After of years of telling someone not to download anything, I just found over
five to ten toolbars. Is there a way to totally block these things from not only
installing silently, but no pop-ups for these things at all, but other pop-ups
can still appear? She would never see the request to install it. It’s a Vista
with the latest Internet Explorer. I cannot convince her to go to another
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Ultimately, another browser is not gonna help anyway.
In fact, I honestly don’t know what will.
The problem is that many software installation programs will, as part of
their installation, offer to install some unrelated software.
Typically, it’s an advertisement-based thing… they get paid. They get some
additional revenue for offering you this unrelated software. Nine times out of
ten, this unrelated software involves some kind of toolbar:
- You may also see toolbars getting installed from web pages…
- For all I know, there are downloads you can get through Facebook…
- Other social media sites do this same thing.
The fundamental problem here is that there’s no consistent approach to how toolbars are installed, how they are offered, or how setup programs are written to make these offers.
So there’s no consistent way to turn the offer off or to always hide the
offer from people.
The user has ultimate control
Unfortunately, there’s very little that can be done to protect your computer
from the person using it.
We might think of limited user accounts, which is a good way of preventing
system level malware from being installed, but that’s not what’s happening
Here, we’re installing user level software that’s getting installed into the
user’s browser: Internet Explorer (although it could be Chrome, it could be
Firefox, it doesn’t really matter.)
So, ultimately, there’s only so much that can be done to protect a computer
from the user and it’s not much. Education is the answer.
An implied yes
I’m not aware of a way to prevent toolbars (and such) from being
installed if the computer user says, “Yes, please install them” …even if they
don’t realize that they’re doing that.
My blame in scenarios like this are on the software vendors who are trying
to get this stuff installed… whether the user would really want it or not!
They are basically hiding the options or being misleading about the
So, that very long answer comes down to a very short resolution that says,
“No, I don’t know of a way to prevent this from happening. I’m sorry.”