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Why is Bing the default on my search toolbar?

A common complaint from Windows users - particularly of Windows 8 - is that Microsoft's default search engine, Bing, is not only automatically set as the default, but that it doesn't seem to go away — no matter how hard you try. The constant pop-ups (usually saying 'click to search') have provoked the ire of many an innocent web-goer. This applies to Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox — Bing seems to have held a grip on all of them. Even when you make, say, Firefox your default browser, separate pop-ups will inevitably appear. The level of hatred you'll find about this topic is alone worth seeking out.

Bing is held by considerable power these days, what with the Microsoft creation being amalgamated with Yahoo! to power their own searches. Even leaving aside the fact that Bing performs noticeably slower in terms of indexing websites on searches than Google, the application will hold firm on your toolbar even when you do the obvious and uncheck it in your default search engine listings through the Tools-->Options-->Search-->Manage Search Engines tactic. (It'll technically not be your default anymore, but it'll still keep popping up.)

Microsoft and Yahoo! have such a firm grip on Bing's dominance of all things good and holy that even uninstalling it (and/or deleting the app) doesn't work.

To get rid of it, you have two options. The first option is the complicated one of re-setting the applicable registry entry from 1 to 0 — but that will apply to your specific server setup. But that's needless time wasted.

The easier and more universal option to remove the entire Bing search page (particularly from Google Chrome) is to hit the 'Restore' button at the bottom left of the page, which restores Chrome to its original settings — home page and search provider included. Unfortunately, sometimes it's not so simple.

Herein lies the nub: what's not as well known is that the problem isn’t so much Bing itself as the so-called 'Conduit' malware that deflects you to Bing (or sometimes no matter what. Essentially, Conduit - which is technically not a virus - hijacks your browser, and unfortunately this is common to pick up from Windows. If it's that bad, your best bet is to simply uninstall the Conduit Chrome Toolbar from the Control Panel (for Windows 8), and remove the Conduit extension from Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome by clicking the 'Reset' button on the 'Advanced' tab from the Internet Options dialog box. Alternately, for Safari users, you can try selecting 'Preferences' and then 'Extensions' from the Safari menu, turning all of the extensions off one-by-one until you find the one that’s causing the problems.

So, a few different options are available to get rid of Bing and/or the pesky malware that directs you there. Just have patience — vanquishing pop-ups is an ongoing struggle.

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