Yesterday Scott Hanselman wrote an excellent blog-post on the subject of unwanted software. It’s a pity in a way that his is a development blog, because the people who need to read it are not the ones who will get the message there.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve downloaded and installed useful applications and tools that I actually use, only to find that the installers also install some other crap by default. Developers and other technical users are normally (but not always) savvy enough to customize the installations, generally by unchecking the appropriate check boxes so that the unwanted products don’t install, or by clicking Decline on acceptance agreements for products that they don’t want.
But most people are quite oblivious of this – and so they should be – because installers shouldn’t install crap that we don’t want in the first place. It is a huge issue that this unethical business practice is profitable and considered acceptable in the first place, but all of us (technical users) are aware of it, and are often asked to clean up the junk (browser toolbars, default browser search engines, crapware that runs in the tray, and so on) from other non-technical users’ computers.
So if you haven’t read Scott’s post, please go read it, and be careful when downloading and installing software from now on.