Be Careful What You Click For

Scott Hanselman has a terrific post about how most people’s computers seem to end up getting infested with Adware, Malware and Spyware. It’s all true. Whenever I’m asked by a friend, relative or neighbour to take a look at their PC “because it’s not running very well”, I usually find it filled to the gunwales with crap that the owner seems to have no knowledge of how it got there.

Even I have to be constantly on my guard that I’m not inadvertently letting something else in along for the ride when downloading and installing software. The latest example is the set of codecs that I use to handle media. I’ve been using the Media Player Codec Pack. The previous version (4.2.9) attempted to persuade me to install some crapware along with the codec pack. Fortunately, the Accept/Decline choice was straightforward.

MPCP 01

The latest version (4.3.0) has changed tactics. This time it attempts to sneak in by expecting the user to choose the “express installation” route, as most people invariably do

MPCP 02

I’m not sure that I would define an “advanced user” as someone who doesn’t want crapware installed on their computer. I would have thought that this would also apply to non-technical users as well. This may well be is the last time I use this particular codec pack. I don’t like this sort of tactic.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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5 Responses to Be Careful What You Click For

  1. aarondr says:

    There are so many codec packs around, I’ve always tried to avoid them as well. But it’s hard to recommend one since they all seem to do this. I’m thinking: http://www.cccp-project.net/ might be the next thing I try. Have you seen that one before? It appears to be pretty community oriented and without junk. I found it from a lifehacker article: http://lifehacker.com/5877208/what-are-codec-packs-and-should-i-use-them. I’m just hoping in Soviet Russia codec doesn’t play you.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      I’m still using Windows Media Center, even though Microsoft have effectively driven a stake through its heart. However, I’m looking around for its successor. At the moment, the Media Browser 3 project is looking good. While it’s early days, they seem to have a clear idea of where they want to go. Their project seems to be recommending the LAV filters.

  2. Mark says:

    Do you think the new “App store” environments (apple, google, microsoft) solve this problem or is it still early in the curve for them. I can see the automatic “one click to download and install” process installing lots of crap unless it is carefully monitored by the store owners.

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