NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, October 2010
Internet Tech Advice
Managing [and deleting] all those web browser toolbars

By Sandy Rand, President,
Brookdale Computer Users Group, New Jersey June 2010 Issue, BUG Bytes

srand98 (at) comcast.net
(click to email author)

Did you ever notice that your Internet Explorer has toolbars from such companies as Google, Yahoo, Ask.com, WebSearch, MSN, The Weather Channel, etc? The list of these toolbars goes on and on. When I work on my clientís computers, sometimes I see five or six toolbars on the same browser window. The toolbars are actually taking up a third of the space. Most of the time, the client doesnít use them and has no idea how they got there. Once in a great while, I find someone who actually uses one of these bars.

The annoying part of it is that most of the time, they sneak on. These toolbars are mostly marketing. Somebody is getting paid to get you to use them. So, how do they get on your computer? The usual scenario is that you have downloaded a free program and it did a Standard Install. The way to control whatís happening is to do a Custom Install. With the Custom Install you step through several screens that give you choices. With free software, most of the time one of these screens will ask for permission to install a toolbar, change your home page or change your default browser. All you have to do is remove the checkmarks or choose no.

Sometimes when downloading programs, youíll get a choice between running the installation from the web site and saving the installation file to your hard drive. You should always choose to save the file and do the install from your PC. Otherwise, you may not have an opportunity to choose the Custom Install. Also, itís good to have the install file just in case you have to run the installation twice.

If youíre actually using one of these toolbars, you should still get rid of the ones you donít use. There are two approaches. In Internet Explorer, just right click in the menu area. The menu that comes up will list all toolbars installed on your PC. The active ones will have a checkmark in the menu. Just click on the check marked item and the toolbar will close. Use this method if you might want to use the bar later.

If youíre sure youíll never use it (which is most of the time), go to Control Panel, Add Remove Programs and uninstall the toolbar program. Itís that simple.

There are quite a few free programs that are worthwhile and the software companies canít stay in business if they canít monetize it somehow. The toolbars are one way they do it. Still, for the future, youíll have better control if you always do Custom Installs.

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