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Unappreciated Software Installations

Google Chrome, Ask Toolbar, and other unasked guests can clog up your machine - or worse.

I don't know about you, but I try to be aware of what software is installed on my home computer. This makes it somewhat annoying when I go to install an update to Adobe Reader (or other software) and suddenly discover that along with the software update, I am getting software I did not ask for.

Recently, I finished a software download and realized that along with what I had requested, I now had Google Chrome. Since I didn't want Google Chrome, I promptly removed it through the Programs and Features Control Panel applet. However, the next time I tried to click on a URL in an email, I had an unwelcome message:

This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.

And it wasn't just Outlook, same issue in Word and Excel.

What had happened? It turns out the Google Chrome uninstaller doesn't remove some registry values added during the installation. After resetting five registry keys and resetting my default browser, the links worked again.

While I was glad to get back to where I needed to be, I don't even remember seeing a checkbox to install Google Chrome when I did my software update (and I confirmed today that for this particular software update, there isn't a checkbox). Makes you wonder how many of the zillions of people Google says have downloaded Chrome downloaded it unintentionally. Probably not a majority, but Google's download numbers may be somewhat skewed.

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