Pokki Start Menu raises questions for computer users: is it a virus?
Pokki is a legitimate program created to improve experience using Windows 10, although it is considered to have some adware-like characteristics. The program might seem like a useful tool for some Windows users, especially those who have a hard time adapting to new versions of this OS. Although this software might seem harmless at first sight, there are some risks that should be considered, especially nowadays, when the most valuable resource is personal information. Hence, this article shows the potential threats which might be posed by this program and contains a guide on how to remove it.
Some users favor the program because it allows them to have old start menus back – although the same result could be achieved by reverting to older version of Windows. The program also provides the ability to install various applications and organize them in a preferred way.
However, that should not be a deciding factor when considering whether to install/keep it or not, since there are plenty of other methods how to organize your apps properly. What you need to know (and what should be the deciding factors) are the certain characteristics of this software which make it potentially harmful to your system and privacy. The software is often called Pokki virus, which might be a bit of a stretch to call it that way as it belongs to adware category.
Issues associated with the software
Mainly, this program is capable of using several tracking technologies such as Pixels, Tags, LSOs (Local Shared Objects a.k.a. flash cookies) in order to gather information from your PC. In addition, it is important to understand that these methods let the program collect various sensitive data. Such data includes IP addresses, browsing history, online searches, your online clicks, site visiting regularity, location and MAC address.
What is more, there were reported instances about malicious ads as a result of the installation of this program. In fact, there is no single answer on why Pokki Start Menu gathers your data. Usually, that is due to the interest of other software platforms. To explain, this program mainly benefits from third-party software embedded in it, like games and other things and your data is shared with them, of course.
If you’re wondering “how do I get rid of Pokki on Windows 10” or any other Windows versions, you should check the Pokki removal guide we provide below.
|Name||Pokki Start Menu|
|Type||Adware; Potentially Unwanted Program; Download Manager|
|Detection names||Win32/Pokki; Win32/Pokki Start Menu; Win32/Pokki BrowserModifier;|
|Related programs||Pixsta, PC App Store, Pokki Download Helper|
|Activity||Might display annoying ads, open browser and redirect to partner websites,|
|Distribution||Software bundles; online downloads|
|Removal||Remove it manually or automatically using System Mechanic Ultimate Defense or another trustworthy software|
How users install this software on their systems?
Aside from Windows users who download it intentionally (that can be done on deeveloper’s website), the biggest chance of getting this program is through download bundling. To explain, this scheme is used to target people who tend to download free software from suspicious websites and do these kinds of things irresponsibly.
For example, Pokki might be included as an additional install product alongside your Torrent downloader program, free media player, etc. In this case, the bundle ad is included in one of the installation steps of Custom or Advanced installation option. In most cases, this option is selected automatically, so inattentive users might install it unintentionally.
How to remove Pokki Start Menu
All in all, we’d like to state, that even though this topic is quite controversial (regarding the maliciousness of this program), many believe that it is best to remove Pokki Virus as it poses quite a few risks to your system.
Terminating this program manually might not be enough because many users complain that Pokki won’t uninstall that easily. Since these kinds of apps tend to keep their roots inside your system for as long as possible, we highly recommend you to use trustworthy anti-malware software to ensure complete removal. In order to achieve that, we’ve already reviewed most of them on our website, in the hope that you could choose one easily.
This article continues with complete Pokki removal guide – to remove it completely, follow the steps below:
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Pokki Removal Tutorial
To remove the unwanted program from your computer, use these instructions below to uninstall associated programs or apps from your Windows or Mac computer. Then scroll down for instructions how to clean each affected web browser individually.
Remove Pokki from Windows
Windows 10/8.1/8 users
Click on the Windows logo to open Windows menu. In search, type control panel and select the matching result. Then go to Programs and Features.
Windows 7 users
First, open Windows menu by clicking on the icon in the lower left corner of the screen. Then go to Control Panel and find section called Programs. Click on the Uninstall a program option under it.
Windows XP users
In Windows XP, click Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs.
Uninstall unwanted programs
Once in Programs and Features, look through the list of installed programs. You can click on Installed on tab to sort the programs by their installation date.
Right-click on suspicious programs you can't remember installing and choose Uninstall. Follow instructions provided by the Uninstall Wizard, click Next and finally Finish to uninstall the unwanted program from your PC.
Remove Pokki from Mac
- Click on Finder.
- Go to Applications folder.
- Look for suspicious applications you can't remember installing. Right-click them and select Move to Trash.
- After moving all suspicious apps to Trash, right-click the Trash bin in Mac's Dock and select Empty Trash.
Remove using INTEGO ANTIVIRUS for Mac (includes scanning for iOS devices). The one-of-a-kind security suite provides VirusBarrier X9 real-time protection against Mac and Windows-based malware, removes existing threats and scans for malware in popular e-mail clients. Includes NetBarrier X9, an intelligent firewall for home, work and public connections.
Remove Pokki from Google Chrome
Remove suspicious Chrome extensions
- Open Chrome and type chrome://extensions into address bar and press Enter.
- Here, look for suspicious extensions, and Remove them.
- Don't forget to confirm by pressing Remove in the confirmation pop-up.
Change Start Page settings
- In Chrome address bar, type chrome://settings and press Enter.
- Scroll down to the On startup section. Check for suspicious extensions controlling these settings, and Disable them.
- Additionally, you can set browser to Open a specific page or set of pages via these settings. Simply choose this option, click Add a new page, enter your preferred URL (f.e. www.google.com) and press Add.
Change default search settings
- In Chrome URL bar, type chrome://settings/searchEngines and press Enter. Make sure you type searchEngines, not searchengines. Additionally, you can go to chrome://settings and find Manage search engines option.
- First, look at the list of search engines and find the one you want to set as default. Click the three dots next to it and select Make Default.
- Finally, look through the list and eliminate suspicious entries. Right-click the three dots and select Remove from the list.
Remove push notifications from Chrome
If you want to get rid of the annoying ads and so-called push-notifications viruses, you must identify their components and clean your browser. You can easily remove ads from Chrome by following these steps:
- In Google Chrome, press on Menu (upward arrow) in the top-right corner of the window.
- Select Settings.
- Go to Privacy and Security > Site Settings.
- Open Notifications.
- Here, go to the Allow list and identify suspicious URLs. You can either Block or Remove by pressing on the three vertical dots on the right side of the URL. However, we suggest the Block option, so the site won't ask you to enable the notifications if you ever visit it again.
Reset Google Chrome browser
- The final option is to reset Google Chrome. Type chrome://settings in the URL bar, press Enter and then scroll down until you see Advanced option. Click it and scroll to the bottom of the settings.
- Click Restore settings to their original defaults.
- Click Restore settings to confirm.
Remove Pokki from Mozilla Firefox
Remove unwanted add-ons from Firefox
- Open Firefox and type about:addons in the URL bar. Press Enter.
- Now, click on Extensions (in the left section).
- Click Remove next to every suspicious browser add-on that you can't remember installing.
Change Firefox Homepage
- In Firefox address bar, type about:preferences and hit Enter.
- Look at the left and click the Home tab.
- Here, delete the suspicious URL and type or paste in the URL of a website you'd like to set as your homepage.
Alter preferences in Firefox
- Type about:config in Firefox address bar and hit Enter.
- Click I accept the risk! to continue.
- Here, type in the URL which has taken over your browser without your knowledge. Right-click each value that includes it and choose Reset.
Remove annoying push notifications from Firefox
Suspicious sites that ask to enable push notifications gain access to Mozilla's settings and can deliver intrusive advertisements when browsing the Internet. Therefore, you should remove access to your browser by following these simple steps:
- In Mozilla Firefox, click on Menu (the three horizontal bars) on the top-right corner of the window, then choose Options.
- Click on Privacy and Security, then scroll down to Permissions section.
- Here, find Notifications and click Settings button next to it.
- Identify all unknown URLs and choose to Block them. Click Save Changes afterward.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
- In Firefox, type about:support in the address bar and press Enter.
- Click on Refresh Firefox...
- Click Refresh Firefox again to confirm.
Remove Pokki from Microsoft Edge
Remove suspicious extensions:
- Open MS Edge browser and click on the three dots button in the top right corner, then click on Extensions.
- Look through the list of installed extensions and find the ones you can't remember installing or simply suspicious-looking ones. Right-click on them and choose Uninstall. Then confirm by pressing Uninstall again.
Change MS Edge Start Page and default search engine:
- Click on the three dots again and go to Settings. First, make sure that you choose to Open Microsoft Edge with A specific page or pages option. Then click the X next to suspicious URLs and type in the one you want to set as your homepage. Click the Save icon to confirm.
- Click on the three dots > Settings. Scroll down and click on Show Advanced Settings. Then scroll down until you find Change search engine button. Click it. Here, select the search engine you prefer using and click Set as default.
Additionally, we recommend selecting and Removing suspicious search engines.
Turn off push notifications in Edge
If you keep receiving pop-up ads or other promotional content while browsing on Microsoft Edge, your browser might be corrupted by a potentially unwanted program (PUP). You have to clean it — follow these easy instructions:
- In Microsoft Edge, open Menu (three horizontal dots) in the top-right corner of the screen and click Settings;
- Click on Advanced settings.
- Scroll down to the Website permissions section. Here, click Manage permissions.
- Find Notifications and Remove all suspicious websites.
Clear browsing data
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner again and click on Settings. Find Clear browsing data section and click Choose what to clear button.
- In the next window, select all options and click Clear.
Remove Pokki from Safari
Uninstall suspicious Safari extensions
- Open Safari and click on Safari button in the top left corner. Select Preferences in the menu that appears on the screen.
- Now, go to Extensions tab. Look at the left to see all installed extensions, click on suspicious ones and hit that Uninstall button as shown in the picture. Confirm your choice by clicking Uninstall again. Repeat until you get rid of all unwanted extensions.
Change Safari Homepage and default search engine
- In Preferences, open the General tab. Here, check what URL is set as your homepage. Delete it and type in whatever URL you want to set as your Safari Start Page.
- Next, go to the Search tab. Here, choose what Search engine you want to set as default.
- Next, click on Manage websites... then Remove all... and then Done.
Remove push notifications on Safari
Some suspicious websites can try to corrupt your Safari by asking to enable push notifications. If you have accidentally agreed, your browser will be flooded with various intrusive advertisements and pop-ups. You can get rid of them by following this quick guide:
- Open Safari and click on Safari button in the top-left corner of the screen to select Preferences;
- Go to Websites tab and navigate to Notifications on the left side toolbar.
- Click on Safari > Clear History...
- Then choose to clear All history and hit Clear History button to confirm.
- Go to Safari > Preferences and then open Privacy tab.
- Click Manage Website Data... then Remove All. To finish, click Done.
- Finally, clear Safari cache. In Safari Menu, click Develop > Clear Cache.
Remove Pokki from Internet Explorer
TIP: If you are still using IE, we strongly advise using Microsoft Edge or a different browser because Microsoft is no longer providing technical or security support for IE browser.
Remove suspicious extensions from IE
- Now, go back to Toolbars and Extensions.
- Below Show:, select All add-ons.
- Right-click suspicious extensions and choose Disable, or, if available - Remove.
- If any pop-up appears, confirm your choice.
Tip: If you can't find any suspicious extensions, most likely you have uninstalled them via Programs and Features already. This mostly applies to IE browser.
Change default search provider and remove suspicious ones
- Open Internet Explorer and click on the gear icon in the top right of the window.
- Then select Manage Add-ons.
- Here, click on Search Providers tab.
- Here, we recommend setting Bing, Google or another trusted and well-known search provider as default. To do it, right-click the provider and choose Set as default.
- Now you can right-click suspicious search providers and choose Remove.
Change IE Home Page
- In Internet Explorer, click the gear icon in the top left corner.
- Choose Internet Options.
- Change Home Page URL to whatever page you want to use as your homepage.
- Click Apply.
- Click OK.
Block pop-up notifications on Internet Explorer
Suspicious websites can gain access to your Internet Explorer browser through push notifications. If you enable them even by accident, you will start receiving numerous annoying ads and other advertising content while browsing. The easiest way to remove push-notification viruses is by performing the following steps:
- In Internet Explorer, click on the Menu (the gear button) on the top-right corner of the window, then select Internet Options.
- Go to the Privacy tab;
- Look for Pop-up Blocker section and select Settings;
- Scroll through all URLs and you can Remove them one by one or all at the same time. Click Close.
Reset Internet Explorer
- Click the gear icon in IE menu > Internet Options. Now click on Advanced tab.
- Under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click Reset...
- Click on the checkbox next to Delete personal settings.
- Click Reset.
- To finish, click Close.
Alternative software recommendations
Removing spyware and malware is one step towards cybersecurity. To protect yourself against ever-evolving threats, we strongly recommend purchasing a Premium version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, which provides security based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Includes ransomware protection. See pricing options and protect yourself now.
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Norbert Webb is the head of Geek’s Advice team. He is the chief editor of the website who controls the quality of content published. The man also loves reading cybersecurity news, testing new software and sharing his insights on them. Norbert says that following his passion for information technology was one of the best decisions he has ever made. “I don’t feel like working while I’m doing something I love.” However, the geek has other interests, such as snowboarding and traveling.