Annoying setup program settings

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Most install programs seem to be good citizens. Some aren’t. RealNetworks has earned a bad rep in my book. And I’m always leery of QuickTime. Too many settings competing with settings from other products. Generally I don’t like to install either program–unless I have to.

I just installed MSN Messenger 6.2.0137 as part of an update that Messenger requested and I see it’s setup program by default wants to:

* Install MSN Toolbar — to block pop-ups even though I have SP2
* Make MSN the default search engine
* Make MSN the default home page

Yeah, it’s simple enough to uncheck these, but come on, in a setup dialog a good citizen should leave them unchecked. They are not needed. They don’t have anything to directly do with Messenger.

Setup programs like this are a pain. Like pushy used-car salesman, they are rude. Do we need watchdog programs that trap for poor citizenship apps like these and warn you that a configuration that you’ve previously set will be changed and if you decide to make the switch the changes can be logged so they can easily be rolled back? This way if your grandchildren use your computer while visiting town and install the latest version of Messenger, for instance, you can more easily get back to the settings you used to have. I’m guessing that there’s something like this already.

1 COMMENT

  1. More than rude, these Messenger options patronise users. The person who put them on the dialog knows that computer-savvy users will uncheck them. Their purpose is to take advantage of those users who are easily fooled. Shoddy behaviour.

  2. > Their purpose is to take advantage of those users who are easily fooled. Shoddy behaviour.

    Yeah, seems like it runs counter to the terrific changes forthcoming in SP2.

  3. “Do we need watchdog programs that trap for poor citizenship apps like these and warn you that a configuration that you’ve previously set will be changed and if you decide to make the switch the changes can be logged so they can easily be rolled back?”

    Spybot has an option that you can set that will monitor your registry and alert you if a program tries to change it (and gives you the option to either allow or disallow the change). It’s not user-friendly at all, however, and so I’ve avoided using it on my parent’s computers, because I think it would end up confusing them and annoying them more than any other option they might accidently be checking.