Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Many software vendors offer a download for browser toolbars... whether we want them or not. Sometimes, the offers are hidden.
After of years of telling someone not to download anything, I just found over five to ten toolbars. Is there a way to totally block these things from not only installing silently, but no pop-ups for these things at all, but other pop-ups can still appear? She would never see the request to install it. It's a Vista with the latest Internet Explorer. I cannot convince her to go to another browser.
In this excerpt from Answercast #16, I talk about how browser toolbars get installed and why those "pop ups" are not always something that can be stopped by a pop-up blocker.
Ultimately, another browser is not gonna help anyway.
In fact, I honestly don't know what will.
The problem is that many software installation programs will, as part of their installation, offer to install some unrelated software.
Typically, it's an advertisement-based thing... they get paid. They get some additional revenue for offering you this unrelated software. Nine times out of ten, this unrelated software involves some kind of toolbar:
The fundamental problem here is that there's no consistent approach to how toolbars are installed, how they are offered, or how setup programs are written to make these offers.
So there's no consistent way to turn the offer off or to always hide the offer from people.
Unfortunately, there's very little that can be done to protect your computer from the person using it.
We might think of limited user accounts, which is a good way of preventing system level malware from being installed, but that's not what's happening here.
Here, we're installing user level software that's getting installed into the user's browser: Internet Explorer (although it could be Chrome, it could be Firefox, it doesn't really matter.)
So, ultimately, there's only so much that can be done to protect a computer from the user and it's not much. Education is the answer.
I'm not aware of a way to prevent toolbars (and such) from being installed if the computer user says, "Yes, please install them" ...even if they don't realize that they're doing that.
My blame in scenarios like this are on the software vendors who are trying to get this stuff installed... whether the user would really want it or not! They are basically hiding the options or being misleading about the options.
So, that very long answer comes down to a very short resolution that says, "No, I don't know of a way to prevent this from happening. I'm sorry."
Next from Answercast #16 - How do I read my Acronis backup data on a computer without Acronis?