Piggyback DownloadsCategory: Software QUESTION: "Suddenly my web browser is cluttered with toolbars that I never asked for. I delete them, but sometimes they come back. Why is this happening, and how do I get rid of all those unwanted toolbars?" Here's an example of how cluttered your screen can get: Piggyback Toolbar Download <http://askbobrankin.com/piggyback-toolbars.jpg> Unwanted Programs Piggyback Onto Downloads You open your Web browser one day and there at the top is a toolbar you didn't install. Where did these things come from? How can you get rid of them? How can you avoid picking up more of them? Often such annoying programs are sneaked into your computer with other programs that you actually DID mean to download. The annoyances "piggyback" a ride onto what you want and are installed along with the desired program. Usually, you can avoid piggybacks if you pay attention during the installation of a desired program. But some distributors of free programs sneak piggybacks in far under a normal person's radar. Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Ask.com and others have toolbar piggyback programs, and one can only presume the company pays software distributors to sneak it in on their users' computers. During the installation of the desired program, after clicking on several routine buttons and getting used to clicking "OK" or "Continue" mindlessly, there will be a notice that asks if you wish to install a toolbar, or some other extra thing. They're counting on you to be lazy or impatient, and just click the go-ahead button without really reading what you're agreeing to. Usually there is a checkbox you can uncheck to deny the installation of piggyback program. Just pay attention for it. Other software is even more stealthy and devious. There are quite a few trusted software packages that try to foist toolbars and other addons under the radar. Even some security-related programs use this tactic! Here is a sampling of some well-known programs that include piggyback downloads: Sun Java Update (Offers Carbonite or Microsoft's Bing toolbar) Adobe Flash Player / Reader (Offers Google Toolbar or McAfee Security Scan) AVG Antivirus (Offers Yahoo Toolbar) CCleaner (Offers Yahoo Toolbar) Comodo Internet Security (Offers Ask Toolbar) Foxit PDF Reader (Offers Ask Toolbar and eBay Desktop Shortcut) IrfanView (Offers Google Toolbar) RealPlayer (Offers Google Toolbar or Google Chrome) Skype (Offers Google Toolbar) Winzip (Offers UniBlue RegistryBooster) ZoneAlarm (Offers SpyBlocker aka Ask Toolbar) Protect Yourself From Piggyback Downloads Think before you download. If it's free, somebody may be paying the distributor to load up your computer with adware or extras you don't need. Pay attention during installation; opt OUT of anything you don't really need by UNCHECKING any boxes that will install these annoying extras! Here's an example of a box you should UNCHECK... Java Update - Yahoo Toolbar <http://askbobrankin.com/java-update-yahoo-toolbar.jpg> Jerry Taylor SeniorTech http://www.seniortech.us <http://www.seniortech.us/> Personalized In-Home Computer Lessons for Senior Citizens and Retirees 585-964-3319 "Computers are not just for kids"