At least some toolbars back in the early days of the Internet offered functionality that you could not really get elsewhere. Google's Toolbar offered translation and Pagerank information for example. Nowadays, features are either integrated in browser's natively or readily available in form of add-ons or web services.
Toolbars in particular and other potentially unwanted programs (PUP) are mainly used to generate revenue these days. This is done either indirectly, by integrating custom search engines into the toolbar and modifying the browser's home page and core search engine as well, or directly by tracking users on the Internet.
If you look around, you will notice that support forums are filled with user questions on how to get rid of a program that has integrated itself into a browser o the computer system.
And tools like Win Patrol protect your system from these installations in the first place, provided that you block them when they are noticed.
The free program Force Byte Detector combines cleanup and protection. You can run the program right after you have downloaded it to your system.
You get an option to check for updates right on start which you should do. You are then taken to the protection tab where the security status of the protection and a scan button are displayed to you.
A click on scan starts a system wide scan for toolbars, unwanted programs, scripts or Browser Helper Objects that are classified as adware.
You get a prompt for some item that the program finds. Here you are informed about the software that has been found, potential impact on the system if you go ahead with the removal, and options to completely remove the found application from the system or leave it for the time being.
Other programs may be removed automatically from the system without further user input or control over the process. That's a problem as it gives users no control over the removal process.
You can enable the protections under settings in the program interface. According to the program website, these "guards" protect the system against all kinds of threats including toolbars, potentially unwanted programs, Browser Helper Objects, or scripts and ads.
This works on a global level, so that you benefit from ad blocking in all web browsers for example. It is very likely that - at least part of - the functionality is powered by the blocking of IP addresses and domains.
The program ships with a third option, a basic cleanup feature that you can use to remove temporary files and data. It is not as complete as what system cleaners such as CCleaner have to offer though.
The program takes good care of toolbars and unwanted programs, and is a great choice if you want them all removed. It lacks control on the other hand which is definitely problematic as it may uninstall programs from the system that you may want to keep.Advertisement
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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.