Hi again tomscn. I've started a new sub-thread from here as the Jive Forums have a limit on how many posts we can make in sub-threads, and we reached the limit in the other one.
I'm never sure about suggesting anyone making changes to the registry, and certainly I will never recommend any registry 'optimisers'. Some are just pain bad, (RegCure is an ongoing discussion all over these forums as such a bad example), and whilst others may be OK, we see too many horror stories in the forums where members have used them without knowing enough about what the optimisers are doing, and end up with an Operating System that is unserviceable.
That said, if you are comfortable using them, and making your own changes to the registry, then I have no problem with that.
I'm surprised that renaming an .exe file to 'old.exe' in the registry doubles the entry. It's like a horror film isn't it, where the head of an alien creature gets cut off, and it grows another one!
Now you have removed all those from the registry, I would guess that two things will happen;
A] The HPToolkit in IE7 may not work now, even if you give IE permission.
B] If you try to uninstall HPToolkit toolbar through the Add/Remove applet in the CP, that will fail, because the process cannot find the appropriate registry entry to delete.
Did you say you found an AutoBar.exe in Add/Remove or was that found elsewhere? Is it AutoBar.exe or AutoTBar.exe? They could be different.
This is what I think now.
1] If this were me, I would go for it. I would open IE7 and attempt to use the HP Toolkit there, and give permission when IE warns me. I would want to know what this toolkit does, and see what options it has, what preferences. There may be something there that allows for the toolkit to be disabled.
If I was concerned about any personal information being sent over the internet, I would block internet access via the firewall first. (My ZoneAlarm firewall allows me to stop all internet traffic by right clicking the ZA icon in the System Tray). But to be honest, I don't think this HP utility does that. I don't see it sending personal information through the internet.
SP2 and later Windows updates greatly increased the security of both Windows and Internet Explorer itself. IE7 was also an improvement in browser security, so it would not surprise me that you have always had this HP Toolkit toolbar working in the background in previous versions of IE, but never noticed. Therefore allowing it to function just one more time, to see what it is and does, will not be any different to before.
2] If you have never used any of the HP Toolkit utilities and/or functions since you had the computer then, again if this were me, I would attempt to uninstall it now.
I would take precautions. Set a System Restore point before uninstalling, and backup all my personal files, the ones I couldn't afford to lose like photos, music, videos, documents, etc. But then I always back these up anyway.
There you are. That's what I would do. I might have a stiff drink of whiskey next to me as I do it of course,