How Do You Get Rid of the Babylon Toolbar?

This post, which explores some false paths taken in a decision making process, started with a previous post discussing how a senior client of mine went from a desktop to a laptop. She gave me her XP desktop, which apparently had not been updated from the factory. It had no service packs installed at all. Not to worry, I set about upgrading the hardware and then settled in to what I expected would be a tedious, but unchallenging series of updates to bring it up to modern standards. I was wrong.

The trouble started, as it often does, when I let my guard down in response to a Microsoft problem. It does not seem to directly support upgrading raw XP systems to the SP3 status, so I searched for a site that would have an SP1 or SP2 package that I could download. One of the top results was a link to Soft32, which was indicated as safe by my trusty WOT add-on in Firefox. It was late, and I was tired, so I probably simply overlooked the alternative. A few clicks and I was in business. Having updated the basic XP, I could now start the arduous process of downloading the accumulated updates. Or course, Microsoft Security Essentials was one of my downloads. Malwarebytes was another.

Things looked real good until I happened to open Firefox again and saw that it had been hi-jacked by something called a Babylon toolbar. I did not want it. So started my headache, but it also presented a good example of following a decision tree to solve a problem. In what follows, you will see how I navigated inefficiently through the maze to eventual success.

I started by looking at Firefox itself. The intruder was not listed in the Firefox tools area, and nothing appeared in the “remove programs” part of the XP control panel. So next I went to Explorer and searched the HD for meaningful names to delete. This was followed by a quick search through the registry using regedit. You might be comfortable registry diving, but it always gives me pause. After deleting everything that looked remotely suspicious, I fired up Firefox again and, right across the blue banner at the top, was something called Babylon Search!

Obviously, at this point, I should have gone online and searched for help, but this is an article about decisions. I made the stubborn decision to persevere by myself. If something was wrong with Firefox, I figured I could simply uninstall it and do a clean re-install. That will usually fix anything. Surprise: The new installation had the same infection. In frustration, I uninstalled it again and ran scans with both Malwarebytes and MSE. The system was clean. Then I reinstalled Firefox for the third time. No change. In frustration, I resorted to an old friend, Spybot S&D. I downloaded it using Firefox and ran a scan. This time it found a lot of entries for Babylon and fixed them. That was good — for a while. When I opened Firefox again, it was still infected. For those of you following my fumbling, note the order in which I did things. A clue to what was wrong is right in front of us where I should have seen it. Alas, my mind must have been in neutral. In frustration again, I decided that maybe Internet Explorer — which I used to download Firefox — was compromised, so I downloaded Opera using another machine, installed it, and used it to install (fourth time) Firefox with no improvement; Babylon was still there offering to do whatever it does for me.

Having gone through a reasonable decision tree and not achieving success, I now did what should have been done sooner, and looked for a solution online. There are many solutions available. A quick reading of some of them showed me that the authors did not know any more about the situation than I did, even though they swore their method would work. But the consensus seemed to be that some of the things I did should have worked. So I must have been doing something stupid (acknowledging that you are doing something stupid is a valuable, but often overlooked tool). That turned out to be the case.

I think that there are enough clues embedded in this account to allow a reasonable guess about what I did wrong in trying to rid myself of Babylon. The answer follows, but before reading it, pretend that you are with me struggling with this problem. I value your input and beg for help. What do you suggest?

How Do You Get Rid of the Babylon Toolbar? I Did It.The answer is implicit in the screenshot showing the next to last step in uninstalling Firefox. Like many folk who are tired of the yada-yada on various screens, when this one popped up, I clicked the uninstall button at the bottom and waited. An observant person (which I was not) would notice the check box in the middle of the screenshot. By clicking uninstall without selecting that box, I was telling Firefox that I might be back and if I did come back, I wanted it to be the same as it was at the time of uninstallation — complete with Babylon.

Duh! When I finally woke up and realized that, I checked the box, uninstalled Firefox, and then reinstalled it with no difficulty — and it worked correctly!

Part of the reason for dwelling on this fiasco, which does not do my reputation any good, is to lay out the decision pattern I tried to follow, and if I had done it correctly instead of flailing, it would not have been such a problem.

We can speculate that since this was a new installation, I did not have any bookmarks or other personal data or customization invested in the Firefox installation. Therefore I was not as careful about deciding what to do as I would have been if there had been some personal investment of time involved. Maybe that is true, but it does not really matter. I made a couple of mistakes while upgrading a computer and paid for it with frustration. Let him who has never done the same thing cast the first stone.

Google Sued Over Toolbar Privacy

Realizing that Google has a hefty slush fund for legal hassles, seeing the search giant sued over the privacy concerns regarding the usage of their toolbar. The fact of the matter is, no one is reading any attacked TOS which explains Google’s privacy policy. So even if the policy is outrageous, it’s really the end user responsibility to understand what they are getting into.

The claim to fame is apparently that Google has mislead those who are downloading the Google toolbar software. Right, because everything free in life is not going to use your personal data anyway possible to help pay for the item you’re enjoying? Give me a break.

While I personally think that Google would do well be its users to make how they handle data more clearly understood, I think that people who sue them over privacy concerns need to get a reality check.

I Took The Palemoon Plunge

Hi, Dick – don’t try this! LOL

OK. I admit. I was bored. So when I read a reader’s comment about how much faster Palemoon was than Firefox, I decided to give it another try. I must admit, reading the Web site helps. I did not realize that on the Palemoon site there is a migration tool that copies over your Firefox user profile. This saves a lot of time, because when I first tried Palemoon, I thought it was a giant pain to try and put back on my toolbar, add ons, extensions, themes, history, settings, and bookmarks. So when I saw the migration tool I decided to give Palemoon another try.

Before doing anything, I highly recommend if you wish to migrate, use the add-on called FEBE. FEBE makes a backup copy of your profile in case something goes wrong.

The migration was a snap. The tool worked perfectly and my profile with all settings was transferred over to Palemoon without issue.

So is Palemoon quicker than Firefox?

It is. I have always been a firm believer that an experienced user can feel the difference in performance when using any software without the need for benchmarks. IMHO Palemoon is quicker.

Will I be staying with Palemoon?

Yes I will. I like the snappy response plus the benefit that it is Firefox, optimized. :-)

Comments welcome.

Palemoon’s Web site is here.

Palemoon migration tool is here.

Google Toolbar Tracking

I like most Google products. But in the past I have been pretty vocal about not installing its stuff on my desktop, regardless of platform. Today, it looks like I was right to be wary. Bug or feature? Considering Google openly points out that its leadership deems privacy as something dated and needing to be retired, I’m suspicious.

Regardless of why or how it happened, the damage has been done. Google will need to work hard to not only make sure that this kind of bug doesn’t happen again, but also explain why a “bug” like this would happen in the first place if the toolbar was supposedly disabled.

I have no problem with the Google toolbar sending data, assuming I have chosen to leave it turned on. But running data transmissions in the background when the end user is under the impression that it’s off? Clearly, something needs to be reconsidered here.

[awsbullet:adrenalin o.d.]

Google Toolbar Labs – Ready To Try

Google has announced on their blog site that Google Toolbar Labs is ready for you to try. The folks at Google state that they have made ready features that consumers have mentioned they want to be incorporated into the Google Toolbar. Some of what Google offers include:

Back in September, the Mobile team launched Mobile Search with My Location. Looking at this, we wanted to figure our how we could bring the same convenience of typing fewer words to computer users. With Toolbar with My Location, both Google Maps and the included Maps gadget automatically center on your current location. Similarly, you can just do a search like [thai food], and you will receive a list of nearby restaurants and more local Google search results. This feature is similar to IP-based local search results announced earlier this month, except Google Toolbar with My Location can determine a more accurate location by using nearby Wi-Fi access points. This is done without associating location information with a user’s Google Account. Google Toolbar with My Location is only available in the U.S.

There is also a new Chinese toolbar available as well. Google also says that some of the features of the Google Toolbar Labs may not make the cut when the final versions is released. Google is looking for your feedback so give it go if you are a Google Toolbar fan.

Comments welcome.


Engadget Bars The DiggBar

Despite what some people might have you believe, the DiggBar is a mixed bag at best. For those people who are looking for a Stumbleupon effect, it is seen as a way of enjoying this same kind of stumbling benefit without adding a physical toolbar. On the flip-side however, I never asked for it yet Digg is using this code on my computer’s browser despite me NEVER agreeing to it.

Some individuals have said that this is something that Digg users are wanting, I definitely disagree and while it is easy enough to remove. The problem for me is that I never asked for this, yet there it is. At no time, do I recall agreeing to this unless there was some ancient TOS I missed back when I first joined Digg as a user? Clearly I must be missing something.

Some websites are so unimpressed, that they are blocking the toolbar completely and rightfully so. It is well in their rights to do so as far as I am concerned. The most predominate of these sites is the mighty Engadget. Yes folks, Engadget is blocking the DiggBar.

Quickly Get Rid Of Unwanted Tools In PowerPoint

Microsoft Office applications include several different toolbars, many with tools you have never or will never use. There are likely some tools on your visible toolbars that you have never and will never use. If so, you can de-clutter your toolbars by getting rid of any unwanted tools. For example, one tool I never use is the Underline. Instead of leaving on the formatting toolbar, I can get rid of it.

The quickest way to get rid of an unwanted tool is to hold down the Alt key and click-and-drag the tool off the toolbar. The tool will automatically disappear. To get the tool back, right click the appropriate toolbar and click Customize. Select the Commands tab, select the tool you previously got rid of then drag it back onto the toolbar.


Create Toolbar Button To Change Text Color In Word 2002

Changing the color of text is a good way of calling attention to important words and phrases. When I want to highlight specific text, I typically change it from black to blue. If you frequently change text to a specific color, you can create a toolbar button that will do just that. For example, if you’re like me and usually use blue font, you can create a color button called ‘Blue’ that when clicked, changes selected text to blue.

To create a toolbar button in Word 2002 to change the font color:

  1. From the Tools menu, click Customize. 
  2. Click the Commands tab.
  3. Under the list of Categories, click All Commands.
  4. Under the list of Commands, click Color.
  5. Click the drop down arrow beside the color field to choose the color you want to use.
  6. Now, click the Color option again from the Commands list and while holding down the mouse button, drag it onto a toolbar.
  7. Click Close.

When you want to change the color text, simply highlight the text and click the new Color toolbar button.

Digg Offers Firefox Toolbar

The folks over at Digg are offering their own toolbar for Firefox users. The toolbar is available for a free download from the Digg site. Included in the toolbar is the ability to see if a story has already been submitted to Digg and also includes a submit button as well. The toolbar can also be adjusted to view all Digg stories or just the stories you are intested in. Digg also states:

Follow Your Friends

A great way to discover the best content is to see what your friends are doing on Digg. Enter your Digg username in the settings window to receive notifications when you friends Digg, submit, or comment on stories. To go back and look at earlier notifications, click the Digg icon at the status bar at the bottom of the browser. All notifications can also be snoozed if you want to temporarily turn them off.


In addition to setting topics for notifications of popular stories and your Digg username for notifications of friends’ activity, you can customize the placement of the notification window, how long it displays, and how links should be opened.

You can get your free Digg toolbar at the link below.

Comments welcome.

Digg toolbar for Firefox

De-Clutter Your Internet Explorer Toolbars

If you want to reduce the clutter on you toolbar within Internet Explorer, you can do so by removing those buttons you do not use. For example, if you do not use the Edit button or the History button, you may just want to remove them.

You can do this within Internet Explorer by clicking the View menu, pointing to Toolbars, and clicking the customize button. Under the list of Current Toolbar Buttons, highlight those that you do not want displayed on your toolbar and click Remove. Conversely, you can add additional buttons by highlighting a button under the list of Available Toolbar Buttons and click Add.

Google Gmail – Encrypted Or Not – You Decide

Over at the Google Gmail blog, they describe how to use encrypted email from your Gmail account. It appears that a user can opt in or out to encrypt their mail. As noted on the blog, encrypting may slow done the email process. Google also states that:

We care about your security today just as much as we did when we launched, which is why we’re constantly working on improvements like the recently launched last account activity and remote sign out. Today, we’re making it even easier for you to use https to protect your mail every time you access it. We’ve added an option to Settings to always use https. If you don’t regularly log in via unencrypted wireless connections at coffee shops or airports or college dorms, then you might not need this additional layer of security. But if you want to always use https, then this setting makes it super easy. Whenever you forget to type, we’ll add the https for you. If you already have the https URL bookmarked, using this setting will ensure you access your account via https even when you don’t use your bookmark. Any http link to Gmail (for example, the one at the top of will be automatically redirected to https.

We’re in the process of rolling this feature out to all Gmail and Google Apps users, so check back in your Settings menu if you don’t see it right away. In the meantime, you can go directly to right now if you’re nervous about snoops. (Or if your Google Apps domain is Google Apps Premier Edition admins will also be able to select SSL connections for their users via a new preference in the control panel we’ll be rolling out shortly.

Make sure that you read the entire blog posting. Some of what Google offers, like Google Toolbar, may not work properly with https as of yet.

What do you think? Is sending email that is encrypted important to you?

Comments welcome.


Microsoft Wins Deal To Install Crapware On HP Computers

Just when you thought we would be getting away from more ‘crapware’ on new computers, Microsoft and HP strike up a deal to install more gunk. Microsoft has announced that HP computers will come with Microsoft Live Search Toolbar which will take advantage of Microsoft’s wonderful new Silverlight technology.

According to this press release which states:

 Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has won a key distribution deal with HP, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, to install a Live Search-enabled toolbar on all HP consumer PCs planned to ship in the United States and Canada, beginning in January 2009. As part of this deal, the default search engine setting in the browser on all HP consumer PCs will also be set to Microsoft Live Search.

“This agreement with HP is a strategic indicator of our increased focus on securing broad-scale distribution for Live Search,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “This is the most significant distribution deal for Live Search that Microsoft has ever done, and we are very pleased to be partnering with HP to help bring Live Search to millions of consumers across North America.”

Microsoft is building a custom, Live Search-enabled toolbar for HP customers that takes advantage of the exceptional user experience capabilities of Microsoft Silverlight. The toolbar will provide HP with customization capabilities within the buttons on the toolbar, providing quick and easy access to a variety of online services and tools, such as Snapfish by HP, the company’s online photo service, and HP customer support.

The PR goes on to use words like ‘user friendly’, customizable’,  ‘favorite online services’ and the best one of  ‘Microsoft shares HP’s passion’ .

Which translates into something that the average consumer may not want nor need.

I’m sure Google will be taking a close look at this. It smells of the old Microsoft prior to the DOJ fiasco.

And you thought Bill Gates was really going to be gone! :-)

Comments welcome.


Google Toolbar – Browse By Name Feature

Google Toolbar offers the ability to find web sites on the Internet without having to type in the complete URL of the specific site. This Browse By Name feature is described on the Google site as:

Want to save time online? Type names instead of URLs into your Internet Explorer address bar. The Browse by Name feature of the Google Toolbar will automatically take you to the site you’re looking for.

  • Instead of typing the URL,
    Just type
    toyota camry into your address bar.

  • Instead of typing the URL,
    Just type
    windows support into your address bar.

When you type a name without a clear match, Browse by Name performs a Google search for you – for example, try digital cameras.

While Browse By Name is working, the mouse cursor will momentarily change to . Browse By Name does not take effect when you type in a valid URL, internal site name, or local directory listing.

Some bloggers are calling this an infringement on our search rights since they ascertain that Google is dishing up only what they want is to see. Give me a break! Where is it written that any of us even have to use Google Toolbar to begin with? On one web site the writer stated that when you enter in the term ‘football’ Google’s first site lists the ‘NFL’ web site. Gee. That seems logical to me.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

[tags]google, toolbar, browse, name,  [/tags]

Add Commands To The Quick Access Toolbar In Word 2007

One of the easiest ways to customize Word 2007 to meet your own needs is to add the commands that you frequently use to the Quick Access toolbar. For example, if you frequently use the E-mail command, you can add it to the toolbar where it is easily accessible.

There are a few different ways of adding additional commands to the Quick Access toolbar. One way is to click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access toolbar. However, there are a limited number of commands that you can add using this method.

Another method is to click the Office button, click Word Options, and then click Customize. From the dialog box that appears, choose the command you want to add from the left-hand side and click Add.

Yahoo! Toolbar For IE v7.0.5

Yahoo! Toolbar is a free and convenient search tool that now includes a pop-up blocker. Stop annoying pop-up ads, search the Web, access Yahoo! Mail, and games. Customize your toolbar and save your bookmarks online for one-click access from any computer.

[1.7M] [Win98/ME/2k/XP/Vista + IE v5.5+] [FREE]

[tags]yahoo, toolbar[/tags]