A ‘Toolbar’ is an extra piece of software which inserts itself into the top of an internet browser and looks a part of it.
These toolbars can add search functions, links to various programs, online services and much more. They are easily available, usually free and are made to sound as though they are things that you cannot do without.
The thing is, you can do without them and we recommend that you avoid them if possible – even if they are from well-known companies.
There are a number of reasons for this. One is that every time you start up your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc.) the toolbar will also load and install itself into the browser. This can not only slow the loading of the browser in the first place but can also slow down the loading of websites, as some toolbars monitor the content of each web page and that information needs to be processed in the background- which slows things down.
This monitoring is another reason to avoid them – usually deep down in the terms and conditions (that no-one reads) is a clause that says that you give the toolbar permission to track what you are doing on the internet and send this information to a third party, either for adverts or something else.
Another practical reason to avoid them is that some are just badly designed and written. They can interfere with legitimate uses of your internet browsers and can even stop them functioning at all in some cases.
In extreme cases, we have seen multiple toolbars in customer internet browsers and this can not only slow the browser down, but also the computer itself.
When you can bookmark your favourite sites, you may want to look at your toolbars, to see if you really need them.