A recent post by RedneckDude (https://forums.wincustomize.com/413409), to encourage and help artists from Community mindedness, gave me the idea for this post: Thanks, Jim.
I remember when toolbars first came out. I naively thought, “What a helpful thing!”. They can be helpful, but they have a less altruistic side.
I install and uninstall many apps in the course of my job here on WinCustomize. One of the things that I have to deal with regularly are browser toolbars and junk software that publishers sneak into their products: The infamous “Ask toolbar”, that is notoriously difficult to remove, the Google toolbar and the Yahoo toolbar are the most common, but other crapware exists as well.
You need to be very alert when installing, and not miss a single step. You also have to explore the “Advanced setup” option, as this crapware will invariably be installed when you choose the “Express setup” option, and you’ll only find out after it’s too late.
The responsibility for what you choose to install (or not) resides with only you.
This is true for “Freeware” (you’ll never get a free lunch, folks) as well as “Paid for” software with rare exceptions: Stardock’s software is one such exception.
So why do developers and publishers do this? Well, that one’s easy: Money. This isn’t to chide the developers of freeware. They have to get some sort of return on their efforts, and sites like c|net did so for the same reason, although I feel that with their degree of advertising, etc. they needn’t resort to “bundling”. In fact, they’ve apparently stopped doing that due to consumer and developer protests (yes Virginia, market pressures do work).
So how does the money deal work?
First realize that bundled software packages are a steady source of income. The Ask toolbar, for instance, pays developers $1 for every installation. Google also give incentive to developers who are willing to include the Google toolbar into their products. Yahoo does as well, and many others are involved in this practice. One exception is Skype: Since Microsoft purchased Skype, the Google toolbar has magically disappeared. I wonder why?
So why would Google, Yahoo, etc. want to pay good )if not much) for each toolbar installation? To data mine your browsing habits, and sell to advertisers. I maintain that if they wish to know my browsing habits and pay me for them, that’s one thing. Telling me I’m getting “Freeware” is a falsehood, as I am paying for it with every single click. That’s why there’s no such thing as free lunch.
What’s even worse is that while some installers offer users the option to opt out of the toolbar installation (upper picture), others force it upon them so as not to miss the enticing benefits (lower picture).
Even if developers give users the liberty to decline installation of bundled software, hapless users who are unaware of this shady practice or are in a hurry to get through the numerous installation screens, inevitably wind up installing crapware they don’t really want or need. They then suddenly find their PCs slow or find half their browser screen covered with toolbars.
Well, what can help? Be alert during installation. “Great! Now he tells me!”, you reply. Well, here’s a present from me: “Toolbar Cleaner”. It’s free, but pay attention during installation: It has pre-selected options to change your homepage and to install “Anti-phishing Domain Advisor” protection on your system. If you do not want that make sure you disable the options on the completing the toolbar cleaner 1.0 setup wizard. This app can be a great help in removing unwanted toolbars and extensions as well as plug-ins.
You can get the free software here: http://toolbarcleaner.com/
Ask toolbar uninstall utility: http://autoclean.computersitter.com/documentation/li/ask-toolbar-remover
Below is a list of software which comes “bundled”:
- 4 shared Desktop - Toolbar.
- Ad-Aware - Google Chrome
- Adobe Flash Player - Google Toolbar
- Adobe Reader - eBay Desktop
- Advanced SystemCare formerly known as Iobit advanced one care - Yahoo Toolbar (selecting no will still do changes on the system)
- Aero Fox addon for Firefox - Ask toolbar.
- Any Video Converter – Google Chrome.
- AnVir TaskManager - Dealio Toolbar, RegistryCleanerPro and some other third party applications.
- AOL Instant Messenger - AOL Toolbar
- Apple’s Software Updater - Safari Browser, QuickTime, iTunes
- Applian FLV Player - Yahoo Toolbar
- Auslogics Disk Defrag - Ask Toolbar.
- Auslogics Duplicate File Finder - Ask Toolbar.
- Auslogics Registry Defrag - Ask Toolbar
- Auslogics System Information - Ask Toolbar
- Avast - Google Chrome but not pre-selected.
- AVG LinkScanner, AVG Free, AVG 9 - Yahoo Toolbar
- BitComet - Google Toolbar
- BitTorrent 6.1.2/6.3 - Ask Toolbar
- BurnAware Free - Ask Toolbar.
- CCleaner (standard installer) - Yahoo Toolbar
- CDBurnerXP - Ask toolbar, SpywareTerminator and Uniblue Registry Booster.
- ChrisTV Lite - ChrisTV Toolbar/Relevant Knowledge adware.
- ClamWin - Ask Toolbar
- Corel Paint Shop Pro X - Yahoo! Toolbar but not pre-checked.
- CPU-Z - Ask Toolbar
- CSmenu - Ask Toolbar.
- Cyberlink BD Advisor - Google Toolbar.
- Cyberlink PowerDVD 8 - Google Toolbar and BETA of Moovielive
- Daemon Tools - Search tool and sponsor ad module
- Defraggler - Yahoo Toolbar
- DexTop - RegistryBooster.
- Digsby instant messenger – Yahoo Toolbar, MyFreeze NetAssistant for Firefox, Smart Shopper, WeatherBug, Regsitry Power Cleaner, Relevant Knowledge Toolbar, changes browser homepgae to My Freeze. Additionally, if uses your bandwidth to crawl the web for stock market research.
- DivX - Yahoo Toolbar/Norton Security Scan
- Driver Sweeper - Open Candy.
- Duplicate Cleaner - Bing Toolbar and Search Helper Extension in Firefox.
- DVDx - Ask Toolbar
- FLV Player - Yahoo! Toolbar.
- FormatFactory - ebay shorcut and/or Ask toolbar.
- Foxit Pdf Reader - Ask Toolbar and ebay shortcut in desktop
- Freecommander - ebay shortcuts.
- Free Download Manager - prechecked and bundles Software Informer
- Free YouTube to MP3 Converter - DVDSoft Toolbar, search engine.
- Game House Installers - Google Desktop Search and/or Google Toolbar for IE.
- GameVance Installer - Ask Toolbar and Weather Channel Desktop
- GetGo Download Manager - Ask Toolbar.
- Glary Utilities - Ask Toolbar
- GOM Player - Ask Toolbar.
- Google Earth - Pre checked Google Toolbar installation or Chrome browser.
- Google Talk - no addon but will change default search setting of IE
- Hotspot Shield - Hotspot Shield Community Toolbar (by default) from Conduit.
- ICQ - ICQ Toolbar
- IE7Pro - Offering ProgSense. Installed Grab Pro Toolbar (using Ask search).
- IM ToolPack - Crawler toolbar.
- ImgBurn - Ask Toolbar and Uniblue Desktop icons.
- IMMUNET - Ask Toolbar.
- Incredimail - MyStart Homepage and Search Page
- IOBit Security 360 - IObit Toolbar.
- IOBit Smart Defrag - Yahoo Toolbar/Search Settings.
- IObit Advanced SystemCare - Yahoo Toolbar.
- IrfanView - Google Toolbar for IE and Google Desktop Search
- Isobuster - Ask Toolbar
- IZArc - RegistryBooster.
- Logitech Setpoint - Logitech Yahoo! Toolbar
- ManyCam Virtual Webcam - Ask Toolbar and Norton Security Scan.
- Maxathon 2 - Facebook Sidebar Plugin
- McAfee Site Advisor update - Yahoo! default browser search
- MediaCoder - Registry Reviver.
- MessengerPlus! Live - Ask Toolbar.
- Miro - Ask Toolbar.
- MP3 WMA Converter - Yahoo Search and Delio Comparsion Shopping Toolbar
- MooO Connection Watcher - AutoComplete Pro
- MyPhoneExplorer - offering ebay shortcuts
- Nero Free, Nero Burning Rom or Nero 9 Essentials and Nero BurnLite 10 - Ask Toolbar
- Norton products - Ask Search in Norton toolbar. No option to remove and it was pushed by including in a Norton patch.
- Office Live add-in - includes Silverlight as add-on
- OpenCandy - offering third party software. Report says that even if you do not install the 3rd party software, there is modification in the registry, files and will add tracking cookies. There's also Conduit Toolbar in the page
- PalTalk - Ask Toolbar. There's a nag screen prompting to upgrade from free to paid edition. No way to turn off the nag.
- Panda Cloud AV - Yahoo Search Assistant and a pre-checked toolbar.
- PC Tools Spyware Doctor - Google Toolbar
- PC Tools Firewall Plus - Google Toolbar and Threatfire
- PC Tools ThreatFire - Google Toolbar.
- PC Wizard 2010 - Ask Toolbar.
- PDFCreator - Yahoo Toolbar. Also offers PDFforger Toolbar and Widgi Toolbar (mybrowser bar).
- PDF-XChangeViewer - Ask Toolbar.
- Perfect Utilities - Relevant Knowledge (RK) toolbar
- PhotoFiltre - Ask Toolbar.
- Picpick - Ask Toolbar.
- Quick Media Converter HD - Ask Toolbar, Ask Search, Ask Homepage (by default).
- Quicksys RegDefrag - Ask Toolbar.
- RapidTyping - Bing Toolbar.
- Recuva - Yahoo toolbar
- RealPlayer - Google Chrome pre-checked.
- Risingware Fast Start Genie - installs Fast Start Genie and Risingware i-Desktop.
- Shockwave Player - Norton Security Scan or Google Toolbar
- SIW (System Information for Windows) - Crawler Toolbar. The installer of SIW (free version) will offer SnagIt (report here)or PC Tools Registry Mechanic (report here) but not pre-checked.
- Skype - Google Toolbar and Browser Highlighter
- Spiderplayer - Bing Toolbar.
- Spyware Terminator - Web security guard, Crawler
- StarBurn - installs StarPort DVD-ROM Emulator and SaveTubeVideo tools
- Sun Java RE (online installer) - Google Toolbar / Live Search for Windows Toolbar. There's report too that Carbonite Backup is being offered (depends on your location)
- Sun Java - OpenOffice.org
- Thoosje Sidebar - Amazon or eBay toolbar.
- Trillian - Ask Toolbar, Weather Channel Desktop and RegistryBooster
- Unlocker 1.90 - eBay Desktop shortcuts and Bing Toolbar (with 30 seconds waiting for proceeding to install if you'll uncheck Bing Toolbar install).
- uTorrent - Ask Toolbar.
- Vdownloader Plus - Ask Toolbar and eBay shortcuts.
- Veoh media player - Yahoo toolbar, search engine change & search protection
- VSO Image Resizer - Ask Toolbar.
- WeatherBug - Ask Toolbar.
- Webroot SpySweeper - Ask Toolbar
- Wildfire CD Ripper - Download Energy Torrent toolbar
- Winamp - Winamp Toolbar
- Windows Live Installer - Windows Live Toolbar and Sign-in Assistant
- Windows SteadyState - Windows Live Toolbar
- Winzip - RegistryBooster and Google Toolbar
- xplorer2Lite - Conduit toolbar
- XP-Antispy - eBay Shortcuts.
- YaHoo! Instant Messenger - YaHoo! toolbar, with ‘YaHoo! Search Protection’ and homepage change to YaHoo!
- ZoneAlarm - Conduit toolbar. Search powered by Google.
http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php?act=calendar&cal_id=1&code=showevent&event_id=44514 (Slightly edited. Entry corrections adopted)