Introducing Unchecky

Nowadays it’s a reality that many software installations are bundled with potentially unwanted programs, such as toolbars or scareware system cleaners. If you’re a power user, you probably know that you have to be very careful while installing software, because if you miss a checkbox you might spend hours afterwards cleaning up the mess. If you’re an average PC user, you possibly leave everything by default, thus installing lots of additional unwanted programs without even knowing it.

I always thought that it’s wrong to provide these potentially unwanted programs by default, but the reason for this is clear: the more users install these, the more money the setup owner makes, usually at the expense of your privacy. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, thanks to Unchecky!



Unchehky’s primary feature is automatic unchecking of unrelated offers, such as potentially unwanted programs, offers to change your homepage or your search engine. With Unchecky, these offers become opt-in instead of opt-out, i.e. they will be installed only if you explicitly choose you want them (you usually don’t).

Another important feature of Unchecky is that it warns when you accept a potentially unwanted offer. Installers often provide them as a natural part of the installation, so they can easily be accepted by mistake. With Unchecky, it’s less likely to accidentally accept such offers.

Unchecky is not an universal solution, and might not support installers which were not released yet. Thus, it’s worth noting that Unchecky updates automatically, so you don’t have to worry about running the latest version.

You can get a beta version of Unchecky at unchecky.com.

Posted in Releases, Software by RaMMicHaeL at November 25th, 2013.
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41 Responses to “Introducing Unchecky”

  1. chodorowicz says:

    Magic! :)
    Do you have to create special rules for each installer or are you using some kind of heuristic to detect unwanted features?

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      There are minimal detection rules for each installer, but the rest is generic as far as it can be. If the installer is typical enough, it might take no more than a couple of minutes to add support to it.

  2. Nobruca says:

    Awesome!

    If you ever plan on localizing Unchecky, I can help you translate it into Brazilian Portuguese.

    best regards,

    Bruno.

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      A localization would be great, but for Unchecky it’s something beyond just translating the GUI.

      Currently Unchecky supports two languages, English and Russian, both made by me. For Russian, I had to extend the filters to include numerous Russian companies which tend to include offerware. These filters require some experimenting with various installers, so that as many checkboxes would be captured, and with as little false positives.

      Are there any Brazilian companies which tend to include similar offers, too?

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      I’ve updated the online FAQ to include information about translating Unchecky.
      http://unchecky.com/faq

  3. Nighted says:

    Power users, like myself, sandbox these installers and extract only the binaries necessary to run the program. ;)

    I will have a look at this as it looks very interesting and unique. You rock.

  4. Martin says:

    So cool .

  5. Amore says:

    Hey!

    What an absolutely amazing tool, simply sensational!!!
    Would be great to have a way to update it though. Because now all I can think of it manually uninstall it, and then install a new(er) version again. I mean, this is OK, but a bit time consuming.

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      Hi!

      In general, Unchecky updates automatically, and you should have the new version in no more than 24 hours.
      I agree, though, that sometimes you might want to update manually. Currently there’s no straightforward way to do that, and it’s on my TODO list.

      For now, you can run the setup with the “-update” command line switch.

  6. Oleg Zotov says:

    Hi RaMMicHaeL! Could you add to your program with solution for QIP (http://welcome.qip.ru/im). Together with QIP are installing “QIP Guard” and another search service for your browser.

  7. Drew says:

    Awesome, I’d still read them just to be sure especially if it’s one you’ve never came across “new companies and whatnot”.

    They can be tricky bastards with their TOS:
    By smashing your PC into a million pieces you agree to install our toolbar, forfeit your soul to the NSA, only use 8-track, and let us have our way with your wife whenever we want! Just kidding about the wife, but your mangina is ours “Dr. Evil Laugh” O_O

  8. DartKane says:

    Это очень интересно. Очень удобно для неопытных пользователей.
    Буду эксперементировать на знакомых блондинках =)
    Кстати. Если найду программу, в которой будут не там стоять галочки – куда я могу отослать скриншот с правильной расстановкой галочек?

  9. The Colonel says:

    Don’t know if others have experienced this but Avast anti-virus claims there is a virus in this program.

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      You’re not the first one to report about Avast detecting Unchecky as malicious. Looks like a false positive.
      I’ll ask them to remove the detection, and I’d be grateful if you’ll do the same.

  10. alexity says:

    hello !

    is there a way to install/uninstall unchecky silently ?
    is there any command line option ?

    Regards

  11. DOSaMMa says:

    HoW ComE — yOU HaVE A GerMan Name RaM Michael — and NO speak GerMan??? Are you rEaL?

  12. Bogdan_G says:

    This program, it would be a great bat to pests added to the installer, but it is a problem. Virus Total w PeStudio i w Virus Total online show TrendMicro-HouseCall,TROJ_GEN.F47V1225,20131226 w instalatorze tego programu.

  13. Lukasz032 says:

    Hey, great work with the app :)
    Folks at DobreProgramy.pl wrapped your app with their crapware installer, as I see….
    Does your app block their “offers” as well?

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      Hi,
      Seems like it offers the custom installer only for Polish IPs.
      Even after I managed to download the bundled file, it doesn’t seem to provide offers, even for a Polish IP. That’s a good thing, but I can’t add support for it in Unchecky without seeing how offers look like.

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      P.S. if you’re getting offers with it, and would like to help me add support to it, tell me and we’ll sort it out :)

      • Lukasz032 says:

        Yeah, I’ve just had a dig at websites with crapware downloaders bundled. These installers are very similar, and every single installer has a different set of making-life-harder options.

        My picks:
        (Legend: red = crapware/trojan/riskware danger, green = safe)

        1) Dobreprogramy.pl – they serve only 1 offer per installation, there is a button. [Screenshot]
        2) PCWorld.pl – checkboxes and radiobuttons, here is a [screenshot]. Also a [bug] included at no additional cost (:
        3) Komputerswiat.pl – their downloader is a real scamware whore, during your app download they tried to sideload crapware [1] [2] [3] [4] times, also once with known [malware]! But there is always the same button which does all the work (:

  14. Steve Sybesma says:

    Someone screwed that domain; it’s offering some unknown thing to install, but it’s not Unchecky…suspicious. Maybe the PUP authors got together and hacked it?

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      I had some problems with the previous hosting, and eventually had to move the website to a new one.
      Because it takes time for the domain to update its DNS, what you’re seeing is probably ads from the previous hoster.
      I believe the website should resolve correctly now. Please let me know if it doesn’t.

  15. Ivor says:

    Vipre is not letting me install Unchecky, it gives a positive result of Adware installer!

  16. Escritoire says:

    Dear sir,

    many thanks and congratulations for this great little program, very useful!

    Curently, I’m investigating a problem: only with AVAST antivirus FULL release, the booting of windows 7 SP1 fully udated (Checked on 64 bits release only) can take up to 25 mins on a 4 core laptop with a SSD.
    Once unchecky removed, the computer gets back its booting speed.

    This might come from another installed software but the installation is pretty something of a standard one and unchecky runs fine on many other computer (Unchecks the required boxes, no slow down at boot).

    This was just for info, FWIW.

    Please keep up the good work of this precious piece of program.

    Best regards.

    Escritoire

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      Hi Escritoire,

      Thanks for your feedback.
      You’re the first one to report such an issue. Unchecky doesn’t integrate so deeply into the system, and shouldn’t affect the booting speed. You’ve mentioned that the issue happens only with Avast installed. Perhaps there’s some kind of incompatibility between Avast and Unchecky. Have you reported the issue to Avast?

      Regards.

  17. TomS says:

    Now Unchecky was joking me, because i used Process Hacker 2.33 and it shows me many connetions to tracking.opencandy.com.s3.amazonaws.com
    if unchecky is running… but i cant find an OpenCandy DLL

    I found Process Hacker used the first row in the HOSTS File with 0.0.0.0 to show local connections, but Unchecky set this row to tracking.opencandy.com.s3.amazonaws.com

    i add a new row with 0.0.0.0 localhost0.0.0.0 and no message with opencandy is showing

  18. Eppo says:

    When you install a programm, allways choose: custom or something like that.
    You can uncheck yourselff

    Thanks!

  19. Ray says:

    Hi Ram,
    Great idea, this unchecky program. Often these ‘bundlers’ are sneaky, as they will confuse you with options/mandatory clicks that seem part of the main installation, but aren’t.
    I was wondering if there was a way to run unchecky before installing a program, and then to remove it afterwards. Is there a reason to keep it hooked into the system and on the ready besides convenience/availability/update checks?I install software intermittently, and really see no need to keep unchecky installed itself. As you mentioned, sometimes missing a checkbox, can take a long time to remove the unwanted item, so, thanks a whole lot for Unchecky. Computing in some ways really SUX today(especially with the new Micrap-soft OS, Windows 8/8.1, an unwieldy, bloated, high overhead, with constant unexplained hangups, code loops which are unstoppable except by yanking power)as hardware became faster, with larger HDDs, Flash drives, Dual core CPUs, etc. programmers/software coders have become lazy, shotgunners, who, instead of writing precise, tight code due to RAM and hardware speeds constraints of yesteryear, now, because technology has exceeded quite higher expectations in speed and size, they have become lazy, 20 question programmers for each action using their high level programming, bases of C++, VisualBasic, etc. So, where a more time consuming and less likely for error program in Assembly that requires real work for them, they opt for using speedy machines and sloppy shotgun code for necessary actions, the result of which, for us users, is pain in the ass glitches, unreproducible errors, a constant barrage of cryptic explanations whose solutions are basic run around, and re-invent the wheel types that link after link ends up taking you right back where you started with still no solution.
    >10 years of XP Prof on 3 machines, with post SP3, and since 2007 virtually error free, compared to 1 year(of what seems like every 10-15 minutes failures)Upgrade to latest technology Laptop PC, also upgrade of Win 7 to Win 8, then time with 8.1 that changed little in the way of errors. So I bought an almost identical Laptop and used Win 7, no problems, until upgrading to Win dows 8.1 from 7, so I now have 2 Laptops that Micrap-soft has turned into 2 Craptops due to their OS, and geuss what Linux, and Apple aren’t what I’d call competition, so like Comcast Cable SIT BACK and SUCK ON IT is the phrase for us users.
    Unchecky is an improvement in software I use.
    One problem(feedback for you)Unchecky worked as indicated for some time, then I was upgrading(via a clean install of it) youtube downloader(version 4.5, I think, and the checkbox for Yahoo was checked, no matter how many times I installed/uninstalled both Unchecky and the Downloader, checkbox “Make Yahoo my homepage…” somehow got around your Unchecky, and the checkbox was checked every time, and I even tried former software I had installed previously where the box was unchecked as it should have been. It has just made me aware of the glitch, which I should have told you of sooner, but as I mentioned, I don’t install too often new stuff that bundles up.
    Great program, RaM and I am considering a donation as soon as I can, as your work deserves both recognition and monetary compensation. The time I’ve saved in installations, and having to be less concerned with the crappifying of my PC with unwanted junk, is, maybe, immeasurable.

    • RaMMicHaeL says:

      Hi Ray,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      I was wondering if there was a way to run unchecky before installing a program, and then to remove it afterwards.

      You can install it before installing software, and uninstall it afterwards, but I don’t think that’s a good idea. In general, Unchecky is very lightweight, and shouldn’t affect performance while running.

  20. My job is the help users stay safe on their computer and on the internet. I do computer security related seminars for computer clubs and other groups of computer users.
    Unchecky is one of the programs that I always recommend to avoid many of the pitfalls associated with the use of a default install of a program. I know it has prevented countless useless toolbars for being installed from unsuspecting users.
    Thanks for this excellent product.

    Norbert (Bob) Gostischa
    http://bob3160.blogspot.com/

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