I have installed many applications throughout the years, mostly for testing purposes. Only a fraction were reviewed here on the website, with many being rejected for one reason or the other. Some did not meet the quality requirements to be reviewed here, others would not install, did not offer anything new, or would throw other errors which disqualified them.
If you install lots of programs, you will begin to see patterns of "things" that annoy you, and this article looks at some of them. So lets get started right away:
1. Deceptive adware
While there are programs out there that are truly free, others include adware offers that are displayed to users when the application is installed on the system.
Depending on how this is implemented, users may be tricked into installing toolbars or software, or allow the program to make system modifications (usually web browser home page and search).
Don't get me wrong. This is a valid way of making money with an otherwise free product, but the installer needs to display the options in a way so that users are not confused by the choices displayed to them.
2. On-load or exit popup messages
A single one-time popup message on load or on exit is not really that annoying, but when a program displays a popup every time it is run it soon gets to a point where it becomes just that.
This is even more the case if the popup is always displaying the same kind of information. If you have not reacted the first and second time, chance that you will react on the third time is not really that high.
Many antivirus solutions use popups to remind users that they should sign up for an online service of sorts. That's pretty bad if there is no way to opt-out of this without signing up for the service.
3. Automatic interface language selection with no option to change the language
Some programs use the system language to determine the language its interface is displayed to the user. That is in theory great as users do not have to modify the language manually instead, or make sure they download the correct localized version of the product.
If there is no option to change it, it is highly annoying though. Sometimes, the detected language may get picked up incorrectly. For me, it is all about screenshots that look really bad on an English blog if they show an interface that is using a different language.
4. Forced registration
This comes in two main forms. First, some companies may force you to register an account or add an email address to a form before they show you the download link of a program that you may want to download. This is often a classic case of collecting email addresses, maybe to make a quick buck selling them or using them to push out the company newsletter.
The second form is even more annoying. While you can get around the first by using temporary email services or third party download portals, you usually cannot do anything against this form. A program may ask you to register an account before you can make use of it on your system.
It does not really matter if you have purchased it or if it is a free program, as I have seen forced registration prompts for both types. Registration makes sense at times, for instance if you need an account to use the program's functionality. Many times though, it is just a nuisance that you would like to opt-out of.
Many companies, Google for example, seem to reduce the functionality and customizations of their products to make them easier to use. This can be frustrating to experienced users who would like to have more choice and options.
6. Software agreements
The majority of users do not read software agreements. You'd probably spend most of your day reading through those agreements which is not feasible at all. Even if you do read the full agreement, you may have troubles understanding what is really being said if you are not familiar with lawyer-speak.
7. Updates remove functionality
It happens quite often that companies remove features from their programs. Some may provide you with an alternative, like Mozilla did when it removed the Firefox status bar, while others may leave you standing in the rain with no option whatsoever.
Some programs require that you install a framework or third party program on your system before you can use it. In the best case, it is mentioned what you need or even included in the installer. In the worst, no mention of the program's dependency is made anywhere and you are left puzzled as to why the application won't start up at all.
9. No custom install
Some programs can only be installed to a hard coded directory even though you may want to install it somewhere else. This can be annoying if they install the program folder to the root of the drive, or if you want to install the application on a different drive due to space constraints.
This can also be frustrating if a program installs a desktop icon, quick launch icon, start menu folder during installation, and may add itself to the auto start of the system without option to disable those features.
10. Windows that cannot be resized
If you are using a larger font display on your system you may have experienced issues with program interfaces that do not play well with different font sizes.
Some windows cannot be resized at all even though it would make sense to implement the feature. A prime example of this is Windows' Environment Path editor.
You cannot increase the Edit System Variable window at all which makes the paths very hard to read.
11. Processes you cannot get rid of
A prime example is googleupdate.exe which gets automatically added again when you run a Google software that is making use of it. You can remove it from the Task Scheduler, but it won't do you any good as Google is adding the program back to it once you run a software like Chrome again.
Yes, you can turn off automatic updates but only via the Group Policy.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.