RootsTech 2015

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MyHeritage Family Tree hijacks Google homepage

 [Note: This is an old post. Look at the date. MyHeritage has changed many times. Please look at the new program].

At the suggestion of a reader, I re-visited MyHeritage Family Tree Builder, a supposedly free downloadable genealogy program. I had previously downloaded the program and looked at it, but found it lacking in so many ways had passed it over. This time, I downloaded the program, Version 3.0, and gave it more complete scrutiny. The program apparently has a lot of features but seems to be a front for buying the upgraded version.

Before anything else, when I returned to my iGoogle page, I found that MyHeritage had installed itself as my default homepage. I do not recall allowing the program to do this. It is a minor issue to re-establish my own startup page but it is very annoying and ethically unacceptable, to have a software program change your Google startup page without your permission and understanding. Beware of this "feature." I immediately uninstalled the program and removed all components with the concern that it had hijacked something else on my computer.

I had another rude surprise when the uninstall program sent me to the MyHeritage Website to try to convince me not to uninstall the program. The annoying program shut down my FireFox and reopened it at the MyHeritage Website.

This program is close to being a virus.

This program has limited sourcing, no convenient way to add fields, does not deal with duplicate persons in the file, has no way to format sources, does not support LDS ordinances at all, has a very limited merge function. The fact that it supports 34 languages and alternate keyboads is no excuse to take over my computer functions.

If any of my readers has had a positive experience with this program, I would invite comments.


  1. Wow! A while ago I had another program do similar things... and I had the same reaction — immediately pulling the program. I even complained to the company on their website.

    I don't know how MyHeritage hopes to do well if they pull unethical stunts like changing home pages and quitting programs! I guess they are hoping that their customers are not computer-savvy enough to object.

  2. See for an explanation of the "problem."

  3. The items you are objecting to are discussed in my blog entry located at:

    You accepted the DEFAULT to have as your home page. Also quite a number of software programs take you to their website to complete an "exit" interview.

    Happy family tree climbing!
    Myrt :)

  4. Hi James,

    Tamura Jones has cautioned against this problem immediately after version came out,
    and called upon MyHeritage to show itself to be above such marketing tactics.

    - Martin

  5. Hi all who were as I was, silly enough to download the My Heritage Software. When I gave it a trial I realised it was not as good as the one I already installed so went to Add/Remove programs and removed it. Ha! I mean I thought I did. Had to put a search on to find all the bits and pieces of the program all over the place in the program files and elsewhere. Finally seemed to have got rid of it and tried to access Internet Explorer to catch up on the news and there it was a My Heritage search page and Google which over rode my Start up Internet explorer,
    I had already uninstalled but all my info was still on this website in my name and have asked them to remove my details. For the record I never activated the default, I unchecked every option, and still it is there. So is my stupid web site. What is the use of cancelling if the company takes no notice. Are they that desperate to build up their numbers..better to give sevice to those that contact them not involve themselves in hi-jacking people computers. Disgraceful behaviour. I read somewhere that Google was trying to muscle out Internet Explorer. What is the matter, surely there is enough room for all to make a profit without decesptive behaviour.

  6. The My Heritage program has been hijacking Internet Explorer and Firefox causing severe Internet Connectivity problems for me. My question is can I uninstall the program, reinstall it using custom installation and put a stop to hijacking? One other complaint. The program is not free if you are doing a large family tree. And you can only create pdf reports. Cannot generate reports in Word or Word Perfect that you can spellcheck or make editorial changes to the report without buying more outside software.

  7. BEWARE OF Myheritage!
    It is similar to pyramidal sales: once you start, unless you read 10's of pages of jargon explaining how this system works, your in for a merrygoround of traps to addup web sites upon websites and a meriad of other gimmics.
    A lot of them may be useful if you are of jewish origin but useless otherwise.
    If you still decide to persue using Myheritage make sure you ALWAYS MAKE A GEDCOM COPY TO YOUR COMPUTER AFTER ENTERING DATA. This will ensure that all your inputs will not have been wasted and that you can copy them to a respectful system.
    Like a LOT of others, I am still trying to find out how to delete sites "accidently" created and causing all kinds of problems to relatives and friends.


  8. I also tried MyHeritage and found out about the home pages hijacking. I emailed MyHeritage about this and said I thought my data would not receive the respect it deserves if they behave like that.
    I used REVO to uninstall and found 414 registry items 414!!!! They are up to something vicious and I told everyone I know about this.
    They were all deleted. Then Revo removed all files. And I think it is ok.

  9. I stand behind James. My wife downloaded My Heritage today and I just spent 45 minutes trying to erase all traces of it from my PC.

  10. Yeah no joke. I didn't even download the full software, just the toolbar for the "celebrity collage" thing, and it replaced my homepage, changed my default search engine, and changed it so that when I type something into the url and search, it goes through it's MyHeritage page... this thing is definitely has virus-like qualities.

  11. How do i uninstall the program???

  12. Hey
    I just found a way to change your default search engine back to google if you are using firefox
    I was sick of seeing the myheritage logo when i was searching through google
    Hope this helps some of you :)


  14. I need to get rid of it. I have been trying for a week. How did you do it? please help. Thanks!

  15. THANK YOU! It was driving me crazy, and now, it's gone.

  16. Seems to me that I'm the only one who hasn't had any problems with it. i use IE as my default search engine but mostly use GOOGLE CHROME (which I in a way prefer to IE). I have a Desktop Icon for Both but mostly Just Click on GC whenever I Connect.
    My guess is that you people haven't set up the program properly, or haven't unchecked a box which offers to set it as your default.

  17. You obviously did something to make MyHeritage your homepage, I've had the program for a long time and never has it hijacked my home page or my internet browser in any way. Also, problems such as the duplicate persons you mentioned can be seen to be resolved in the current version. Personally, I've always found the program to be one of the best amongst genealogy software.

  18. It hijacked my IE also... ridiculous and totally unacceptable.

  19. Jim, I suggest you revisit this issue or at least update your notes. The new version is much different, I have had none of these problems, but I use the paid version, which I love. Perhaps you could at least add a disclaimer that your early notes, still posted here are for a version that is now many years old.

  20. I have just experienced the same hijacking issue with My Heritage using Firefox. I have deleted the program to no avail. So, the "new" version is the same hijacking parasite as before.

  21. It is malware. Plain and simple. I was foolish enough to try it again (ver 5.1) after installing it a long time ago and having problems with it.

    It slowed my machine down to a standstill, insterted itself as my start page, and is impossible to uninstall using windows uninstall. Downloading REVO right now to remove it.

  22. My heritage has "published" my family tree on google. I want it off. It has photos of my family and ALL our information. But do not know how to go about getting it off

  23. I am furious about being charged for a worthless program that was supposed to be "free." I tried to cancel--have no idea how much I was charged until I go back over my VISA statements--but only seemed to have cancelled the automatic renewal. Somehow this disreputable program tricked me into a paid subscription. I don't have a Facebook membership, so can't add my two cents to their complaint site, but would highly recommend that anyone foolish enough to consider using this program would Google that Facebook website first, before being scammed the way I was.
    My next letters of complaint will go the Ohio State Attorney General's office and to the Better Business Bureau.

  24. Myheritage purchased and did you know that if you upload your family tree to that you will find it goes straight to Myheritage's website?! I just figured that out tonight when I logged into my free Myheritage account (the first time since 2011) and it prompted me whether I wanted to go to the family tree with 300+ members on it that I had uploaded in 2011 when I first joined or the family tree from backupmytree with 900+ members. I was floored because I just synced my family tree yesterday on backupmytree and it has 900+ members. How on earth are they limiting the size of the family tree on a free account for Myheritage and then uploading a bigger sized family tree from backupmytree to Myheritage without permission or acknowledging that is what they intend to do with the family trees synced from backupmytree? I looked on the FAQ page of backupmytree and nowhere does it explain that this is what happens when you upload your tree to their website! This is the only thing that I found: "What happens exactly when BackupMyTree is installed? When you install BackupMyTree for the first time, it scans all your disks, locates your family trees, and begins backing them up automatically. BackupMyTree starts every time you boot your computer, running in the background and looking for changes to your tree files so it can protect them when they're added or modified." I immediately excluded all of the files from being synced and have asked them to delete them. My next step is to figure out how to delete both of these trees on Myheritage and then request them to delete my account. I am so glad that I decided not to pay to use their servicces. Please investigate this and blog about it! Some people may not realize exactly what they are getting into with and