Malicious software like viruses and spyware intentionally hurt our PCs. But arrogant software does it without trying. It just assumes that your computer’s sole purpose is to run that particular program, and treats your Windows installation accordingly—placing icons for itself on the desktop and the Quick Launch toolbar, grabbing file associations to insure that double-clicking a file would never launch a competitor, and making sure that a piece of itself loads into RAM with every boot.
And then they don’t properly uninstall.
We all have arrogant software (or arroware) stories to tell. I’d like to hear some of yours. If you don’t have any, try installing QuickTime, RealPlayer, Norton Internet Security, and Quicken; you’ll have plenty.
To see what arroware you’ve got on your PC, just look in the system tray. The worst thing about arroware? A systray icon isn’t just a shortcut, it’s a running program. That means it’s using RAM and other resources, potentially slowing your machine and increasing the likelihood of conflicts and incompatibilities. That’s an acceptable tradeoff for your firewall or antivirus program, which really must be running at all times, but do you need it for your accounting program? Or each of your five media players?
Of course, if you’re sufficiently Windows-savvy, you can use msconfig to turn off unnecessary autoloading programs. Or can you? Unchecked autoloaders have a way of turning up again, checked and autoloaded. After all, these programs’ designers must reason, you couldn’t have intentionally unchecked the world’s most perfect program.
If a program is sufficiently arrogant, you may be tempted to remove it. Good luck. When you install arroware, it sinks its teeth deep into the Windows Registry. Of course the program has an uninstaller—all Windows programs have uninstallers—but arrogant uninstallers don’t really believe that you want to remove their programs. They generally remove the program’s functionality, but the harm that it’s done is left behind.
Properly removing arroware is a maddening experience, but venting your anger helps. Tell us about your run-ins with arrogant software.