I was just in the process of downloading Java on a Windows VM and noted that during the process you explicitly have to remove the checkbox or it will install the "Ask" toolbar.

Now i've no doubt that Ask have either paid for this privilege, but people, in general, if something you are installing EVER gives you the choice to install a toolbar, just say no.

Leave that previous browsing space for actual web browsing!

Toolbars typically add next to nothing to your experience, but they do provide a good way for the toolbar provider to get more information about you.

I've seen peoples desktops with 4 or 5 toolbars, all with an extra search bar, a logo and some other junk they put in there to add "value".

They're all crap, and there should be a way to block them permanently.

If you are not happy with your browsing experience, use Firefox or Chrome.