Computer users are frequently faced with requests from already installed software to allow updates. While the basic update is usually important to the health and security of your computer, there are often additional items packaged with the offer that are unnecessary. These parasites add software to your system or tool bars to your browser that can harm, or slow down, your computer. For example, here’s an update request from Adobe Reader:
In this case, failing to uncheck the box to install the McAfee offer can cause additional virus protection software to be installed on your system. In most cases this will cause problems with your existing virus protection and could cause your system to be unprotected while the competing products argue about who will do the job.
Another frequent offender in this area is the Java update. As can be seen in the screen shot below, Java offers a “FREE Browser Add-on from Ask.” Unless this is a service that you need or will regularly use, it will just take up real-estate on your browser screen and waste resources that could be used for other tasks.
Note that in both of these examples the parasite software is pre-selected and will be installed unless you deliberately uncheck the box before proceeding with the update. There are now many similar offers that come clinging to software from both individual developers and sites that used to provide reliably clean downloads like Mozilla and CNET. Their new procedures require saying “No” to 3 to 5 additional offers anytime you want to download an application.
So, be on the lookout for these parasites! If you miss them initially, you can always go to your control panel and remove them. And in an effort to reverse this trend please email the distributors of these parasites with the request that they appear deselected by default.