Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

Summary: I keep running into a sleazy trick that some software vendors play, and I’ve finally reached the breaking point. Software companies large and small try to make a quick buck by tricking their customers into installing software they don’t need. I’m experienced enough to bypass this stuff most of the time, but many of my friends and family members aren’t. And guess who gets the call when some add-on or toolbar has slowed their system to a crawl?I call it foistware, and I’ve decided it’s time to name and shame the worst purveyors of this plague.

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  • I'm not a big fan of registry cleaners, and I don't recommend this one. But give IZArc credit for presenting this choice to its customers. No option is selected by default, and the installation can't continue until you make a choice. (Hint: Don't Install is the option I recommend.)

    For more details, see "Adobe and Skype top my Foistware Hall of Shame."

  • I captured this screen shot in September 2010, also using IZArc. Notice that the default option selected here is Do Not Install. If you're going to pre-select an option on behalf of the user, this is the correct approach.

    For more details, see "Adobe and Skype top my Foistware Hall of Shame."

  • See that button at the bottom of this dialog box? The one labeled "Options"? Trust me, you want to click it. You'll see why when you turn to the next image in this gallery.

    For more details, see "Adobe and Skype top my Foistware Hall of Shame."

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Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Software

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87 comments
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  • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

    Please try using Ninite.
    idiot101
    • I agree with Ed Bott!

      FoistWare is a good term that i can see taking-off. It is sad that Internet Explorer slows to a crawl so easily. Most of those types of toolbars and stuff would hardly affect the speed of FireFox or any other web-browser.
      Regards from Tom :)
      Tom6
  • Add ManyCam to the list...

    ManyCam -- They even change the Next button to Agree which overrides the check boxes you unchecked. They dont want to change that either, already asked them to.
    x21x
  • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

    Your getting something for free, these people have to make a living so stop bleating Ed.
    Alan Smithie
    • And this post was free for you too...

      @Alan Smithie

      So maybe, by your own logic, you could "stop bleating" about what I choose to write about?
      Ed Bott
      • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

        @Ed Bott
        LOL. :D
        Ram U
      • yeah. @ alan smithie

        @Ed Bott
        fgruben@...
      • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

        @Ed Bott Awww, epic pwnage! Well done, Ed.
        Stormbringer_57th
      • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

        @Ed Bott you PWN
        Kwad_Kore
      • That was pretty good Ed.

        @Ed Bott

        You just installed another thought into his head. Now he has to watch his installer more closely next time. Insert fingers in ear tighter next time and yell louder; la-de-la-de-la-de-la.
        osreinstall
      • I don't think you're bleating Ed, BUT

        [Alan Smithie]'s point of "you get what you pay for" is valid. Or just as valid as pointing out that things you get for free have strings attached :)
        Charles Bundy
      • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

        @Ed Bott

        I suppose you could your writings sheepware, and I mean that on several levels.
        Alan Smithie
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      @Alan Smithie
      Right but it's deceptive since it prey's upon unsophisticated users so while legal it's questionable ethics. Not that any of the companies cited could be accused of that LOL
      jhstrowe@...
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      just 5 years ago small free apps were "bloatware" free and those company's survived just fine. WinRAR is still around, free of bloatware and survives just fine. IMO this just makes those company's more like Malware authors than reputable company's.
      Nate_K
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      @Alan Smithie
      Bleating? you must be a Mac user. Love your Sheepware don't you? Mac users malware turn is coming soon.
      Nate_K
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      @Alan Smithie,
      Were you born an idiot, or did you become one in the process of getting old (but not mature)?
      elmarioc
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      @Alan Smithie One simple change - have the install option unchecked by DEFAULT - would change the entire issue here.
      ejhonda
    • RE: Foistware: how software companies push software you don't need

      @Alan Smithie what a bullshit answer, Alan.
      pc_techs_ct@...
    • Hey Alan!! I just changed the locks on your doors for FREE!!

      @Alan Smithie .... but I'm keeping the keys!!
      tjbud
  • In my opinion

    the worst offender is Nero. I love, LOVE their software overall, but they install the Ask toolbar by default on their $129 flagship product. All the applications you list here are freeware, so one could at least understand that clicking 'custom install' and spending an extra minute unchecking the stuff you don't want is the price you pay for it. Also, in all of these cases, the foistware isn't exactly one step away from malware, like Freeze.com is notorious for bundling, or the actual spyware that was a required installation as a part of Kazaa. These are annoying, but they're not outright threatening.

    Joey
    voyager529