Toolbars, what they are and how to avoid them.

Frequently when we're called upon to solve a problem with a machine, we run across the same common toolbars that bundle themselves in with "free" software. Sometimes we find 1 or 2…or 10! I've once repaired a machine that had more than half the screen in Internet explorer covered with them.

it can be a basic toolbar like "google." Other times it's something more malicious like the "babylon toolbar" or "mywebsearch." Occasionally it will be an unwanted shopping toolbar or a coupon savings toolbar.

Before I get in to how these toolbars get on your machine, I will explain what they often do and how to spot them.

Here's an example of a common toolbar to give you an understanding of what they are and how they work. Take a look at your current browser window, you might be shocked to find one there already.

In the photo above you will notice I have highlighted 3 key areas of the browser window:

Default Search Engine

In the top right I've highlighted the default search engine box, every time you attempt to search the internet in the address bar the results are provided by the default search engine. Toolbars modify this so that they gain control of your internet searches.

Toolbar

The long bar below is the toolbar. These areas often contain some miscellaneous links to fake software such as a performance enhancer or tune up software.  I find it Interesting that the cause of the problem presents you with a fake solution.

Default web page:

This is the page that opens automatically each time you open your browser. It will often have an ad placed within it or a search box.

Here are some examples of them in action:

Toolbars often come bundled in with free software, here is an example we've all most likely seen.

 

Again, i've highlighted a few key areas of the installer. First you will notice that many programs you download have these sneaky check boxes. if left checked it gives them permission to install their add-ons. This is the number one way toolbars get on your computer.

Can I stop them?

Simply read these check boxes and verify that they are not necessary to operate the program, unchecking them prevents them from being installed.

what do they do?

below are a few examples of what a toolbar does when installed.

Note the privacy policy statement in the bottom of the installer. Now that all your search traffic goes through the add on search provider, and that toolbar sits atop every page. It gives them the ability to gather information on how you use the internet and what you are searching. Armed with this information they modify search results to point you to web pages that they profit from, or worse sell your information to third parties.

They also take up unnecessary resources, causing your computer to run slowly.

Hope this was helpful to everyone.

Dan Jalbert

Owner, Technician

Doctor Dan's Computer Repair

Computer Repair Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington

Copyright Dr. Dan 2011-2013

      "All rights reserved"

 

 

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