HowTo: Remove Babylon search from Mozilla Firefox address bar
Babylon Search is one of the most abusive addons for Mozilla Firefox and other web browsers. It installs with other free software (most probably profiting from tracking your searching habits) and then it is quite hard even for experienced users to completely uninstall it.
While maintaining other computers in the past I’ve used a combination of Add-Remove programs dialog, searching programs folder for Babylon text string and deleting related files, entering “about:config” at Firefox address bar and searching for Babylon in Firefox settings, right clicking each one of them to restore etc.
For the separate search bar it is easier to remove Babylon, since Mozilla has a dropdown menu there with search engine settings, however it’s sad that the aforementioned menu doesn’t control the address bar search.
However, in a recent incident I found an easier way to get rid of the crappy Babylon search which hijacks the search action when one types at Mozilla address bar some search query.
There’s a (quite hidden) action to reset Mozilla settings. You go to Mozilla’s menu (either from the old menu bar if visible, or from the newer yellowish button at the top-left of the Firefox window) and select Help/Troubleshoot problems and it takes you to an (internal) webpage that hosts a button you can use to reset all Mozilla settings to defaults (as if it was installed for the first time).
This is quite useful since even updating Mozilla (another hidden action, placed at Help/About dialog), won’t fix it if settings have been tampered with by malicious installers like Babylon’s. In fact some malicious addons for Mozilla even tamper its version setting so that it won’t update. Resetting settings as mentioned above can help with that, if not you may have to download and install the latest Firefox manually from http://www.mozilla.com (preferably download it in such a case from another browser like Internet Explorer if that seems to work OK).