How do you get rid of an unwanted intrusive toolbar in IE?

BonziBUDDY is evil.

I went away for the weekend and one of my kids downloaded BonziBUDDY. I came back and found it had taken over my damn computer. I instantly uninstalled it and deleted its folder.

Today I opened up Internet Explorer and found that BonziBUDDY still had IE firmly clutched in its grip. It had made itself the new IE home page. It added a new toolbar called “BonziBUDDY Web Compass.” I reset the home page and went on a search-and-destroy mission of any file on my hard drive that it had sneaked in there. There were a dozen remaining, including a toolbar file. I then emptied the Recycle Bin.

You know how the View menu lets you show or hide toolbars? You cannot get at this one from View. It isn’t listed among the toolbars. How can I get rid of it?

Try this…

Pick the menu item, Tools>Internet Options
Click on the Settings… button in the “Temporary Internet files” section
Click on the View Objects… button.

If anything in that file list looks like what you want to delete, you can right click on it and choose Remove.

I tried deleting the object that had the same date as the Bonzi infestation, but that didn’t change anything.

You might want to try this:

Assuning that you’re using IE 5.0 and above:

Click View>Toolbars>Customize…
If you see the offending toolbar listed, delete it. If not, just click on the “reset” button, then “OK”


Click View>Toolbars
then de-select the offending toolbar.
I hope this will help.

It will probably take a bit more than that. A complete set of instructions for removing Bonzi Buddy can be found here

Thanks for the advice, QuanSu. I’m using IE 5.0.

Your idea did not get rid of the intruder. This is why it’s so insidious. It has made itself undetectable by any of the normal IE tweaks. It does not show up on the Toolbar list in the View menu. The Reset does not affect it.

This is driving me crazy. The damn Bonzi virus has permanently attached itself to my IE, worse than a barnacle. Nothing can touch it.

dorkbro, I tried following those directions already. I even reinstalled the damn thing just so I could try to uninstall it completely. I got rid of everything except for this Bonzi toolbar which has permanently welded itself to my IE. You know how insistent it is? When I turn off all the toolbars, it remains. The only way I can make it smaller is to drag it to the toolbar above, where it implants itself in that one. The only other solution I can think of would be to delete IE and reinstall. But I fear trying to uninstall IE. Microsoft has probably so intertwined IE with the rest of Windows that it could not be uninstalled without seriously damaging Windows. Once I tried to delete MSN. Big mistake. It completely hosed Windows and I had to reformat the hard drive to reinstall Windows. Spent two days with DOS and floppies backing up my files. Is there any safe way to uninstall IE?

Please, somebody, help me!!!

There is a whole complaint station where Bonzi victims can sound off. Unfortunately, no one has the solution yet. But in the meantime, they can rip Bonzi to help relieve tension. Sample post:

Yep - this looks like a bad one.

Here are some additional resources - it looks to me like a reinstall of IE might be what you need to do. At a minimum, you probably have to mess with windows configuration stuff (editing system files, manually cleaning the registry, or some such.)
What version of Windows are you running, and did you upgrade to IE 5, or did your Windows come with that originally? If you upgraded, (and you are running at least Win 98), I think you can go to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, and choose Internet Explorer. It will then remove all the additional components for the new version of IE - returning you to the version that came with your OS (presumably 4.something). My suspicion is that reverting to IE 4, and then downloading and installing IE 5.5 would clean stuff out for you - but that might be a long time downloading depending on your net connection. This should NOT be nearly the same pain that deleting MSN was.

I’m running Win98, and this is still the same version of IE that came with it—never upgraded.

Trying the ideas on the pages you linked to. I searched my hard drive for anything with “bonzi” in it, and the Winint.bak file has it. I don’t know if it’s safe to edit that or not. I serached in regedit, and found two things:
ab (default) “BonziBDY.Document”
ab ContentType “application/bonzi-mail-message”
Is it safe to delete these?

Couldn’t find it in autoexec.bat.
Thanks for the help!

I am pretty sure that the winint.bak is a backup file that does not affect the running of your system. It should be safe to edit that, but I don’t think it will do anything.

The registry keys you found look like file type definitions - again those can be deleted safely, but I am afraid that deleting them won’t do much.

My only remaining idea would be to try looking at your task manager - hit Control-Alt-Delete, and look through the list of things that are running - see if you have a “bbuddy” or “neo” or “ctb” or something similar there - then check the registry for that.

You might also try using the Ad Aware software offered at - I have seen some places that imply that it can remove Bonzi Buddy, although I can’t find confirmation of that on the lavasoft site. In addition, the idea of adding more software downloaded from the net might be a bit hard to swallow right now.

How old is your kid who did the install in the first place? Can you assign him/her the task (and would you trust him/her) of reinstalling Windows? There might be other approaches, but this one would A) be certain to get you running again, and B) might teach a valuable lesson. Otherwise, I suspect you might be having to remove Comet Cursor or some other useless stuff from your system in short order.

Ha! My kids already got Comet Cursor last year. I let them play with it for a week, then got rid of it.

The Add/Remove Programs on my computer does not include IE. Perhaps because I have not upgraded it since I got the computer.

I would like to try completely uninstalling IE and then re-downloading it. I use CyberMedia Uninstaller. I need advice on if this will be safe or not.

Download Ad-Aware and it will get rid of that and search for dozens, if not hundreds, of other intrusive and spyware programs on your computer and get rid of them for you. I found nearly 200 instrusive or spyware files on my computer. Yeesh! Fucking asshole developers. People who create shit like Bonzai Buddy and GoHip and Gator should be shot in the fucking throat.


dorkbro and homer, I installed Ad Aware and ran it — a huge number of spyware files came out — however, the Bonzi Web Compass toolbar is still stuck in IE.

All I can think of to do now is completely uninstall IE and reinstall it. I need to know if this will be safe. As noted above, I had a very bad, very destructive experience when I uninstalled MSN. The Favorites used by IE are in a separate folder, so they won’t need to be backed up?

M$IE is an integral part of Windows. You can’t uninstall it.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings here - but part of the reason for the antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft is because there is no way to completely uninstall IE. MS mixed the code for the browser and the OS together, so you can’t really separate it from the operating system. The only kind of “uninstalling” that is allowed is reverting to a previous version, and if you haven’t upgraded your browser, there is no previous version to revert to.

I think this leaves you with the following choices:

Reinstall Windows: Pluses - you get a chance to clean out all sorts of cruftiness in your OS, which might make all of your work easier. Minuses - loss of time spent backing up all current files - loss of time spent reinstalling OS - loss of time spent in discovering that this or that piece of what you had on your old system didn’t get properly backed up. (If you follow this route, I would probably try to do it completely clean, which means reformatting the hard drive - in which case add to the minus side loss of time spent reinstalling all other software.)

Move to another browser: Unfortunately, Netscape 6.0 is, last I checked, best regarded as promising beta test software. I think it will be nice eventually, but it isn’t quite ready yet. I suspect that you could still find an old Netscape 4.X download or disk somewhere, but then you lose out on a lot of potential web experience. Another possible alternative is Opera, in which case you have to choose between the free version which has some kind of advertising window in it, and the version that costs (I think the price is somewhere in the $30-$50 range). I think Opera is supposed to work with all Netscape plugins, but there may be some web pages and/or sites that don’t work quite right.

This is pulling from fairly deep memory, but I think that, during the anti-trust trial, some people were able to go through a complicated process to remove IE from a Windows installation. However, doing that does have occasional odd impacts on future program installations - I think the demonstration was under Windows 95, and may not be applicable to 98 - and doing that, then reinstalling IE might not solve your problem (if the problem is buried in odd keys in the registry, they could still be there, so the Evil One would return as soon as you reinstalled IE).

If I were in your shoes, I would probably back up everything onto CD’s (which would require buying a CD burner if you don’t have one already) - then do a reinstall.

I would also give at least some thought to moving to Windows 2000 or XP (which would give you the ability to set up your kid’s accounts WITHOUT authority to install new programs if that seems necessary) although that comes at the obvious financial cost of the new OS, and the other costs of learning a slightly different operating system, and the possibility of some software incompatibilities (particularly, as I understand it, with games and kid’s software.)

Of course, adding to the already existing pit thread, or starting your own, might be a more satisfying response at this point, but I am afraid I don’t know any other solutions.

Good luck.

I finally found the answer on my own, just now.

I had opened the Windows “Add/Remove Programs” thingy for an unrelated reason. I noticed in there “BonziBUDDY WebCompass” so I immediately zapped it.

Opened IE and presto! It was finally gone! Good riddance. What a relief. I wonder where it had been hiding out all that time.

Congrats on finally solving this problem.

Just wanted to clarify this…

Netscape 6.1 is now available. I haven’t tried it, as I was unhappy with the 6.0 beta, both in its appearance/interface, and its crashing. However, I’ve been using Netscape 4.75 pretty happily for some time now. There are very few sites that I have any trouble with, and I find it more user-friendly than IE, if slightly buggier.

Enough of my opinion. The main point I wanted to make is that you can download earlier versions of Netscape, back to version 2.0, from their website.