Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Legal Software More Annoying than Most Viruses


By Bill Pytlovany

Do you remember programs from Gator, MyWaySearch, Net.Net or 180Solutions? Are there still programs running on your computer that you really don’t want? 

You’re not alone! Most annoying programs now come from legitimate companies who know they’re not really adding value but do it to make share holders happy. There’s always been competition by companies to get their programs installed on the greatest number of computers.  When you notice your computer keeps getting slower you can blame it on these programs.  At least when AOL shipped out millions of CD’s you had the choice of installing it or not

I created my WinPatrol program to alert me if new programs are being added to the Windows startup procedure. Originally this popular feature was designed to prevent spyware from infecting your system. Now, the biggest problem doesn’t come from spyware or viruses, it comes from well known companies like Apple, Adobe, Google and even Microsoft. These programs have limited value but provide increased visibility and profit for software companies. Totally unrelated companies are encouraged(paid) to install these programs and receive a cash bounty if they can get you to install them. Sometimes it’s done without your knowledge, sometimes it because you don’t carefully read the purpose of every check box during setup.

In the past it was common for WinPatrol fans to report programs which were malicious, designed to steal data, monitor key strokes or create pop up ads. Sadly, the most common complaints I see now are for programs from legitimate companies.

Google continues to top the list of companies wanting to make sure you have their toolbar and updates of anything else they feel you need, like it or not. A large number of companies are paid to install the Google Toolbar via programs like Adobe Flash,  Cyberlink PowerDVD, IrfanView, PC Tools Spyware Doctor, Threatfire, RealPlayer, ZoneAlarm and more. The fact WinPatrol users are requesting Info on GoogleUpdater implies they have no clue how it was installed on their system.

Google Updater isn’t the only program that our users don’t understand why they have it. Continued below is a current, Where the hell did I get this from, and how can I get rid of it” list.  I’ve made the top ten hot links so you can click and see an example of some of the extra value provided by WinPatrol PLUS.

This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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9 thoughts on “Bits from Bill Pytlovany: Legal Software More Annoying than Most Viruses”

  1. In my books, the worst is Adobe with its multitude of “helpers” and “downloaders”. I have a student version of CS3 which is the Ultimate Edition with all the bells and whistles. I actually only wanted Photoshop but had to get the whole shebang. When I do a custom install for “just” Photoshop, I also get Device Central, Stock Photos, etc, etc. Some of these have caused conflicts with existing programs and even MS thingies. Unfortunately, Scotty didn’t tell me as much as he could have or I didn’t know what he was talking about. So I’m stuck. I’ve tried to clean out some of these things but Adobe complains a lot and sometimes crashes my computer. And it is always checking for updates for programs I didn’t install. Even now, when it is all off and my registry is sort of cleaned out, activities are still there in my SysInternals list of processes. They should not be there. I hope I can convince myself to upgrade WinPatrol but am not sure it would be able to help me too much.

  2. Robert Chamberlin

    The new is an example of just your point.
    I use a mini to browse, and the new MSNBC newsvine takes away about 1/8th of my display area. I’m ready to drop as my home page, and go back to my yahoo.

  3. I started using Win Patrol Plus several years ago, and it is always the first to be loaded when i re-format or purchase a new pc. Thanks Bill, your program ROCKS!!

  4. I have your Win Patrol Plus, but I still don’t understand how to remove iTunes helper that keeps on wanting to be in my start menu, no matter how many time I say no in Win Patrol.
    I listen to iTunes maybe once every 3 or 4 months, and I don’t need any more stuff coming up automatically. Maybe I should just butn the iTunes I have to a disc, and then deleter the whole program.
    Or maybe I need to spend more time reading your instructions.

  5. This is why I will go out of my way to find “portable” or non-installer version of software whenever possible. Programs can still make changes to your system when run, but the likelyhood of them installing extra crap is much lower.

    For example, on Irfanview’s site, click the Download link on the left, scroll to the bottom of the page, click the link for Other download sites, then scroll to the bottom of that page. You will find an installer-less Zipped copy.

    Sadly, very few programs today are available without an installer. I guess that’s because 99.99% of today’s users don’t have a clue what to do with a file that they can’t just double-click.

  6. Look on the bright side. If not for malware and other nuisances many PC owners wouldn’t be as familiar with the operation of their box. Nothing motivates me like eradicating an unwelcome intruder, despite the fact plugging in my back up laptop drive only requires a few minutes in the worst case scenario.

  7. No computer should be without WinPatrol Plus ~ especially with the original Scotty available! It’s so great to feel utterly secure, protected, educated and a button away from help — thanks for the excerpt, I’ll click through now to check out the top 10. Now if only Scotty could explain more things in terms for dummies, I could get rid of even more!

    Thanks Bill (and thanks Steve Bass, for being the driving force behind my getting and reading PC Pitstop ~ )


  8. I, too, have installed the WinPatrol Plus version and love it. Scotty has caught a lot of software trying to install itself into my startup programs. Bless his heart, they don’t get far before I get a chance to swat them.
    Thanks Bill

  9. With all those protrusive programs around, I cant think of running my computer without WinPatrol installed with the faithful Scotty on patrol.

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