Third Party Browser Extensions


Neale D. Hind

There is a website used by my son for his IT studies (and sadly password
controlled so I can't post the site details) where when he clicks a link
nothing (except a brief burst of modem activity) occurs. Even if I cut
and paste the url into a blank IE window nothing happens.

The problem looks to be related to 'third party browser extensions'. If
I disable those in Tools> Internet Options> Advanced> Browsing the web
site works as expected.

But, on my user id, the web site works as expected WITH browser
extension active.

So, a couple of questions that I hope someone can give me a steer on:

- How can I determine what browser extensions are installed?
- How can I add/remove browser extensions for a particular user id?
- How can I repair browser extensions that may be broken?

This is all on XP Home SP1. All critical windows updates applied.


Sandi - Microsoft MVP

Tools, internet options, settings button, view objects.

Make sure malware is not interfering.

There are many people who have helped this FAQ improve over time - MVPs and
newsgroup users. I thank all of you who have made the newsgroups,
anti-malware websites and dedicated mailing lists into such a wonderful

IMPORTANT: Before trying to remove spyware, download a copy of LSPFIX from
the URL below - some malware can kill your internet connection when it is
removed, and this software should get things going for you again:

IMPORTANT: After obtaining the software below, make sure you check for
updates and then run the programmes in safe mode.

You can go to the link below to check your system for parasites (supplied by

Malware removal (beginners guide):

First, go to Control Panel, add/remove programs. Check for malware entries
and use the uninstall programs.

Second, get AdAware. [..Warning: AdAware is now version 6.181. All previous
versions are NO LONGER SUPPORTED and will not be updated...]

AdAware is available at Make sure you check for updates
every time you use it.

To be most effective, you must run AdAware while Windows is in safe mode.

Modern malware uses more than one process, and these processes are
'co-dependent'. In other words, when one processes detects that the other
has been shut down, it automatically restarts its sibling, often using a
different name.

Disable the ability of suspect processes to start automatically by using
MSCONFIG (startup tab) before booting into safe mode. Use the information
at the URL below as a guide:

Reboot your computer and hold down the F8 key until the boot menu options
appear. Select 'safe mode'. After you are in safe mode, check to make sure
the suspect processes did not start up. If they did start up, we are going
to have to track down *where* they are coming from before going any further.
An experienced computer technician can use programme such as AutoStart
Viewer for in-depth diagnosis:

While still in safe mode, and after you have shut down as many malware
processes as possible, start AdAware. AdAware, when run using default
settings, simply does not cope with new 'intelligent' malware. Make sure
'activate in depth scan' is enabled. Select 'use custom scanning options'
and then click on the 'customize' button. Turn on the following scan
options - scan within archives, active processes, registry (including deep
scan), IE favorites and hosts file. You must also turn on the following
option via the 'tweak' button:

Cleaning engine: 'automatically try to unregister objects prior to deletion'

IMPORTANT: Before letting AdAware delete malware, write down on a piece of
paper exactly where the malware is stored. You will need to delete those
directories after AdAware has done its work, but ONLY IF IT IS NOT A

After running AdAware, run it again, this time using the option 'select
drives/folders to scan'. Click on 'select'. Scan your entire hard drive.
Also do the following:

Empty your IE cache and your other temporary file folders, eg:
c:\windows\temp (if using Windows 98) or C:\Documents and
Settings\<name>\Local Settings\Temp (the path to your temp folder will
change depending on your name) - sometimes programmes can be hidden in
there - watch out for mysterious *.exe files or *.dll files in those

Go to IE Tools, Internet Options, Temporary Internet Files {Settings
Button}, View Objects, Downloaded Programme Files. Check for unusual objects

Go to IE Tools, Internet Options, Accessibility. Make sure there is no
style sheet chosen (under User Style Sheet - format documents using my style
sheet). If the option is turned on, turn it OFF.

It is possible to turn off third party extensions (Enable third-party
browser extensions (requires restart) at IE tools, internet options,
advanced) to disable *all* plug-ins but troubleshooting will be difficult
and it is only a BANDAID. Nothing gets fixed. There is software that
depends on 'third party browser extensions" to work, including Acrobat,
Microsoft Money, and many other programmes.

Once your computer is clean, and if it applies to your operating system,
create a new restore point. Your old ones may, of course, be infected with
the malware and therefore cannot be used. Run disk cleanup to remove old
restore points (if you operating system has this option you will find it on
the 'more options' tab of the disk cleanup utility).

If you are still having problems:

You can go to the link below to check your system for parasites and
hopefully identify your problem (supplied by

Download and run the latest version of "Cool Web Shredder"

The more experienced user can try Spybot. Again, it is a free programme
which can be downloaded from: Warning: it is NOT
a good programme for the inexperienced. If you want to use this programme,
please get the advice of those more experienced before 'fixing' anything
that it finds.

Another excellent programme that allows you to examine your system and
*create a results log for experts to examine* is HijackThis, available from:

MS have released a limited KB article regarding what they call 'deceptive

Here is advice specific to:

home page hijackings

pop-up ads

search engine hijackings

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