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Here’s Why You Should Always Choose “Custom” When Installing Software

When you install most applications you’ll get a prompt for a custom or full install. It seems so easy to just click full and let the installer go to work–but you’re asking for a slower computer, a load of toolbars, and crapware if you do.

Over at 7Tutorials they decided to see just what would happen if you downloaded popular software applications and let the installer go to town with the “full” option. What they found is that letting an installation app have free run of your machine is a great way to turf your computer’s performance. How big of a performance hit can you expect? Here’s one of the many downsides of letting installation software make changes unchecked:

39% (13 out of 33) of installed applications set themselves to run at the Windows startup even though, in most cases, the functionality being offered is not required by the user at each Windows startup. The only exceptions to this rule are security software or drive emulators.

The end result is longer boot timings and added user annoyance with each login. All the applications added a total of 46 seconds to my system’s initial 52 seconds boot timing. To put things in perspective, this makes for boot procedure slower by 88% compared to the initial timings on my clean computer. To contribute to my annoyance, at each startup I was also welcomed by a huge number of open windows (all requesting something from me), unwanted desktop gadgets and lots of desktop shortcuts.

Hit up the link below for a full tour of the 33 apps they installed and the break down of which apps installed toolbars, startup entries, and otherwise slowed down the machine.

8 Ways Quick Application Installations Ruin Performance [7Tutorials]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/20/11

Comments (16)

  1. dima

    This is very true and very important for anyone who installs lots of free/open source software.

  2. Demonkunga

    I’m so glad my parents don’t download crap, install crap or do anything other than basic web browsing. I’ve been tempted to move them over to Jolicloud or ChromeOS, but they watch movies on their computers, so I can’t.

  3. Jeremy

    @Demonkunga
    Why not move them over to another linux distrobution like Ubuntu or one of their spin offs?

  4. Ted

    Simply choosing “custom install” is no solution in most cases. Few apps give you the opportunity to prevent being added to Windows startup no matter what the case.

    A lightweight and great tool to flag and remove such annoyances, including most of the potentially unwanted software tricks, is the freeware WinPatrol. While it’s not quite a full-fledged HIPS system, it gives you the opportunity to stop quite a bit of the system-slowing annoyances created by such other software.

  5. Henry

    hence nnite http://ninite.com

  6. sado

    Just another reason to use ninite.com. It installs apps using the least intrusive settings.

  7. Steve-O-Rama

    It’s probably worth cruising through your machine’s startup list (using msconfig). I’ve found many miscreants in there, many by HP, some by Google, most by Adobe. Jerks.

  8. Irene Greenberg

    I’m not sure which parts of an installation can be omitted without causing trouble, or for that matter, going in afterwards and deleting files I don’t need. Any guidance?

  9. Gary

    Ditto to Irene’s comment. If a clever someone would put up a post on how to clean out the unneeded startup entries from the registry it would be great. I don’t think disabling them from msconfig will return any speed and overhead to the startup.

  10. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @Irene Greenberg: Most of the time when you select “custom” install you’re not really given the option to outright omit key things the application requires. Usually it just allows you to specify a different directory and which add-on components you’d like. In nearly all cases the add on components are crapware apps you don’t want (i.e. browser toolbars).

  11. Roy

    Custom is the way to go although it takes time on the initial rebuild. Ninite is great but puts everything on drive C: while I prefer to keep most programs away from the operating system.

  12. Alan Jay

    I would recommend that everyone considers installing WinPatrol from BillPStudios. This will warn you when a program is installing and will ask if you want to proceed. It is particularly useful when an attempt is being made to put the new program into the start-up menu. Their is a free edition which gives basic information about programs that are installed as well as a professional version which gives pretty detailed information for a one off (small) fee which entitles the user to all future upgrades.

  13. jthelw

    The most annoying thing to me is the installation of unwanted Toolbars; this is one of the items you can usually head off by specifying the custom install option.

  14. deannbryant

    my roomate’s half-sister makes $69 an hour on the computer. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her check was $7446 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here…thinfi.com/7py

  15. cactusdr

    I’ve been fortunate. Since I started home computing in 1997 I have never installed an application by allowing the app the install the “Full” or “Complete” install. My primary reason was that I didn’t want to take up valuable space on a massive 32MB hard drive with a bunch of foreign languages. Back then toolbars were hardly in existence, so space saving was the primary motive. Nowadays, there’s the app, but the primary install is all the shitware. If I were a parent with young kids at home, I would definitely forbid them from installing ANY application and make sure to run the tried and true Spybot tool once a week to be certain. Mine have left home and I still get phone calls from them that their laptop is slow, freezes or all the other dangers of allowing the installer to install everything it wants. Invariably, Spybot, CCleaner, Malwarebytes and Glary will find all the garbage and they are happy again until their next install. Some people never learn.

  16. rooney

    If there’s no need for specific windows app, just use linux. No viruses and simple program package instalation. You can watch movies, browse internet , listen to the music etc, just like in windows or mac but thanks to the community of volunteers, you have to pay nothing. As it is a community project it probably don’t have a look of newest commercial software but the functionality is there and without annoyance of viruses and malware.

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