Is It Malware?

Amark found OpenCandy on a PC, and asked the Utilities forum if it's malicious.

There's some controversy about OpenCandy. It's certainly unwanted advertising.

OpenCandy is an ad server that developers can integrate into their installation programs. It tries to sell you on installing a second program along with the one you want.

On the downside, OpenCandy promotes products when you're trying to get something done, leaves files and Registry keys behind on your computer, and sends aggregate (but not personal) data back to the company. That fits broad definitions of adware and spyware.

On the other hand, it doesn't operate in the background, or do anything when you're not installing an OpenCandy-equipped program. It also, I suspect, helps a lot of people who are writing and giving away free software. Besides, the OpenCandy FAQ gives clear and detailed instructions for removing it from your computer. You don't find that with real malware.

Read the original forum discussion.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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