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Foxit updates free PDF reader to v4, but watch out for adware

I got a heads-up email today that Foxit Reader -- one of the most widely-used Adobe Reader alternatives -- had released a new version. Curious, I headed over to the site to download and install the new version. After all, Foxit's popularity means our readers might be interested in reading about a major version update.

During the installer's first couple of screens, the Ask toolbar was offered -- not a bit deal, really. It's included in plenty of apps nowadays. It does, however, default to being checked, so make sure you uncheck it (unless you're the type who likes to cram as many toolbars as possible into Internet Explorer).

After seeing the Ask toolbar offered, I chose to do a custom install -- just in case Foxit defaulted to including anything else I didn't want. I noted eBay shortcuts and unchecked them, and then got a rather rude surprise (take the jump to see what):
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As you can see, I don't have any boxes checked on this page...A few clicks later, however:

update: as Matt points out below, it's all in the wording. Though the boxes are unchecked, you've still got to click decline in order to proceed without getting the toolbar. Counterintuitive to say the least -- I'm kind of used to needing to click accept in order to continue the install process.

... and the installer tells me it's going to install the Foxit Search Bar. This time, however, there's nowhere for me to uncheck the toolbar to prevent its installation. I tried the install twice, and sure enough -- both times I received the Ask toolbar.

Whether this is a mistake or not makes no difference to me -- and if it is a mistake, it's one that should have been detected during the testing process. I'll happily continue using the Google Docs online viewer and Sumatra for my offline PDF reading needs.

If you choose to include a toolbar installer with your application, that's fine. But I'd prefer it if you would 1) make it opt-in and not opt-out and 2) not try to spring it on me later during the install.

Tags: adware, ask toolbar, AskToolbar, fail, foxit, pdf

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