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History Boss toolbar

Also Known As: History Boss Virus
Type: Adware
Damage level: Medium

What is HistoryBoss?

Created by Mindspark Inc, HistoryBoss is a browser toolbar compatible with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. HistoryBoss claims to improve the quality of users' Internet browsing experience by enabling them to search for various historical information via the toolbar.

Although such added functionality may seem legitimate, users should be aware that HistoryBoss is categorized as adware since it installs on browsers using a delusive software marketing method called 'bundling' (stealth installation of various hidden applications along with the chosen software).

Following successful installation, the homepage and default search engine settings are immediately assigned to home.tb.ask.com Furthermore, this potentially unwanted browser application tracks users' Internet browsing activity by recording information such as IP addresses, default language settings, browsers types, search queries, and other hardware and software information.

HistoryBoss toolbar

Most current freeware download websites (for example softonic.com, download.com, soft32.com, and many others) employ 'download clients' to monetize their free services. Download clients offer installation of advertised browser plug-ins together with the chosen software.

Research results show that installation of such freeware commonly results in adware or malware infections, and therefore, users should pay close attention during the download and installation of free software. HistoryBoss is also distributed via deceptive banner ads within various freeware download websites.

The developers of HistoryBoss (Mindspark Inc.) release many similar browser settings-changing toolbars including FindMeFreebiesButterflyFieldAllin1Convert, and ProductRecallAlert.

Neither HistoryBoss, nor any of these other browser extensions add any real value for the user - they actually diminish browser performance and may lead to serious privacy issues, identity theft, or malware infections. The main purpose of these toolbars is to generate income by displaying intrusive online advertisements and causing unwanted redirects.

This general removal guide explains how to eliminate toolbars created by Mindspark Inc. In order to prevent installation of HistoryBoss, or any other potentially unwanted applications, users should examine each step when installing free software, and decline installation of any advertised browser add-ons.

When installing freeware, choose the 'Advanced' or 'Custom' installation options, rather than 'Typical' or 'Quick' - this will reveal any bundled applications listed for installation along with the chosen software.  

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Quick menu:

HistoryBoss toolbar removal:

Windows 11 users:

Accessing Apps and Features in Windows 11

Right-click on the Start icon, select Apps and Features. In the opened window search for the application you want to uninstall, after locating it, click on the three vertical dots and select Uninstall.

Windows 10 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 8

Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.

Windows 7 users:

Accessing Programs and Features (uninstall) in Windows 7

Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.

macOS (OSX) users:

Uninstall app in OSX (Mac)

Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.

Removing HistoryBoss toolbar via control panel

In the uninstall programs window: look for "HistoryBoss Internet Explorer Toolbar", select this entry and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".

After uninstalling the potentially unwanted program (which causes browser redirects to the home.tb.ask.com website), scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.

HistoryBoss toolbar removal from Internet browsers:

Video showing how to remove browser redirects:

Internet Explorer logoRemove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:

Removing HistoryBoss from Internet Explorer step 1

Click on the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". Look for "9kbar.dll", "HistoryBoss", "Toolbar BHO", and "Search Assistant BHO", select these entries and click "Remove".

Removing HistoryBoss from Internet Explorer step 2

Change your homepage:

Removing HistoryBoss from Internet Explorer step 3

Click on the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Internet Options", in the opened window remove home.tb.ask.com and enter your preferred URL, which will open each time you launch Internet Explorer. You can also enter "about: blank" to open a blank page when you start Internet Explorer.

Change your default search engine:

Removing HistoryBoss from Internet Explorer step 4

Click on the "gear" icon Internet Explorer options icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer) select "Manage Add-ons". In the opened window, select "Search Providers", set "Google", "Bing" or any other preferred search engine as your default, then remove "Ask Web Search".

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the history boss virus, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.

Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows XP

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 7

Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.

Reseting Internet Explorer settings to default in Windows 8 - accessing

In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - Internet options advanced tab

Click the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - click the Reset button in the Internet options advanced tab

Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Resetting Internet Explorer settings to default on Windows 8 - confirm settings reset to default by clicking the reset button

Mozilla Firefox logoRemove malicious plugins from Mozilla Firefox:

Removing HistoryBoss from Mozilla Firefox step 1

Click on the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions" and remove "HistoryBoss".

Removing HistoryBoss from Mozilla Firefox step 2

Change your homepage:

Removing HistoryBoss from Mozilla Firefox step 3

To reset your homepage, click on the Firefox menu firefox menu icon (at the top right corner of the main window) select "Options", in the opened window remove home.tb.ask.com and enter your preferred URL, which will open each time you start Mozilla Firefox.

Change default search engine:

In the URL address bar, type about:config and press Enter.
Click "I'll be careful, I promise!".
In the search filter at the top, type: "home.tb.ask.com"
Right-click on the found preferences and select "Reset" to restore default values.

Optional method:

Computer users who have problems with history boss virus removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.

Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, firefox menu icon in the opened menu, click Help.

Accessing settings (Reset Firefox to default settings step 1)

Select Troubleshooting Information.

Accessing Troubleshooting Information (Reset Firefox to default settings step 2)

In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.

Clicking on Refresh Firefox button (Reset Firefox to default settings step 3)

In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.

Confirm your want to reset Firefox settings to default (Reset Firefox to default settings step 4)

safari browser logoRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

removing adware from safari step 1 - accessing preferences

Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....

removing adware from safari step 2 - removing extensions

In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.

Optional method:

Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...

resetting safari step 1

In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.

resetting safari step 2

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) logoRemove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 1

Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.

Removing adware from Microsoft Edge step 2

Optional method:

If you continue to have problems with removal of the history boss virus, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon Microsoft Edge (chromium) menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 1

In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 2

Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.

Microsoft Edge (Chromium) reset step 3

  • If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.

Summary:

declining installation of adware while downloading free software sampleCommonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Software uninstall instructions
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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