How Do I Remove PUPs, Foistware, Drive-bys, Toolbars, and Other Annoying Things I Never Wanted?

Ending up with random software on your machine that you never wanted in the first place is annoying as all heck.

And unfortunately, it’s happening more and more. I’d say that PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs, although there’s rarely any “potentially” about it), rogue toolbars, and search-engine hijacks are some of the most common issues I see in my inbox.

I’ll talk a little about prevention, but first, let’s walk through the steps I recommend when you suddenly realize you’ve been saddled with software you didn’t know you’d agreed to and certainly never wanted.

Read moreHow Do I Remove PUPs, Foistware, Drive-bys, Toolbars, and Other Annoying Things I Never Wanted?

Footnotes & references

For example purposes, I installed ImgBurn – a utility that I actually recommend for CD/DVD burning and ISO manipulation – with default options. Several PUPs were installed as a result. I can’t underscore enough the importance of never, ever choosing a default install any more, and always paying attention to all options.

How Do I Remove a Website from My Computer?

I get this question surprisingly often.

Unfortunately, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of exactly how things work. Unless you’re an actual website developer, websites aren’t on your computer.

I’m not saying there isn’t a problem or something annoying going on – there probably is. But a website “on” your computer isn’t it.

Let’s look at why the difference matters, and what kind of problem this might really be.

Read moreHow Do I Remove a Website from My Computer?

How Do I Make a Change to Chrome that Sticks?

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The Ask Tool Bar is not visible in Add/Remove programs. It was also not visible in Revo Uninstaller Professional. I’ve tried many patches to get rid of it and in fact it’s not visible anywhere except in Chrome. I’ve uninstalled Chrome many times but when I reinstall it, it just comes back in like a leech. Can you please hel me get rid of it? It’s very annoying.

I’ve heard about scenarios like this a time or two, specifically with Chrome.

I have a suspicion as to what’s going on and as a result, a couple of suggestions.

Read moreHow Do I Make a Change to Chrome that Sticks?

Why Can’t I Delete these Temp Files?

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I found four files and twelve folders in my Temp folder that I can’t delete because they say “Access denied” with no programs open. Most are random numbered IDs, but two of the files have weird names: My Babylon TB and Bundle Suite IM setup. Each of these are around 1 Kilobyte. Both are noted as .exe applications. Two other files are basically just temp files. I’ve tried everything, but they persist. It may not be a big threat, but I hate to clutter the Temp folder on a permanent basis. How can I remove them? I use Windows XP.

Deleting files from your Temp folder is a good thing to do periodically. An “Access denied” error usually means that the file that you’re trying to delete is currently open and in use by some other program.

Sometimes, it happens, but based on the information that you’ve given me, I’m a little concerned that something else might be going on here.

Read moreWhy Can’t I Delete these Temp Files?

Why is AVG telling me IE has high memory usage?

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I have the free version of AVG anti-virus 2013. And I keep getting this error: “AVG has detected high memory usage by Internet Explorer 8”. When that comes up, my computer slows way down. I do not have any add-ons and I’ve taken just about everything I don’t need off of my computer, but I am still getting this error. I have Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3.

High-memory usage can be related to a couple of things. I’ll discuss four things that might be causing this, but first, I want to talk about an assumption that I think you’re making here.

Read moreWhy is AVG telling me IE has high memory usage?

How do I get rid of Bing?

I have to be honest – this question threw me for quite a loop. But after I’d received it for about the third or fourth time it was clear I had to figure out what was going on.

My initial reaction? Bing’s a web site – “http://bing.com” – it’s not something you “get rid of”. If you don’t like Bing, well then just don’t visit that web site.

It couldn’t be that simple, so I must be missing something.

What I was missing, of course, was that what people were really asking about was the Bing toolbar.

I hate to say it, but terminology matters. A lot.

Read moreHow do I get rid of Bing?

My Internet Explorer Address Bar Disappeared – How Do I Get it Back?

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My Internet Explorer address bar has disappeared! All I have is search bars from Google and Mywebsearch and Iwonsearch. How do I get it back???

You should be able to right-click on one of the remaining toolbars and select address bar again.

Read moreMy Internet Explorer Address Bar Disappeared – How Do I Get it Back?