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Kudos12 Stats

Get rid of ASK

I am an independent IT tech and since the Norton rewrite (?) in 2009, have recommended Norton Internet Security/360 to my clients as the consistently best internet security program available.  I have recently been very dismayed with the Norton Toolbar, for 2 reasons.

1.  ASK is an aggressively marketed search engine with (1) far too many ads at the top of results and (2) the results are significantly inferior to other search engines such as Google, Bing, and even newcomers such as DuckDuckGo. Moreover,

2.  I consider ASK to be a PUP and many of my clients would remove the first P from PUP and consider it just plain Unwanted.  ASK markets itself via the opt-out paradigm replacing the user's home page and search engine.  A majority of my clients just whiz by the opt-out screen without unchecking the boxes, and then ask me where their home page went.  Perhaps Symantec makes a penny or fraction of a penny on each ASK implementation (economics of scale) but this is not acceptable from an internet security program.  

3.  Although I click the Do Not Ask Again link for clients when prompted to install the toolbar, the Do You Wish To Install The Norton Toolbar continues to pop up.

Although I still consider NIS/360 a superior security solution, I am beginning to switch my internet security recommendation to Kaspersky's solution, because so many of my clients want ASK removed from their computer, and of course I certainly don't want it either.

This is a slippery slope you have placed a foot on.  It is my recommendation that if Norton products wish to keep their reputation from a slow decline, ASK be removed from the toolbar and either replaced with a more ethical (and better) search engine.  Alternately, when users click the button to install the toolbar, at least have a prominent message (not fine print) clearly stating that this will replace their current search engine with ASK, and have two choices:  YES - replace my search engine with ASK , or NO - keep my current search engine.

Philip

Replies

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

The nag screen to "Get your Norton toolbar back" keeps coming back.  There is an option to never see it again but Norton does not honor that request.  That screen keeps appearing from time to time and I know from checking Google that I am definitely not alone in having this problem.

Not only does Norton want to force the toolbar on its users, they want to make the Ask search page their home page, supposedly to assure safe searches.  Norton also wants me to use the toolbar to store my site IDs and passwords.  Ask is useless for search but it does present a lot of ads.  Why on earth would I want to risk sharing my user IDs and passwords with them?  I have no assurance I will not be sharing that data.   

This month I have been the reason Symantec received over $500 in revenue from Norton 2015, ordered through the Symantec Website.  I have made a number of other recommendations that will likely become sales.  I am having to re-think my endorsement of the product.  Only when Symantec provides a means of eliminating the forced toolbar installation and the nag screens will I begin to regain a level of trust.

In case you have not figured it out, I do not like Ask, I do not trust Ask, and I do not trust any company that tries to force Ask onto my desktop.  Symantec can earn short term revenue pushing a product that drives customers away or they can build lasting relationships with their customers.  It should not be a difficult choice.

For every one of me who takes the time to find a forum and compose a note there are a few hundred or a few thousand more people who will not, and who will simply go away.  Symantec will not even know they lost their business.  I have been a Norton fan since "The Norton Utilities" ran under DOS and was shipped on 5-1/4" floppy disks.  I have been with Norton through good times and bad.  

At one site I have almost completed an upgrade of 17 users to Norton 2015.  I may soon be facing complaints from the users about the nag screen that pops up asking them to install a toolbar.  Our policies prohibit the installation of toolbars.  I really do not want that nag screen to interrupt a PowerPoint presentation in progress or interrupt one of our writers as they compose a document.  

If Symantec cannot or will not fix the problem then I will consider asking for a refund and switching products.  That will mean a lot of extra work and some major hassles but I will entertain the thought.   

It is up to Symantec to take the necessary action to regain the trust of their user community.  Please give us a means of not installing the toolbar and not being nagged repeatedly to install it.  

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

I fully agree. I have a small IT support business and have been recommending Norton to my clients for many years. Typically, I recommend Norton (NIS or 360) as an internet security solution several times each week, but am now moving towards Kaspersky. ASK is an aggressively marketed advertising machine that provides, in my opinion, results that are far inferior to other search engines. But what really angers me is ASKs very extensive use of Opt-Out as their means of insinuating the software onto users computers. I consider the (unfortunately widespread) use of the Opt-out to be an unethical means of trying to slip PUPs by unsuspecting users. Back to Symantec - As I consider ASK to be a PUP, I am very disappointed that Symantec/Norton, as a provider of internet security solutions, would associate themselves with ASK. I disagree, though, that a method for less-aggressively pushing the Norton Toolbar should be created - the real issue is that Symantec is pushing a PUP onto user's computers. As mentioned in my first statement, I am starting to recommend Kaspersky over Norton as a provider of internet security. While a drop in the bucket for Symantec, this will result in a few hundred fewer sales/renewals each year. This is very unfortunate, as I feel that Norton is one of only 2 internet security solutions that are consistently at the top of testing results.
Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Norton may have gone too far this time.

I installed the toolbar without the Identity Safe, Search or Home Page options.  I thought my problems were over.  They are not.  The nag screen is back with a vengeance.  I guess I am forced to take one of three actions:

. . . . 1. Ignore it, and keep clicking "Don't ask me Again".  That is not going to happen.
. . . . 2. Install the Ask toolbar.  It will be a cold day in hell when that happens.
. . . . 3. Check out Kaspersky.  That is becoming a VERY DISTINCT possibility.  You stand to lose $500 in revenue if I ask for my money back.  
. . . . . . It has been less than 30 days since I purchased the software. 

The ball is in Symantec's court.  Do something, and make it something reasonable.   

Please convey this summary of my opinion of the Ask toolbar, and of Norton's insistence on installing it, to Symantec's upper management.  

https://youtu.be/B12eVCBbGsw

File Attachment: 
Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Based on the "High CPU Use" screen and verbal * written comments I would suggest that Norton is still suffering from the bad reputation developed in 2005-2006, even though it has been otherwise exemplary since 2009, at least until their affiliation with ASK. The hypocrisy of a leading publisher of anti-malware software attaching a PUP to their software (toolbar) is unfortunate. If my speculation is correct, it is probable that every week Symantec delays in removing ASK from the Norton Toolbar, an increasing number of disgruntled users will be switching to another security solution, and that this will continue until Symantec decides that the loss of revenue and impaired reputation becomes greater than the money they are making from ASK. Unfortunately for Symantec, it will be much easier to deal with the money issue than with the reputation damage - again.
Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

Norton was bad in two ways a number of years ago.  It drastically affected the computer operation and updates often trashed the computer.  It got to where every Sunday either my wife or I would have a problem due to Norton.  One Sunday it knocked both of us for a loop.  I switched to Zone Alarm immediately.  

Some years later Zone Alarm could not seem to keep their product from causing 100% CPU utilization.  Meanwhile Norton had improved their product.  I bought Norton Internet Security with a 30 day money back guarantee but I did not have to return it.  It did not tax the CPU and it worked well in the background.  Unlike in the past, it was easy to install and easy to update.  Later I upgraded to Norton 360, again with no problems.  

At some point Ask appeared on the scene but it was easily avoided.  More recently Symantec has made Ask difficult, if not impossible, to sidestep.  As far as I am concerned, any company that tries to put Ask onto my system is a company that needs to be watched like a hawk.  A lot of them are doing it.  A lot of Ask installs occur even though they are refused.  They are removed almost immediately so no one benefits and the reputation of the host company suffers, but someone likely earns a fee for the install.

If Symantec is so hung up on pushing Ask onto its user base then, as you have stated, they will lose their customer base.  Perhaps their accountants and their marketing managers feel that it does not matter but it does.  Just look at what happened when "New Coke" was forced on people.  I switched to Pepsi and I have never gone back and I am not alone.  

Is Ask any good?  In a word, no.  In two words, heck no.  One day I was helping a friend remove a malware infection.  I had found a number of fixes for it on line, along with references to the site of the company providing the malware, ostensibly as a useful product.  Just for fun I decided to search with Dogpile, which calls up searches from a number of major search engines.  With one exception, those search results told me how evil this malware was, or how to get rid of it, or how it might have been contracted.  The only entry from Ask was a link to the site of the company that produced the malware, telling me how wonderful their product was.

So, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and a few others told me what it was, why it was bad, and how to get rid of it.  Ask told me what a wonderful product it was.

And Symantec is using this for "safe searches"?  I guess they will be.  All you get form Ask is "sponsored links" or meaningless results.  I fault Symantec for putting their desire for a little extra profit ahead of the needs of their users.  It might be acceptable if you could "opt out" of the Ask installation but apparently you cannot.

Symantec must make a choice.  They can continue to foist a really bad search engine onto their users, most likely for a short term profit, or they can decide to value long term relationships with their customers.  The first may benefit the bottom line for the next quarter or two or three.  The second will provide ongoing income and referrals from satisfied customers for many years.

This should not be a difficult choice.  

Ironic note:  As I was completing the review of this note a pop-up message appeared urging me to get my Norton toolbar back.  That nag screen just will not go away.  Kaspersky is looking even better now and the 30 Norton licenses I recently purchased are still under their 30 day satisfaction guarantee.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

A little bit of knowledge is... well a little bit of knowledge.
Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Sixty days?  Very good.  

If I start getting complaints from our 16 users then I will have to explore our options.  I have four machines at home on a 10 user license and we are getting nagged to "Get our Norton toolbar back".  Maybe that is like "Getting your polio back" or "Getting your HIV+ back".  Hey, it's the Ask toolbar in disguise so it is all of those and more.  

It could even be as rugged and reliable as a Reliant Robin.  Enjoy / Despair.  It's the first Robin of spring.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQh56geU0X8

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

Omigosh - when I started this thread I didn't really expect much in the way of comments.

Hopefully, more people will begin to challenge the hypocrisy of an internet security program aggressively pushing adware.

Some of my IT clients have asked me if, perhaps, Symantec was purchased by ASK, since they're pushing ASK so much.  In fact, I've started having clients ask me, without prompting, why Norton is trying to hard to push ASK onto their computers.

I actually think that NIS has consistently been an excellent internet security solution, but have started steering my clients towards Kaspersky, entirely because of the affiliation with ASK.  Is there a conflict of interest here?

Hey Symantec - if you're reading this, take heed.  Divest yourself of ASK before this loss of both sales and reputation  escalates much further. 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Well, Shinken99, the reason you generated so much interest is because there are a LOT of people mad at Symantec / Norton right now.  

Norton 2015 is excellent.  It smooths out some of the rough edges of Norton 365.  The licensing process seemed to go much more smoothly than in the past.  Switching products is never fun; it is much simpler to re-license the old than to go for the new.  In this case the new cost considerably less than the old so rather than a simple, painless license upgrade that would barely be noticed by 16 users we had get our hands on each machine.  

I wish Norton would let you download the actual install file and not just a downloader.  Running over a Wi-Fi connection makes the process take far too long.  For those at Norton who do not understand the realities of IT, here is how things often work.

1.  Contact users and advise of the forthcoming upgrade.

2.  Spend several hours on the phone arranging a time and date to get your hands on their laptop.

3.  Deal with the inevitable delays, missed appointments, phone calls, and the like.

4.  Spend 20 minutes upgrading to the new product.

5.  Spend 5 minutes upgrading our documentation so we know who has been done and who is still due.

6.  Spend many more hours trying to track down the stragglers who never seem to be available.

*** Total keyboard time to upgrade 16 users:  Approximately 6 hours.  
*** Total time to upgrade 16 users:  Approximately 20-30 hours over a 2 month period.

If faced with the re-install option again I would definitely consider other options,  That would be the case with any product since the amount of labor would be equal for the same product or a different product.  At this point we have too big an investment in Norton to switch but when the licenses expire all bets are off the table.  I love Norton.  I like how it works, how reliable it is, and its minimal effect on the computer.  I do not like dealing with that lame Ask toolbar which, even if you turn it off, consumes valuable space above the data screen of the browser.  

So, how did I wind up with the Ask toolbar?  That is a very good question.  One day I noticed there were no more nags to "get my Norton toolbar back".  Then I realized I had the toolbar.  

Nice move, Symantec.  You got your buck or two for shilling an amazingly lame product.  You may lose my future business as a result.  Don't forget that my sphere of influence is quite large.  My satisfaction with the one license I purchased for my network can affect sales to dozens of your potential clients, who have their own spheres of influence.  My one "Yea" or "Nay" could affect several dozen or several hundred potential purchasers.  

But you got your buck or two and I got stuck with a constant reminder of your greed.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

BackupBob.  Good observations.

Are your 16 users on a domain?  If so, then Symantec's Endpoint Protection (EPP) is a good solution as it's managed on the server and can be pushed onto workstations as a batch command. 

If your users are not on a domain, then EPP isn't an option.  I don't think Symantec has any idea how much damage their association with ASK is doing to both sales and reputation, neither of which will come back easily. 

Over the past several years, both Norton and Kaspersky seem to be consistently at the top of test results, which is why I recommend them.  In the past I've generally recommended Norton over Kaspersky because I'm more familiar with it, but I'm not certain I'll go back to recommending Norton unless they do something quickly.  I could go on about conflict of interest but why waste my time.  I'm just so very disappointed that Symantec has made such a bad business decision.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

We do not have a domain.  I don't like getting calls at all hours about network problems, if you know what I mean.  This is not a high usage network and none of the users are very "high tech".  They are excellent at what they do, though.

We have a Synology Disk Station for shared storage, which allows remote access via a built-in VPN.  It is Linux based and it has anti-virus software to protect files that it receives.  Synology's software has a unique trait, one that other companies might wish to copy:  It does a good job, it does it reliably, and when it updates its software there are no problems.  It just works.  

I am going to give Kaspersky a good look-see.  This business with Ask has soured me on the Norton product.  It is probably one of the best Internet security suites for the non-skilled user because it just works and it does so without intervention, but I would not subject people I know to the Ask "safe search" toolbar. 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

BackupBob

Just to be clear - I am not pushing Kaspersky.  I would prefer to continue using & recommending Norton products, but like you, am annoyed to say the least, at Norton's association with ASK.  It's just that Kaspersky, over the past few years, seems to be running neck-and-neck with Norton, and I'm interested in consistency, not just an occasional high test rating.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Thanks for your note, Shinken99.

I have read a number of reviews.  Kaspersky and Bit Defender do well, as does Norton, but I have not seen another product that is so well put together for the average computer user.  Some people love McAfee but I always got lost with it.  I have seen many users fumbling with it.  Kaspersky looks complicated and reviews say that it is not particularly friendly, although I have not tried it.  The new Norton interface is excellent and I really like it.

That is why I am really bummed over this Ask business.  Norton is the product I like.  I chose it after much research and personal experimentation.  Users have no problems with it because it does not intrude, yet it continues to catch things that could cause harm.  The updates are painless.  Scans are mostly a non-event, although sometimes you can hear the hard drive or the external drives pumping, but the CPU is never really affected.  But now we have this infernal prompt offering to help get my (Ask) toolbar back.  

Ask has such a bad reputation for drive-by downloads, not to mention really crappy performance, that I cannot imagine anyone recommending it.  One must wonder if it introduces malware which Norton conveniently ignores, since it helped install it in the first place.  That may be a symbiotic relationship for two large companies but it is not a good situation for the rest of us.  

So, what is the problem with Norton?  (Need I Ask?)

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Ask is crap. I use Google as my search engine, and that combined with WOT, gives me two opinions on whether a site is malicious or not.

I also feel Google's search function is superior.

Bottom line, there is no necessity to use Ask, if you don't want to.

Windows 10 X64 Fall Creators Update 1709
Kudos2 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

The problem is not whether Ask is desirable (it is NOT desirable) but how to get rid of the nag screens.  

I have a virtual XP machine on which I recently installed Norton 2015 and it is going through the endless cycle of "Get your toolbar back" and clicking "Don't ask again".  Perhaps they should be more truthful:  "Don't ask again this hour".  

The core product works very well.  Unlike some other security suites, most users will never need to delve into Norton to fix problems.  I have seen other products decide to stop letting a printer server work, or blocking programs, or killing Internet access.  Norton just works quietly in the background and it keeps the computer reasonably well tuned as well.  I do run System Mechanic manually from time to time for a second opinion but it usually does not find much that is wrong.  

The bottom line is that Symantec should let the Norton product stick to its core competency and stop trying to milk a few extra dollars from it by forcing a piece of junk down the throats of their users under the guise of "safe searching".  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

FWIW...

When it comes to putting an end to the browser add-on nags, I've found it easiest, and quickest to just go ahead and allow the full complement of Norton BHOs to install - (Note BTW, that one of these add-ons will hijack your browser's homepage setting and supplant it with the Norton ASK websearch site).

Afterward, go into each browser's configuration and disable the newly installed Norton add-ons, but leave them otherwise installed - you'll also need to restore your preferred homepage selection to it's original setting.

I realize that this solution feels like an accede to an oppressive mandate (which in truth, it partly is) but it does kill the nags and lets you get on with business.

Cheers!

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Since I started this thread, I'm gratified that so many users agree about ASK and Norton.

That said, I completely disagree with a using a workaround except as a temporary fix until the user's current Norton license expires. 

I was loyal to Norton for over 10 years, and over that time have recommended NIS to several hundred clients, but have recently started recommending Kaspersky rather than Norton, to my IT clients, as my recommendation for an internet security solution.  One of my NIS licenses recently expired and I've switched 2 of my computers to Kaspersky rather than renew NIS.  When the other license expires, I'll do the same - unless Symantec rids itself of its connection to ASK, which seems to be pretty universally disliked and which I consider to be hypocrisy and/or a conflict of interest.

I feel that it is important to note that I'm certainly not shilling for Kaspersky - it is just my personal choice as the best performing alternative to NIS, based on test results I have read over the years.  Everyone should select their own personal preference for an internet security solution. 

Curiously, I recently checked wikipedia and found that Symantec's association with ASK started in 2009, although it was not until recently that this association became widely known. According to the Wikipedia entry, "Due to criticism of the search functionality, Symantec announced the Ask.com search box would be hidden in future releases of version 3.0".  You can check this out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norton_360. Either search the page for ASK or go to Version 3.0, second paragraph. 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Well, isn't that just lovely?  You find a pile of moldering, rotting manure creating a stink that is being sucked into the air intake of your building.  Instead of removing the problem you cover it up by spraying perfume on it.

They did not get rid of Ask, they simply hid it so people would not know it was there.  That is like spraying perfume on the manure pile.  

I guess they are banking on collecting a buck or three from each unsuspecting person who installs Norton by clicking "Yes" for everything.  Perhaps the lost business from dozens or hundreds of loyal customers in not that important to them.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

I too am an independent IT consultant and have been an avid fan of Norton through thick and thin since the days of DOS. The improvements in Norton in the last years have furthered my enthusiasm and support for them. I agree with all the comments above regarding Norton's quality, user-friendliness, features, tested effeciveness and so on. I also agree strongly with the comments regarding their incredulous affiliation with Ask.com. And I too am considering dropping Norton as a recommended computer protection system and switching to a competing product.

I have been so busy recently cleaning out PUPs and malware from clients' computers that this has almost become a full-time business sideline. And I see Ask.com and its variants involved in virtually every case.

Norton's purpose is to protect their customer's computers from viruses, malware, PUPs, hijackers, and so on. Ask's purpose is to hijack browsers, flood users with ads, install more PUPs and garbage, and bog down computers to the point of no longer being useful. These two are directly at odds with each other, yet Norton is in bed with Ask. The only reason can be foolish greed for an extra dollar even though it means the loss of their business purpose and customers. The decision makers at Norton apparently have lost their moral compass and have been corrupted to the point of business insanity.

I don't know if anyone at Norton reads these forum comments by their customers, much less compile the trends expressed here and present them to the upper management. I suspect these forums are nothing more than a place they provide for customers to vent with no attention from those at Norton who ought to be interested.

Considering all this, I suspect Norton will go the way of dinosaurs - once great, powerful, and dominating but headed to extinction. And the leaders of the company are so foolishly confused that they will never see it coming nor understand what happened in the end.

On the other hand, if Norton leadership really cares about its customers and their own business purpose, and have the ability to see through the mental confusion which led to this association with Ask, they will end this attempt to foist Ask on their customers and return to their business roots of protecting us.

Come on Norton, Get Rid of Ask before your reputation suffers any more and customers flee to better choices!

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Their reputation is becoming a bit tainted already.  They have too many products, someo of which can interfere with each other.  They are not as bad as Computer Associates but they are heading in that direction.  

I am looking for a suitable replacement for the Norton suite.  It will be difficult to replace but I will keep looking.  

I have no problem with their offering their toolbar, even something as crappy as Ask, but please take "No" for an answer.  The really irritating part of this whole thing is that they give you an option to never be nagged again, and the next day there is a nag screen.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  The support advice to just install the toolbar and then disable it is totally irresponsible  

Their ultimate goal seems to be promoting that toolbar.  I don't want their toolbar.  I have two options:  Accept their toolbar or find another product.  If I leave the Norton fold I will take my "sphere of influence" with me, and that is not a small number of people.  When you consider the cascading effect of one friend telling another friend, the 10 or 100 people I might influence could ultimately affect 100 or 1,000 or more people.

Come on Norton.  Your whole intent is for me to install Ask.  Don't be such an Ask-whole.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

FWIW ~ I never see Ask.  I declined and that was that. 
Granted once in great while I'll see the dialog box and I'll decline.  No trouble. 
Would you believe users that are very upset that Safe Search is not listed with their browser search engines.  They want Safe Search aka Ask to see the Safe Web Icons. 
They don't want the Toolbar.  But, they want Safe Search. 
Live and let live. 
I've never seen Ask as a problem.  I don't run Safe Search from Toolbar.  But, I have Safe Search checked so I can choose by Firefox one click. 
 

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

You need to read the fine print - ASK and Safe Search are fully integrated.  Here are two quotes from a Norton Support web page titles Searching the web using Norton Safe Search:

  • Norton Safe Search enhances your web search experience. When you search the Internet using Norton Safe Search, it uses Ask.com to generate the search results. Norton Safe Search provides the site safety status and Norton rating for each of the search results generated.
  • Norton Safe Search enables you to erase all the data that are related to your search activities from the Ask.com server. The Privacy Safeguard feature of Norton Safe Search removes the search data, such as your IP address, user identifier, and session identifier from the Ask.com server.

Read the Norton Support web page for yourself:  https://support.norton.com/sp/en/us/home/current/solutions/v19803255_NIS_Retail_2014_en_us

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Get rid of ASK

No one likes Ask or defends it.  How and where can we ask Norton to D/C it in some collective way?  Letters to the editors PC Mag/World?  Where could we get Norton's attention?

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

looknup:

No one likes Ask or defends it.  How and where can we ask Norton to D/C it in some collective way?  Letters to the editors PC Mag/World?  Where could we get Norton's attention?

I like Ask and defend my choice to use Norton Safe Search.  I defend your choice not to... 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Hey BJM,

Although I, as an independent IT tech (who started this thread) have never had a client who found ASK on their computer and didn't inquire about what happened to their home page or search engine, and then request that I remove ASK from their computers, that certainly doesn't mean that ASK is universally disliked.  My observation is from a very small sample and anecdotal rather than from a serious study.  Although I'm glad that you entered a contrary comment, however, the fact that yours is the only reply defending ASK, seems to indicate that ASK is only almost universally disliked.  There are probably also people out there who still like Windows ME, or drive Edsels or Yugos.   

What I find disturbing about Norton's association with ASK is how aggressively they are pushing something that most people consider a PUP.  Clicking "No thanks" to the request to put the Norton Toolbar or Norton Search on a computer is like pushing the "close" button on an older elevator - just a dummy switch that does nothing, since the request continue.  The fact (see a previous post on this thread) that Norton promptly hid its association with ASK back in 2010 and kept it hidden for several years, is something to consider.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

You just put your finger on the problem, bjm_.

You certainly have the right to install and use Ask if you want to.  The rest of us do not have the right not to install it.  We will be nagged until we agree to install it.  That nag screen has an option to never be prompted again but Norton does not honor that offer.  If the nags would go away then this thread would not be here.

Tech Support claims the solution is to install Ask and then disable it.  That means the Ask code is on my computer and possibly running in the background.  That could also mean that if Ask wants to push something onto my system they can do so and Norton will likely not flag it as potentially harmful because of their relationship with Ask.  

I have seen a number of once-good companies do stupid things and then lose market share.  I suspect the leaders of those companies had not a clue what happened to them.  Many of them may not care because they get a generous bonus every year and they have a golden parachute when they leave.  

One company I dealt with replaced their excellent US support team with contracted overseas support and contracted local technicians.  They used to have a factory trained technician on site with parts in hand within four hours.  That changed to having a US technician call us within four hours to dispatch a minimally trained technician, who would arrive with no parts and often no idea what they were servicing.  Repairs would routinely take days or a week to complete.

It was not long before they found they needed to replace their customer base.  With such poor support their customers did not renew their service contracts.  When it was time to replace their equipment they bought from a competitor.  About three years into the new arrangement the company hired an expensive troubleshooter to determine what was going wrong but it was too late to salvage much of their lost business.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

BackupBob: You certainly have the right to install and use Ask if you want to. 

I did not install Ask nor do I use Ask.  I use Norton Safe Search that is an optional feature of Norton.   Norton Safe Search is an embedded option in the Toolbar and an optional search tool from your browser search bar and an optional Home Page.   Ask provides search results and Ask is not really Ask anymore as Ask farms out search function.    Norton Safe Search one way or the other is not a deal breaker for me.  Just not an issue.    Firefox offers me one click search where I can on the fly use several search engines.  Norton Safe Search is available and on occasion I'll see search results rendered by Norton Safe Search.   I'll avoid Ask Toolbar same as avoiding all  bundle-ware.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

That may a matter of semantics whether it is a Norton tool bar or an Ask tool bar.  The end result is the same, that I would be searching with Ask using a toolbar that is tied in with Ask.

If, as you state, Ask is no longer providing search then what does Ask do to add value to the Norton security suite?  

After you have seen the "No thanks" option a few times you will be given an option not to be prompted again.  That option is not honored.  Either Norton's programmers are totally incompetent, which I seriously doubt, or they were told to make opting out of the toolbar intentionally difficult.  

The bottom line is that I do not want anything on my computer that is related to Ask and Norton wants to force a toolbar onto my computer that is related to Ask.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

I hear you and respect your feelings.   If No Thanks or Off slider is not honored for you.  Or, if you cannot disable Norton Toolbar.  Then there may be a glitch.  We've all experienced program bugs.  Norton may not satisfy all users all the time.
I'll be happy to suggest an alternate security service. 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

That's fine if you like Ask. But that leads me to wonder how much experience you've had with Ask and with malware on your computer. Nearly every client who has brought me a computer to clean up because its running really slow has had Ask related software, among others, installed on their computer, and invariably when all Ask garbage is cleaned off, their computer runs far better again.

So use Ask on your computer if you're happy with it. But recognize that not installing Ask on our computers is not our choice - it's being forced on us by an otherwise reputable company who's anti-virus (anti-malware) software is among the best available. What they're doing is oxymoronic!

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

The toolbar can be disabled once it is in place.  The problem is preventing it from installing.

I do not install any toolbars on my browser.  I have little use for what they and I do not like the real estate that they consume.  I have no desire to have an unscrupulous toolbar try to market to me.  

I have created a "Links" menu, which works very well for finding locations I use frequently.  It is built into all major browsers so it consumes virtually no system resources. 

Norton and Kaspersky seem to be the top contenders for an Internet security suite.  I am not fond of how Kaspersky operates and I love Norton.  I hope they can resolve the problem before I need to update my licenses.  

The bottom line is simple:  Offer me the tool bar if you wish but please honor my request not to install it.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Interesting, you want custom install.   Have you posted 'custom install' to Product Suggestions. 
Norton as you know is mass market one size fits with turn off / disable. 
Who knows maybe with enough like thinking.  You'll get 'custom install'.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

The issue is not whether or not we can uninstall ASK (again and again) but rather, that "No thanks" should mean just that.  Recurring requests from Norton to install Safe Search and/or the Toolbar have been going on for quite some time, so if recurrence is indeed a glitch, it is one that Norton chooses to ignore...or...it may not be a glitch at all.

Again, per Wikipedia (see my reply a few months ago), the association with ASK was actually hidden by Norton in 2009 because other antimalware developers considered is spyware.  Here is a quote that I have copied from the Wikipedia entry references in a previous reply - I have taken the liberty of placing a key statement in bold:

"Version 3.0 incorporates Norton Safe Web, offered as a standalone service earlier. Safe Web integrates with Firefox and Internet Explorer as a toolbar, blocking access to fraudulent and malware hosting sites. This toolbar also includes a search box, routing search queries typed in the box through the Ask.com search engine. The toolbar does not share code with the Ask.com toolbar, which was classified as spyware by McAfee, Trend Micro, and other antivirus vendors.[19] Due to criticism of the search functionality, Symantec announced the Ask.com search box would be hidden in future releases of version 3.0.[19][20][21]"

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

I am amazed at the number of posts on this thread. I am another user who wants nothing to do with Ask and am astounded Norton is bundling it with security programs. After all, Ask is known adware/spyware and how in h*ll is installing it helping security? Last time I had to do a Norton re-install I got SafeSearch along with Ask (by default) and SafeSearch is a browser hijacker. That means it installs itself as the default home page of a browser and does not permit itself to be removed. Shortly after it hijacks the browser, adware starts appearing more and more frequently. If this is going to be a Norton policy, I will cease using Norton Toolbar immediately and will begin looking for alternate security products. My guess is some Norton executive is getting some kind of kickback from the producers of Ask, and somehow convinced everybody else to go along with it. BAD, BAD, BAD decision!!  Speaking as a Norton user since pre-Windows days in the 1980s I am astounded that adware is deliberately included in a professional commercial program.

So does this that since Ask and SafeSearch are deliberately included, NPE won't flag them as malware/adware?

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

To add to my previous post....I have read even more of the comments more thoroughly and the more I read, the more angry I become with Symantec. Some set of executives made an ill-advised business decision and are still trying to cover their collective asses by hiding the association with Ask instead of addressing the root problem.

One of the features of Norton I like so much is Identity Safe. Like so many users I visit a large number of sites and rather than use the same password, I use different variations so that being hacked on one site does not allow access to my other sites that may contain privileged personal information. Now it seems I am going to have to take Ask adware if I want the Norton Toolbar.

Here's what I say: Phooey, Symantec, Phooey!!!  I have seen other programs that are password protectors, and some of them are free. I will be investigating them for a suitable replacement for Identity Safe. I love Norton as my internet security but when my license comes up for renewal, I will be looking for a new provider of Internet security. I will no longer recommend Symantec to anyone....worse yet, I will recommend that friends NOT use it. I cannot possibly support a company whose products claim to protect its users against intrusions, and then deliberately includes such an intrusion as part of its products. So if the attitude is take it or leave it, I'm leaving.

If this thread is any indication of customer dissatisfaction, those executives are gong to have bigger problems that making an extra buck or two with each installation. If they really need the extra revenue, they could resort to a time-tested and proven solution: raise the price a buck or two while keeping your customers happy with a quality, reliable, trustworthy product.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Ask is junk any way you look at it.  There is a profit motive for including it with the Norton product.  It is not disclosed to the user that they will be installing what is often deemed to be spyware, and which will not be flagged since it was installed by Norton. 

I am fed up with outfits that try to install undesirable things on my computer, and more so when they are supposed to be a reputable source.  When I purchase a Slurpee at 7-Eleven I do not expect to be given a pack of cigarettes or, worse, to have them had it to my son.  When I purchase a software package I do not expect it to install an unrelated package but that has happened, and sometimes with software purchased at retail in a sealed package. 

Norton may do the best job of all the suites but if I cannot entrust my users to Norton due to crapware such as Ask then I cannot trust Norton for much of anything.  Kaspersky is not so friendly but it gets rather good reviews.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Reply to pdef1949.

You might want to consider using Dashlane for a password manager.  It is free for standalone use - if you don't need to sync your passwords with other devices - and works quite well.

If you continue to use Norton's Identity Safe it is just another hook that will keep reminding you about the wonderful benefits of using Norton...(sigh!).  It is very unfortunate that Norton has gone over to the dark side, as it consistently does quite well in various independent testing (as does Kaspersky, and to a large extent also BitDefender) and consistency is a major factor in security.  What really bothered me when I started researching Norton's association with ASK is that it actually started several years ago but...well, read my comments posted on August 8 & 9.

S

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

As I noted when I started this thread, Norton has been trying to get over their reputation for problematic installs and for slowing down computers, both back in 2005-2006.  Although Symantec did a great job of addressing these issues in 2009, the reputation persists and they are aware of it - just note the cpu use message that pops up in subsequent versions, which seems to be their way of saying "gee folks, the slowdown isn't us...really it isn't".  I suspect that within the next year or so, Norton sales will drop significantly as users get fed up with ASK, and the home page and search engine replacements associated with ASK. I'm amazed that Symantec hasn't yet accepted what is pretty obvious - that it's past time to ditch ASK before they wind up in the same sales backwater as McAfee.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

I am looking at alternatives now.  I have several 2 year licenses so I am stuck for another year.  The labor for removing Norton and installing a replacement would be horrendous.  It isn't the actual process, it is getting hold of the laptop to do the work.  Try to track down 12 people and meet with them one by one.666

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

If the problem only with Ask, it's not a problem. I know that a lot of programs, for example Java will infect your PC with this adware, but you could easily remove it manually without using anti-virus or another software. Here is detailed guide that will explain you how to do this right http:// removalbits . com/how-to-uninstall-ask-homepage-from-your-computer-removal-instruction/.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Janeofarc.  You miss the point.  ASK is pretty universally considered as unwanted, and the job of an internet security program such as Norton is to keep PUPs off of our computers.  By not only associating with ASK, but aggressively pushing ASK as the home page and default search engine is a pretty huge conflict of interest. 

BTW, are you aware that, for the past few years, Symantec has refused to submit Norton software for testing by AV Comparatives on their Main Test Series.  They apparently no longer want Norton software to be tested alongside it's competitors - www.avcomparatives.org is arguably the premier independent anti-malware software testing lab.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

So, Shinken, are you saying that Norton is no longer being evaluated independently?  That is not a good thing.  

The makers of a good product should be more than happy to have their products tested independently.  The more abuse and torture they can withstand, the better their reputation will be.  If you have a good product you will win big time.

If, however, you have doubts about your product then you may balk at having it evaluated critically by others.  Perhaps the big-wigs at Norton feel the best way to address their shortcomings is with obfuscation, not with corrective action.  That is the sign of a company that is heading for big trouble.  

Norton works well and it works unobtrusively.  My users do not have frequent challenges to their actions, as has happened with other products, and we don't have issues with odd problems such as access to printers suddenly going away, requiring the user to reset all of the learned parameters and start over.  It has worked very well for several years.  

Unfortunately, some users took the bait and installed Ask.  I can't say that the results have been a major issue but I suspect some of their searches are coming up lame.  I am able to control our other software, for the most part, but Norton does not honor   its users' selections, at least as far as Ask is concerned.

Do you have any suggestions for a suitable, user-friendly replacement for Norton?  Our licenses will expire early next year and I need to be ready.  Kaspersky is on my list.  Bit Defender might be, although I understand they are suing Bleeping Computer because they did not get a good review.  You can either innovate or you can litigate.  I don't care for litigious companies but perhaps there is more to the story that what I have read.  

If Norton would honor its promise to never nag the user again about installing their crapware then I would consider staying but that does not seem very likely.   

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

BackupBob. 

As an independent IT tech, when I make recommendations to my clients, I consider not the most recent test results, but consistency over time.  Kaspersky and Bitdefender seem to be consistently high in testing over the past several years, as was Norton until a year or two ago.  Norton was my preferred anti-malware solution for well over 10 years, until the ASK issue arose.

Recently, I have used Kaspersky Internet Security on one of my computers and Bitdefender Internet Security on another of my computers, to see how user-friendly they are.  I tend to give the edge to Bitdefender because it stays in the background more, whereas Kaspersky presents more messages - sort of like automatic vs manual transmission on a car - and, in my of course very limited use, find that both seem to work quite well.

Also, remember that it is a war out there and, even with heuristic scanning, some malware (mostly annoying PUPs) will get through even the highest rated anti-malware solution.  For this reason, I recommend occasional, or even weekly, scanning with Malwarebytes Free, (an on-demand app) which seems to do an excellent job of finding what falls through the cracks.  Malwarebytes and Windows System Restore (rstrui.exe) are the first routines I run to eliminate malware, and after that it is often mostly cleanup.  Unfortunately the real-time Malwarebytes doesn't seem to get particularly high results in the test I have read, but I keep rooting for them to get their real-time version up to snuff. 

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Many thanks for the reply.  I have been looking at both Bit Defender and Kaspersky.  I found Kaspersky to be a bit too "techie" oriented for its own good.  Norton being partners with Ask is about like having Donald Trump choose Bernie Sanders as his running mate.  Not much good can come of it and the reputation of the stronger party would likely be damaged by the weaker party, and please let us NOT get into a discussion of which or whom.  

None of these products can protect us from a drive-by download of Windows 10.  Microsoft's latest trick is to announce that your computer will be updated to Windows 10 now, or you can postpone it until later tonight.  There is no "Not-until-hell-freezes-over" button.  One of my users clicked and he is stuck with Windows 10 since I did not hear of the problem until after the 30 days trial period was up.  He is hard to find I had not yet installed our new image backup software on his system.  

In the past, any major Windows upgrade meant removing Norton first, or risking having it caught in a mode where it could not be removed or updated.  On this system Norton is working just fine.  The only casualty appears to be his HP personal Laserjet printer, which ceased to function until I was able to find a newer driver for it.  Microsoft seems to have done a good job with the update process, other than forcing it onto unsuspecting users.  Next I will download and install Shutup10, which puts all of the controls for the privacy "features" into one place.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

BackupBob:  The Win10 issue is for a different conversation in a different forum.

That said, one of my client's accurately described MS Win10 as "bullying" :)  The app Shutup10 seems to work nicely, although you can also also just uninstall one of the MS Updates - I don't have the KB# memorized and don't have time to look it up, but that info is widely available on the internet.  Stopping the GWT tray app alone is only partly effective.

However, since Win7 is actually Vista version 2 and Win10 is actually Vista version 4, or to be nicer about it, Win7 version 3, there is a lot to be said for it.  My general opinion is that if one has an older Win7 computer and is planning to keep it more than about 2 more years, then do the Win10 upgrade before July28 as nobody outside of MS knows if MS will extend the free upgrade and MS will probably stop support for Win7 in 2 or so years.  For a Win8/8.1 computer, unless one just loves the Metro/Modern/...tiled GUI (ughhh!), the upgrade to Win10 is a good thing.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

You are right about the "bullying".  Microsoft has a platform secured for whatever mischief they care to inflict upon their users since it is part of the operating system.  

Vista was intrusive.  With so many UACs it was tempting to turn off all such notifications, leaving the computer vulnerable to malware.  Vista's main problem was that its drivers were not compatible with prior drivers so you could not be certain that all of your hardware would function after the update.  The classic dilemma was a NIC driver not working:  He:  Just download a new driver.  Me:  With what? I don't have a NIC any more.  

I don't know if Windows 7 was a re-hash of Vista or if it is largely new card.  It really does not matter to me because it works well and it is aesthetically pleasant, if not elegant.  Windows 8 and later have a largely tasteless, flat two-color theme that is not pleasing and it is certainly a bit bone-jarring rather than relaxing.  That being said, I can live with tasteless.  I cannot live with the constant intrusions of Windows 8 or its double-minded layout with essentially two different operating systems.  Building Windows 8 to favor tablets instead of the more numerous laptops and desktops is a bit like forcing 10,000 piano students to learn to play the piccolo because orchestras also have piccolos.  

I just worked with a Windows 10 computer on Sunday.  Once I learned how to do a few things I find it can be operated much like Windows 7.  You just need to right click that ugly "Windows" logo, otherwise you will go absolutely crazy trying to do simple things such as checking or changing the properties of a printer.  At least it is all there, much as it was in Windows 7 and not spread all over the map as many things are in Windows 8.  

Microsoft will likely end active support for Windows 7 in a few years but it will not be end-of-life and there will still be compelling patches issued if necessary.  

If Microsoft were smart they would let the user choose the interface, as they used to do.  XP had the option for the prior interface.  Once I had a chance to play with the new one I found I liked it.  Windows 8 had no such option.  It forced the user into so many new ways of doing things that many of them gave up on it.  I have many friends with Windows 8 who cannot figure out how to do much of anything except what they absolutely have to do and they hate it with a passion.  For them Windows 10 would be a welcome upgrade because it works more as Windows did in the past.  

Microsoft seems to have lost their way.  They are promoting an operating system that can interface with your X-Box, that has thousands of "apps" to do all sorts of neat tricks, and that allows / forces you to type commands instead of clicking on an icon.  I guess they figure everyone in this world wants to be totally connected and interacting with everyone else.  At least Windows does not prompt you to "Share this with Facebook and Twitter".  OK, I will:  "Hello, world, here are the latest pictures of my intestines as seen during my colonoscopy last week".  Or, "Please enjoy this redacted copy of a memo to my boss, which discusses re-order quantities for a number of items we use."  

I rely on Word and Excel and a number of other programs.  And, yes, I have a few games for amusement when I am getting punchy from working too long but I really do not need to connect to an X-Box.  Neither does my office.  I would be happy to have those options available if I ever need them but please stop pushing them in my face.

Our home desktops will likely remain on Windows 7.  They work very well, thank you, and they are not relaying everything I do locally to Microsoft for analysis.  I hope.  Our next systems will be have Operating System version 10 but we have not decided if it will be an Arabic "10" or a Roman "X".  Given the number of patches, and the white screens of hopelessness, and the number of crashes of Microsoft products, we are leaning toward the Roman X.  And, yes, it will have a security suite on it.  Unix computers are subject to malware, too.  

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

Again, this is an issue for a Window forum.  However, FYI, Win10 was apparently chosen (rather than Win9) because MS really wanted to name it Windows 1 (or Windows One) but of course that was taken with the first version of Windows around 1985 or so.  The 1 is because, they want Windows to be one ring (oops, OS) to rule them all, and work on all platforms, computers, tablets, smartphones.  The semi-official word is that MS has adopted the Apple system of continual updates as revisions, and that there will never be another version of Windows, just Win10.1, 10.2a, and so forth.  Of course as James Bond said, "never say never", and keep in mind that MS also said that they would never bring back the start button/menu (at least not until sales dropped and HP started the rush to sell Win7 computers with Win8 discs as an option).  Hmmm - although touch screens are nice in Iron Man movies and tablets, if we had to use touch screens for monitors I could make a fortune selling elbow rests.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

So much for a simplified naming structure.  

. . . . . He:  What version of Windows are you using?  
. . . . . Me:  Windows 10.3.1523.a.002482 Build 31.00.243.  It's code name is "FOOBAR".

I had to scramble to find Windows 7 computers.  I was stuck with five Windows 8.1 laptops but after installing Classic Shell and setting them to come up in desktop mode they are satisfactory for running Power Point presentations.  Other than that they are pain in the IT'S 9:15! (darned Charms bar and clock popped up again...)

I prefer the keyboard.  I use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V heavily, or at least I did until Microsoft began disabling them for some functions.  They have also killed a lot of shortcuts such as Alt-E-S for Paste Special, demanding instead that I make 4 or 5 mouse clicks.  I cannot imagine trying to type 100 or more WPM, rolling a mouse, and touching a screen.  

Maybe the IBM electrics, especially the Selectric, weren't so bad after all.  At least they don't freeze up for a half hour waiting for updates to complete and they don't pop up advertisements.

And, you are correct.  I enjoy reading your insights into windows but this is not a Windows forum so here we go:  Norton Internet Security.  That makes it legitimate.   

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

I am running Win10 on my main desktop, ultrabook, and an old (circa 2009, 2.0GHz Pentium Dual Core, overclocked to 2.4GHz) computer that I use on my workbench.  The workbench computer runs Win10 nicely with only 4GB of RAM, although I don't do much multitasking with it so there isn't much paging to slow it down.  BTW, if you upgrade Win8.1 to Win10, be sure to uninstall Classic Start (or any similar app) as it doesn't play well with Win10 and some Win10 menu items are not displayed with the Start app.

Kudos0

Re: Get rid of ASK

The ASK setting is useless.  Please use Google, or let us choose what site we like to browse with.  ASK used to be good about 15 years ago or so, now it is all junk.  I don't think it is good for security at all.