Avast 2016: Browser Cleanup - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

General information

About Add-ons

Settings & Troubleshooting

Standalone tool

Why should I use Avast Browser Cleanup?

When you download free software from the Internet, it often comes with hidden add-ons which extract user data for the product vendor, usually in the form of a so-called toolbar. These are typically used to analyze your preferences and behavior and send this data to other vendors so that they can present you with user-specific ads, or just record the information for analysis. This can be annoying for various reasons:

  • Tracking data is being sent to backend servers.
  • Ads interfere with your browsing experience.
  • Your search results are manipulated.
  • The browser homepage or default search provider is changed.
  • Multiple toolbars crowd the browser window.
  • It is usually difficult to get rid of the toolbars.

Avast Browser Cleanup identifies poorly rated add-ons for major Internet Browsers (Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox) and allows you to disable or to remove them simply and easily. An automatic rating system also shows you how other users like an add-on.

What are the system requirements for Avast Browser Cleanup?

Avast Browser Cleanup is supported on Microsoft Windows 10, Microsoft Windows 8.1, Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or higher, Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or higher (excluding Starter Edition) and Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3. Both 32-bit or 64-bit versions are supported.

Which browsers are currently supported by Avast Browser Cleanup?

Avast Browser Cleanup currently supports the following Internet browsers:

What happens when you Remove or Ignore an add-on?

Avast Browser Cleanup allows you to remove known toolbars. Remove means here to uninstall and completely remove the toolbar and all its components from your computer. This action cannot be undone.

If you want to keep the add-on and you want Browser Cleanup to stop offering to remove it, you can select Ignore. Ignore means that the add-on will be disregarded and kept in the browser, no matter what its rating is. If you want to stop ignoring the add-on, just click Stop Ignoring and the Remove option will appear again.

What can I do if an add-on gets automatically restored after removing it?

In some cases, an add-on can be restored even after you have removed it. The reason for this might be that the add-on is protected by a so-called toolbar protector. A toolbar protector typically prevents Avast Browser Cleanup from reliably detecting and removing add-ons, resetting a search provider, or setting a homepage. In some cases the add-on can be removed but will be automatically restored later (e.g. at next logon). Avast Browser Cleanup tries to detect and remove toolbar protectors at start up. However, some of these protectors are hard to identify and remove. Please report such cases through our support channels and provide the Avast Browser Cleanup log file.

Why do seemingly safe add-ons like Angry Birds and eBay have a bad reputation?

Unfortunately malware creators sometimes try to get access to your information by taking on a legitimate company or product name. This might lead to the strange situation that Avast Browser Cleanup rejects a seemingly safe add-on, because it is actually just a fake add-on posing as a legitimate one.

Why is my search and homepage reset when poorly rated add-ons are removed?

If a browser is threatened by a poorly rated add-on, its search and homepage are most likely hijacked as well in one form or another. This means Avast Browser Cleanup needs to reset these pages unless the search provider or homepage are on a whitelist. Avast Browser Cleanup is unable to decide if a homepage is an intended one or if it is hijacked by the poorly rated toolbar.

Therefore Avast Browser Cleanup offers a list of approved and AVAST-tested new search providers combined with homepages to choose from during the removal process. After the selection is made, the new search provider and homepage will be set. The current list of offered search providers is limited and depends on the customers location and country. If your preferred search provider or homepage is not on that offer list, you can easily change the browser settings once the browser is clean.

Why does Avast Browser Cleanup report and remove Google Search Protect as a Toolbar Protector?

If you have Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer installed, it is possible that Avast Browser Cleanup reports "Google Search Protect" on your computer and recommends to remove it. Google Search Protect was most probably installed together with the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer.

In general, Avast Browser Cleanup reports and recommends to remove all third party software which prevents Browser Cleanup from reliably detecting and removing browser add-ons or search providers. We call such software a Toolbar Protector. It does not matter if this software is installed by the installer of a poorly rated add-on or by the installer of a highly rated add-on. The result is the same: All add-ons are more or less sealed into the browser and can no longer be removed easily by the user or by Browser Cleanup. Additionally, some Toolbar Protectors re-install their associated add-on even if the user manages to remove it.

Unfortunately, Google Search Protect behaves exactly like a Toolbar Protector: it prevents Browser Cleanup from removing add-ons and search providers. Therefore it is reported and removed the same way.

What is the difference between an add-on name and extension ID?

An add-on typically is identified by name and/or extension ID. The name is not necessarily unique and might change over time. Therefore the extension ID is used to clearly identify an add-on. The extension ID is unique to a browser add-on, however an extension ID might be used for the same add-on in different browsers. The extension ID can be found in the log file created by Avast Browser Cleanup. The lines with the extension ID can be easily identified. The ID is the string between ID: and Name.

How can I manually set my Internet browser to my preferred search provider and homepage after using Browser Cleanup?

Search Provider:

  1. Click Settings (the gear icon in the upper right corner) and then select Manage add-ons.
  2. Next select Search Provider on the left. The list of installed search providers appears.
  3. Select a search provider, click Set as Default at the bottom, and Close.

Homepage:

  1. Click Settings (the gear icon in the upper right corner) and then select Internet Options.
  2. In the General tab and under Home page, type a new homepage - e.g. www.google.com - and click OK.

Search Provider:

  1. Click the small arrow icon in the search box - the list of installed search providers appears.
  2. Now select a search provider.

Homepage (for version 30 or newer):

  1. Click the menu button in the top-right corner (icon showing three horizontal lines) and then select Options.
  2. Now go to the General tab and type a new homepage into the field Home page - e.g. www.google.com.
  3. Click OK.

Homepage (for older versions):

  1. Use the drop-down menu for Options, then select Options again.
  2. Now go to the General tab and type a new homepage into the field Home page - e.g. www.google.com.
  3. Click OK.

How can I disable regular notifications from Avast Browser Cleanup?

To disable Browser Cleanup from frequently checking for add-ons, go to Browser Cleanup settings...

  1. Open the Avast user interface and go to ScanScan for browser add-ons.
  2. Click Settings in the bottom of the screen.
  3. Untick the option Check my browsers regularly for toolbars with bad user ratings.
  1. Run Browser Cleanup and click Settings in the left menu.
  2. Untick the option Check my browsers regularly for toolbars with bad user ratings.

Avast Browser Cleanup will no longer check for poorly rated toolbars.

Can I prevent Avast Browser Cleanup from reporting a specific add-on as poorly rated?

If you want to keep an add-on, you can tell Avast Browser Cleanup to ignore it.

  1. Open the Avast Antivirus user interface and go to ScanScan for browser add-ons.
  2. Click Ignore next to the add-on and Avast Browser Cleanup will not display warnings for this add-on in the future.
  1. Select the appropriate tab for your browser on the left, e.g. Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Click the (i) after the name of the add-on. Additional information appears below.
  3. Click Ignoreand Avast Browser Cleanup will not display warnings for this add-on in the future.

Where do I find the log file for Avast Browser Cleanup?

In case you experience any problems while using Avast Browser Cleanup, please contact us and be sure to post the Avast Browser Cleanup log file (Avast-Browser-Cleanup.log) for further analysis.

By default, it can be found at one of these locations:

  • Installed as part of Avast antivirus:
    %ProgramData%\Avast Software\Avast\log\Avast-Browser-Cleanup.log
    (Just type %ProgramData% into the address bar of Windows Explorer)
  • Stand-alone version:
    %temp%\Avast-Browser-Cleanup.log
    (Just type %temp% into the address bar of Windows Explorer)

How can I give feedback for Avast Browser Cleanup?

We are always working to improve Avast Browser Cleanup and welcome your feedback. To let us know what you think, please visit the Avast Forum or submit a ticket to the Avast Support team.

Can I run Browser Cleanup without installing Avast Antivirus?

We offer Avast Browser Cleanup as a standalone tool. This way you can still benefit from this tool even if you are not an Avast Antivirus user, or if you simply prefer to use it separately from Avast Antivirus.

To download Avast Browser Cleanup as a standalone tool, please click the download button below:

Once downloaded, simply run the tool and it will immediately analyze add-ons for all installed browsers.

Does the standalone version of Browser Cleanup work differently from the one in Avast Antivirus?

While the functionality is essentially the same for the standalone version of Browser Cleanup, the user interface is slightly different from the screen you see in Avast Antivirus. The standalone tool allows you to easily filter add-ons according to which browser they are installed in by selecting browser-specific tags along the side, or on the home screen you can see an overview of all add-ons in all browsers. Additionally, the standalone version gives you quick access to support topics : contacting Avast Support, leaving feedback, information about the tool, and the log file.

  • Avast Browser Cleanup

  • Avast Premier 2016
  • Avast Internet Security 2016
  • Avast Pro Antivirus 2016
  • Avast Free Antivirus 2016
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home / Pro / Enterprise / Education
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 8 / Pro / Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic / Home Premium / Professional / Enterprise / Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic / Home Premium / Business / Enterprise / Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home / Professional / Media Center Edition

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