Blog, Windows Support 29.8.2013 Comments Off on How did my PC get all crapped up?

You may have noticed software showing up on your computer that you didn’t knowingly install, mostly toolbars on your web browser.  This is usually caused by piggybacking software.

This happens when legitimate software like Java, Adobe products and other widely used, (usually free) software installs initially or when their updates install. If you don’t pay close attention to each screen, they will include unwanted software with the update by default.  You can uncheck the box that enables the software to be installed, but most people aren’t expecting this opt out choice because they didn’t ask for any other software and are used to installing programs individually instead of as a bundle.

Let’s show you all some examples on how to NOT make your browser look like this:

3792599484_02b8250aa2This is an example of what the IT community affectionately calls “toolbar hell”.

When a system is this far gone, it is usually riddled with malware and viruses as well as what we also lovingly refer to as “crapware” that accumulates to the unsuspecting user. The user usually complains of their Internet speeds being horrid and blame their Internet provider. When in fact, their browser and/or system is just so bogged down that it can’t get out of it’s own way. Let’s see how this stuff gets on our computer in the first place. Let’s see a typical Java update:


Java Update

Java Update


If you click the image, you can see the checkbox to ALSO install something else. In this case it’s the annoying ASK TOOLBAR that keeps creeping onto peoples systems.  So be mindful of these checkboxes when installing or updating legitimate software on your system

Let’s take a look at another example of’s new downloader for software:



CNET #1Here is a classic example of someone downloading Ace Utilities. A perfectly good software package used for cleaning a system of unwanted junk files, temp files, and dead registry entries. But look closely and here too you will see their offer of full versus custom install.

Most people get scared off of the “ADVANCED” warning. When that’s what the developers want! They want people to select the “RECOMMENDED” setting so that the piggyback software can slip onto your system.


But once we click the CUSTOM install, look what happens:

cnet#2Here you NOW can see the option to DESELECT the piggyback software.

What’s also circled in the image is that we are on the OFFER stage of the install.

Those of us that are in a hurry will miss these subtle cues before we quickly click thru the install process.

Let’s see what they try NEXT in the process:


CNET #3 Here we see that this looks like we are to accept the INSTALL process.

Look at what’s circled, and we see that we are STILL in the OFFER process and that it’s to accept the piggyback software #2.

Simply DECLINE and click next.

Do that a FEW MORE TIMES, and we will finally get to the install process….


Very sneaky but if we are mindful we can get through this 🙂


Here is a sample of a misleading download link


Here you want to download their product, but see the big green arrow?  That’s not it. The download is actually circled in red at the top.

So now you can see why it’s important to read before you click.

Usually a mouse-over will tell you if it’s a correct link or not…but not always.

So the moral of the story is this: Be careful of what you click, be careful of what you don’t click, and most of all read before you click.




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