Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/189176/why-we-hate-recommending-software-downloads-to-our-readers/
Windows software downloads are a mess. Many programs try to drag adware and other malicious junk onto your computer. Even safe programs we test sometimes turn to the dark side and start bundling junk later.
I consider that Portableapps.com is a good solution for this, although not all software is available there.
Include a link to the Unchucky article posted by HTG, when recommending software advising users to also Unchecky.
Although, it can happen, that the installer for Unchecky itself can be bundled with junk.
Which would be extremely ironical - junk install hider bundled with junk?
Users must have enough knowledge to control this problems
Thanks for the heads up. I was unaware that these programs could be sold to nefarious companies and thus, voiding your seal of recommendation! I try to be as aware as I can when I download, but I get hit with some things from time to time. Once again, I appreciate howtogeek's articles that help those of us with less computer knowledge avoid the many pitfalls and snares out in cyberspace! Thanks!
That is something that happens so often that it has turned into a nightmare.... I had a terrible experience with YAC (Yet Another Cleaner) about a month ago and what a nightmare it was. I even emailed the software publishers 5 or 6 times "Elex do Brasil Participações Ltda" and just a few days ago i received an email where they wanted to do a "remote access on my PC" so that they can "fix" it... are they crazy or what, . They must be nuts....Wouldn't use their software even if they pay me... If you're wondering where i downloaded this YAC software it was right here at fileforum.betanews.com ... You can see the comment i posted >>> YAC / comment on Beta News .... I would advise you NOT TO GO NEAR YAC.... just read the comment posted at the link above.....
What Windows really needs is a centralized repository for programs à la apt or yum in the Linux world.
Yes, there's chocolatey, but I haven't played with it enough to know how comprehensive it is. Installers need to go the way of the dodo bird :<
Chris, here you've really hit the nail on the head. I don't know how many times I've had to help people clean up their Windows machines, due to their downloading a perfectly reasonable application which, unbeknownst to them, brought with it a host of bloatware and/or kidnapped their browser homepage and search engine. I'm doing my best to get people to switch to a user-friendly GNU/Linux distro like Linux Mint, but it hasn't been easy....
I wish we could sue companies like Ask and those who partner with them for false advertising and tricking users. Probably wouldn't go very well though.
Several of the chocolatey packages are already set up to install without the crapware, such as Java. Unfortunately, if chocolatey becomes popular enough, I expect a similar situation will evolve unless steps are taken to properly curate it.
Chocolatey also has a ways to go before it becomes something that most people can use, although paradoxically it is much easier to tell some one to type cinst vlc than to have them open a browser, go to a website, download an exe, find it, and run it, click next several times, etc.
I got my first computer 2 years ago. During that time I've had to go it alone. It has been a steep learning curve. HTG, out of the many sites I dared to review or follow, has provided me with the best and most accurate information to date. At a download screen if given a choice between express or custom install. I never select express. This is the first clue that each screen must be read in its entirety. Further you may just want to avoid the download all together.
I Agree. This has become one colossal pain. But what can we do? Are there any softwares that can be purchased in stores. Of not, then we are up the creek
I was a long time paid user of an anti virus package. It (IMO) performed as well as could be expected so I stuck with it. One time the installer came with the ASK toolbar and even though I said no it was still installed. I protested to them. I said they were delivering spyware with the anti virus. Next time I looked the installer was clean again. Although I still have paid subs to that AV program I no longer install it. On both Win 7 and Win 8.1 it was corrupting downloads. The hashes were wrong while it was being Web Safe for me.
One of the worst for supplying crapware is the supplier of a very commonly used PDF reader. I even had MalwareBytes Anti Malware block a download from that web site because of crapware in an installer.
Never take the easy way to install anything. Always look at the details.
I use ninite.com to install software, it has many of the popular software on it and will install without the crapware. Great when setting up a new or rebuilt computer, just tick all the software you want and the installer file you download will sort it all out.
Why do you single out Windows software downloads? Why wouldn't Mac software downloads have the some issues? Or any downloads (Android, browser extensions, etc)
What a great article. Vigilance is the only way.....I ran into this mess recently with Adobe Flash Flayer.......Just be cautious:)
Chris there IS a highly reputable solution to this. You can install all your indispensable tools and toys via www.ninite.com. You can even download one installer with all your fave stuff, and run it now and then to update them all. It automatically disables, unchecks or does not install the crapware. Just looking at their list of great high-rep freeware you've been using for years, any geek worth his MAC address will begin to trust. And I can personally attest to hundreds of perfect darkside-free installs. In a world where download.com is no longer a trustworthy place to get safe freebies, and Adobe, Java and Flash all carry the seeds of the Sith, Ninite is a great Jedi weapon.
Same here. Portable applications don't currently have bundled crapware do they? Or do you think in the future that might change?
A bonus on using portable web browsers is that if you accidentally install something on mistake that hijacks your web browser's search or home page, your portable web browser won't be affected. Just the ones installed on your machine. I was testing out a software a few years ago and got a Babylonian toolbar super glued onto my Firefox. Luckily I tested and used this niftly tool (http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/) a few months before to backup my Firefox profile. After spending 8 hours on trying to get rid of the Babylonian search plugin, it turned out the only way to get if off my system was to do a complete uninstall and reinstall of Firefox.
Great article, I'm generally very careful, but I know loads of people who end up with horrendous crap on their PCs. I pay for most of my software and games or go for an open source option, but like pretty much everyone there are also pieces of software that are "free" that I use too. I installed utorrent not too long ago and declined all their "offers", even then during the installation process it drops an adware installer on your pc, I'm assuming it lies dormant because I declined everything but Malwarebytes Pro did pick up on this immediately...very underhand
@bucky good point, I'm assuming they've focused on Windows cos of it's huge install base, I have an Android phone and I tend to use Firefox with adblock plus as my browser and that's great, but the few times I've used Android Chrome, I have noticed some sites autodownloading an apk file, as long as you don't install the apk and just delete it, it's pretty safe but without doubt a lot of users might inadvertently install crapware on their Android devices
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