Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/179758/how-to-avoid-junkware-offers-with-unchecky/
You recommend a program to a family member, and they proceed to install it along with five other junkware programs that sneak their way on to their computer in the installation process. Sound familiar? Unchecky prevents these unnecessary programs from installing themselves by unchecking the appropriate boxes.
I recall mentioning Unchecky in another discussion a few weeks ago.
I'm delighted to see that it has received a thorough test-drive from the geek and a good review.
As mentioned in the article, Unchecky is a work in progress, and the developer seems to be very devoted to this project because there have been around ten update releases already since the program's release a few months ago.
I'm going to install this on my wife's computer later today
It's definitely worth noting that Unchecky is not a foolproof solution, and the best plan is for people to stop installing so much nonsense on their computers.
The biggest concern I have is with false positives. For instance, a program you're trying to install requires another piece of software/component and Unchecky "unchecks" the required component, and then the program doesn't work creating problems for the user.
I've never seen an installer that requires you checking another box somewhere, lets you proceed, and then the app doesn't work. If an installer has a prerequisite, it won't let you continue without checking it.
Two quick things:
First, I'm not sure you are correct that this is only for beginners. I watch those crapware downloads very carefully, and every now and then one slips by me no matter how close I watch. Sometimes it's because they move and shrink the "decline" button. Sometimes it's because they have swapped the first button (usually just to start the downloading machinery) with a critical download junk button. Even the sharpest eyes can be fooled on occasion.
Second, just a comment about CNET. I used to love those guys and still trust their judgments on products, but since they've started using (and nearly forcing us to use) Download.com, I seldom go through them any longer. I know they need to make money as much as the next company, but using such a dishonest program for their downloads has poisoned the water for all the good that they do.
Good article. I would most likely not use this for my self but as the family "geek" I see a lot of unwanted programs getting installed on the computers of my friends and family. Most of them would benefit from an app such as "Unchecky".
As a long time geek I carefully scrutinize any applications before, during, and after installation. I also scrutinize any sites I download from. Download.com used to be a favorite but has been on my blacklist for a while.
As standuncan said, it is easy to get tripped up or fooled by some tricky installers. Recently I upgraded my favorite image burning software, Imgburn, and discovered that they are now including some potentially undesirable search plugins and homepage changer. I had never seen this before from the Imgburn installer (after years of use and upgrades) and was almost too blase' during the upgrade to notice! I guess my donation in support of the project wasn't enough.
I also am a big fan of Ninite.com to install some common programs very quickly while avoiding all the bloat! I use it all the time when I re-install Windows or need to install multiple programs on someone else's computer
I agree with the "false positive" sentiment; though I can only think of platform updates (flash/shockwave/java) as valid problems... and I'm dating myself just mentioning that.
I'm pretty sure, though, I remember seeing some installers worded in reverse - where the checked box means you're opting out, and the unchecked box = proceed with install (of course this is done to trick you).
(sigh) So sad about Download.com. I used to trust them and go straight there to AVOID installing crapware. Then somewhere along the line they became the SOURCE of crapware. I, too, have them blacklisted. Never again.
This is a nice piece of software; I have it on my laptop because it's one less checkbox to uncheck (it automatically unchecked some for me; I didn't even see the offers). I think I'll be putting it on every computer I "fix" (ie. run Revo and Avast on) from now on; even if it doesn't block everything, at least it's blocking something.
The words "updates are automatic as well" ended my interest in trying this program. With the exception of my antivirus, I tend to avoid auto-updates (and the problems they can cause) like the plague. When the developer gives me the option to decide whether or not to update the program, I'll give it a look, otherwise...
Disabling automatic updates is a really, really bad idea. That said, if you still want to do it, install Unchecky, then open Start, type Unchecky, and open it. Click Settings, then the Advanced Settings button on the bottom. Here, you can uncheck (no pun intended) the Automatic Updates box.
Can anyone tell me if Unchecky is easily uninstalled or removed from your system if you decide it is not for you?
,Yes, it can be easily uninstalled, as with any program, from the Programs and Features in the Control Panel.
No, it's really, really not. HTG itself just had a rather interesting article on the danger of programs that, for one reason or another, suddenly go from being "free" to suddenly being used as what can only be called advertising (or, God save us, "tool bar") spambots. Beyond that, my own experience is that every program occasionally has an update that causes more problems than it solves--not only to the program itself, but, in some cases, to other programs on the computer. Thankfully, the latter usually only occurs with Windows updates.
I, therefore, prefer to have the option of looking over changes and making my own decision to update--or not--as I see fit. And if I have my druthers, I prefer to download the new version, then add it, so that, if I load and hate it for one reason or another, I can simply uninstall it and go back to the previous version, instead of having to travel all over Hell and the web to find it--or hope OldApps.com has it.
Or, said another way, "Never try anything new. Let someone else try it first, and see if it kills them."
I'd seriously like a link.
You scare me...
And if everyone had the same thinking, nothing would get done.
Here. Wait. Try this:
"Or, said another way, 'Never try anything new. Let someone else try it first, and see if it kills them.'"
Then try adding a Groucho Marx-type voice to it.
I forget we now live in a world where people don't know you're being facetious in the written word unless they can see your emoticons.
Here's the article I was talking about, by the way. As it turns out, it was more about browser extensions and both spying and adware added after the extension was sold--
--but the principle is the same, in fact, I recently updated (and rolled back) the free version of Easeus To Do Backup. I like the program, but the new version now includes an occasional LARGE popup that tells you to consider buying their full version.
And it's why I still say, let ME decide when and how I want to update programs
Sure. Never forced it upon you; do what you want. I just said it'd be better to get updates, which more often introduce new functionality rather than ads.
Rather hypocritical, seeing that I was being facetious (by the way, thanks for teaching me a new word; you learn everyday!) as well...
Exactly... unless the developer sells this, you probably won't be getting ads.
I think you can do that with other apps as well? Especially since the chances of an app suddenly turning into adware, spyware or nagware is pretty low unless you use a lot of shareware apps.
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