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I'm sure everyone knows how it is. You install a third party program and it wants to install 101 'useful' toolbars and change your search and homepage; some even install add-ons that spam you with advertisements.

I keep my own computer safe, but every now and then I still screw up and have it happen to me by accident; it's easy to fix but still a pain. Worse, my parents and other friends do the same sort of things and don't know how to fix it when it happens; so they just stick with these things installed/changed eating up screen real estate and abusing them, while the companies that do this sort of junk make advertising profits off of taking advantage of end users. I can take care of myself easy enough, but how do I take care of novice end-users who are prone to screw up AND I can't be around to fix their mistake every time they make it?

So here is my question; how do I make browsers tamper-proof? Prevent unauthorized changing of home page, search engine, or installing of add-ons/toolbars? A perfect solution may be impossible to do without teaching the user how to avoid social-engineering, but surely I can configure browsers to be more idiot-proof?

I am interested to know how to lock down any browser out there. IE is the most relevant, since the sort of people that fall prey to this stuff are usually the sort that use IE. I consider Firefox and then chrome to be the 2 & 3 priorities in order of their use by laymen. Any information and advice for how I can lock down browsers to make them tamper-proof for laymen installing suspect programs is appreciated.

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I'm afraid that it can't be done as you wish it to be done. Installers are usually run under admin account, so they theoretically can make any changes, including unauthorized installation of browser plugins ("fair" means asking you first, and not hiding the checkbox under ten nested dialogs so it was hard to find). What you can try is using backup tools, like FEBE extension for Firefox, backing up your profiles before running any installer, and then restore to a recent backup if any suspicious changes made. It would not be "layman thing", however. –  bytebuster Oct 3 '13 at 18:33
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