Beware the Stealth Install

I get a lot of use out of a program called Free Studio from DVDVideoSoft. I really appreciate their product, and I get to use it for nothing, so I have no axe to grind with this company – but they get to be the teacher in the moment.

They have a cluster of products that operate under the Free Studio Manager head, and periodically one of them will update. Every time I download and install a newer version, I have to be careful that I don’t install something that I don’t really want, commonly known as crapware or foistware.

Here’s the first menu that I see:

stealth1

Notice that the “Express” option is going to give me the AVG toolbar. Now, in this case again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I used AVGFree for years before migrating to MS Security Essentials (the latter program uses far less overhead), and was very happy with it – I never had a single infection in all the years I was using it. But I just don’t use toolbars, so I didn’t want this one.

In order to decline the install, one has to hit the “Custom” radio button – but notice that it’s greyed out, which will cause some people to miss it, and others to think it’s been disabled. It is, however, completely functional.

stealth2

Clicking the “Custom” button allows you to uncheck all the options for AVG and continue. But we’re not done – there’s another menu to get past first.

stealth3

I have no idea what Sendori is, other than some sort of security program, but I don’t care to install it – so I have to uncheck the “I accept” statement, and hit next. At last my program installs.

I get that DVDVideoSoft needs to monetize their product in some way, so again I’m not really complaining – but be sure that you carefully read all the menu options you are presented with when installing sofwtware – even the stuff that you have bought and paid for. Particularly annoying is any program that wants to install the “Ask” toolbar – it will also infect your browsers, change your homepage, alter your default search engine, and your default keyword search options. Oracle is a major offender here; fortunately, Java is less and less needed for anything useful. If you want to go the second mile, there’s a Change.org petition asking Oracle to stop bundling this piece of crapware with its products.

So just be careful… it’s a jungle out there.

EDIT: Click through for another superb article about this sleazy technique.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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5 responses to “Beware the Stealth Install

      • Actually I think Adobe Flash is pushing McAfee Security Scan (which only scans for trouble but doesn’t remove anything), not the full version. But of course McAfee Security Scan will try to push its big brother.

    • Any software that comes bundled unasked is a boo-boo in my book. However, in my experience, most criticism against Norton’s Antivirus and Internet Security products hail from versions prior to and including 2008, and I’m inclined to agree on that point because they were sluggish, frustrating to use and prone to frequent crashes, often took upwards from fifteen minutes to install, and even longer to remove—which often required an external removal tool—and even when working properly could reduce any affordable computer to a useless paper weight simply by being there. From 2009 and onwards, though, they’ve been faster, lighter, far more stable and, not least, much cleaner—including removal. I use Norton Internet Security myself as I have a license through work, and have seldom run into problems related to use, installation or removal with the newer versions except on computers that were already waist-deep and sinking in the Windows-equivalents of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I’m not saying Norton is to everyone’s liking, nor that it should be, but as a satisfied user I just thought I’d weigh in a little for the sake of balance 🙂

  1. Pingback: Foistware (or: Unwanted Software While Installing) | Playing in the World Game

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