It's easy to get Ask.com's toolbar installed on your browsereven if you didn't want itbut it's quite a challenge to remove. Here's how you can get rid of it without going crazy.
I frequently get comments that users are clearly informed when they are prompted to install these add-ons, so they shouldn"t complain when it happens. While I agree that users should be deliberate when installing software and scrutinizing every line and checkbox that comes up, it"s also clear that there are serious problems with an entire distribution model that relies on users not noticing what"s happening.
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In some cases, the "typical" installation already includes the add-on and the only way to turn it off is to use the "custom" installation, which many users won"t do.
It also doesn"t help that, at least on the Java installer, users are shown the message "We recommend installing the FREE Browser Add-on from Ask." From a user"s standpoint, if you are installing software, you don"t expect recommendations of other programs that have nothing to do with what you are currently trying to do. If it"s recommended, you should listen, right?
How do I Make it Stop?You didn"t notice the checkbox in your rush to hit Next, or didn"t realize what the Ask Toolbar was going to do, and now you are paying the price. Have no fearhere is what you can do to get rid of it from all your browsers.
Remember, just removing the software that installed the toolbar won"t do anything. Uninstalling Java laves the Ask toolbar on your system. We need to uninstall Ask Toolbar Updater and Ask Toolbar from your computer. Ask.com provides a fairly detailed list of steps on how to uninstall the toolbar and also a "Ask Toolbar Remover" tool. The tool seems to work only with older versions of the toolbar and is not always effective for recent versions, though.
Let"s stick with the manual process.
1.Control Panel > Uninstall a programBefore we do anything, we make sure all browsers are closed. Check the Task Manager to make sure none of the browsers are open. (Maybe you should print the directions out first, or use a different device to display this page)
Then, we open up Control Panel and go to "Uninstall a program" (Add or Remove Programs if you are still on Windows XP). In the list of applications, find and uninstall Ask Toolbar Updater and Ask Toolbar.
If you have already done this and you still have a problem, look for any applications in the list that has "Ask" in the Publisher field.
With the software gone, the next step is to clean up the Web browser. The toolbar installed several browser extensions, changed your default homepage to nl.ask.com, and changed the default search engine to use Ask.com.
Cleaning Up Internet Explorer
2.Cleaning up Internet ExplorerYou can remove the add-ons from Internet Explorer by clicking on the gear icon (the settings icon is shown as "Tools" on Windows XP) on the upper right corner and selecting "Manage add-ons."
Select "Toolbars and Extensions" in the right pane of the "Manage Add-ons" window and select all the extensions that are associated with Ask.com, such as Ask Toolbar (there may be several), IESalesProspectsToolbarInstaller_S-PV_tbr_sa_hpr_22.214.171.124, and askBar BHO, among others. Click on the Disable button at the bottom of the window. You can also right-click on the extension and then select Disable from the menu. This has to be done individually for each extension.
This is a good time to just clean out other unknown extensions, as well, since it could be lurking under some other name.
To change the default search engine back to Bing (by default on Internet Explorer), you click on "Search Providers" in the right pane of the same "Manage Add-ons" window. Ask.com will show up in the list. Click on the "Remove" button at the bottom of the window to get rid of it. Click on "Bing" and then the "Set as Default" button. You can also right-click to get to the same options.
You can close Manage Add-Ons at this point. Go back to the gear icon and select Internet options" from the menu. Under the General tab, in the "Home page" section, you will see various URLs. Click on "Use default" to reset the browser to the Microsoft page. If you want to have a different page, change the URL manually after you"ve set the browser to use the default page.
Cleaning Up Google Chrome
3.Cleaning up Google ChromeMake sure you uninstalled the software from Control Panel first before trying to clean up Chrome, because otherwise, you won"t be able to remove the registryProcess extension in Chrome.
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You can remove the extensions from Chrome by clicking on the settings icon (an icon with three horizontal lines), selecting "Tools," and then "Extensions."
Select "Extensions" in the right pane of the Extensions page, and select all the extensions that associated with Ask.com, such as Ask Toolbar. To remove them, click on the trash can (recycle bin) icon on the right corner of each extension. See other extensions you don"t recognize or no longer want? Clean them up while you are at it.
To change the default search engine back to Google (by default on Chrome), go back to the settings icon to select "Settings." Once you are on the settings page, click on "Manage Search engines" under the "search" section. In the Search Engines dialog, you select Google and click on the "Make default" button. If you select on ask.com, you will see an "X" appear on the right corner of the list. Click on the "x" to remove the search engine.
Back on the Settings page, under the "On Startup" section, there is an option to either "open the new tab page," "continue where I left off," or "open a specific page or set of pages." Click on "Open the New Tab page." You can also go in to the "set pages" link (after you"ve changed to open new tab) to manually set a different page as your default home page.
Cleaning Up Mozilla Firefox
4.Cleaning up Mozilla FirefoxYou remove add-ons and extensions from Firefox by clicking on Tools on the menu bar, (or the orange Firefox button if you are using an older version) and selecting "Add-ons."
Select " Extensions" option in the right pane of the "Add-ons Manager" window and select all the extensions that are associated with Ask.com, such as Ask Toolbar. Just click on the "remove" (or uninstall) button to get rid of them entirely; no need to bother with "disable." Clean out other unknown extensions, as well.
Mozilla has a SearchReset add-on that makes it easy to reset the search engine and homepage back to defaults. You can search for and download SearchReset from the add-ons gallery ("Get Add-ons" from the "Add-ons Manager" window). After installing, the add-on resets search preferences and home page to browser defaults and then uninstalls itself.
If you don"t want to download yet another software, you can click on the small search arrow near the search bar at the top of the browser (mine shows up next to the browser icon). Select the "Manage search engines " option and remove any Ask related search engines listed here.
You then go back to Tools and select Options. On the General tab, delete all the URLs listed in the box. If you click "Restore to Default," it reverts to the browser defaults. At this point, you can freshly type in the actual page that should be set as your home page.
You can also do a more extreme step and reset Firefox by going to the Help menu and clicking on "Troubleshooting Information." This opens up the about:support page, which displays a big button to "Reset Firefox" on the top right corner.
Firefox will close and reset. The next time you open Firefox, it will have all factory defaultsand all your personal options will be removed. Don"t do this if you want to keep your bookmarks and other configuration settings.
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Getting Rid of The Traces
5.Getting Rid of The TracesAt this point, you should be set. However, in some cases, the toolbar may have left registry keys behind. Several adware cleaners detect and remove objects relating to the Ask.com toolbar. It"s not a bad idea to download and run an adware utility such as AdwCleaner to just make sure everything has been cleaned up.
If you are still having problems, it could be that you have multiple programs installed that use Ask Toolbar. This is why it"s a good idea to remove software and extensions you aren"t actively using.
More importantly, run an antivirus scanner of your choice afterwards. While Ask Toolbar itself is not malicious, there have been cases where scammers and criminals bundled the toolbar into their own malicious software to make it look legitimate. After you"ve removed the toolbar, do a thorough scan to make sure malware hasn"t piggybacked its way onto your computer.