Unnecessary Toolbars as Malware
A common feature of malware that can get installed on your computer is unnecessary toolbars. They can make your browser run more slowly, especially as it opens up since it takes longer to load the extra “features” along with your homepage. One of the primary goals of these toolbars is to generate even more malware on the computer by redirecting you to other websites when you click on its icons or use its search bar.
Toolbars usually appear at the top of your browser window, or they may be installed on the desktop screen and seem like shortcuts to the Internet and certain sites. Unnecessary toolbars often accompany a hijacked homepage, one that is changed to a malicious page with a lesser-known search engine and shortcuts.
Check the top of your browser window to make sure you haven’t inadvertently installed extra toolbars. The Menu bar (File, Edit, View, etc.) and the Bookmarks bar (for your bookmarked/favorite websites) are the only ones you really need, along with the address (URL) bar. If you have shopping, coupon, or extra “search” bars that did not come by default on your browser or as part of your antivirus package, you should try uninstalling these. If you’re unable to get rid of them, your computer should be scanned for malware and viruses.
Common types of unnecessary toolbars include:
• Non-standard “safe search” bars (those not part of legitimate programs like Norton or McAfee)
• Shopping & Coupons
• Games & Video (especially free gaming and streaming sites, casino/gambling games)
• Ask toolbar (Microsoft flagged some versions of the Ask toolbar as malware in 2015, the Ask.com search engine is not good to use)
• Contains icon shortcuts for social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
You can try uninstalling a toolbar in the Control Panel. Be careful not to uninstall something you need!
Control Panel –> Programs & Features –> select the program you want to uninstall –> click “Uninstall” at the top of the window –> go through the prompts (if any) to complete the uninstall process.
You may also want to refresh your Internet browser so that it returns to a default state, without any additional add-ons. This process, however, would also remove plug-ins you may want. If you’re not sure how to do either of these things, a technician can run full virus scans, remove any threats, and reinstall any corrupted software, including the operating system if necessary.