Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum

Resolved Question

The effing ASK toolbar won't go away!

by porthome / October 29, 2012 3:05 AM PDT

It looks like the f**kers at ASK have finally buried their malware where no one can dislodge it! With the latest download of Firefox 3 on my XP system, ASK comes up every time Firefox opens. None of the fixes I've found on the net will work. There is no ASK program in my Add/Remove programs list. Even the little tool the ask people themselves offer can't find it. It doesn't show up as malware in my scanners.

Any ideas?

PS. It is criminal for reputable software providers to include this virus under the covers - that means you, CNET download!

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by porthome

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Tried This...?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 29, 2012 4:59 AM PDT

Although I'm using Firefox 16.0.2 here, yours should be similar. Open Firefox, then click on "Tools" in the upper left, then choose "Add-ons" from the menu. Once that opens up, click on the "Extensions" tab and look for the "Ask.com" add-on.. If there, delete it. Next, click on the "Plugins" tab and look for the "Ask.com" listing.. If there, delete it as well.

Once that's done, then download, install, update, and run a full scan using the free Malwarebytes spyware removal tool from the link below. Remove anything it finds.


And just a note: If you've recently installed the new Avira free antivirus, it may have included the Ask.com toolbar in your browser by default.. In order to remove it, you'll need to use the Control Panel-Add/Remove Program section, select the Avira program, choose "Change", then "Modify", then UNCHECK all the "Web Protection" and "Avira Search Free" sections.

Hope this helps.


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ASK toolbar
by porthome / October 29, 2012 10:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Tried This...?

Thanks for the advice.

Unfortunately, ASK does not appear in any of Add-ons, Extensions, Plugins, or Add/Remove programs lists. I have even been into about:config and tried to change some of the browser properties which invoke Ask as the start-up page. Yet when I reboot, these parameters are changed back to ASK. These buggers have found a way to embed their crapware where it can't be easily dislodged.

PS. several polite messages to ASK support have been ignored, despite their website's offers to help users who want to remove the app.

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No Mention Of Whether You've Scanned With Malwarebytes...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 30, 2012 9:25 AM PDT
In reply to: ASK toolbar

...or other malware removal tools.. Although "Ask.com" isn't always detected as adware, certain types of scanners such as SuperAntispyware, Hitman Pro, Malwarebytes, or others may detect the files and registry entries which allow it to remain on the machine.. Have you scanned with all of these?

Hope this helps.


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did you try to find it in the registry?
Start to Run, type in regedit and click ok. At the top is Edit, click that to Find. Type in ask(dot)com. keep deleting it on the left unless there are other programs listed on the right - just remove that one. keep searching with Enter or F3 until it finished searching. Except the Zones. I have many Hosts files in my computer. Wherever your Hosts File is located, mine is Zoned Out, I have Comodo, Malwabytes & SuperAntispyware ignore the folder. Also was suggested that in front of those sites, wherever they are, put in front of them. That was suggested by Kees
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No sign of anything in the registry
by porthome / October 31, 2012 2:30 AM PDT

The only evidence I have found is in the Firefox about:config file ... when I edit out the offending entries, they reappear at the next Firefox startup. So they are being restored by something else. Scary .. I many have to switch to Chrome...

Thanks anyway

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I have scanned with ....
by porthome / October 30, 2012 10:29 PM PDT

Malwarebytes and Spybot, but not the others you'Ve mentioned. I will try them, thanks

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And You've Tried ALL Of These Steps?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 31, 2012 4:31 AM PDT

See the link below:


In addition, I saw these two steps which fixed it for some:

In "about:config" I had to reset:

browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID;20111120135848 and

So, type "about:config" in the address bar of Firefox, then press the "Enter" key.. Scroll down to the listed items, RIGHT click on each one, choose "reset".

Then, while still in "about:config", follow the steps below:

1. Open a new tab or window.
2. Type "about:config" and hit enter, this brings up the all powerful settings of Firefox.
3. Agree to the warning that you could mess things up
4. Find keyword.url, you probably should not change anything else
5. Double click and change keyword.url string to something else like http://www.google.com/search?q=
6. Note that you cannot just put in the web site domain, you must put in the parameters before your search query. So find your favorite search engine, do a search and grab all the text up to your actual search results. So that a search for "test" in Google returns this, http://www.google.com/search?q=test, but all you need to input into the keyword.url field is http://www.google.com/search?q=

Here, the value for my "keyword.url" string is left blank.

Hope this helps.


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I've tried everything - No Go
by porthome / October 31, 2012 4:56 AM PDT

I have tried all the suggestions - adware tools, etc, with no luck. This ask toolbar came with the latest release of Firefox - in the past I have been able to get rid of it when it dropped in, but this time...

Most of the suggestions are a year or two old, and appear like they should work, but don't. For example, ASk does not appear in any list of add-ons or plugins. The suggestion to click on the down arrow beside the URL window does not produce a way to modify anything - it just shows the last few URLs visited. Most surprising, when I change settings in the about:config file, when I reload Firefox, all the old settings return. I have edited the prefs.js file directly, with the same result. So there is something somewhere that is reinstalling the old parameters.

So I give up. I'm going to see if I have the source for an older build of Firefox, wipe everything off my system (I hope) and reinstall.

Agian, thanks to everyone for suggestions.

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Problem Solved, sort of
by porthome / October 31, 2012 6:20 AM PDT

I received a reply, finally, from 'ask support', who offered a removal tool. I had seen this before, and tried it without success. However, I downloaded what I presume to be an improved version from their reply, and it did not work either.

In the meantime, I reloaded an older version of Firefox, let it update itself, and now all is well,

I sent the following reply to the 'ASK' organization:

"I had already downloaded this tool, and it did not work. I downloaded the latest copy from the URL in your note, and it did not work. Fortunately, I was able to regress my browserand fixed the issue.

However, this does not correct the fact that inserting your mickey-mouse product, unannounced and unwanted, into legitimate software, with such cleverly designed hooks that it cannot be easily removed, is despicable. You ought to be banned from the internet, and I hope somebody does. We have enough problems with unscrupulous hackers and spammers and no one is 'Ask'ing for more."

Thanks again for all the suggestions.


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Then It Must Have Been In Firefox Settings Somewhere
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 1, 2012 4:41 AM PDT

If you uninstalled the previous version, the uninstall process must have deleted the plug-in/add-on/or whatever it was..

Glad you got it fixed.


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This is exactly why you don't download software via 'cnet'.
by geforce61 / January 25, 2013 8:28 AM PST
In reply to: Tried This...?

Go to the products direct link or homepage. For software to be included by default, without the explicit approval of the user is just plain deceitful. Cnet offer some great articles and advice, but when I want to download software I go straight to the source. Cnet has down this with 'Avira', 'Nero' and others in the past and it's wrong. Makes one wonder how crap 'Ask,com' actually is to conspire such nefarious means.

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I have a clean machine to use as a guinea pig or lab rat.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 31, 2012 5:02 AM PDT

Can you supply a link for the infested version?

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(NT) Not needed, see my last note, but thanks for the offer
by porthome / October 31, 2012 6:28 AM PDT
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SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition :D
by XYLO123 / December 27, 2013 6:55 AM PST

I don't work for anyone, and I'm not promoting anything.

I had that stupid ASK toolbar hijack my machine and nothing I did could fix it. After reading this thread I decided to run the program listed above to see if it would trap anything. I had it installed, but hadn't run it in 46 days.

One of the options was to look for programs before running the scan, and it found one that apparently hijacks the browser. Can't remember the name. It began with W.

I selected it and uninstalled it. I think I got infected with this thing with a free software video downloader that started with ii or ll. I already unistalled it since it didn't work, or I'd give you the name.

Hope this helps someone else with this Ask toolbar thing.

Good luck!

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