How often do you stop and think about the apps you’re installing on your computer?
We’re not talking about apps like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop, which have millions of users and are perfectly safe to use. We mean other third-party apps that, on the face of it, perform useful tasks.
For example, how confident are you that your Start Menu replacement software isn’t spying on you? Are you sure your registry cleaner isn’t causing more harm than good? And are you confident that your favorite free game isn’t loaded with malware?
Of course, most Windows apps aren’t going to cause issues. But there are some, many of which are popular, that you shouldn’t install for various reasons. Here are six Windows 10 apps and programs that you should give a wide berth to.
In case you’re not aware, CCleaner is like a beefed-up version of the native Windows Disk Cleanup tool. There is debate about whether CCleaner can be trusted.
The app serves two functions. Firstly, it can act as privacy tool by deleting information such as your browsing history or your recently opened apps. Secondly, it can remove old, unused apps from your system. That includes Windows logs, old installation files, and temporary internet files.
Neither of these features are inherently bad. However, as part of the disk clean-up tool, it also offers a registry cleaner. Registry cleaners are false friends. They make bold promises but often cause more harm than good, especially if you don’t know how to interpret the results.
Furthermore, due to a malware scandal and shady spying features, we recommend that you stop using CCleaner right now.
If you’ve ever spent any time using a Mac, you’ll know iTunes is a terrible piece of software. And if Apple’s flagship music app is terrible on a Mac, you can imagine how bad it is on Windows. Today, the once majestic music app is a shadow of its former self
To be clear, iTunes isn’t going to damage your system or install malware. And it’s not going to spy on you or hit you with a barrage of ads.
It is, however, a slow, bloated, and thoroughly unenjoyable way to manage and listen to your music. Updates are too frequent and take ages, and essential functions of the app are organized in a confusing way.
Almost any of the mainstream alternatives — such as MusicBee, Winamp, and foobar2000 — offer a better user experience. It can be argued that even Groove Music is an improvement!
3. Norton Anti-Virus
The sign of a good antivirus is one that comprehensively protects you from all threats and you don’t notice it running in the background. And while Norton’s threat detection is as good as anything else in the industry, it’s sorely lacking in the second point.
If you search for issues relating to Norton slowing down a computer on Windows, you’ll notice that the top few results are from Norton’s website. They offer a mea culpa, admitting the problem was a reality in the past, but claiming it’s no longer an issue.
Scroll down a little further, however, and you’ll find hundreds of forum posts from users complaining about the very same issue. Many are dated within the last 12 months.
Don’t take the risk and save yourself some money. Use one of the best free antivirus suites instead.
Did you know WhatsApp offers a desktop version of the app? It went live in May 2016, but uptake has been underwhelming.
You won’t find any practical difference between the web version and the desktop version. Unlike Telegram, you still need to link it to your mobile phone and be on the same Wi-Fi network for it to work. The feature sets are identical, and the two interfaces are indistinguishable.
And it gets worse. The installed app takes up almost 100MB of space, which is a surprising amount for something with such limited functionality. It doesn’t reflect well on how the developers have coded the app.
Sure, there’s no spyware, no packaged toolbars, and no system issues. It’s just a whole lot of unnecessary bloat.
If there’s one app on this list which you absolutely need to avoid at all costs, it’s Flash Player. The once ubiquitous app is more than 20 years old and has a been a security disaster for at least the last decade.
In 2015, Recorded Future gave it the dubious award of “Most Exploited Product.” In the calendar year, it included eight of the top 10 vulnerabilities leveraged by exploit kits.
To make matters worse (or better, depending on your viewpoint), in the middle of 2017, Adobe announced it would retire Flash, though it won’t be officially dead until 2020.
While its retirement is a good thing, it means Adobe will stop supporting the product. Given the company patched 67 Flash bugs in November 2017 alone, keeping it on your system beyond its end-of-life is a recipe for a guaranteed security disaster.
6. Internet Explorer
Edge might not be everyone’s browser of choice (though it’s not as bad as you might think). However, when compared to Internet Explorer, it looks like the greatest piece of software ever written.
Amazingly, despite the presence of Edge, Microsoft continues to offer Internet Explorer for download. Officially, it’s now dead. Microsoft has said it will not work on any new features for the app. However, the latest update became available in December 2017, suggesting Redmond isn’t ready to turn its back just yet. Old clothes die hard.
Of course, Microsoft will keep the app updated for several years as part of its support policy, but it’s hard to understand why the app is still available for download to the public.
Don’t try and be quirky or cool, Internet Explorer is awful. You don’t want it anywhere near your machine. There are countless better browsers you can use.
Which Apps Do You Avoid?
You need to steer clear of these six common apps for very different reasons. Whether its security issues, a shocking user experience, unnecessary bloat, or the potential to damage your system, they are all more hassle than they are worth.
Now we want to gather your input. Do you agree with our choices? Which apps would you add to this list? What makes them so repulsive?