Toolbars. Trash or Treasure?

October 21, 2008
When you are viewing a website, you are using a program called a web browser. The web browser most people use is Internet Explorer. That’s simply because that’s the one that comes with Windows. Other popular web browsers include FireFox, Opera, Netscape, and Chrome.
 
No matter which web browser you are using, one way to add additional functionality to your web browser is to install a toolbar. A toolbar is a panel across your web browser that contains buttons, icons, menus, and other content. For example, the standard Google Toolbar has a search box, bookmarks, autofill, and other features. Too see what the Google Toolbar looks like, go to toolbar.google.com.
 
A toolbar can be very useful. For example, if you save your favorites in the Google toolbar instead of saving them in Internet Explorer, then you can access those same favorites from any computer as long as the Google Toolbar is installed.
But there are some things you should be aware of about toolbars.
 
Each toolbar uses resources on your computer and takes up space on the screen. Therefore, if you don’t need or don’t use it, get rid of it. If you aren’t careful, you can end up with 4 or 5 toolbars in your web browser, which will not only slow your computer down, but will severely reduce the amount of space your web browswer has to actually display the web page you are looking at.
 
While there are many toolbars that are very useful, there are even more toolbars that are malicious. They are basically viruses, spyware, adware, and the like.
 
Here are some good rules of thumb concerning toolbars.
 
When installing any software, be careful when selecting the options. Many installations will install toolbars (and other software) unless you tell them not to. Don’t just blindly click next over and over to get the program installed. Read the screens carefully.
 
Before you allow the installation of a toolbar, make sure it’s from a company you have heard of. Toolbars from Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and the like are safe. Your security software may also install a toolbar. These are safe too. If you want to try and toolbar and you aren’t sure if it’s safe, try Googling the name of the toolbar and see what others are saying about it.
 
If you find you suddenly have a toolbar that you didn’t want, you can turn it off or uninstall it.
 
To turn a toolbar off in Internet Explorer 7, click on Tools and then toolbars and you will get a list of toolbars. The toolbars turned on will have a check mark next to them. click on the one you want to turn off to remove the check mark.
 
To uninstall a toolbar, Click on start and the control panel. Then double-click on Add/Remove Programs. Then find the toolbar in the list. click on it once to select it and then click the Change or Remove button.
And as always, it’s very important to make sure you have up-to-date, unexpired anti-virus and anti-spyware protection!

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