Thanks, readers, for your positive feedback about my top five freebies. It was very difficult to get that list down to five, but I will consider all your suggestions for next year’s edition. Just to give you a heads up and a chance to send in your nominations; in January of 2010, I plan to do a column about my top ten favorite Websites of the prior year.
Now to this week’s question…
about software annoyances. What are some of the things that take the joy out of computing for you? I’ll name a few of mine and would be interested to hear yours.
First are pre-installed software bundles that come with just about any brand of Windows based PCs. You buy a new PC and when you turn it on, you get an endless array of pop-ups either asking you to try a trial version of an app or a link to an advertisement somewhere. Go to www.pcdecrapifier.com to download the utility I use to take most of this junk off. It has a very user friendly interface and you can choose from the list of items that it thinks might be a nuisance.
Next is the family of what I have previously described as fake alerts agents. These are the malwares that invade your PC (usually from an infected legitimate Website) and alert you that you are infected and should immediately go to their Web to purchase a fixer that will remove what they installed in the first place. Some of these are becoming increasingly difficult to remove. If you want to try removing one on your own, try Malware-Bytes Anti-Malware (or mbam) which you can download at FileHippo. At least one state, Washington has a consumer spyware law on the books and has actually filed a lawsuit against one of the rogue operators. Hopefully other states will follow and help rid the Internet of this scourge.
Adobe Reader is an example of a program that has been undone by its own success. At this point it has become so bloated and requires so much attention to keep it updated that it’s easier just to switch to an alternate PDF reader like Foxit which you can dl from FileHippo. You may have the same feelings about Apple’s QuickTime (frequent updates, etc) for which you can also find an alternative at FileHippo.
One of my other pet peeves is downloads that throw in additional dls as a bonus and have the yes box checked by default or worse, don’t even offer you a choice. The only remedy I know for this is to carefully read each step of a dl so that you don’t unwittingly sign up for something you don’t want.
Another annoyance is all the toolbars that seem to insinuate themselves into my various Web browsers. How many toolbars do we actually need, with how many different search boxes? Remember all these extra toolbars and add-ons take up space and system resources and eventually come at the expense of system performance. If you have a pet annoyance or some other question, let me hear from you.