Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AOL Bloatware: When will the madness stop?

Have you seen a computer recently with AOL installed on it? Or rather, have you tried uninstalling it? I've come across many computers with AOL installed on them. There must be 2 or 3 different icons in the tray referencing AOL, and another couple of system services that also load with windows. Things like "Connection Manager" and "AOL Dialer". What the heck are these things? Who needs them? I'll decide when I want to start AOL. I don't need it monitoring my internet connection to see when I have one and when I don't. And don't even get me started on the AOL Spyware Protection. It pops up with the same 2 things every time. And every time I delete them, a day later they're back. I don't want it on my computer. I use SpyBot S&D and some other programs to take care of my spyware. I don't want AOL doing it - especially when chances are that their own program and website is spying on me to monitor what I do online.

So I go to uninstall the software from the Control Panel. The darn program has so much attached to it that it needs to scan my computer top to bottom for AOL installations. I came back 15 minutes later and it was still scanning. Finally I asked it to uninstall every file that had any relationship whatsoever with AOL, and after I rebooted I still had some stuff on there like the AOL toolbar in IE.

I went to AOL's website to see how big the download is for the software (I couldn't tell since they use one of these small installers that goes and downloads more from the web), and I noticed that AOL 9.1 requires a whopping 460MB of free space on your computer to install. Also, there is a new thing called AOL Desktop. Apparently they want to take control over your entire desktop with widgets that are always open and its own mini browser with a revolutionary feature called 'tabs' (!) so you can browse multiple sites at once. Who would've thought!?

I could go on and on. Please do yourself and the world a favor and NEVER USE AOL.

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