Tech Tip of the Week: Stop Sneaky Software from Slipping In
When you install 3rd party software or updates there will sometimes be add-ons bundled in with it. Stay alert when installing to keep your computer from getting bogged down.
Oftentimes perfectly legitimate software installations and updates–Adobe Reader, Oracle Java, etc.–will include with them an option to install virus protection software or browser toolbars. The virus protection software conflicts with Hampshire’s virus protection, and should never be installed. The toolbar add-ons take up space in the browser and often change your default search engines; don’t install these, either.
We regularly see McAfee Security Scan, Norton Security Scan, MacKeeper and the Ask Toolbar installed on computers on campus; we do not recommend any of these utilities. Each of these programs can slow down your computer or cause unexpected behaviors.
How to Keep from Installing “Extras”
There are a few simple steps to keep extra software from slipping in:
- When you download an application like Adobe Reader from a website, look carefully at the options. If there’s a checkbox for additional software, deselect it before downloading.
- When you install software or updates, read the screens carefully, looking for check boxes that indicate they’ll install extras. Deselect anything that’s not the specific program you intended to install, and anything that indicates it will change your searching or browsing settings.
- Sometimes installers will have a “Custom” install option; if they do you should always select it so you can review the options that are being installed. Deselect anything that’s not the specific program you intended to install.
How to Remove Things Accidentally Installed
Removing Firefox Add-ons
If you find that you’ve accidentally installed a toolbar or other browser add-on, in Firefox it’s easy to get rid of it:
- From the Tools menu select “Add-ons.”
- Click on “Extensions”, and then disable any that are suspicious.
- Click on “Plugins”, and do the same.
- Close up the Add-ons tab or window, quit and restart Firefox and you should be all set.
If you’ve accidentally installed anti-virus or other non-browser additions you can remove those, too.
Removing PC Extras
- From the Start Menu (or Windows Button), select “Control Panel.”
- Select “Add or Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” (if you don’t see one of those choices, first change the menu selection from “Category View” to “Small Icons”).
- Look for items that you didn’t add, like McAfee or Norton AntiVirus. Select the program you want to remove, and click on “Remove.”
- When you’re done, close up the windows and restart your system.
Removing Mac Extras
- In the Finder, from the Go menu select “Applications.”
- Look for applications that you didn’t add, like McAfee or Norton AntiVirus. Select the program you want to remove, and drag it to the trash.
Some programs are stored other places and start up automatically when you start your computer. If this seems to be the case:
- From the Apple Menu select “System Preferences.”
- Click on “Users & Groups.”
- If the padlock on the lower left is closed, click on it and then enter your password when prompted.
- Select “Login Items” from the tab at the top.
- In the list, look for items that you want to keep from starting up. If you see one you want to remove, click on it and then use the “-” button on the bottom left to remove it from the list.