Thursday, January 5, 2012

Unwanted Toolbars

While I know this is old news and has been blogged/posted about a thousand times already - I still notice a lot of users having problems with an overload of toolbars they don't want/need.

More and more software (mainly free software) bundle their software package with a toolbar since it's an extra source of income.
While in some cases, a toolbar *can* be necessary or useful, always ask yourself if you really need/want this toolbar.

Additional Toolbars can slow down your browser since it takes longer to start them up, can interfere with certain webpages you want to view, can have compatibility issues with other toolbars/add-ons already installed or can even crash your entire browser.
Apart from a toolbar/BHO, some toolbars also add additional loading points (run key, service, appinit_dlls..) which may cause an extra slowdown of your computer in general.
Toolbars also take up extra space in your browser, leaving you with less content of the webpage you want to view.

Do you really want your browser to look like this?

If the answer is Yes, then I suggest you check with your eye specialist or stay away from computers and find another hobby.

Also, not all toolbars are as harmless as they look. Do you want them to monitor your browser activities? What sites you visit? Collect other info from your computer?
Do you want them to redirect searches? Change your startpage? Display Advertisements (targetted Ads)? If the answer is No, then uninstall them or don't install them in the first place.
In most cases, legit software with a toolbar bundled, offers the user the option to uncheck the toolbar during install. Too bad most have these toolbars pre-checked already, so many users who install the software just click through the installation screens (next) in a hurry and end up with toolbars they don't want or need.
And that's still the biggest mistake users make.

That's why it is always a good practice to read every part of the installation screens the software displays, so you don't miss the option where you can uncheck the toolbar or other junk during install.
Also, it's a good practice to always read the EULA/Privacy Policy when you want to install certain software.


Unfortunately, not every software bundled with a toolbar/other junk offers this option to uncheck during install. This is bad practice and such software should be avoided in the first place.

In case you have (accidentally) installed a toolbar you didn't want/need in the first place, use the Windows’ built-in "Add/Remove Programs" in the Control Panel ("Programs and Features" in Vista/Win7) and look if it's listed there so you can uninstall it.
Or, in case it's not listed there, you can disable or remove them them via your browser:
For Internet Explorer: or
For Firefox:
For Google Chrome:
For Opera: Click Tools > Preferences > Advanced Tab > Toolbars (listed on the left). There you can select and delete the toolbar.

In general, if you don't use/need toolbars, uninstall them or don't install them in the first place.