Starware Toolbar - a toolbar from the guys who made Comet Cursors
I remembered that Comet Cursors used to be a real problem for new PC users. It used to download lots of adware and opened the doors for spyware to be added as well. It's not around now, but the same company now wants you to try out their new Internet Explorer toolbar called Starware. You might know that I'm too curious for my own good sometimes so I just had to try it out.
First off, when you get to the download page they want you to Click a "Yes" button to install it. When I see this I'm always very careful. That's never a good idea. I cancelled it and it proceeded to a file download page that recommended you click "Open" when you download the file. Again, this is never a good idea. I clicked "Save" and saved the file to my Desktop. So far I was getting a bad feeling about this toolbar.
I had done some research before trying out Starware and SpywareGuide has it listed as a nasty application with a danger level 4 which means it might be hard to uninstall. Never fear! I use Total Uninstall in a situation like this and I'm fairly confident that I can get rid of anything I don't want. I also ran HiJackThis before I installed to make sure I had an idea what was already on my PC. I had also run my anti-spyware applications (Adaware and Spybot) earlier in the day.
So what happened when I installed it? It popped up a selection menu with a few search services and I chose not to install any of them. After the install finished I received notifications from WinPatrol that new BHO's had been added to my system and I authorized WinPatrol to let them stay for awhile. Next I fired up Internet Explorer and there was my new Starware Toolbar in all it's glory.
Now what? I really didn't use the Toolbar much but it behaved itself and I didn't even start getting popups in my browser. I'm really surprised it was acting so nicely after all the warnings I'd read about it. I used the built in search feature and it's ads weren't any worse than Google's or Yahoo's. I also tried out some of the Smileys they give you from SmileyTown. There are a few other nice features I tried out and I really didn't find anything seriously wrong with any of them.
Later I tried to uninstall Starware Toolbar with the Windows Add/Remove feature and it crashed big time. The Starware software was not uninstalled and now I had no way to uninstall it using the regular Windows Add/Remove. I used my Total Uninstall to get rid of it and then I installed it again to test the regular uninstall. This time it worked, but I wouldn't bet on it working for everyone. I checked to make sure nothing nasty was left behind by the toolbar and I found nothing significant. Again, I was very surprised by this.
Conclusion: I think the Comet Systems people have started to clean up their act. They'll still track your surfing habits but they claim it's not personally identifiable information they collect. I still won't recommend this program because of the warnings at SpywareGuide. The warnings and the fact that the uninstall crashed are bad news for most of us.
Website - Adware (not recommended, but no worse than many other free toolbars)
Quote from the website - Toolbar Search - A search box in the browser toolbar
Auto Search - Allows direct searching from the address bar
Error Search - Shows potentially correct pages and search results for bad web addresses
Related Search - Displays related search terms in band at the bottom of the browser at popular search engines
Search Assistant - Allows searching from the browser's Search button
Search Match - Shows similar searches at popular search engines in one pop-under per browser session
Travel Search - Shows comparative prices while shopping for airline tickets or rental cars