There are countless great software programs out there these days. And there are also countless bad programs out there, for one reason or another. Finding a good software program that does something you want or need is good, finding out that it’s free (legally, not pirated) is even better! The downside to this is that, generally, people aren’t making such software just to be nice.
Granted, that does happen. There are tools I use regularly that were developed by hobbyist programmers for their own benefit that they release to help others out. Often they will give the software away for free, but may ask for donations to help cover things like their time and web hosting expenses. When I find something useful, I make sure to donate to help them out.
However, there are others that look to recoup their expenses or even make money in a different way. They work with other companies, and bundle in extra software with their own. They get paid by these third parties to do this. The bundled software can range from harmless (installing Google Chrome as your default browser) to harmful (adware that infects your computer).
This isn’t just limited to random little apps either, software like Java bundles other software with its installer as well. While the bundled software may be harmless by itself, over time you can end up with so many extra programs running that your computer becomes noticeably slower. The practice is so rampant that there are even software programs now that will uncheck all checkboxes in installers for you!
How do you avoid these problems? Don’t just blow through the screens, but take a moment to look at each screen and what it’s really saying. See if it’s offering to install extra software. Pay special attention to screens with check boxes, as that’s where you can usually opt to deselect the item so it’s not installed if it’s not something you want. The key, as with many things that are computer related, is to slow down and take your time when installing software.