Tool Bar Hell and Other Reasons Your Computer Is Slow

I spend a lot of time writing about slow computers. Not because there isn’t anything else to write about. It’s mainly because over 90% of my computer calls are because of a slow computer. I would be lying if I said that every slow computer was because of some type of malware or PuP but enough of them are that it is worth the time and effort to warn you about what types of things cause it.

Toolbar HellIf you are seeing this when you are trying to cruise the Internet then you definitely need to call me. This picture is  effectionately called Toolbar Hell. I have personally never seen a computer with  this many toolbars turned on all at once. Normally people would have disabled a few of them long before they get to this point. I have seen 5 or more enabled at a time and needless to say not only does it make it difficult to see the web pages you’re visiting it does a great job at slowing things down too. This picture is not how someone regularly used their computer. It is simply the result of enabling all of the toolbars that were installed.

So you are probably wondering where in the world all of those tool bars came from in the first place. The easy answer is that almost every program you install or major website that you visit offers a toolbar. Most software simply installs it by default and figures if you really don’t want it then you can disable it yourself. The problem is that even if you disable the toolbar. It is actually still installed in your web browser. It may not be causing the eyesore above but it is still taking up space and possibly still running. If you look in your browser settings you will likely see some toolbars that you may not have realized were there.

Toolbars Slow Down Your Computer Even When They Are Disabled

Bing and Google are examples of popular toolbars. Some may have them enable while others just have them installed. How did the toolbars get there? It is likely that you clicked through something that gave permission to install the toolbars while you were visiting a website or installed new software. They may have even come pre-installed with your computer or web browser. Many of these toolbars have updater plug-ins that run. These are little programs to constantly check to make sure that your installed toolbar is updated. Whether you have your toolbar enabled or disabled these programs still run. Having 5 to 10 extra little programs running periodically can really impact your computer’s performance.

What Are PuPs How They Are Bad and How Did You Get So Many

One of the popular terms being passed around is PuPs. PuPs is an acronym for “Possibly Unwanted Program”. It was created to describe software like toolbars and other little programs that may get installed on your computer that you may or may not want. Toolbars are considered PuPs. The reason they are considered PuPs is that almost everyone has them but only a few people actually installed them on purpose or want them. What this means for the malware community is that they can’t be labeled as malware but for the most part they are considered bad.

Some popular PuPs are:

  • Conduit Toolbar
  • AOL Toolbar
  • Befrugal Toolbar
  • PC Optimizer Pro
  • Pro PC Cleaner
  • Search Protect
  • Ebay Shopping Assistant

I could go on and on. There are literally thousands of PuPs that people get installed on their computer whether they want them or not every day. Some are worse than others and all of them are probably not wanted or even let you know they are being installed.

Hidden Computer Speed Killers

Almost every program that you install on your computer runs services and apps in the background. Every one of these services and apps takes away from the available brain power your computer has to run programs and available memory for running programs. It is like trying to take a math test while the T.V. is blaring the radio is rocking, the phone is ringing, the washing machine is buzzing, the doorbell is ringing, and a group of kids is loudly playing. Chances are that you aren’t going to perform well on the test or at anything else you want to concentrate on.

That is the type of environment that your computer is constantly working in. The more that gets added the more difficult it is for your computer to work. Until now I’ve focused on toolbars and PuPs. The bad part is that these are not the only things that impact your computer’s performance

  • Printer Software
  • Microsoft Office
  • Games

When you install the software for your printer you are not simply installing the software needed to run your printer. You are also installing an Ink Level Warning App, Easy printer accessory purchase app, toolbar, User Experience Monitor and more. These are just three of the additional applications and services that are installed that most do not want and take away from your computer’s ability to perform well.

Microsoft Office is just as bad when it comes to installing additional services and applications that few people use or want. One Note installs “New Quick Note” and adds an icon to your taskbar. Few people even use One Note and for those of us that do the Quick Note icon is not something ever thought of. These are simply additional tasks for your computer to have to work with that aren’t needed.

Good or Bad A Lot of Things Slow Down Your Computer

What this all comes down to is that there are a lot of things that contribute to a slow computer. A slow computer doesn’t always mean that you have a Virus or some type of bad Malware on your computer. It could be that you just have to many things trying to run at the same time. It may not be a bad idea to have someone to talk to and see if there are easy ways of getting your computer back up to speed again.



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Brad is a true PC Helper. Having worked on computers since 1988 he's not only experienced at what he does but puts the computer owner above all else. Owning a computer should be a fun and a safe experience. That is the whole mission of the PC Helper program, taking care of you and your computer.