You may not have known how it happened, or where they came from. It may have happened gradually – not noticeable at first – but you suddenly realize that half of your browser’s real estate is taken up by toolbars.
Even though reputable companies such as Yahoo! and Google have toolbars available, as a whole, toolbars don’t really serve much of a purpose. Some contain adware – small programs that may monitor your online activity and searches, send it to a third party and then deliver relevant pop-up ads to your computer. Others are laden with viruses and trojans that may infect your computer.
“But I didn’t install them!” you say.
You may have unknowingly done it by downloading a coupon, some freeware program that had a well-hidden checkbox, or even clicking an OK button on a dialog window while visiting a website. But if it doesn’t do anything and it could harm your computer, how do you get rid of it?
Browser add-on management can be easy or difficult, depending on what type of toolbar you are trying to remove. Follow the following steps to make sure you get rid of it correctly.
- If you just want the toolbar to disappear from view, the fix is fairly simple: If you’re using Internet Explorer, just go to Tools – Toolbars and select which toolbar you would like to remove from view. With Firefox, select View – Toolbars and select the appropriate toolbar.
- You may want to go a little further in removing the toolbar and actually uninstall it. This can be a little trickier. In Internet Explorer 7, go to Tools – Manage Add-Ons -> Enable/Disable Add-Ons. Select the add-on you want to remove, and select the Disabled radio button in the Settings area. Click OK. In Firefox, Click Tools -> Add-ons. Click on the Extensions button on the top, then click on the extension you want to uninstall. Click Uninstall.
- Sometimes you may have to actually remove a program that may have installed the toolbar. This is a little trickier. In Windows, Click the Start button, then Control Panel, then Add or Remove Programs (called “Programs and Features” in Windows Vista and Windows 7). Click the program you want to remove, and then click “Change or Remove” and follow the prompts.
- Since some toolbars may contain malware, you need to go one step further to make sure your computer is protected. Be sure to scan your computer periodically with an anti-virus and anti-spyware program like System Optimizer Pro. These programs will find and remove bits of malware that may have been left behind by the uninstall. Your computer and information will be safer, and your browser will be much lighter and happier.