Like a lot of branded toolbars, MSN Toolbar appeals mainly to the service's users. The toolbar launches a new Internet Explorer window, while letting you choose not to automatically close any existing windows. The pop-up blocker missed a few kinds of pop-ups, as well as banner and Flash ads, but at least it didn't impede Internet surfing. The Highlight button accents each appearance of the terms you enter in the search box. If you press Enter, though, the toolbar will execute a Web search through MSN Search. The toolbar offers shortcuts for MSN Messenger, Hotmail, and My MSN, but you can turn off these buttons easily. One nonstandard interface annoyance is that the Preferences option on the MSN Search button opens up the Web site in the existing window, not in an Options panel. We also didn't like that you can't turn off updates, but can only select whether the program should automatically update itself or prompt you first. MSN subscribers will get the most out of MSN Toolbar.
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