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Gallery: 10 most annoying programs on the Internet

Most annoying software

The Internet has brought us many joys. It's rewritten the rules of business and pleasure.

And pain. For it allows what may have seemed like bright ideas at the time ('let's use it to make sure our customers have the latest software', for example) to turn into a stinking pit of misery — usually, but by no means always, after marketing gets its fangs in.

Here are just ten of the guilty parties who try to do the impossible: to make us hate the internet and wish it had never been invented — and who very nearly succeed.

This gallery was written by Rupert Goodwins, ZDNet.co.uk.

394 comments
sailor1285
sailor1285

I do have Adobe Reader 9 installed, but I don't notice anything perhaps because it mostly benefits my roommate and his online games. Does it create infections? Does it slow down your speeds?

john3347
john3347

You missed the MAIN biggest nusance on the internet - GOOGLE! I get so sick of Google's nose stuck into everything that I try to do that I refuse to use Google even when it could be of some benefit to me. A close second comes default installation of useless, desktop wasting toolbars (including, but not limited to, Google and Yahoo). I'm sure it would be too much to hope for; but if computer users got angry enough to not patronize the software distributors that include toolbars by default, they would quit the practice. Many of these didtributors are listed here as most annoying.

dhanna
dhanna

No kidding. This program is so annoying. I have taken to editing startup with MSCONFIG to get rid of crap like this.

robert.larder
robert.larder

The one I don't like is the one that keeps trying to dial porno up. Also that one that makes loads of extra pages open even when im not clicking on anything is cunty.

john3347
john3347

TechRepublic has lost ALL its credibility. How can you publish a "10 most annoying" list with Yahoo listed but Google not listed about 12 spots above Yahoo. I'll never believe anything you say ever again.

mediavant
mediavant

The Ironic Example you forgot was TechRepublic and many other websites that use the previous/next slide format presentation like this one here. In this presentation I click on Next Image and does the image change as fast as my broadband will allow??? No. The entire screen erases itself and all the ads update first and eventually we see the next slide. And this is a fairly well behaved example because not every single pixel is wiped clean and redrawn. Some boxes and buttons survive the operation. Other sites are worse and indeed make a completely white screen out my browser space while they collect all of the links, and the ads, and buttons, and finally last and clearly by this time least the actual content. Entertainment Weekly is a good example. Everyone keeps clamoring about online apps, but if this slide presentation technology was the leading edge of that revolution we'd all be turning back.

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

Yes good article and yes they are probably the most annoying yes there are probably a few ways around this but the article is on target. They are really really annoying. Signed just an opinion

ericandrecon
ericandrecon

My dad still uses aol and needs my help keeping his system working at least twice a week. The resourse sucker is a pain. Finds it's way to the printer menu and every progam in the system. Shutting it down takes a keen eye and many tries from the task manager.

asphene
asphene

... Yes, What he said.

robbie
robbie

What a hoot! And so TRUE! I laughed all the way through the text. Thanks Tech Republic for being so informative and delightful.

anona.moose2
anona.moose2

Look at this article, we have to click on a link to read about each annoying computer program! That's f*cking annoying, I'll tell you.

dragankr
dragankr

Thanks! Actually, I think I agree with each and every single one of your picks, and nothing to add to top 10! Great work, Dragan

sa.sood
sa.sood

Thanks for penning the thoughts of every computer user on the planet earth.

DrunkWithPower
DrunkWithPower

Zamzar, Zoho Office, Magical Defrag, Foxit Reader, Firefox w/IE Tab & NoScript, IrfanView w/plugins, VLC Media Player, CCleaner, TextPad, bare-essential services (search BlackViper), no themes, no wallpaper, "best performance" display settings, AVG (internet related features off), no toolbars, etc. If I do download something, I immediately terminate and disable auto-updates running in the background. I use the WinDiz site for XP security updates using Firefox. As much as I hate it, I think a real-time virus scan is a must-have. I also use the built-in firewall to save resources.

p.air
p.air

Billions of $$$ and thousands of overpaid imbeciles at Microsoft and they only come up with the most annoying crap without ever solving anything but instead creating more problems and pissing off 3/4 of the computer world.

eabower
eabower

I only disagreed with two, one of them on the merits of the argument. The rest were dead on ... and to whomever wrote that linux fixes a lot of this ... not (I use both).

vucliriel
vucliriel

Thank God for this refreshing, O, so sharp and accurate article so well condensed. Kudos to the author. He's absolutedly, deadly right on. We need more sharpwited articles like this. Enough of the ill-informed candycoating we see all the time! As for Norton Antivirus, I believe Peter Norton should sue the company that he sold his rights to for defamation of reputation. Bring us more articles like this!

PJfromOttawa
PJfromOttawa

She's on the Internet (MySpace), her audio is far too Real and she annoys me. If my wife's cousins could, I'm sure they'd like to give Auntie a Virus, too. If you knew her, you'd feel she was trying to program your life, as well. The way she tells it, her Windows always need updating. She complained that a retired Acrobat Reads to her from the Adobe in the yard. He said something like "U bunt, U" to her which caused her to throw the closest Macintosh Apple she could find at him (it only got halfway, and it hit his Jaguar). To calm her nerves, I told her to try some Java while experiencing another Vista but she said that causes parts of her system to bloat and she then has trouble with her HP software. I've never had her Flash me, you pervs. My Mother-in-law: The most annoying thing on the Internet

gary.moore
gary.moore

Great read, Thanks for so eloquently stating what we all feel at times...

portable
portable

Right on! The only problem is the "people" who produce these are going to go right on making them and thinking that only a very small percentage of users really don't like THEIR program. Just call me a cynic

ziamirza_sa
ziamirza_sa

Software companies are the new handmaidens of advertizing agencies...they are always trying o rip you off.

spam
spam

Rupert Goodwins, thanks for a spot-on, well-written and just plain TRUE article! I would add to the gallery all software where the creators have forgotten the original purpose and have totally gotten carried away with their own brilliance. Can I now suggest a gallery of the 10 BEST programs? Thanks again.

itssri
itssri

1) Adobe reader... its been years since I used it. Switched to the free Nitro PDF extension in Firefox, that has a host of extra features and as light as an extension should be. 2) Apple... art or no art, haven't laid my eyes yet on a real Apple PC. 3) Windows Update... thankfully MS does provide an option to turn off automatic updates, which is one of the first things I do. 4) Real... installed ONLY for the exciting new option of downloading video content with a right click from web pages and some new codecs... but yes I "kill" the updater from task manager on every boot. 5) Java... kill updater/scheduler on every boot. 6) Yahoo... I don't Yahoo guys! I Google! 7) Norton Antivirus... do you have the solution or are you part of the problem? That's what comes to mind. So, use Avast instead. 8) Pre-installed bundles... clients come to me for solution to this kind of pain in the a?? I simply format the system and do a customized clean install from the OS media supplied. And if media's not there, forget it. That hardware piece was not worth buying. 9) Outlook/Exchange... stay a mile clear of that. 10) Flash... an unecessary evil that's taken over the internet. 90% of the web site clients demand it, not realising how big a turn off it is. The moment I see the flash loading bar, I close the tab/window, unless a skip option is prominently visible. Recently, I came across a solution to this torture - Flashblock extension in Firefox. IE guys, please post something you know about. Of course, these are all based on Windows. Linux platform is worth consideration with its many open source alternatives, if you can do without Windows applications.

hopdediko
hopdediko

Dear EXPERT, please spend a little bit more time and read about ADOBE Reader to learn its endless features: like allowing the user to digitally sign a PDF document, validate a digital signature on a PDF, fill in the forms in PDF, etc... So, Reader is one of the most talented client application in PDF world. Regards,

pccoder28
pccoder28

Great article: especially, don't buy anything from Adobe...there's not one piece of Adobe software that makes the grade, including Photoshop. While I was reading this blog, the ubiquitous questionmarket.com survey popup defeated my popup blocker, then the system rebooted suddenly as Windows Vista update did its thing. Realplayer did its in-your-face update thing too: no wonder I'm becoming nostalgic for viruses and spyware because most malware is designed and coded better than the crapware that the mainstream companies write these days. Unfortunately, you can't get rid of Adobe, Real, and Windows Update because they've become lingua franca on the web, but, on the serious side of things, bugs in those apps mess up other apps...in a business environment, you'd better rein these bad actors in. Bad programmers ruled by bad marketing bosses are ruining the products at the world's best-known software firms. Listen up, Adobe, Yahoo, Real, Microsoft, Apple, et cetera: your stuff is a mess! A Real mess!

vucliriel
vucliriel

... by using a browser that you can setup to reuse code, reuse or prevent images from loading, prevent animations, flash and javascript from loading, all that with just a click into a checkbox: Opera!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Your browser is either set to require a full page refresh every visit to a site or you're using Internet Exploder...or both.

wfs1946
wfs1946

Have you ever tried to cancel the AOL Service and / or remove it from your PC? Talk about something that will keep you occupied for months on end........

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Build a massive page that takes forever to download? I don't doubt you'd b!tch about that as well.

VAR1016
VAR1016

What I would like to do to whoever came up with that flashing pop-up that reads "Congratulations, you are the 999,999th visitor to this site" or some such crap. Come out of the woodwork whoever you are: I have the electrodes ready... Paul

VAR1016
VAR1016

The article was most entertaining and some good points were made in it. I have things like Java on my computer; I have no idea why or what they are supposed to do; whether or not they bugger up the system I have no idea, but it works... My own gripe is all the stupid video formats; why? And it seems to me that one has to have 15 different programs in order to be able to play everything; why? Why .avi; mpeg, mpg; wmv - etc., etc., ad nauseam. I have felt a little less annoyed with Acrobat ever since it occurred to the makers that I might just want to copy something that is in pdf... Those Apple Quicktime updates really piss me off and once I even foolishly downloaded ITunes - all 10,000,000 gigabytes of it; not for long! These people seem to think that my life consists of ordering horrible music and playing stupid games all night. Extraordinary. Paul

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Most of us just click on the "Print/View all Posts" link at the bottom right of each individual post. Works fine, lasts a long time. And you don't have to whine about page refresh time. Unless, of course, that's what you live for...

mediavant
mediavant

I have made sure to install and configure all three browsers (IE FF O) as well as I possibly can. All three cause the column to the immediate right and the column to the right of that to complete redraw when I navigate from message to message. In addition, IE redraws the response tree that is found below the messages (clearly pretty static info). As I said this page is not at all the worst but it is an example. I also looked in IE for a long time to find an option that might cause complete screen refreshes, but I can find nothing like that. FireFox does not seem to offer such a control either. Opera does have a Loading option under "Browsing" that indicates how long to wait before redrawing. I don't know what that is. I suppose I could now take my three browsers to a worst case page, but I don't really think it's going to be much different. Oh heck, there I did it. They all three draw the complete screen from white (except for the publication's banner) at EW, see http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20204699_2,00.html In all fairness, while IE and FF worked almost exactly the same here, Opera did actually draw faster and always drew the content (the slide) FIRST, which has not been my experience with other browsers. Point is that this slide technology is supposed to glom us down. My guess is that page owner is getting paid by the impression and so does not care that the efficacy of disaplying ads goes down when they go away in a matter of seconds to be replaced by another short-timer.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

but it only takes a half day to format a machine and reinstall everything except AOL. :D

anona.moose2
anona.moose2

Since when did text take forever to download???

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

But then, except on weekends, I can't continually monitor TR, so I'm usually catching up all at once. What I do when I want to monitor an active discussion (Friday Night Music, for example), is work in two windows. The first, in print view, is constantly refreshed. The second alternates between print view and replies.

jdclyde
jdclyde

it doesn't mark a post as read or not, so it is hard to follow if people continue to post through out the discussion. I will read in print mode, and while I am reading, launch many of the posts in new tabs and then close the tabs down just to get them marked.

vucliriel
vucliriel

... about this site. It is SLOW even in Opera and it tends to redraw the whole thing, just like you said. I turn everything off and use the Accessibility layout and it's still not user/content friendly. Often, site owners believe they can pull the wool over users' eyes, because marketing tells them users are sheep and this website is just another "income generating vehicle"... Well these money men and beancounters chose a poor place to try their deceiving ways on. Seems they forgot this IS a technical forum ;) Let them know how you feel!!!

JCitizen
JCitizen

And thanks for your very gentlemanly treatment of fellow members; I wish I had such couth! :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But "not naive" is one of the nicer names. cheers JC.

vucliriel
vucliriel

... and I'm sorry that the meaning of my comments may have been misunderstood because of my somewhat brash manner, but I certainly won't apologize for the *spririt* of my opinions, no matter how 'ill informed' some may think they may be on a more *technical* level... As for Neon Samurai, I agree he's very knowledgeable and professional, and I truly respect that. I would probably not have been interested responding to his posts otherwise. As in all discussions, it's nothing personal, but purely philosophical. We CAN disagree on certain things, can't we? Or is debate not permitted? Besides, I believe Neon can see that for himself and can certainly answer in a intelligent manner like he did after another post of mine (much appreciated, Man!). BTW, JCitizen, I apreciate YOUR postings as well :)

JCitizen
JCitizen

Neon is the last member I would call naive at TechRepublic.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I am in complete agreement about the quality of Vista, I was only meaning to point out that this is not the discussion for that and that there are many, many other "I hate Microsoft and [version of Windows]" circlejerks going on in the forums. One of those discussions may be more apropriate a place to focus on Vista specifically. I also admire your enthusiasm but I suspect you've joined and started posting without doing any lurking at all to know the forums and regular posters. I say this because you give the impression that your the first person ever to realize the curruption of capitalism that is Microsoft. You've got a long list of FOSS loving friends here, including me, if you can back off a bit and take a less confrontational aproach. I mean, "Look back a decade".. Most of us have read the Halloween files and Microsoft/Computer history (the two are coupled after all now) if not having lived through it. Please don't assume naivete. Corporate law has always been about maximum investor's benefits at minimum cost (ie. end user benefits). Make no mistake, Bill Gates is a business genious that happens to know computers; not a computer geek that got lucky in business. Microsoft, like other corp it' size have been refined too the bleeding edge of corporate law (and beyond in the case of MS in the US). Javascript should be supported within your browser though IE prefering MS-Java over Java sucks. Javaapplets will require the Java Runtime Environment (I'm thinking script does too now but i'm too lazy to confirm today). Flash, totally overused along with so much else that only makes first time users and marketing people gooshy. I really do miss when I could open a graphic page in Netscape (remember "standalone"?) then open the same page in Linx and have it degrade gracefully as readable without the GUI bling. That's where this whole discussion started after all. Flash, being the cool marketing toy, does not justify a websites "support" area, one large Flash menu app, becoming completely unusable without Flash. (this is a hardware vendors site too)

vucliriel
vucliriel

... when the machine you are trying to clean forces you to use an operating system that forces you into slavery, like Vista does, you are basically stuck. And the fact is, more and more computer makers and/or BIOS manufacturers are forced by Micro$hit to make their machines not accept any other operating system but Vista. I admire your enthusiasm, but your naivete surprises me. You just need to look back a decade to see how things have changed to remove power away from the user towards the corporations. It's exactly the same with websites that won't work unless you install or use javascript, flash and all that other utterly useless, offensive, bandwidth robbing junk.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

And then you'll have to keep pressing page down. To quote some guy from the back end of nowhere, "That's f*cking annoying, I'll tell you."