Don Trauger

There are well over a dozen popular toolbars that are available for download or come as part of other programs that are installed on your computer. For example, there are, the Yahoo toolbar, AOL, MSN, Ask, and Comcast toolbars, and of course the very popular Google toolbar. Basically these toolbars are convenient entry points for searching the Internet for almost anything you can think of plus a myriad of other buttons that whisk you off to specialized locations. They occupy a location in Internet Explorer near the top of the window you are viewing.  I’ve seen computers that have at least three of these toolbars installed. This reduces the ability of Internet Explorer to display the full height of the Web page. Although you can move the vertical scroll bar to the right of the window to see the full page, it requires you to manipulate the mouse more than you should. This of course is user preference but it can be annoying too.


A more serious problem with toolbars is that they have their own behind-the-scene agenda. Many of them offer anti-phishing, anti-spam, anti-spyware, and a pop-up blocker. This built-in protection scheme often conflicts with your own installed anti-virus software. In addition, some toolbars may link to 3rd party sites of questionable integrity. My advice is to uninstall all toolbars. For Windows XP click Start, click Control Panel on the right, click Add or Remove Programs, click the name of the toolbar you want to remove, and then click on Change/Remove or Remove. For Vista and Windows 7 users, click the Start orb (lower left corner of the screen) then click Control Panel on the right. Click Programs and Features, click the name of the unneeded toolbar, and then click Uninstall. I can hear you now – “I really use my toolbar”. I understand, however, Internet Explorer can be configured to use any search engine you wish without using a toolbar. For Windows XP users, open Internet Explorer and click the tiny down arrow under the “X” in the upper right corner of the window. Click Find More Providers. Under Internet Explorer Gallery are the popular search engine providers. Google is the preferred choice. Click Google if it is not installed and choose to make it the default. Click Add, and then click the Add to Internet Explorer button. By clicking that same down arrow again in Internet Explorer, you should now see that Google has been added. You should also see Google in the grayed out search field of Internet Explorer. Type a search request in this field then click the magnifying icon next to the search field and you will automatically be taken to Google. The first ten search results will show in the opening window. Windows Vista, 7, and 8 users can click the gear icon, and then click on Manage add-ons, then Search Providers on the left side. At the lower left of the window, click on Find more search providers and then follow the above procedure for adding Google in the Internet Explorer Gallery. Vista, 7, and 8 users must type search requests in the address field of Internet Explorer.


            If you insist on having a toolbar make sure only one is installed to avoid conflicts. Look for where the Preferences or Options are in the toolbar and turn off or disable all the extra and unneeded security functions it offers.


            The basic rule is to not run your computer with multiple security programs of the same type at the same time. Only one anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, phishing filter, or pop-up blocker should be operational at a given time. More information about this and other subjects can be obtained if you attend our monthly PC Club meetings. They are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.


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