Do You Yahoo?

Computer repair people and systems administrators all over the place were not lonely last week when Yahoo! unleashed its new, improved Yahoo! Toolbar. That’s because Internet Explorer quit working when the toolbar updated itself.

If you tried to open Internet Explorer and it closed immediately, and you haven’t solved the problem. . .well, you are probably not reading this now since the column appears on the web. But if you know someone who is still having this problem, you can be a hero. Print this column and hand it to your friend!

What’s the problem?
IF your email client (Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Incredimail, etc.) works
BUT your Internet Explorer opens briefly and then closes AND your Firefox browser works fine THEN you probably have the new, improved Yahoo! Toolbar on your computer.

(Legal Weasel Words: I can’t possibly know for sure that this is the problem without actually looking at your computer. You’re welcome to try the following recommendations to solve this problem, but if you have a different problem, this isn’t going to help. I’m making this recommendation based on my experience and the collective experience of people like me who have been helping clients remove the toolbar all week. It has worked. Your Mileage May Vary. Proceed at your own risk.)

What’s the fix?
The easiest, fastest, safest fix is to uninstall the Yahoo! Toolbar. To do this:
Start ~> Control Panel ~> Add/Remove Programs
All known programs installed on your computer will be listed in alphabetical order. Scroll down to Yahoo! Toolbar.
Click on “Uninstall”
OK your way out.

Your Internet Explorer should behave normally now. (You might have to restart your computer first.)

Some people report that after they remove the Yahoo! Toolbar their Address Bar (where you see the URLs like http://castanet.net) is gone. Fix that like this:

Start Internet Explorer
Click on View ~> Toolbars
If “Lock the toolbars” is checked, uncheck it.
Check “Address Bar”

The Address Bar should be visible again. If not, it’s there (honest!) but it’s just collapsed or hidden. Look for a vertical line, click and hold on that, and try dragging it up, down, left, or right to a spot big enough for the bar to expand. You just have to mess around until you get it right.

If that isn’t working for you at all, go back to View ~> Toolbars and uncheck everything except “Address Bar.” Have another look, try dragging things. Once you’ve found it, go back and turn on the other toolbars you want. When you’re satisfied, you can check “Lock the toolbars” again if you like.

What the heck happened? I didn’t even know I had Yahoo! Toolbar.
I heard that a lot last week. One way to get Yahoo! Toolbar is to go to page where it’s offered and install it. At least you know you have it.

But Yahoo! Toolbar comes packaged as a “feature” with many other downloads. If you recently downloaded Adobe Reader, you were “offered” the toolbar as part of the installation. It also comes with Yahoo! Messenger. You should be able to say “no” to the toolbar, but what happens is that we just sit there clicking “OK”, “Yes”, “Default”, “OK” “OK” “OK”!!!!! without really paying attention. Surprise! You’ve just accepted Yahoo! Toolbar.

In fairness, Yahoo! is certainly not the only software distributor to do that. And, they haven’t admitted that their Toolbar broke Internet Explorer all over the English-speaking world. But it would be a pretty big coincidence that reports of Internet Explorer not working came in pretty much right after the new toolbar, and that removing the toolbar lets IE function normally.

It helps to know what you are installing. I make it a habit when installing software to check “Custom” instead of “Default” or “Common” when asked. Usually I end up installing the common configuration, but at least there’s a list of what is getting installed and where, and a choice of whether or not to install everything.

Next time: More on Toolbars and other Browser Helper Objects, and a reminder that there are alternatives to Microsoft Internet Explorer --- for instance, Mozilla Firefox. Thank you to everyone for reading and subscribing. You can always find the column archives (if your browser is working) here: http://rlis.com/column.htm.

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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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