What is Anchorfree HSS VPN Adapter and how can you remove it?

Hotspot Shield is a well-known VPN provider and it includes the Anchorfree HSS VPN adapter, a virtual network interface controller. It is designed to help you to get access to Anchorfree’s network in a better way. Before you can connect to HSS efficiently, first you need to download some drivers for the HSS VPN adapter. This can be found on the internet without major issues. However, there are other points to consider.

First of all, let’s talk about Hotspot Shield. This VPN provides privacy protection, but its main purpose is to help users to bypass geographical blocks. Although Hotspot Shield offers some level of security as well, the truth is that its encryption is not as strong and reliable as what other providers offer. Besides, the privacy policy raises some concerns. The lack of clarity and transparency about the way in which personal data is handled, leaves some doubts about the reliability of Hotspot Shield.

In addition, the installer package comes with extra free apps that you probably are not even interested in. The intrusive software could end up changing your homepage and search engine. Although Hotspot Shield promises to protect and secure your information, some of the companie’s practices could actually end up compromising your data. Anchorfree is the company that offers Hotspot Shield and for a long time, it has been associated with third-party advertisers. A CSIRO study carried out on Hotspot Shield found that the VPN collects data from its users and then sells it to third-parties.

If you have been using Hotspot Shield, but decide that you don’t want to have it as your VPN anymore, you need to follow some steps to get rid of the Anchorfree HSS VPN adapter that comes with it. Simply uninstalling the program is not enough. You need to follow additional instructions and in this guide, we will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to break free from Hotspot Shield and its AnchorFree HSS VPN adapter for good.

Removing AnchorFree HSS VPN Adapter

1. Uninstall the software by terminating its services. You need to open the Task Manager and look for any process associated to HSS (Hotspot Shield). You will need to search for options like the ones listed below. They are easier to find by searching under the Description category for Hotspot Shield. Regardless of the process you see with the description, make sure that you terminate it. Here are some examples:

  • Tapinstall.exe
  • Hssinstaller.exe
  • Af_proxy_cmd_rep.exe
  • HSSCP.exe
  • Cmw_srv.exe
  • Hsswd.exe

If you don’t get rid of them. they will keep running on the background and when you least expect it, they will attack your system, compromising the security and integrity of your files. This is why it is important to completely remove them, to keep your information safe.

2. Uninstall the software and remove the remaining entries. This is the main method to get rid of any program. Simply go to Start, then Control Panel, access the Uninstall Programs option, look for Hotspot Shield and the Hotspot Shield Toolbar. After that, click on the Uninstall/Change option.

3. Click Yes to remove Hotspot Shield. That would seem like the last step, but the truth is that this is not all. Hotspot Shield has found a way to infiltrate the entire system, taking over all the areas that it finds in its way. In order to fully remove it and leave your computer free from anything related to Hotspot Shield, you need to follow additional steps.

Look for any HSS-related files in your system and remove everything, including these:

  • <$SYSDIR>\drivers\HssDrv.sys
  • <$SYSDIR>\drivers\taphss.sys
  • <$WINDIR>\LastGood\system32\DRIVERS\HssDrv.sys

Search for folders that are related to Hotspot Shield in Program Files and in the AppData folder. You will come across the below:

  • <$APPDATA>\OpenCandy
  • <$COMMONAPPDATA>\Hotspot Shield
  • <$COMMONPROGRAMS>\Hotspot Shield
  • <$PROGRAMFILES>\Hotspot Shield
    <$PROGRAMFILES>\Mozilla Firefox\extensions\afurladvisor@anchorfree.com

Hotspot Shield files manage to avoid detection. For the following steps, it is important to ensure that your Windows Explorer file manager displays the hidden system files too.

You need to clean the registries. This steps requires some time and also a lot of attention. There are many registry keys and entries that you need to track down before anything else.

It is also important to be careful when you delete the registries. Anything that you remove will be gone for good and it can’t be replaced. Keep a close eye on the files that you get rid of because if you remove the wrong ones, your entire system may be affected.

Take the Hotspot Shield Toolbar out of your browser

Regardless of the web browser that you are using, it is important to keep in mind that there is a toolbar included with the Hotspot Shield package installer. This toolbar has to be removed manually so that you can get rid of Hotspot Shield completely. Follow the below steps according to your browser.

Internet Explorer

Go to the main browser page, then to Tools and then Manage Add-ons and access Toolbars and extensions. Look for Hotspot Shield Toolbar, then Hotspot Shield API Server, Hotspot Shield Class and other items related to Hotspot Shield. Click on Disable and then modify the start page.

Mozilla Firefox

  1. Open the browser, then go to Tools and select Add-ons and then Extensions.
  2. Locate the same entries associated to HSS and select Disable.
  3. Change the start page and that is all.

Google Chrome

Select the Chrome menu in the main browser page, then go to Tools, then Extensions and collect all the HSS entries. Remove them and click on the Recycle Bin.
Change your start page and that is all.

Last but not least, use an antivirus

The last step to ensure that you break free from Hotspot Shield is to scan your system using an antivirus. After performing a full scan, a high quality antivirus should find anything that is related to HSS and it will remove it completely.

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