Here at IvanExpert, we really don’t spend much time with PC’s, but a few of our clients have them in mixed environments with Macs. I looked at one today — relatively new — that wasn’t performing right. And, lo and behold, there was crud galore installed, none of which was known about or intended by its owner. Things like “customized search providers.” Toolbars galore. A “performance optimizer” letting me know about 1,067 things that needed fixing.
This happens in some cases because vendors actually ship their preloaded PCs full of junk, and that junk encourages the installation of more junk, not always obviously. This makes running PC Decrapifier the first thing you should do when you get a new PC.
But the bigger problem is when these junky titles are installed without the owner even realizing it. This usually happens because they download one piece of software, and they “agree” (by not reading everything letter-for letter during the installation process) to have other stuff they didn’t ask for installed. And the big name apps do it too — Adobe Reader installs Google toolbar by default. At least that’s something you might actually want, which isn’t true for most of this stuff.
This happens to Macs, too. If you install Vuze and click “Accept and Install” on its second screen, what you’ve accepted for installation is a search engine that takes over Safari. You won’t even know, really, so all of a sudden you’ll wonder why Google isn’t your search provider any more. And MacKeeper particularly earns my ire because their ads are absolutely everywhere and deceive you into thinking you’re getting actual warnings. (There are about a thousand apps like this on Windows; MacKeeper is like an unwelcome import.)
So, pay attention. If something is trying to alarm you that something is wrong with your computer, be suspicious. And, especially on Windows but even on Mac, whenever you install something, look at every page carefully before clicking “Next.”