Babylon Toolbar Adware Information and Complete Removal

Recently I am seeing a lot of software embedding the Babylon Toolbar into their setup installers. Some of the example software that contains Babylon Toolbar are SUMo NoRK, AnVir Task Manager, ViStart, and The Web Blocker to name just a few. In fact CNET Download.com Installer used to have Babylon Toolbar but it has been replaced with Blekko. Whether it is Babylon, Blekko, MyStart by Incredibar or any other brands of toolbar, they are all the same. Some people may label these browser toolbar as virus or trojan but in fact it is simply an advertisement software (otherwise known as adware).

Although web browser toolbars such as Babylon Toolbar are optional, the biggest problem is they are enabled by default in most cases and unless you select the Custom installation method if there is one, the installer may not even tell you that it’s going to install the toolbar. So, after installing the software that you wanted to install, miraculously your web browser’s started to show an extra bar below the address bar, there’s a Babylon powered start page, and you’re searching on some unknown search engines by default.

Babylon Toolbar in a web browser

I wanted to check out and test the Babylon Toolbar myself to see why are people complaining about the Babylon Toolbar. As a test, I have 5 of the latest web browsers (Opera 12, Safari 5, Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox 16, Google Chrome 22) installed on my test system and then install the Babylon Toolbar from ViStart. First I noticed that SUMo NoRK installer downloads a number of files from powerpackdl.com and drops them in to temporary folder. I will point out that in addition to the Babylon toolbar which we’re looking at here, SUMo downloads a bucket load of other adware, possibly the most I’ve ever seen in a single installer. My advice is be VERY careful installing SUMo.

The Babylon Toolbar installer doesn’t have a cancel button and the X button to exit the window is also disabled. The only way to skip the installation of Babylon Toolbar is to select Custom installation and uncheck all 3 checkboxes. Take note of the 3 options which are Install Babylon Toolbar, Make Babylon search my homepage on my browsers, and Make Babylon my default search engine at the Babylon Toolbar installer.

SUMo Babylon Toolbar

Something we have noticed that is creeping in to adware installers recently is doing the old and rather misleading trick of making the disable tick boxes hard to spot hoping you don’t notice them. Look at the below image, how many unsuspecting users would click agree without even noticing the tick boxes highlighted?

Nearly hidden Babylon toolbar options in setup installer

After installing the Babylon Toolbar, we’ve noticed that Opera and Safari are pretty safe from the adware while parts of Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome each contain traces of the Babylon Toolbar.

Uninstalling the Babylon Components

If you’ve accidentally installed the Babylon Toolbar, you can easily uninstall it by going to Control Panel -> Programs and Features (Add/Remove in XP) -> and uninstall Babylon toolbar and also BabylonObjectInstaller if there is an entry for it. It’s best to remove the toolbar entry 1st because it will open a browser window you have to close before the ObjectInstaller can be removed. Also check for an entry called “Browser Manager” which will also need removing if you have it.

Babylon toolbar in Programs and features

Do note that it’s best to remove these entries BEFORE trying to clear Babylon from any of your browsers otherwise it will likely keep coming back.

Remove Babylon Toolbar in Internet Explorer 9

When you run Internet Explorer 9 after installation of the Babylon Toolbar, at the bottom of the web browser shows a bar saying “Several add-ons are ready for use”.

IE Several add-ons are ready for use

If you click the Don’t enable button, the Babylon Toolbar will be disabled by default.

disabled options for babylon toolbar in IE

Unfortunately after uninstalling the Babylon toolbar in Programs and Features, the Babylon Search page will still open by itself when you launch Internet Explorer. Moreover when you perform searches from the address bar, Internet Explorer will also search from Babylon Search. This is because the option “Make Babylon search my homepage on my browsers” and “Make Babylon my default search engine” from the Babylon Toolbar installer are not uninstalled.

Remove Babylon Search homepage on IE9

1. In Internet Explorer, press Alt+X and then O or select Internet Options

2. At Home page, click the Use default (go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=69157) button OR the Use blank button and click OK.

Reset Internet Explorer 9 Home Page

Remove Babylon default search engine on IE9

1. In Internet Explorer, press Alt+X and press M or select Manage add-ons

2. Click Search Providers on the left and in the window select Bing or another search provider and click the Set as default button.

3. Now select “Search the web (Babylon)” and click the Remove button to delete Babylon Search completely from the IE9 Search Providers.

Manage Add-ons Internet Explorer 9

Remove Babylon Toolbar in Firefox

This is one reason why we should always use the latest version because of improvements. Firefox no longer allows automatic installation of add-ons. So when you launch Firefox the first time after installing Babylon Toolbar, you will be prompted a software installation window. Simply click the Cancel button.

Firefox Software Installation warning

However, if you’ve accidentally clicked on the Install button, to remove it, press CTRL+SHIFT+A in Firefox, go to Extensions and then click the Remove button for Babylon. The Babylon Toolbar also automatically modifies the default Home Page for Firefox and also setting “Search the web (Babylon)” as the default search engine.

Remove Babylon Search homepage on Firefox

1. In Firefox, click the yellow Firefox button at the top left, go to Options and select Options.

2. At the General tab, click the Restore to Default button and click OK.

Firefox Restore to Default

Remove Babylon default search engine on Firefox

1. In the Firefox search box click the drop down arrow at the Babylon icon and select Manage Search Engines

Manage search engines in Firefox

2. Select Search the web (Babylon) and then click the Remove button.

Firefox Search Engines List removal option

Remove Babylon default search engine on Firefox Address bar

1. In the address bar type about:config and press enter. Click the “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button.

2. Type babylon into the search box and you will be presented with a screen full on entries.

3. Right click on the following entries and select Reset. If you don’t have all of them don’t worry, just delete the ones you do have:

browser.babylon.HPOnNewTab
browser.newtab.url
browser.search.defaultenginename
browser.search.order.1
browser.search.selectedEngine
keyword.URL

You can do the same with all the other entries in the window but they are related to the extension which has been removed.

Remove Babylon Toolbar in Chrome

Google Chrome used to be slightly safer because the Babylon Toolbar failed to install any extension, but these days in more recent toolbar versions, it can also sometimes install a Chrome extension without asking. It obviously still manages to modify the default home page to Babylon Search and also the search engine as well.

Note: If the Babylon start page keeps coming back after applying the settings, reboot and make the changes again for them to stick.

Uninstall the Babylon Chrome Extension

This is pretty easy, simply right click on the extension icon and and select “Remove from Chrome”. Or go to the Options button -> Tools -> Extensions and remove it from there.

Babylon Toolbar remove from Chrome option

Remove Babylon Search startpage on Chrome

1. In Chrome, click the Options icon at the top right of the window and select Settings.

2. At the Settings window look for “On Startup”. Make sure “Open a specific page…” is selected and click Set Pages.

Change Chrome set pages

3. In the window that pops up, click on the X on the Babylon Search line. If there are no other entries in here, simply enter your chosen start page into the box and click OK.

Remove the Babylon Search option

Remove Babylon Search homepage on Chrome

1. In Chrome, click the Options icon at the top right of the window and select Settings.

2. At the Settings window look for “Appearance” and click Change.

Remove Babylon from the default Home page

3. In the Home page window change the content of the box to whatever you want to use when the Home button is clicked on such as “google.com”. Press OK.

Change open this page from Babylon

Remove Babylon default search engine on Chrome

1. In Chrome, click the Options icon at the top right of the window and select Settings.

2. At the Settings window look for “Search”. To simply change the search engine to something else click the drop down and select another search provider.

Manage search engine

3. To completely remove Babylon Search, click the Manage search engines… button.

4. Move the mouse cursor over the search you want to use and click Make default. Then hover over Search the web (Babylon) and click the X button on the right and click OK to remove Babylon from the search engines list.

Change make default search engine

The above methods have been tested and work at the time of writing. Do note these methods are for the Babylon Toolbar not the Babylon application itself which installs a lot more junk and can also be hard to remove. For example, the SUMo installer will actually offer you the Babylon application before offering the Babylon toolbar if you decline the application. Do be aware about the differences as using these listed methods alone will not remove the full Babylon application.

The methods above should also work on resetting other adwares or toolbars that overwrites your default home page and also search providers. You can also give automated adware cleaning tool such as AdwCleaner and Toolbar Cleaner a try if the above method doesn’t work for you. As you can see that many computer users are disgusted with these adware because they don’t provide a complete uninstallation when the user decides to uninstall it. I personally think that including ad-ware into a freeware is fine because the programmer needs to pay the bills, but then they could have selected a more genuine adware rather than some pesky ones.

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