When you download and install free programs, you may also get something you really don't want.
The program may be a good one and probably doesn't contain any bad stuff.
But if you don't carefully watch when installing the little gem, you may get an 'added something' like a toolbar or even get your home page changed!
This isn't the same as not reading the EULA and giving the program permission to access your email contacts or other stuff, but it is pretty sneaky!
Generally you are asked during the install if you want to also install a toolbar, a scanner of some sort, or change your default search engine (usually to Ask!) Screenshot
The Shameful Saga of Uninstalling the Terrible Ask Toolbar A great article by my favorite geek, How-To Geek. (He was using Chrome)
The installer makes it look like you have to agree for this junk to be installed, but you can just uncheck the 'oh so conveniently' already checked boxes by the unwanted stuff and your install will complete without further complications.
If you fail to uncheck those already checked boxes, then you get the toolbar and whatever else they try to fob on to you.
Then to get rid of it you have to find it in the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs (Programs and Features in Vista and Windows 7) to uninstall it and change your home page back to what you want, etc.
A lot of games installers are sneaky like this, Oberon Games, Big Fish. etc.
The reason for all of this sneakiness is the bottom line. Free programs do cost something to produce and host on line, so the makers of stuff like Ask! pay a bit to the free programs owners and this is one way to keep stuff free.
Most of the good free programs have a 'Donate' option. If enough folks donate something, maybe then this sneakiness would go away. (I doubt it, though.)
Article by Ask Leo, Do I need this add-on recommended by this software installation?
When you download programs from sites you think are reliable, you still need to be careful. Dangerous Downloads on Legitimate Websites & Search Engines. This article by the author of WinPatrol is a must read!
That's not all, you have to watch out for sneaky Google ads as well! Check out Warning: Don't Get Tricked by Download Links from Google Ads