Security and Perfomance Tip: Installing Software

I cannot think of anything that will spare computer users more annoyance and hardship than being careful of what they install on their computers. I’ve cleaned up several machines recently, and in every case there were multiple toolbars, numerous search providers, and a number of utilities. In each case the users could not tell me whether they used the software or not. In fact, they were unaware that it was on their computers.

But none of these items was actually malware. They don’t install themselves. They don’t do anything dangerous to your computer. By themselves, that is.

Any time you have more than one toolbar on your browser, however, you’re asking for trouble. The more programs are monitoring your browsing and providing you with suggestions, the slower things get. Many utilities must be started when your computer is started, and this makes your computer take longer to get going.

The main source of these utilities is the add on installations offered by some popular, and often necessary, programs. Frequently updates to Adobe Flash Player will offer to install a toolbar or the Chrome browser. Now the Chrome browser is a great thing. I have no problem with it. But you don’t need to install it unless you’re going to use it. At least it doesn’t slow anything down. But that toolbar you install because it’s pre-checked to “also install” along with that utility–it’s going to slow your browsing down.

Two points:

1. Always read each window of data when installing software. You’ve already given the installation program permission to install things. You need to make sure to uncheck anything you didn’t plan to install.

2. Don’t install anything that is an add-on or any piece of free software unless you know you want it and are going to use it. If you’re unsure, search the web for reviews and other information. Try to find reviews from well-known sources. If you’re one of my customers in the Pensacola area, pick up the phone and ask me. I don’t charge for such short phone calls for established customers.


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