SourceForge's new Installer bundles program downloads with adware

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 17, 2013
Updated • Jul 17, 2013
Windows, Windows software

If you have been downloading programs from SourceForge in the last days, you may have noticed that some do not provide you with direct downloads of the programs anymore. Instead, you download something called SourceForge Installer which bundles the software with third party offers used for monetization.

This is in fact similar to how some download portals are offering downloads right now. Programs like FileZilla or Hotspot Shield have joined SourceForge's DevShare program which is currently in beta. It aims to offer a new funding option for Open Source projects.

While that is a legitimate cause, it at the same time puts the site into a shady corner of the Internet right next to other illustrious sites such as The core difference here is that on SourceForge, software developers profit from the inclusion, while they do not profit at all from it on third party download sites.

SourceForge Installer

There is no mentioning of the SourceForge Installer when you click on a file to download it to your system. You won't notice any difference if you are download versions for Linux or Mac, as they do not come with the installer included. So, no changes for those operating systems.

Windows users who click on the default download option will however receive the message on the download page that the "SourceForge Installer download will start". It is a small installer that bundles the program with the advertisement. A download wrapper of sorts which means that you do need an Internet connection when you run it.

The offer is displayed on the second page of the installer. The first page informs you about the program that you downloaded in first place, and links to the end user license agreement and privacy policy.

The offer is displayed on the screen, and below that a gray decline button, a green accept button, and a link to a FAQ page on SourceForge that explains why the offer is displayed. According to that page, it is done exclusively for developers who may opt-in to make their projects sustainable.

Offers include trial of commercial software programs such as WinZip and the Ask Toolbar among other options.


Users may have two issues with the bundled installer.

  1. Only a small net installer is downloaded by default, which means that an Internet connection is required to complete the download. The installation won't proceed if you do not have an Internet connection.
  2. Some offers may install toolbars on the system or make modifications to the Internet browser's home page or search provider. This is usually not wanted by users.

How to bypass the SourceForge Installer

If you prefer to install the program without installer included, you can do so at least for some projects. Click on the browse all files link underneath the big green download link on the project's homepage on the SourceForge website.

You need to browse to the folder containing the last version of the application, which can be done with a couple of clicks.

Now, the main Windows download leads to the SourceForge Installer even though it is not displayed here. But there may be another download. For FileZilla, that is a zip download of the application that you can download as well.

Closing Words

I can definitely see the benefit of including an installer with third party offers, especially since the money (all of it?) goes right into the funding of the software projects. There needs to be a better option to download the real setup or program file right away though to provide users with the full download of the software as well.

While you may pay attention to all installers anyway, you should now do so even more for SourceForge downloads.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.