MrConsumer’s friend always complains about pop-ups and unfamiliar toolbars taking over his browser. I show him how to remove most of them, and advise him to be more careful when installing new software.
Unfortunately, MrConsumer didn’t follow his own advice recently when downloading and installing a utility package to help get a new movie editing program working properly. The movie software company advised me to go to c|net, a respected website owned by CBS, to download the codec package I needed.
c|net has you download a small file first, and then the larger one. As I was installing the program, you first see this screen:
I then proceeded to the next step and chose “full installation (recommended)” since I knew little about these codecs and the options/settings.
Lurking near the top of the next screen were the words “special offer” and in the description of “full installation” was a notation that a “Sweetpacks” toolbar would be installed in my browser and my homepage would be switched to a different search company. Didn’t see that, and like most us, just clicked “next step.”
That next step brought up an end user license screen that most us just click and accept without reading.
This time, I noticed “special offer” and the fine print said I was agreeing to install the Lucky Leaf toolbar and to get offers and coupons. I hit decline. But those who didn’t see that, probably most of us, would just hit “accept” figuring if you don’t, you won’t be able to install the software.
The next screen had yet another “accept” button to agree to “terms and conditions.”
And it had another “special offer” for a plug-in for faster browsing and turning text into links. I hit “decline.”
After a configuration screen came up with options that I clearly didn’t understand, I abandoned the installation and cancelled it.
Sure enough, and to my surprise, when I opened Internet Explorer, my Consumer World homepage was replaced with AVG search. What? Where did that come from? I changed the homepage back to Consumer World, and disabled AVG search under “add-ons.” When I re-opened IE, now Sweetpacks was my homepage. GRRRRR. Went back in and found it, and removed it.
So even having cancelled the installation of the main program, all of this crapware had already been installed on my computer.
The lesson is that we simply can no longer click “next, next, next” when installing any software, even from what you believe to be a reputable source, because these programs are being preloaded with crapware.