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What are you downloading? You might not know…


Have you ever gone online to download something, and it downloaded and installed just fine, but after a while your computer is full of junk programs you don’t remember installing? Well…often times I see people end up in all matter of circumstances with machine slowing, programs lagging, and things just in general bogging down their experience on their computers. These computers could even be brand spanking new, and you’d never know by how terribly they run.

This Basic Program Contains a Scam!

Let’s talk for a minute about one of the most basic programs people have on their computers. If you have ever owned a computer, you’ve likely at some point had a program that reads PDF files for you. Most people immediately think of the classic Adobe Reader. There are of course several others out there, however Adobe is the most widely used among the population of my town/area.

Upon navigating to the webpage for Adobe Reader DC, you find a relatively normal webpage that shows you two different download links for Adobe’s software. Upon initial inspection of the page, your eyes are naturally drawn to the two big blue buttons on the page, so as to attract you into choosing one, and this is where most people end up making their first mistake. If you look carefully at this page, you’ll notice that the page has an optional offer attached to it. On the left-hand side of the page, you have an offer for McAfee, which seems innocent enough, right? Well…in all actuality this is another scam. You might not think of it that way and you might just say “Brandon, come on, it’s McAfee, it’s good for my computer. I hate McAfee, and I have my own reasons for that, but let me explain to you why this is a scam.

Is this really a scam? If so…how?

This is a scam for one simple reason. You came to this website for one piece of software, but you’re potentially leaving with three pieces of software. One you wanted, and two you didn’t, and all because you didn’t stop to look closely enough at the page, even though it’s designed that way. The more installations of McAfee that are installed on a machine, the more money McAfee makes, and the more user data they get to collect and know about you, all because you wanted a PDF reader to open your bank statement. The website is designed to deceive and designed to make you install the extra programs, and if you didn’t realize these things were being installed after downloading, you’re probably not aware they’re even running on your machine.

So… what’s the solution?

If you or someone you know is interested in downloading only the software you came for, with none of the “extras” there is a solution. If you’ve ever downloaded anything and come out with extra programs on your machine you didn’t ask for, the first step is to quit downloading programs directly from the publisher. You won’t be able to avoid this in every circumstance, but there is a nifty website you can use, to help curb the issue. Ninite is a fantastic website that allows you to install what you want, and nothing more. The app installs from Ninite are strictly the apps you want, no bloatware, no third-party garbage, and not to mention, the site is crazy convenient.

Here’s how you use it!

If you’re interested in keeping your computer clean, Ninite is a great resource, and here’s how you use it. Once you arrive at Ninite’s website, you’ll notice there’s not a lot of frills to it, and honestly…it might look a little sketchy, but trust me… it’s not. You’ll notice the reviews on the right-hand side, and on the left a screenshot of what you’ll see should you choose to use Ninite. Down below you’ll see a list of their chosen programs that are some of the best for your PC, and you’ll notice that Adobe Reader doesn’t make the PDF reader list.

With this format, you can check as many boxes as you’d like to install as many of the programs you like, and then you can press the button below that says, “Get your Ninite”. Upon pressing this button you’ll notice that a download begins, and you’re ready to go. One of the beautiful things about Ninite is that all of the programs are always up to date, and you don’t have to go to ten different places to get all the programs you’d regularly use. If you don’t see your program on the list… maybe give one of the programs on this list a try instead. It’s not to say that what you use isn’t worthwhile, but these programs are chosen by a team of developers that believe in the apps they add to their site, and they’re pretty familiar with what they have to offer. The program list is relatively extensive and offers anything from Google Chrome all the way to Malwarebytes Antivirus, and even has some developer utilities. The full list of programs available on Ninite can be seen below. This post is in no way sponsored by Ninite, or any of the affiliated programs. This is simply an IT pro leaving you with my suggestions, to make your life a little easier by sharing the tools I use every day.

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