During the installation of computer software, some software manufacturers are bundling another company’s software with their own. Examples of this include Adobe Reader and Apple QuickTime, which also attempt to install additional programs and toolbars if you go through the installation without looking through the prompts that are automatically selected. If you are not careful, you may find you have installed unnecessary programs on your computer. These are referred to as “potentially unwanted programs”.
Our first example of a potentially unwanted program is the installation of Google Chrome and Google Toolbar when you is Adobe Reader. These programs selected by default when you first download and install Adobe Reader. Whilst you may appreciate a second (or third) internet browser on your computer, it is often the case you may not know that it has downloaded and installed until you complete the first installation. A secondary browser is not always a bad thing (as noted from our recent blog post about Norton and Internet Explorer), however an internet browser toolbar can be. They can slow down the performance of a computer dramatically and can also present issues with privacy and security.
Another example of a potentially unwanted program is the Ask! Toolbar inside your internet browser which is installed by Apple QuickTime, a different browser toolbar. Whilst toolbars are seen to be providing a benefit to the user in that they can quickly access search functions of that provider, most common browsers already have this built in and customised for the user’s search engine preferences. A browser toolbar performing the same function is not needed, and often can be monitoring your behaviour, including frequently accessed sites and browsing history.
We strongly suggest during the installation of any computer software that you thoroughly review all prompts of the software being installed, along with of course, reading any applicable licences for the software. If you do not know what the program does, we suggest you do not install it to reduce the amount of unnecessary programs onto your computer.