How do I delete toolbars I don’t need?

I have collected numerous unneeded and unwanted toolbars across the top of my internet screen. I would like to be able to delete some of them but although they seem very good at telling me how useful they are, they are hopeless at telling me how to get rid of them.

I’ve found that if I press the F11 key this clears them temporarily but I then lose the ability to see the status bar at the bottom of the screen. Can you help?

Unwanted toolbars like these are adept at working their way into web browsers, apparently uninvited. In fact, in many cases they arrive as part of other software that you have voluntarily installed.

A program’s installation wizard may have included a discreet tick box that signalled your agreement to install this, that or the other browser toolbar. By failing to click to remove the tick (understandable, as you may not even have noticed it), the program goes ahead and adds a toolbar.

Though some can be helpful – such as the Google Toolbar – others are just plain annoying and serve mainly to benefit the developer (through data collection, advertising medical carts and other bits or both). Pressing F11 switches the browser into fullscreen mode: this effectively hides the toolbars (and everything else, as you’ve discovered), but doesn’t disable or remove them.

Fortunately, in most cases disabling and/or removing browser toolbars is straightforward. You didn’t tell us anything about your computer, so we don’t know which web browser or operating system you’re using. However, we’ll guess that it will be a Windows PC and that you’re using Internet Explorer.

Assuming this is the case, then to disable (and thus hide) a toolbar, open the Tools menu (or click the Tools button), point to Toolbars and click to remove the tick from the offender. Repeat for each toolbar you’d like to hide.

Versions of Internet Explorer 6 onwards (so any edition released in the past decade) can also run add-ons, some of which may also affect the browser in unwanted or otherwise annoying ways.

To view and manage installed add-ons, click the Tools menu and choose Manage Add-ons (in versions earlier than Internet Explorer 8 you will also need to click Enable or Disable Add-ons from the submenu).

The precise appearance of and options available in the Manage Add-ons window that appears varies between browser versions, but usually you can click on an entry for more information and click the Disable (or Enable) button as appropriate.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you want instructions for a different browser.

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