December 23, 2003By Cat Schwartz
I like to download stuff off the Internet just as much as the next cat. When I first got into using computers I downloaded just about everything that came my way, and I ended up killing my old PC. It was so sad. So even though you may have a new hot-rod computer that can handle any applet you think you need, today I'm warning you about things you should not download.
Gator -- This has to be one of the most annoying downloads ever. First of all, the sneaky folks over at Gator have found a number of ways to get Gator onto your system without you knowing it. Gator will often creep into the download you want and you'll end up with it on your system without having consented to putting it there.
Also, Gator has tons of pop-up ads. My poor grandfather had to call Roger Chang when he realized this intrusive spyware-ridden Web form was something he wanted to get rid of but didn't know how. If you want to learn how to bail this silly reptile, read this article.
Bonzi Buddy -- Now I like cute little purple monkeys, don't get me wrong, but one on my desktop that pesters me? No thanks. The concept sounds OK at first, but after awhile I wanted to throw my computer over a cliff. Oh wait, Megan and I did that, and that was the computer that had this stupid information pal on it. I suggest you steer clear.
GoHip -- GoHip should be called GoAway! This is basically a browser extension that's useless because, well, it just is. Do you really need a browser extension? No, you don't. The really annoying thing is that this puppy is a pain to get rid of. You have to go to the site just to uninstall it.
Hotbar -- Hotbar is an Internet Explorer plug-in that lets you skin your browser title bar. It also collects tons of information about your surfing habits, logging every webpage you visit and every search you perform, and then sending the results back to Hotbar.
Using Add/Remove to remove Hotbar can disable Outlook and cause other problems. Use the uninstall tool offered by Hotbar for best results.
Xupiter Toolbar -- Xupiter is another IE toolbar add-on that contains links to the xupiter.com search engine. It runs at startup, delivers pop-up and pop-under ads, and periodically hijacks your browser homepage. Its adware also tries to phone home, attempting to log you on to the Net periodically. Run the Xupiter uninstall utility to get rid of it.
Something you probably shouldn't download
Andrew Hawn from TechTV Labs also warns us to stay clear of RealOne Player because it's more aggressive about taking over your system's media experience than other media players and it's difficult to remove. He says:
True, RealOne does a good job with streaming media compression and quality, but you have to disable just about everything in the initial player setup. It also implies you need to upgrade to a pay version of the player to get the best content.
If you like Real video or audio, download the player. If you just think you need every player installed on your system, think again.
Finally, if you uninstalled any of the programs listed in this roundup, run Ad-aware or Spybot -- Search & Destroy to verify full removal.
Originally posted August 2, 2002
In case you installed them on your computer, I have provided links for removal.
* Bonzi Buddy: http://www.bonzi.com/support/bdyremove.htm#remove
* Click2FindNow: http://toolbar.click2findnow.com/uninstall.exe
* Go Hip: http://www.gohip.com/remove_browser_enhancement.html
* HotBar: http://hotbar.com/downloads/HbUninst.exe
* I-Lookup: http://www.i-lookup.com/uninstall.exe