Getting rid of adware and toolbars

Most free apps are not actually free. They monetize on displaying ads to you ― and sometimes it is very annoying.

The Idea of the Day is quite simple: not all applications that disturb you are actually viruses. Not all of them sneaked in illegally.  Some of them could have been installed with your consent. And it’s not even the antivirus to blame: the software you installed did not act like malware! The most typical example here is adware, an application that displays some form of advertising. These days, it often comes in the form of toolbar.


Here is an example. We need to install some utility. During installation, the Setup wizard displays the following screen:


Technically, there is nothing reprehensible in it: you are offered to install a partner product, which is some toolbar. It’s up to you whether to choose the Quick installation or switch to Advanced (which might as well be called “Custom”) and cancel unnecessary items by clearing their check boxes. But time is money, so most Internet users simply click Next and the get a reset Home page and a few new buttons on the web browser toolbar.

Never hesitate to call yourself a power user and always switch to Advanced installation. If you find nothing suspicious, you will be able to leave all check boxes as they are, but at least you will be sure that you are not going to get any obnoxious and useless plug-ins.

As you authorize the application to make changes to your system settings, your anti-virus won’t be reacting to the unwanted activity. As for the browser’s Home page, it does take time to restore the default settings, so we advise you to carefully read everything displayed in the Setup Wizard windows.

Sometimes installation wizards are designed in such a skilful way that you may agree to install something without even noticing it. The interface elements that enable extra components are sometimes really inconspicuous.


Let’s proceed to the troubleshooting since something nasty has been installed on your computer.

The most efficient way of getting rid of a toolbar is to find its installation folder and run uninstall.exe. For example, the uninstaller of Webalta, a common search bar, is located here:

In Windows 7, C:UsersAdminAppDataLocalWebaltaToolBaruninstall.exe

In Windows XP, C:Documents and SettingsAdminLocal SettingsApplication DataWebalta Toolbaruninstall.exe

There is a method if you were unable to find the uninstaller. Check the web browser’s shortcut (right-click it and select Properties on the shortcut menu). Check the Target field on the Shortcut tab:


If you have an unwanted toolbar installed on your computer, the contents of this field will probably be changed in the following way:


All you need is to delete the remnants and click OK.
Please note that your changes are effective for each shortcut individually, so if you have several shortcuts for Google Chrome you will need to open the properties of each shortcut.


Now it may be useful to clear the browser cache and the temporary Internet files folder. Next, it is recommended that you start a scan as described in our Knowledge Base.

To sum it up, it’s not too difficult to remove the adware that you might have installed by chance. But, to be on the safe side and never lose your favorite Home page, always read the Setup Wizards’ dialogs carefully.