Silently Uninstall Ask Toolbar

**UPDATED 2014-07-21** I think that 23% of workplace violence is directly related to the Ask Toolbar (now known as “Search App by Ask”, you’re not fooling anyone ). We won’t go into HOW this annoying, useless, unhelpful piece of crap got onto your network. There are 12-step programs that cover that. Let’s dig into how we get it off.

First off, this is a Sys Admin blog, but for you home users who want to get the toolbar off of your home computer and you have no idea what or who a Sys Admin is then simply go to your Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program and choose the Ask Toolbar or pretty much anything that has the word “Ask” option. If that is already too confusing then

a) Mom, is that you? Quit reading my work blog.

b) If you’re not my mom then call your mom’s best friend. Chances are good that her son (yeah, the one you never wanted to hang around) is a computer guy and he may help you out.  

c) Quit installing stupid apps that throw this junk onto your computer.

d) Follow the instructions on this youtube video.

Now that we have that out of the way… here are some great methods you can use to uninstall Ask Toolbar from your company’s computers.

Option 1:

If you are running PDQ Deploy you can simply download the Uninstall Ask Toolbar from the Package Library. (Updated: We are now providing the Uninstall Ask Toolbar package for free). 

Package Library Uninstall Ask

After downloading from the Installer Library feel free to inspect the steps by clicking Edit Installer. You will notice that this “Installer” has two Command Steps. The first step will kill running browsers by running

taskkill /f /im iexplore.exe /im firefox.exe /im chrome.exe

This is probably overkill since Internet Explorer is the one we really want. Anyway…

The second step also runs a command. This one simply calls the Windows Installer, MsiExec.exe, and passes the appropriate arguments (parameters) to uninstall Ask. For example:

MsiExec.exe /qn /X{86D4B82A-ABED-442A-BE86-96357B70F4FE} /norestart

Installer Library

Close the Installer and hit the Deploy Now button. You will now be able to choose the target machines that will have the Ask Toolbar removed. If you’re running in Pro Mode you probably already know how to choose your targets. You can either import targets from PDQ Inventory Collections, Active Directory, Spiceworks or even text files. You can also simply enter the computer names in manually. 

Option 2:

If you don’t have PDQ Deploy then go grab a copy. It’s free AND it won’t install any junk normally associated with free software. If you are running PDQ Deploy in Free Mode then you can simply place the necessary commands into a .bat or .cmd file. Then choose this file as your Installer File. Here are the two commands to place in your bat file. Yep, this bat file will only have two lines. 

taskkill /f /im iexplore.exe /im firefox.exe /im chrome.exe  MsiExec.exe /qn /X{86D4B82A-ABED-442A-BE86-96357B70F4FE} /norestart

You can see in this example that my Installer File is the bat file that was created. (Keep in mind this example is for Free Mode)

 Installer Library

After you save your new Installer, hit the Deploy Now button.

In the Deploy Now window you can simply choose your target computers. Try this on one or two test systems to verify that it works as expected.

Now, if you want to know WHICH computers have the Ask Toolbar then I recommend using PDQ Inventory, which also runs in a free mode.

Create a new Dynamic Collection and add an Application filter. Use Name contains ask toolbar. (see image)

Ask toolbar collection

Close your Collection and you will see which computers have the Ask Toolbar install.

 Inventory Collection Lisa Burger

When you choose your targets in PDQ Deploy simply import from PDQ Inventory. Choose your new Collection (Ask Toolbar in this case) and add those targets.

After you uninstall Ask, make sure to rescan your computers in PDQ Inventory so that they are removed from the Ask Toolbar collection.

There you go. Now go be a good Sys Admin, pour a Guinness,  and impress your co-workers by uninstalling Ask; They may even pour that pint for you in gratitude.