Avast Browser Cleanup is a dedicated browser toolbar removal tool officially developed by Avast. It comes both as a portable standalone application and as an integrated security feature in the latest Avast version, Avast 8. If you’re using Avast software, you can simply update the program to Avast 8–which is soon to be released–to use the tool. If you’re using another security suite already, then you can download Avast Browser Cleanup standalone version instead, which is only about 1.75 MB in size.
The application runs the scan automatically once it is launched and then it displays the suspicious toolbars in its Summary tab. Clicking on “More details” reveal the information pertaining to the toolbar in question. On my test, for instance, AVG Security Toolbar was reported to have a bad attribute of modifying browser’s homepage. Not all toolbars in the Summary tab provide information, though. WordWeb one-click lookup extension, which was surprisingly also listed there, didn’t have any information that explains why it was reported by the tool. Additionally, the number of browsers that are “infected” by a toolbar can also be seen.
As you can see from the above screenshot, the tool also reported that there were unknown add-ons that couldn’t be removed automatically–take a look at the bottom part of the picture–and that user had to manually disable them through the browser tabs. Unfortunately, no information provided on which browser the toolbar was installed on, leaving no choice but to explore each tab to find the toolbar.
All the toolbars on the Summary tab can be removed at once by clicking “Remove all add-ons listed below and cleanup browser” button. But if there is a certain extension that you still need then you can remove them individually.
Avast Browser Cleanup supports only three major browsers which include Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer (IE). Each browser has its own tab. Beside being able to view the list of the toolbars for a particular browser, each toolbar also has its own user rating. By default, only the toolbars that have bad or have no reputation are displayed so that users can find out any potential threats instantly. If you want to view all of the extensions, uncheck the “Exclude add-ons with a good rating”.
Unlike the Summary tab, there is no option to remove add-ons in browser tab. There is only “Disable” button. Hence, to remove a toolbar that isn’t listed in the Summary tab but appears on a particular browser tab, you have to open the browser to do it manually.
Note that for the program to be able to disable or remove toolbars the browser must be closed first.
What’s more, in addition to the capability of detecting and removing toolbars from browsers, Avast Browser Cleanup also provides reset functionality for each supported browser to restore the default homepage and search provider that have been hijacked.
Update: Another thing to note is that the app seems to not be able to detect toolbars properly on Firefox with multiple profiles. As soon as I deleted the other Firefox profiles, the tool listed the toolbars successfully.
Avast Browser Cleanup is compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP. You can download the standalone version from Avast or from other download sites like Softpedia.