Microsoft and the Bundling Nonsense with Their Downloads
Microsoft is bundling extra installers into their own download site to redirect your browser to Bing if you don’t uncheck the box. And before we get started, we want to point out that we’re not saying that Bing is the worst thing in the world and we’re not saying that this is malware.
Oracle is bundling the awful Ask toolbar with Java, Google has paid people to bundle Chrome and other products into other freeware, Avast is bundling Dropbox into their installer, and pretty much everybody is bundling something somewhere. So we don’t want to unfairly pick on Microsoft here.
So in this case, if you don’t uncheck the box on the Microsoft download site, and then you accidentally click the wrong download file, your browser is instantly changed to use Bing and MSN as the home page and a Chrome extension is immediately installed to change your home page and search settings.
Microsoft Bundles Bing and MSN with All Their Downloads by Default:
If you head to the Microsoft download center and try to get something like the PowerPoint viewer, you’ll be presented with a big red download button that makes it look like you’re about to download what you want.
After you select that button, you’re taken to the Microsoft Recommends screen, which has the MSN / Bing setting switcher checked by default. The problem is that if you aren’t paying attention and you just trust Microsoft, you might assume that the first thing on the left that has a checkbox is what you actually wanted to download and click “Next”.
Note: Don’t ever click anything anywhere without reading, even on a site that you trust.
Every other installer, if you actually read everything on the screen, you’d never leave that box checked. If that’s your argument, you’ve missed the point.
After you click Next button, you’ll be presented with the download, which is where the next problem shows up. If you’re using Google Chrome, it automatically blocks sites from downloading multiple files. And the first file that downloads, which as a regular user you’d expect would be the PowerPoint Viewer that you meant to download. The first thing that downloads is the Bing browser redirector. You’ve got to click Allow in order to get what you actually wanted.
After clicking Allow, you’ll be presented with the second download. And only after clicking “Allow once” will you are presented with the option for the Bing download.
So normally in this case, Microsoft has billions and billions of dollars to throw at making their sites work the way they should in all browsers.
Browser Setting Changes:
After run that DefaultPack.exe file, Internet Explorer will be instantly changed to use MSN as the home page, and Bing as the search engine. That’s annoying that there’s no prompt at all.
And if you’re using Google Chrome, you’ll be presented with a message once the Bing downloader tries to install the extension, and you can easily click the Remove from Chrome option. Even if you did allow it, Chrome will prompt you twice later on to make sure that you really wanted it.
Also, if you’re using Firefox, for some reason Microsoft just doesn’t care. The home page and search engine don’t get changed at all, even if you’ve got Firefox set as your default browser. Firefox gets paid by Yahoo to use their search as the default engine, and Yahoo is just a rebranded version of Bing.
Anyway we just wish all this browser search engine fighting would stop and the freeware industry wasn’t completely full of awfulness and trickery. We wish you could recommend software to people without them getting infected with something.
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