Some of the most easy “tells” when a client brings in a PC to our office because it’s “running slow” or “too many popups” or annoying ads is the appearance of multiple toolbars. Toolbars, for those that aren’t sure what I’m talking about, are add-ons that are installed with a plethora of software suites available for download. Even some of the trusted (and Oddzuki recommended) pieces of software (like AVG Free, Spybot, etc) will prompt you to install a toolbar. Understandably, for these companies to be able to offer their basic and mid level services for free, they’ve partnered with the larger companies to be able to turn a profit. But why oh why do they have to be so annoying?!
Sorry for the sudden jump out of character. But you know what I’m talking about. You go to a friends house, or your parents, or sometimes.. your KIDS computers and try to launch a browser and BOOM… it looks like this:
First and foremost, you need to be very careful with what you install and allow on your computer. Not just with toolbars but that’s the topic of this post. While having the “Ask” toolbar and the “Bing Bar” (don’t.. just don’t) may seem feasible, truthfully having them really is just not worth it. While some of the functions on these browser wide menaces may seem to be “good”, most if not all are unnecessary and processor hogs. Modern browsers come with Search fields and pop up blockers preset so there really is no need to user these as an alternative.
Something else to keep in mind is that some of these toolbars are part of virus/trojan installs as well. Conduit, “My Search Web” and a few others can end up costing you “in shop repair” fees if you let them go to long. Clearing out a lot of these infections can take a few hours worth of scans with multiple prevention software so better to nip it in the butt before it actually happens. So what can you do to stop from getting too infected and/or simply remove a toolbar?
Don’t install them in the first place. – Simply put. Don’t do it. It really is your best way to go.
But I’ve already installed them! Okay… let’s remove those bad boys! – Most, if not all of these can be removed from the “add/remove” control panel. If you don’t know how to get there, go to your Start Menu and click “Control Panel”. Once there, look for Add/Remove programs and look for the toolbars you need to remove. Give your computer a restart and you should be good to go. (If you need help with this, comment below and we’ll see what we can do).
I don’t see the toolbar in my add/remove programs control panel! – This is where things get a little more sticky. Time to run something like AVG Free, Rogue Killer, SpyBot and Malwarebytes. If you have any questions on how to get this done, again, comment below and we’ll help ya figure it out!
After it’s all said and done, Don’t Install Them Again. Something to bare in mind is a recap of something I said earlier. Some software suites will install one for you if you go click crazy during installation. Never just “Super Click” through the installation process. That’s how you end up on email lists, installing software you don’t want, free/annoyance ware and more. Be SUPER careful when installing software. You can find infections on reputable sites like download.com and cnet.com so be very careful.
Lastly… surf responsibly. If something looks questionable, leave the site. If you aren’t sure if a site is safe? Google the site name. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a plethora of information on it’s trustworthiness.
Also, use a safe browser. I recommend Mozilla Firefox and/or Google Chrome. Having a backup browser is always a good thing just in case a site doesn’t display properly.
Until next time. Surf like you have common sense and if all else fails, uninstall and reboot!