How to Remove Browser Toolbars You Don’t Want!

Some browser toolbars can be really useful but often, I visit a client and find that they have four or five of them installed and their default search provider has been hijacked by (usually) Ask, Yahoo, McAfee or AVG Search. This can be really frustrating for the user. Toolbars slow your computer down, can cause crashes and are sometimes a real security risk. This article explains the problems and how to remove browser toolbars you don’t want.

How to remove browser toolbars

If you let your kids use your computer, you can end up with all sorts of toolbars on your browser!

How Do Browser Toolbars Get Installed?

How to remove the AVG search toolbar 2014 Upgrade

The AVG 2014 Upgrade includes a pre-ticked approval to install their search bar

Most of the browser toolbars I see are genuine toolbars that have been installed because the user gave permission for that particular toolbar to be added to their browser. This usually happens in the process of installing something else, such as antivirus virus software like Norton, McAfee or AVG. All three of these companies have their own search toolbars that are offered as an option on installation or update of their software. The annoying part is that these “options” are pre-ticked and positioned in such a way that you’re likely to miss them.

This screenshot of the 2014 AVG Free Update shows the tick boxes that are required to accept the installation. When I first when to update, I nearly missed un-ticking the tick box at the top of the window giving permission to their AVG Search Toolbar. They have also included tick boxes to take over as the default search provider and the default home page. This can be really frustrating for the user as they then lose (most likely), Google or Bing as their preferred search engine.

Are Browser Toolbars Safe?

Whether or not browser toolbars are “safe” depends on your definition of the word! Virtually all browser toolbars will be doing something that you are not aware of, if you have not read all the fine print in the license agreement and privacy policy. Aside from providing a search engine that you probably didn’t want anyway, the toolbars are likely to be tracking what websites you’re looking at, how long you spend on them and at what time of day. This information will be recorded in a database that is sold and used in market research to display adverts and drive sales.

Because tracking information like this takes resources from your computer, this will be slowing down the browser and overall speed of your computer. It will also be using your bandwidth allowance and will make your browser much slower to open.

The common “big name” toolbars like McAfee and AVG will not be doing anything malicious on your computer but there have been other toolbars that are a real security risk. In general, unless you have a specific reason for installing a toolbar, they add nothing of value.

How To Remove Browser Toolbars

As well as removing the toolbars, you may need to re-set your default search provider.

Internet Explorer

  • Click the cog icon on the top right of the screen and click on ‘Manage add-ons’.
  • On the Toolbars and Extensions tab, find the toolbar you want to remove and click on the trash/delete icon.

Firefox

  • Find the menu bar and click on Add-ons.
  • In the Extensions and Plugin list, you should find the toolbars.
  • Delete toolbars.

Google Chrome

  • On the top right of the browser window, there is either a spanner or three bars – click this.
  • Click on “Settings”.
  • Click on “Extensions”.
  • Delete unwanted toolbars.

Opera

  • Click on the Opera icon/logo in the top left corner.
  • Click on “Extensions”.
  • Click on “Manage Extensions”.
  • Delete any unwanted toolbars.
 

 

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