add-ons” and open the “Toolbars and Extensions” tab.
- Find any suspicious extensions, select them one by one, and click “Disable”.
To reset Internet Explorer:
- Open the menu and select “Internet Options”.
- Open the “Advanced” tab, and then click “Reset”.
- Check the box next to “Delete personal settings” and select “Reset”.
For Edge users:
- Launch Microsoft Edge, and open its menu (the three dots located in the top right corner of the browser).
- Click on “Extensions” and remove any that seem suspicious.
To reset Edge:
- Open the menu, and click on “Settings”.
- Switch to the “Privacy & security” tab and select “Choose what to clear”.
- Check all the boxes and click “Clear”.
Method 4: Run a Malware Scan
It’s highly likely that the QwikLinx adware opened backdoor entries for other types of harmful malware to penetrate your Windows system. To ensure that your PC is clean of any malware, we recommend running a thorough malware scan using a trusted tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware. This is a dedicated malware removal tool that is regularly updated to catch even the most recent malware.
Auslogics Anti-Malware works alongside other antivirus applications, including the Windows built-in security tool, Windows Defender, to offer a tight security system. It scans your entire system to detect and remove any file or application that’s exhibiting suspicious behavior. If QwikLinx is still hiding somewhere within your system, Auslogics Anti-Malware will find it and remove it from your system.
The good thing about using this malware removal tool is the ability to schedule automatic scans. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that your system is under 24-hour surveillance.
To protect your Windows PC from future attacks, always exercise caution when installing freeware downloaded from the internet. Pay close attention to every step during software installation using the wizard to avoid installing adware, such as QwikLinx. If the software offers to install additional programs that you don’t want, be sure to uncheck them. In addition, perform regular scans and avoid clicking on untrusted links when browsing the web.