Last week we published several articles dealing with the additional crapware which so often accompanies software installations, including a review of the freeware Unchecky. Following a couple of comments from our readers, I thought this was a topic which could certainly be expanded upon.
DCT reader 8220;Tracy” suggested using ninite.com to avoid crapware, and I agree, this is one online service which should definitely receive more attention.
Avoid Unwanted Crapware Using Ninite
Ninite is an online service which enables users to download and install popular applications without worrying about additional bundling. Ninite supports a good number of popular applications in a wide range of categories. You can download just one program, or multiple programs in one go.
Simply checkmark each application you wish to download and install, then click on the big green Get Installer button. This will download a 260KB Ninite installer, customized for your chosen applications. Run the installer and Ninite will then fetch your applications and automatically install each one… minus any additional junkware:
- start working as soon as you run it
- not bother you with any choices or options
- install apps in their default location
- say no to toolbars or extra junk
- install 64-bit apps on 64-bit machines
- install apps in your PC’s language (or you choose)
- do all its work in the background
- install the latest stable version of an app
- skip any reboot requests from installers
- download apps from each publisher’s official site
- verify digital signatures or hashes before running anything
Of course, Ninite is limited to the programs it supports, but considering the list is quite extensive and includes many popular apps, it should cover most eventualities. Perfect for setting up a new machine or after a fresh install.
*Ninite also offers a premium “Updater” service priced at $9.99us per year which monitors installed programs and keeps them updated automatically.
- Here’s the link to Ninite again, just in case you missed it earlier: http://ninite.com/
It seems an alleged “tech” site has since posted an article warning its readers against using the Ninite.com service. The article claims, among other things, that nothing gets installed.
I can assure all our readers that any software or service recommended by DCT is thoroughly checked out beforehand. In the case of Ninite.com (tested on Windows 7 64-bit):-
I selected three software titles and downloaded the Ninite installer. I then scanned the Ninite installer through Virus Total and the report came back 100% clean. So, I ran the installer and all three products were then downloaded and installed in turn… it all worked perfectly!
Here are screenshots of the actual installations taking place:
In the case of Peazip, which comes bundled with OpenCandy, there was no sign of the advertizing module or its recommendations. A thorough post-installation check also showed that nothing additional had been installed, only the selected programs.
I even went a step further and tested Ninite’s ability to recognize existing up-to-date installations. I already had the latest version of ImgBurn installed on my machine, this is the message I received when I attempted to install ImgBurn again via Ninite:
I have no idea why the author of the anti-Ninite article couldn’t get it to work properly, incompetence perhaps. In my experience, Ninite clearly worked effectively and as advertized.
Avoid Crapware Using Portable Applications
My mate “ballyirish” in South Africa commented that he is a fan of the free PeaZip archive utility and asked how he can avoid the OpenCandy advertizing module which comes bundled with the installer. This got me to thinking that, while we expound on the benefits of portable software in general, we often forget to emphasize that, by its very nature, portable software does not generally include any bundling. Of course, there is never a 100% guarantee, but, if you stick to portable versions which are available direct from reputable developers, the chances of surreptitious bundling would be next to zero.
So, another alternative is to use portable software and avoid installations wherever possible. Of course, portable versions are not always available for every software but, if one is prepared to spend a little time hunting around, viable portable alternatives can often be located. In the case of PeaZip, I have since pointed ‘ballyirish’ to download links on Source Forge for the portable versions: http://peazip.sourceforge.net/peazip-portable.html, which are minus OpenCandy.
Over the next few weeks I am planning to compile a list of portable applications separated into categories which, when completed, will then be published here on DCT. I obviously won’t be able to cover every single eventually but I should be able to cover the most popular types of software in the most popular genres. Stay tuned for that one!
I will close with my usual stipulation: remember, there is no substitute for vigilance and caution. 🙂