Toolbars in general do not have the best reputation which can be largely attributed to the sneaky ways they are installed on user systems. More often than not, they are offered as part of software installations.
What most users dislike is the way they are offered in those installations as they tend to get installed automatically if users just click next in the installer and do not switch to the custom installation option (if available).
Download websites too have started to bundle all program downloads in custom installers that serve no other purpose than to get users to install toolbars and other programs on their systems that they - usually - do not need or want.
The Bing Bar is Microsoft's official toolbar for the company's own Internet Explorer web browser. It is offered as an optional update via Windows Update (which means it is not selected by default) and also on the toolbar's website.
Bing Bar is only available for Internet Explorer. It was available for Firefox as well in the past, but Microsoft has discontinued support for it recently.
When you start Internet Explorer, you find the Bing Bar right beneath the browser's main toolbar. The toolbar displays lots of icons in its interface, all without text. From left to right they are:
You can furthermore remove icons that you do not want to make use of.
You have several options to remove the bar from Internet Explorer. Probably the easiest is to click on the x icon on the far left of the toolbar. A window opens up at this point asking you if you want to hide or disable the Bing Bar in the browser.
Hiding hides the toolbar but does not disable it. This means that you can display it again at any time with a tap on the Alt-key, and the selection of View > Toolbars > Bing Bar from the menu that opens up.
If you select disable, it will be disabled in the browser which effectively turns it off until you enable it again.
To uninstall the toolbar completely, use the Windows Control Panel.
To Microsoft's credit, Bing Bar is not as obtrusive as many of the toolbars that are installed on user systems during software installations. It is easy to remove, and it does not touch the browser's home page or search provider in any way.
Still, toolbars are more or less a relic of the past and it makes little sense to run them in the browser nowadays.
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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.