The Ask Toolbar has been developed by the makers of the Ask Search engine to allow easier access to the search engine's search functionality. The toolbar is infamous for its inclusion in freeware applications. Many users install a bundled version of the toolbar accidentally, especially if they do not pay attention to software installation dialogs that include the toolbar in the setup. The Ask Toolbar is usually selected for installation by default, which means that users need to disable it during the setup to avoid ending up with it.
When installed, the Ask Toolbar adds not only the toolbar to Microsoft's Internet Explorer on the system but changes the home page setup in the browser and the default search provider as well. The homepage is set to the Ask search homepage, the search provider to Ask.
Installation of the Ask Toolbar can happen to anyone, even tech savvy users, as some application developers use deceptive techniques to make users install the toolbar.
Users who do not want to use the Ask Toolbar should consider uninstalling it. This is however a technical process that some users may have troubles with.
This guide explains three different methods that both lead to the uninstallation of the Ask Toolbar. The first is manual, the second uses a now-outdated tool called Ask Toolbar Remover and the third the popular Revo Uninstaller.
A manual removal of the Ask Toolbar has the advantage that no third party software needs to be downloaded to uninstall it from the system. The process itself is not complicated at all, provided that the user knows how to uninstall software in Windows.
Close Internet Explorer and Firefox if either web browser is open. To access the built-in Windows program uninstaller users needs to click on the start orb and select control panel from the available options.
The click on Control Panel opens a list of tools and programs. Locate uninstall a program under Programs and open it with a left-click.
Please note that the terminology may be different if you are not running Windows 7.
Windows XP users need to follow the path Start menu > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs
Windows Vista users Start menu > Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program
Windows populates a list of all installed applications on the system. Locate the entry Ask Toolbar under the Name column. Right-click the entry and select uninstall from the menu.
Follow the uninstallation dialog. The Ask Toolbar is removed from Windows and should not appear in the uninstall a program window once the process has completed fully.
Please note that it is possible to remove the Ask Toolbar directly from the toolbar Options. Open Internet Explorer and locate the Ask Toolbar. Notice the little down arrow next to Options? Click on it and the following menu should appear.
Select Uninstall from the context menu and Yes when asked if you are sure that you want to uninstall the product. Close all browser windows when asked to and continue with the uninstallation from this point on.
Ask Toolbar Remover is a third party software that can be freely downloaded from the developer website. The free software supports the removal of Ask Toolbar 4.0, 4.1 and OEM 1000 series. Please note that it appears to be not compatible with the latest versions of the Ask Toolbar.
The portable program needs to be unpacked before it can be started. The interface displays three buttons, Execute Removal, Quit Program and About.
The program can be used if an older version of the Ask Toolbar is installed on the system but appears to do nothing for recent versions of the Ask Toolbar (even though it displays that the removal has been successful).
Another option that you have is the free Adwcleaner program that you can download and run on your system. It uses an all or nothing approach though and should be used with care.
To use it, simply click on search to run a scan of your system. A text document is displayed afterwards which highlights the findings. If everything worked out fine, you will find traces of the Ask Toolbar in the file. To remove it, simply click on the delete button to remove the toolbar from your system. Make sure that all browsers are closed before you run the delete command.
Sometimes the Ask Toolbar cannot be uninstalled because of errors that are displayed when trying to do so. The most common error message is that a browser window is still open. Users should close all browser windows before they start the removal of the Ask Toolbar from their Windows PC.
I suggest a free tool called Revo Uninstaller if the toolbar cannot be uninstalled via the Windows uninstall a program Control Panel applet. Just download the free version of the uninstaller from the developer website and start it. I recommend that you download the portable version of the program.
It displays a listing that looks fairly similar to the Windows uninstallation applet. Locate the Ask Toolbar in the listing and right-click the entry. Select Uninstall from the context menu and confirm the alert that you want to uninstall the Ask Jeeves Toolbar.
Keep the default uninstall mode (Moderate) and click Next. Another alert appears asking if you want to uninstall the product, click Yes once again.
Revo Uninstaller tries to uninstall the toolbar via its built-in uninstaller. This will fail again with the same error message. Revo Uninstaller will however scan the system for leftovers. It displays files and Registry entries of the Ask Toolbar in a listing. It is now up to the user to select those entries and delete them from the system.
This completes the removal of the Ask Toolbar from the system.
Update: Ask.com has published a program that can remove the toolbar from computer systems. You can download the toolbar from this location directly.
Note that it won't close browsers or processes, but configures the system to remove the toolbar on the start of it. While it will remove the toolbar from the system, it may not change the search provider back to the original one from Ask which means that you will have to do that manually.
I'd also like to point out that some extensions installed in the browser may prevent the manual uninstallation of the Ask toolbar in Chrome. If that is the case try disabling all extensions for the time being before you uninstall the Ask Toolbar.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.