What to do when everything suddenly goes awry
Ever suddenly noticed a new toolbar appearing on your favorite internet browser window? Have you noticed that your Home page is different or your Search engine 'new and improved'. Slower response than you remember? Popups? Adverts? Dire warnings that 'you already may be infected'? If you have teen users in the house, you are probably used to having all your stuff being re-arranged, desktop backgrounds appearing and getting reset, new programs and features appearing on your computer. When it gets bad enough, try to blame it on them first. Otherwise, there is always your spouse, the neighbor kids, or the family pet to blame**. If you live alone, you could possibly blame it on your computer repair person. Meanwhile, you and your computer have arrived in toolbar purgatory and is most likely infected with some kind of malware as well. Regardless of how it happened, you need help. How do you get rid of the mess?
Some toolbars can be a useful addition to your browser if you happen to use the product that the toolbar integrates with. There may be useful shortcuts, interesting news facts, the weather etc. etc. I have found them rarely to be of much use, and I suspect many have given over to the dark side. My policy is NO TOOLBARS, especially when they install themselves for you.
I suppose chances are that if one of these sorts of toolbars appear, that you or someone you love installed it when loading some other software or update for your particular product. They most likely downloaded it accidently by not paying attention to the very small tick box that said ‘install the “blahblah” whizbang toolbar also’ while rushing along and clicking ‘next’ or 'enter' to make all the popup screens go away and voila, here you are peering through all these toolbars! That said, there are many new malware programs that can install themselves just by browsing to a particular website address or by clicking the wrong link in an email or online .. many just want to stay and visit and catch up on what you have been doing lately. Some are more annoying or destructive.
SO WHAT CAN WE/YOU DO ABOUT IT?
There are a many ways to remove these toolbars and add-ons. Perhaps the quickest way is to reset your browser and if you click on one of the links below you’ll be taken to a page to learn how to reset that particular brower. Tip: If your favorite browser unlisted .. did you think to Google?
Internet Explorer - Mozilla Firefox – Google Chrome
Unless you are a Linux user, you NEED an antivirus program. For Windows, I tend to recommend AVG or AVIRA but you may already have McAfee or Norton installed. One (and only one) of these should be running on your computer whenever you are connected to a live internet connection – even if they tend to 'slow down' the computer. Malwarebytes MBAM anti-malware utility is a great 'get out of jail' type program that can be run, after you are or suspect you are infected, to search and destroy the more pesky malcreants. If you are a Windows user, another easy tool I recommend is ccleaner with a free version available for download and the paid version only $25 or so. Besides being a great tool for removing temporary files building up on your system and an efficient and effective registry cleaner, there is also an easy to use software remover tab. For most anything that has 'Toolbar' in the description, I use ccleaner to find and remove for me. Sweet. Yes, Windows has it's own Add Remove Programs utility, but I much prefer the ccleaner version.
Then again, if reading all the above sounds like 'wah wah, wah wah wah WAH' in your head, you can just hire me or someone like me to pop by and do all this for you. Your computer (and kids) will be happier for it and we really appreciate the business!
** I was called to fix a problem computer once where the icons were 're-arranging' themselves at random times unexpectedly. While onsite discussing the possible causes, their sweet two year old toddled by, reached up and blindly/happily used the mouse to click and drag the screen icons around above her head. Is it possible you just have a house elf problem?
Roger .. the computer guy in Magrath, AB