In a slightly ‘believable’ turn of events, Lenovo, the world’s No.1 in PC distributions according to Wikipedia have been caught distributing adware on their new laptops, straight out of the box!.
Mark Hopkins, an administrator for the company, spoke out in January …
We have temporarily removed Superfish from our consumer systems until such time as Superfish is able to provide a software build that addresses these issues. As for units already in market, we have requested that Superfish auto-update a fix that addresses these issues.
Even having withdrawn the software from their new laptops, it only appears this is a temporary halt and once other “unwanted” effects of this software are removed it could be all systems go again for Superfish and Lenovo, but with the increasing amount of bad press this seems to be stirring up, I have my doubts about it’s reintroduction. All the same, the worlds most successful PC maker is now distributing adware and at its very best, this software is still intrusive, misleading and not something a user expects to be dealt when taking a brand new machine out the box. It just goes to show that even the most successful players in the market are attempting to monetise as much as possible and not, it would seem, considering the consequences for their users.
The easiest way to get rid of it is to disable the service, as I have yet to find a foolproof method of uninstalling it completely, so follow these steps:
- Press start button and type “services.msc” in the “search programs and files” box then hit Enter (Windows 8 use the windows button and the letter “R” for run then type “services.msc”)
- If the list of services aren’t already sorted alphabetically, you can press the heading “name” to do so, and it will make it easier to find the service you are looking for which is called “VisualDiscovery”
- Right-Click “VisualDiscovery” and select “properties”.
- Change the “Startup Type” from “Automatic” to “Disabled”, then click “Apply”, then click “OK”.
- If the “Status” column shows status “Running”, right-click the “VisualDiscovery” service again and choose “Stop”. Finally, close everything down and restart your machine.
It’s worth noting also, that even after disabling that service, I’m unsure of the after-effects of the software. Ideally, you would remove the software in it’s entirety but when I searched for removal instructions I came across a whole heap of uninstall guides relating to what I can only describe as “clones” of “SuperFish”, or maybe earlier or alternative versions, so it’s not really a simple removal procedure. It goes without saying that once you have stopped the service, make sure you don’t have anything relating to “SuperFish” or “VisualDiscovery” in your program list, if you do, uninstall it or use a third party freeware uninstaller to assist you such as Revo Uninstaller.
NOTE: Sophos Security has published removal instructions for Superfish here: How to get rid of the Lenovo “Superfish” adware