As a blogger who install hundreds of software every month (most of them never get a review), one of the things that I have to deal with regularly is browser toolbar and junk software that publishers sneak into their products – the infamous Ask toolbar, that is notoriously difficult to remove, the Yahoo toolbar and other crapware.
Many developers, usually the ones who write free software, resort to bundled software packages because they 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 too and many others are involved in this nefarious practice.
Some installers offer users the option to opt out of the toolbar installation, while others force it upon them so as not to miss the enticing benefits. 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 junk software that they don’t really want or need. And then suddenly they find their PCs slow or find half their browser screen covered with toolbars.
Below is a list of applications that bundle toolbars or unwanted addons with their installer. If you have downloaded installers for any of the following programs, watch out for the opt-out option (if any) during installation process. Or just use an alternative.
The list is reproduced here from Calenderof updates forum, with a few edits.
- 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.
Related: 114 fake antivirus software to avoid at all cost
your such as good looking!thank you for your site that we solve our problem.I must understand the things that i botherd in my barin.
good luck to your site!
now if we could get the system change log for all these toolbars I'd make a auto-remove proggie for all these…
Conduit is like a virus. Very hard to remove!
Thanks for this list… I blamed my nephew for that toolbar. Guess it was me after all. The installer gave no option to opt out of it! Nefarious? Yes!
Also, quicktime installs ask toolbar WITHOUT giving you any opt out option. I would like to smack them.
WinZip's latest move is to install Conduit Toolbar, rebranded as WinZip toolbar. It also hijacks your default search. WinZip used to be a reputable product.
This sort of behavior ought to be a criminal matter, if we were only clever enough to write laws that clearly identify it.
"You have the option to subscribe to RSS feeds and not visit the site at all. The feeds contain no ads"
…you also have the option of not downloading and not installing the software. I, for one, would much rather have to put up with the "inconvenience" of clicking the no option than not being able to get free software.
The funny thing is, if all of these developers took out the bundled installers and started charging $1 a download, everyone would complain about that…..
Any ideas how we can get publishers to end this practice? And/or anyone have contacts at the "reputible" companies who might give a damn? (Especially Java.) I'd almost ask Congress to make a law that addons must be opt-in not opt-out.
Don't forget Avira AntiVir (freeware). Ask toolbar disguised as WebGuard.
Even Java (the official Java from Oracle / Sun) now tries to install the Ask Toobar like a cheap piece of disreputable crapware. How many trusting users will be sucked in by this?
How funny is looking ads supported website like yours making fun of ads supported software. And, do you bother setting up an opt out control so visitors does not get profiled by BigG advertising platform when visiting your website? No? Sooo bad! That's why I recommend to ALWAYS set up AdBlock to most paranoid settings and block every ad on every page, sorry for the honest webmaster trying to do an honest living with ads.