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toolbar cleanerMaybe it’s a trend that is quickly coming back, or just coincidence and bad luck on my part, but I’ve noticed an alarming amount of new freeware applications coming bundled with toolbars. The only browser toolbar that I’ve ever found even remotely useful belongs to StumbleUpon. I can only shake my head at the rest. Even in recent MakeUseOf articles, I’ve had to warn users about opting out of toolbar installations.

Toolbars and freeware go together quite nicely because they act as a passive way for the software author to make money. When you’re pumping out free software, it’s probably best to do whatever you can to make some cash on the side. As long as you’re giving users the option to not install the toolbar, it’s not such a big deal. Sometimes it feels like a backhand though. Not every piece of software makes it obvious that you don’t have to install the optional extras along the way. A few don’t even allow you to opt out altogether. On top of that, some toolbars could even go as far as being considered malware. It’s just not cool.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to get rid of them. Toolbar Cleaner can help.

Toolbar Cleaner

Let me go ahead and immediately get this out of the way.

toolbar cleaner

They aren’t toolbars, but it’s the same deal. It’s very ironic that this is included at the end of the installation process for Toolbar Cleaner, but so be it. Make sure you uncheck both options because, trust me, you want neither.

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With that behind us, Toolbar Cleaner is a beautiful little program that goes beyond the basics of cleansing your browsers of bulky, spammy toolbars. Toolbar Cleaner allows you to remove toolbars from both Firefox and Internet Explorer. It also supports managing extensions for Google Chrome, where some toolbars may lie. Other browsers are not included as they are rarely victim of forced BHOs and other hijacks. Consider this a leading reason as to why you should try out Opera, my favorite browser!

toolbar cleaner review

The interface is simple, effective, and exactly what you see of it. There are really no additional windows or extras. You’ll see a full list of toolbars for IE and Firefox, and then add-ons and extensions for both (as well as Chrome).

The Complitly entries you see there have been nagging me for a while. Let’s get rid of them. Simply check the box beside the entries you’re ready to get rid of.

toolbar cleaner review

From there, click the Remove Selected Toolbar(s)/BHO(s) button. It could take a minute and, as simple as that, you’re all set. You’ll need to be sure your browser is not actively running while you perform the operation.

Be sure to notice the Windows Startup tab across the top, as its another great way to root out BHOs and other toolbars or browser attachments.

toolbar cleaner

The Options button is left without much functionality, only offering features like removing confirmation messages or the information popup. If you run across an entry in the list that you’re unsure of, just check out what you can find on Google regarding it.

I tested Toolbar Cleaner on Windows 8 Pro and it works as far back as XP.

What do you think of Toolbar Cleaner? It can’t be any easier to use and it accomplishes just what it promises. It’s worked like a charm for me. Did it for you? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Holly Colfer
    December 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I am praying it works. hate tool bars. will check back in to let ya know!

  2. Douglas Mutay
    November 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I think the best method will be to be carefull when installing software and making sure you're not leaving default box selected on the process of installation.tha t sometime when these toolbar are installed.

  3. Yudono Ra
    November 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

    i had toolbars from freeware, luckily i always does custom instalation for all my software (just to opt-out this kind of stuff)

  4. Pwince Khan
    November 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    where is my comment lol?

    • Tina
      November 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Probably went into moderation, but now here it is. :)

  5. Pwince Khan
    November 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    iobit uninstaller also got a option to uninstall all the toolbars...

  6. Boni Oloff
    November 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I never install toolbar in my browser, because most of time. It is useless. and can slowdown your computer and browser.

  7. Naveen Kumar
    November 6, 2012 at 5:35 am

    waiting for this to get rid of this tools bars...........

  8. Anonymous
    November 6, 2012 at 3:46 am

    This is particularly useful since I basically let my kid use our desktop all by himself. I have to clean the clutter manually. Will give this a try. Thanks!

  9. Genaro Gutierrez
    November 6, 2012 at 2:54 am

    I have just 4 , but it's good to know there is something can help... in case.

  10. Richard Steven Hack
    November 6, 2012 at 2:38 am

    A LOT of people accidentally install toolbars. I see it a lot in my tech support work. This utility will probably be very useful to speed up their removal.

  11. Rajaa Chowdhury
    November 6, 2012 at 2:32 am

    This lady has been constantly spamming the forum posts. I have seen this posting multiple times now (totally unrelated and directly to a suspicious site) in other articles also and other forums. If the postings are moderated, how are such spams getting through? MakeUseOf stake-holders kindly take note, or the credibility of MakeUseOf takes a hit.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

      It has been marked as spam. Shouldn't come up now. Thanks for spotting that.

  12. Rajaa Chowdhury
    November 6, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Though I do not have a single toolbar installed, after reading this article, I did install the software. At the last screen it says, do I want to change the homepage to mystart.com page, which I specifically ticked off, however it still added that page as a homepage to my Google Chrome browser, which I then manually removed from the settings. Further, I do have Comodo Internet Security installed, which gave a trojan alarm on this software. Now I do not know specifically know if it is a false alarm, but would still request the MakeUseOf team to check this out.

    • Craig Snyder
      November 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Are you 100% sure that you unticked to box to set your homepage to MyStart? I took these same steps as you and my homepage was not changed at all, not in any browser.

      I don't use Comodo, but MSE caught nothing during the installation process. Just using my savvy with these sort of applications, I can understand how antivirus heuristics could detect such an application as "malicious" and I strongly, strongly believe that to be a false positive. Many applications that modify BHOs or the Windows startup are given the "malicious" fingerprint. I think it's a case of CIS being a little overprotective.

  13. Ashwin Ramesh
    November 6, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Really cool! Thanks!

  14. Bruce Thomas
    November 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    One key to minimizing an unwanted toolbar problem is to always install with the "Custom" option. Simply uncheck the toolbar option and continue installing if you aren't sure about other options. Otherwise, make your choices and install the application. Allowing the "Typical" or other named option is where unexpected tool bars appear.

    • Marian Cimbru
      November 6, 2012 at 4:18 am

      Right, but many people don't even read those installing steps and they just click "Next", "Next" and then... the annoying toolbars fill almost half of their screen :)

  15. jess
    November 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    so there's still people out there installing toolbars? o_O hahaha oh god,you don't need this program,what you need is common sense.exe.seriously guys,don't use IE and ALWAYS choose custom installation,that's it,you wont see a toolbar in your browser ever again

    • T. Gibson
      February 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Condescending is kind of lame. Believe it or not, some of us have kids who download on our computers when we aren't aware of it. My 8 year old downloaded a game add-on and I got stuck with some baggage as a result of that. If I were on Apple this wouldn't have happened- the 8 year old rarely uses PC.

  16. Tarek Ramadan
    November 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I always remove any toolbar installed by mistake, i hate all

  17. Andreas Beer
    November 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    i have no toolbars, because i use a modern browser. this software is a solution a problem of the past decade, seriously, get a decent browser not IE8, and when installing some other software from the web, make sure you uncheck every tag-along-toolbar. it's not that hard.

  18. Zviad Mikadze
    November 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    i have no toolbars

    but,this utility is ver helpfull
    thx

  19. Harish Jonnalagadda
    November 5, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I dont have as many toolbars as that image but this seems to be a very useful utility! Thanks.

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