Stop Java update installing the ASK toolbar (and other opt-out offers)

Posted: April 21, 2013 in Solved, Windows General
Tags: , , , , , ,

This is really, really annoying. Everytime Java prompts to update, it also very kindly gives you the option to not install the ASK toolbar. This is because it very kindly selects the install ASK toolbar automatically and you have to opt-out.
If you don’t pay attention (looking at you Dave), or it’s a family/friend who doesn’t notice these things, then the ASK toolbar takes over your browsers search settings and steals screen real-estate by appearing at the top of your browser.

Luckily it turns out there is an easy way to stop it asking for future updates.

SOLUTION

Just apply the following setting(s) to your Windows Registry and it will stop prompting to install the ASK toolbar, as well as any other “offers” that might get bundled with Java. What more could you ASK for?

Update: My last Java install didn’t offer the ASK toolbar, but offered a Mcafee security product instead. the fix below will still stop that and any future new offers as well.

If you don’t know which version of Windows you are using, just do both, it won’t cause any problems.

32-Bit Windows

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft] "Sponsors"="Disable"

 

64-bit Windows

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft] "Sponsors"="Disable"

 

Just copy and paste the text bits above into a new text file with a .reg extension and double-click to apply.

 

Comments
  1. Good solution for professionals but Oracle needs to address this for everyone. Sign this petition to demand removal of Ask Toolbar from Java: https://www.change.org/petitions/oracle-corporation-stop-bundling-ask-toolbar-with-the-java-installer

    • Scott says:

      Oracle is not a company I have ever liked, so them doing things like this really doesn’t surprise me.
      Oracle doesn’t even listen to the customers that pay it many thousands of dollars, so I think it unlikely that they will bother to respond to even several tens of thousands out of the millions of non paying customers.
      I wish you the best of luck with your petition.

      • I’m a little more hopeful. There is a rumor that they already decided to completely remove the Ask Toolbar from Java 8. We’ll just have to wait and see, and keep on pressuring them in the mean while.

        • Scott says:

          Well, in part I’d say you are correct.
          I installed Java on a machine on the weekend and in fact it did *not* offer me the ASK toolbar. Instead it offered some Mcafee security thing.
          It doesn’t really look like they are getting into the “intent” of the request to stop making these offers opt-out. All they are doing is changing the offer. I’ve tweaked my post on that point.
          Luckily, the reg fix stops *ALL* offers regardless.

  2. Linda says:

    You write: “Just copy and paste the text bits above into a new text file with a .reg extension and double-click to apply.”

    I don´t know, what you mean by “with a .reg extension”

    • Scott says:

      If you create a new file using notepad for example, then the file will be named something like “myfile.txt”. The “.txt” bit is called the file extension
      To be able to apply it as a registry update, the file needs to be named “myfile.reg” instead, i.e. a “.reg” extension; that way Windows will apply it correctly. Depending on your settings in Windows though you may not even see the file extension which can be a pain.

      To be safe, you should only create those files yourself, not download them from someone who has pre-created them. If you don’t know what they mean, then you won’t know what other “settings” could be hidden inside a .reg file you download.

      You can also just run “regedit.exe” and browse to the paths shown and make the change directly, but you should be very careful if you aren’t familiar with it as it is possible to cause major issues with your computer if you accidentaly delete or change something in regedit by mistake.

      If you are really unsure how to do any of the steps above, then I would suggest that you sitck with the option of unticking the options for the toolbar and other offers when installing Java. The steps above are really more for people who have multiple computers that they need to make the change on.

  3. Dave says:

    My testing SPONSORS and DISABLE need to be in all caps.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for that, I’ll test it out.

      It had been working but I noticed the last update I was getting prompts to install McAfee but I hadn’t got around to working out why yet. I wonder if they changed something in a recent update.

  4. J.M. says:

    I get…
    Cannot import C:\Users\\Desktop\StopSponsors.reg: The specified file is not a registry script.
    You can only import binary registry files from within the registry editor.

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft] “SPONSORS”=”DISABLE”

    what say you? love your blog. jm

  5. focusp says:

    I also get the ‘cannot import…’ error message when I double click the .reg file I have created.

    When I add it in regedit instead then is it Edit -> New -> String Value I use?

    • Scott says:

      When you create the reg file, are you using notepad or some other program? It may be adding extra characters or formatting.

      Which version of windows are you running? I’ll test to make sure the formatting works correctly for other people who might have the same problem.

      If you do want to create it directly in regedit, then yes, it should just be a string value (reg_sz).

      • focusp says:

        I used notepad and copied and pasted the text from your webpage. When I saved the file I changed the extension from .txt to .reg

        I am running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1.

        Putting the key into the registry directly did work thanks!

        • Scott says:

          Good to hear, and thanks for letting me know.

          I’ll also check the reg entries in the post to make sure there isn’t a typo, and/or make the instructions a bit clearer.

        • Scott says:

          I just tested the reg entries out and they work fine for me on Windows 7 and Windows 8.
          Do you recall what the actual error message was that you were seeing? Have you got some program other than “regedit” associated with the .reg file extension?

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