Think back to the last time you installed new software onto your computer. The next time you opened your browser were you greeted by a new “Babylon Search” toolbar? Perhaps you found a little icon tucked away on your desktop, that was just hoping you wouldn’t notice it. Welcome to Bundleware. Bundleware referrers to garbage programs you unintentionally downloaded when you installed an application. It takes up valuable space on your hard drive and sucks the speed and memory out of your computer faster than you can say “Download.net”.
Bundleware wears many hats. Sometimes it’s simply annoying. Sometimes, it can be downright dangerous. It can track your ID and passwords, store cookies and allow malicious viruses to infiltrate your computer. It’s safe to say you aren’t looking to invite it to a party on your PC anytime soon.
Then there’s adware. The term adware is broad so we’ll focus on one kind – ethical adware. Remember when you installed that free fitness tracker and an ad for an ebook on How to Get Ripped in Just 2 AWESOME Days popped up? That’s adware and though it’s annoying, it’s not all bad. Think about it this way – some developer went out of his way to create a free application, so it won’t kill you if you have to “x” out a pop-up for diet pills each time you open it up.
It’s important to understand the difference between the two so you can take the proper action to remove bundleware threats when they come up.
How can you minimize a bundleware threat?
The next time you download any software or application, read the installer as it runs. No matter what, don’t follow it blindly or you’ll likely end up with a toolbar that you didn’t want and have no idea how to remove. Read each step of the install process as the fields have already been filled out for you. It’s tedious, but better than ending up with a new search engine that’s hijacked your computer.
What about when it’s already on your computer? That’s a bit trickier. You can use the uninstall feature but the people who got this stuff onto your PC probably had a tad more tech experience than your average Joe and built their programs in a way that’s almost impossible to uninstall with a regular uninstall feature. Files will still be floating somewhere in the back of your PC, collecting data and passwords. And now that the icon has been removed from your programs list, good luck ever finding it again. If those options aren’t hardcore enough, you could remove your OS all together and re-install yourself. Enjoy!
Reason to the rescue!
Reason is designed to fight back at the source of the threat. It removes active bundleware and keeps you from installing it in the first place. It works in the background, analyzing potential threats as they come up so you don’t have to stress. It may be tempting to try to get rid of garbage with the uninstall feature or maybe the prospect of reloading your OS sounds exciting, but why not let the pros handle it?