I’d like to take a minute and discuss something that isn’t new, hasn’t been new for some time, and is probably not going anyway any time soon. To often when I talk to friends or clients who ran into trouble and I’m taking a look at their system they usually have a ton of crap installed that they really don’t need. When I ask about it I get the same reply “I didn’t install that.”
The answer is really quite simple, which is, yes, you did, BUT did you KNOW that you were installing it? Most likely not. See a few years ago as the software industry started changing people started looking at ways to develop free software…hey…it’s not a bad thing, but as the old saying goes…nothing’s free.
What happens is in order to make money, or in some cases (like HP) in order to install even more of their proprietary software on your machine (which is used in turn to hook you into using their products and tools) they start bundling packages together. For instance, when you install Avast! antivirus…by default, the installation comes with Google Chrome (NOT A BAD THING! Google Chrome is IMO the best browser around). In any case, Google has paid Avast! to bundle Chrome with their product? Don’t get me wrong, we all win here, Avast! get’s the revenue from Google, Google gets you to use Chrome, and you in turn get two free products installed on your machine, w00t! hat trick my friends! hat trick!
In some cases though you don’t get a nice product like Google Chrome installed on your machine. In the instance of my installing my own printer software from HP I found that the HP Shop tools were being bundled with the software and that they wanted to install software update tools, they wanted to install internet *hint* tools for when I’m browsing (browser plugins.. yuck when they’re *hint* tools), they wanted to install the solution center, etc, etc, etc, they wanted a drop of my blood, my cc #, my DOB and my SSN…ok..those last few items were just to make sure you were paying attention, in any case you see my point here.
So what can you do about it? A couple of things actually.
- Only install software from vendors and OEM’s that you absolutely trust.
- Learn to click around during installations and do “custom” installations…you may be scared if you’re a *starter* user, but don’t worry, you can always uninstall / reinstall if it doesn’t go right the first time
- Make a habit of checking the Programs & Features installed programs after performing installations to remove any unwanted possibly installed tools that were included in your package (if you learn to use #2 the most, you won’t run into this issue).
- Just be smart about it.
- Breathe, it’s not always your fault.
Look, not everyone knows everything and most people are happy enough being able to type documents in Word and Excel, and that’s perfectly OK, all I’m saying is that if you want to stop additional crap from being installed on your computer, learn to click around, software and computers is like anything else, it’s ok to make mistakes…mistakes are lessons learned to improve your future endeavors! Yay!
Is it the end of the world if you install additional tools that you don’t need? Absolutely not, it can cause you frustration down the road however when you find 20+ applications starting up with your machine that you don’t recall specifically installing, or when you’re browsing and all of the sudden your experience is completely different and not in a good way. I would say most of the time, if it’s not malware you can successfully uninstall it via the Programs & Features snap-in via the Control Panel on your windows workstation, very seldom will you require antiviri, a specific fix-it tool, or malwarebytes to uninstall something unless something has gone horribly wrong or you’ve installed something that wasn’t from a trusted source…erhm…torrents anyone?
Anyway, be safe, be smart, be brave, bundled software is a tedious game but you can totally beat it and besides…typically those products are bundled because they were paid and if you enjoy free software, well, unfortunately, those companies do need to make money some how so keep that in mind