A common problem that we all have faced while installing some essential software or program is the installation of PUPs or Potentially Unwanted Programs. These are third party applications that come for free with some software. These are the result of a tie-up between two software companies and, therefore, whenever you try to install a software, you will find that the associated PUP comes automatically. Although, these are not security threats most of the time, they do create a nuisance by altering a user’s custom settings. These PUPs are not only available through this way but you will also find that in most websites you visit on the Internet there is a duplicate Download button. These are generally fake and they con the user into thinking that they are getting the original software downloaded but instead the usual later finds out that the download was actually some “BS” software. So, here I am to discuss about what you can do regarding this problem and the first thing that I recommend is to avoid it as much as possible and if you have installed it by chance, then I will tell you the way to remove it.
How to avoid PUPs?
Prevention is better than cure. You must have heard of this proverb since your childhood and, believe you me, it is a very effective one. So the first thing you have to do is make yourself aware and detect what can be possibly unwanted programs when you are visiting a website and while you are installing something. There are mainly two ways by which these programs can get into your computer. Firstly, they make victims out of people who are trying to download and install a freeware and in this case the developers themselves assimilate the unwanted program along with the installation file of the desired one. So be very careful. The second method is the fake download button method all the installation manager method website prompts you to download its installation manager in order to make the process supposedly more efficient.
How to detect and uninstall PUPs?
- While you are trying to download something from a website, be very careful about the download button that you are clicking on. The fake download button is generally the biggest one on the page and will come in some flashy color. Do not click on that and instead, try to find a smaller download button which is the original one. I have found that if you have a Download Manager installed already like the Internet Download Manager, then even if you click on the wrong link it will notify you of the software that is to be downloaded and going by the name you can easily identify whether it is the software you want or it is something else.
- While installing some programs, you will find some free stuff and PUPs trying to install themselves quietly. In this case, you have to look at everything on the setup wizard window instead of blindly clicking on the Next butto At some stage, you will find that there is a permission required for the unwanted program, which you can easily uncheck and force the extra programs to stop themselves from installing onto the system. Make yourself do this because even big name software like Adobe come with unwanted programs while the Java environment for Windows brings with it the notorious Ask toolbar. So before you click on the ‘I accept’ button, be very aware of what you are accepting. Therefore, it is best to go with the ‘custom installation’ method instead of the ‘recommended’ or ‘express method’.
Now for the next part which is to uninstall the unwanted program if you have installed it accidentally.
- If it is some add-on on your browser, then you can visit your browser Settings and then go to the extension management menu where you will get a list of all the extensions that are present in your browser. From there, you can uninstall or stop an add-on that you do not want on your browser. There may also be some extensions that are essential but you cannot identify them by their names and it is advisable that you run an Internet search to find out what it is truly about before you rampantly start destroying add-ons.
- The toolbar and default search engine are perhaps the most irritating of all PUPs because these are the things that cannot be compromised for anything. There is a particular preference that users like to exercise on their toolbars and search engines. These programs clutter the browser and take away that independence. Therefore, a visit to the control panel is needed in order to get rid of this nasty additions.
- The only way you can detect and remove some unwanted software that has installed onto your system without you noticing is by visiting the Programs and Features tab in the Control Panel. You can remove them by uninstalling the software but there are some that are very obstinate and for them, you need to use a software in order to clean your computer of PUPs.
- There are some programs that get installed and are not even visible on the Programs and Features page. These are the really malicious ones that run in the background without you noticing. These also contribute a great deal to slowing down the system. You have to visit the Task Manager in order to find out whether something like this is bugging your system.
This is a big problem that has victimized every computer user at some point in their lives and the worrying thing is that it is on the rise. Coupled with the big problem that big brand corporations even, are bundling third party applications along with their software installer packages, there seems to be no indication of any crackdown from Google or Microsoft regarding this problem. It seems to have been accepted to some extent and, therefore, the biggest thing that you can do is to be aware, make others aware and read everything carefully before going on and installing it onto your system.