How-To Geek

How To Install the New Digsby Without Getting Crapware

Once again, there’s a major new version of Digsby, the multi-protocol instant messenger client that works pretty well… if you can deal with some of their unethical past. Last year, we told you to be careful not to install junk software when installing Digsby, then we figured out that Digsby had joined the dark side, and started using your PC to make money without giving you a real choice in the matter.

They partially repented of their ways, making things a bit more transparent—and we’re happy to have pushed them towards the light… but their installer still leaves crapware checked by default, so users that don’t know any better are installing worthless toolbars and allowing Digsby to use their PC for research projects.

First, during the install there’s a screen where you’ll need to uncheck BOTH boxes to keep from installing the absolutely pointless Ask Toolbar. (Seriously, who would want that?)


Then, on the very last screen, make absolutely certain that you UNCHECK the two boxes at the bottom, which are checked by default. These settings let Digsby use your PC to make money with research projects, and give them your revenue from ad clicks.


I’m sick and tired of opt-out installations that bury this stuff in the installer—to take advantage of those who are less tech-savvy. It’s a pathetic business model, and everyone who does it should be ashamed.

Download Digs…   oh never mind. No link deserved. Personally I’m sticking with Pidgin.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/18/10

Comments (23)

  1. Bailey

    I think you may have been a bit harsh on them. I also am not a big fan of opt-out installations that bury crap in there, but it’s still a good piece of software that does everything in one. Plus, they do give you the option of opting out. How would you propose they earn money for the development that is continually going on? Besides, Pidgin doesn’t even stack up to what Digsby can do. You can’t incorporate your email accounts. You can’t incorporate your social networks. In fact all you can do is IM. Sorry just not a good comparison man. Still love your work, though :)

  2. Gabriel

    It’s not that hard to keep the crapware away from your computer as long as you look at what you’re doing and don’t just click on ‘next’ until it’s done.
    And I wouldn’t blame that much those behinf Digsby because, let’s face it, they provide a good program without you having to pay them any $, the least they can do is use your machine. :P
    But really, look carefully and, if you want, allow them to install what they have there, if not, you’re ok.
    Me, personally, I’m sticking with Trillian. Been using it for too long without problems and I like it.

  3. JRod37

    LOL, I was going to post a comment that said, “The easiest way to do this is to use Revo Uninstaller to uninstall your Digsby and install Pidgin instead.” Then I read the last sentence. Wait a minute, didn’t I just post the thing I said I wasn’t going to post?

  4. Corey

    I use digsby now, but only because it seems to work better with msn(get file transfer errors frequently) and facebook(Eion Robb’s plugin works well, but occasionally glitches, and facebook jabber doesn’t work on port 80, so i cant access from school). Well, that and the popups i can type into(any way to add that to pidgin?)

  5. Ateiyev

    I think you position is quite slanted against Digsby, fine there practices in the past might have been bit unwholesome nevertheless they have a great piece of software. Pidgin doesn’t even come close to Disgby in terms of features. You are doing a great job with your website but please..we will appreciate objective analysis. Give credit when it is due.

  6. Ike

    I will stop supporting How To Geek if these scathing articles of extreme bias keep popping up, especially regarding the use of a software that I love and support.

    I was smart enough to understand how digsby works and how to opt out of their extra content (this is me calling the author of this article dumb).

    Just because the author of this article had a bad experience and a nasty surprise, doesn’t mean that everyone else did, nor that everyone else is as dumb as the author is.

    Furthermore, I sincerely doubt that the author played any significant role in bringing digsby “to the light” than any other individual.

    Treating us readers and users as ignorant as the author, and treating digsby as a villain for much less than other larger companies, and writing angry articles to support the author’s extreme personal bias in highly negative tones is every bit as unethical as the claims the author purports in this very article.

  7. Chaim Chaikin

    Right after Digsby supposedly “came clean” I tried it out and really liked it. After installing I noticed that every so often my mouse would move slightly. Also my computer would never enter the screensaver. (Probably because of the moving mouse.) I uninstalled the program and it stopped. Without accusing Digsby, has anyone had similar behaviour?

  8. The Geek


    So what you’re saying is that you’re perfectly fine with somebody stealing or abusing dumb people, as long as they give it to you for free? Whatever happened to honor?

    The fact is that Digsby was originally sneaking this stuff past people without making it optional, until we called them out on that fact. Now we will continue to hold them accountable and keep them on their toes.

    You are welcome to unsubscribe if you disagree with my position – I’m looking out for the readers, including grouchy readers that don’t bother doing their research before leaving comments.

  9. Keith

    I think you are being unfair to Digsby. Pidgin doesn’t even come close to what Digsby can do right out of the box. Yes they added these junk software things but there are plenty of other programs that do this. I think you have an ax to grind with Digsby because you don’t mention any of the other programs that ask to install these tool bars or the like.

  10. The Geek


    You clearly don’t read How-To Geek very often. We are very harsh on anybody serving up crapware, and will continue to be.

    As I said, we’re looking out for the readers. And not just the tech-savvy ones.

  11. Chris Brown

    I’m personally glad for this article and the first one telling me about them. There’s not a free or paid software available that has the right to put my fully functional PC in any danger by allowing themselves access to it after I close their software. There’s absolutely only one reason anyone would complain about this article. Hello Digsby developers

  12. WayneW

    Never Again!

  13. rzlmlchm09

    I agree with The Geek and Chris Brown.

    Anyone that tends to use similar tactics as these make me feel like I might have downloaded something illegal or loaded with malware, not just crapware.

    True quality products sell themselves and don’t require sneaky tactics in any form. I, for one, shall be avoiding Digsby until they reconsider their approach.

    Thanks How-To-Geek!

  14. Erik

    Crapware at install aside, using my PC for processing without my permission is unforgivable!

  15. SquareWheel

    dotSyntax (The company behind Disgby) has improved the process after complaints (primarily from Lifehacker), and they’re still trying to find a business model. They’ve moved the CPU Processing options to a more obvious place and included the toggle in the installer. I’m absolutely against opt-out crapware, and it’s good that you’re warning users, but it’s still a fine piece of software. The company has great customer support so go let them know that you’re not happy instead of bashing the program.

  16. Erik

    @Square Wheel – how naive to think that you can change a company’s business model by calling their customer support! Can you make a few calls for me? LOL

    No need to reply, Digsby customer support…

  17. Steve

    @Chris Brown: Digsby does not put your computer functionality in any danger and it does not allow itself access to your computer after you close the software. That is simply incorrect. If you aren’t sure how the research module functions you can read about it here:

    @The Geek: The below quote shows your true colors. Your goal isn’t to inform users during installation that there are options they may want to watch out for. It is to instruct users how to do everything they can to make sure the company which makes the product earns no revenue. That’s intentionally malicious and it shows that your intent isn’t just to inform users.

    “Then, on the very last screen, make absolutely certain that you UNCHECK the two boxes at the bottom, which are checked by default. These settings let Digsby use your PC to make money with research projects, and give them your revenue from ad clicks.”

  18. The Geek


    The title of the article is how to install digsby WITHOUT CRAPWARE. Of course I’m going to explain how to install it without any crapware. If you want crapware, don’t read the article.

    My intent is to point out that this stuff is CHECKED BY DEFAULT, and so it’s taking advantage of the less tech-savvy. And also, I’m trying to point out how to install digsby without crapware, like the title says.

    Honestly, it’s like you are all brainwashed by the cult of “free”. Mmmm, delicious Kool-aid.

  19. Richard

    My name’s Richard and I support this message.

    Regardless of how excellent the software is or isn’t they are still bundling crapware with their software. It’s unacceptable enough to have it there in the first place but even more unacceptable to do it without the users permission (initially). The article never attacked the performance of the software, just the unfriendly nature of its installer. Lay off.

  20. calebstein

    I think that the Digsby team should ditch all ads and make Digsby open source.

  21. Jim

    How tech savvy do you have to be to notice a screen with “ASK.COM” or whatever when you’re installing software? If seeing that come up when you’re installing a program totally unrelated to them isn’t a clue to read the screen instead of clicking through then I’m surprised you could figure out how to turn the computer on.

    Most free programs have something like this now, especially if they host their own websites, support forums etc. Bills have to be paid somehow.

  22. julianusginting

    thx for your information.i’ll install it soon

  23. TechnicalServiceGuy

    I have to agree with @Jim. These EULA and opt out screen are there. If I decide not to read them it is not the programers fault, it is mine. Taking responsibility is what were are talking about. Did you see the Southpark Episode with the iPad? People are ignorant and then get upset because they have contracted such malware and bloatware. I get it consatntly at my work, if they took the time to read what it was they were insatlling there wouldn’t so much of an issue. But let us face facts, people are ignorant and will always point the finger at someone else before themselves. I have Digsby and I opted for them to use my computer when I wasn’t it helps, them. They gave me good software and for free, why not help them out.

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