Installing third-party programs isn’t the minefield it was during the good ol’ days of Windows XP. But every now and then, some desktop apps still try to sneak annoying toolbars and other software past you during installation.
Known as bundleware, the options to not install these additional programs can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. That’s where a utility called Unchecky can come in handy, by watching over third-party installations so that you don’t have to. It should work with most software and is well worth using when it does.
Checking in with Unchecky
Visit the Unchecky website and click the big, orange Download button on the front page. Install the program as you normally would—it should be a quick process.
Unchecky works in the background, monitoring the desktop programs you install. If a program tries to sneak in some extra bundleware, Unchecky will deselect the option for you.
If you attempt to install a program that doesn’t use a standard Windows installer, such as WinZip and some programs from Download.com, Unchecky will warn you if you’re about to install extra programs. That way, you have the option of declining the offer before it sneaks past you.
Unchecky also keeps a running total of all the bundleware you’ve avoided. To see this tally in Windows 8.1, click Start and select Unchecky from the ‘All apps’ screen.
That’s pretty much all there is to Unchecky.
If you ever feel Unchecky isn’t doing its job and want to uninstall the program, open the Control Panel and select Programs and Features in the large or small icons view. Windows 8.1 users can get there more quickly by right-clicking the Start button and choosing Programs and Features.
You can select Unchecky from the list of programs installed on your PC and click the Uninstall button toward the top of the window.
It’s a bundleware jungle out there for Windows desktop users, but with Unchecky, sneaky desktop installs get just a little bit easier to avoid.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.