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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Friday, February 24, 2006
Reason #25443
Why I refuse to install the add-on components that come on a DSL installation CD.

My Mom e-mailed me today and said that when she clicked on a link in Outlook, it was prompting her to sign on to her old DSL provider (name withheld), which they had recently cancelled. That was a problem, as they couldn't sign on any more.

As most of you know, when you order DSL, they send you the hardware (DSL modem, filters, etc.) and they also send you an installation CD. Now, in all actuality, NONE of the programs on the CD are needed in order to connect to your DSL. Granted, there may be some worthwhile applications on the CD, but I can do without installing any of them just fine thankyouverymuch.

So, on to troubleshooting. I check Internet Explorer settings and find that the DSL provider is set as the default mail application, so I change that to Outlook, then quit IE and Outlook, but the same thing happens. OK, this is weird. Now, I check Add/Remove programs, and find a whole slew of applications that are from the old DSL company. So, I remove them. There ended up being I think 7-8 total applications varying from troubleshooting tools to browser toolbars to parental controls. None of them needed any longer (but they really didn't need to be installed in the first place either). After uninstalling, it wanted a reboot (which I didn't want to do at that time). I tried a link in Outlook now, and all was good. It simply opened Internet Explorer and went to the website that the link pointed to. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

I don't fault my parents for installing those applications. The DSL providers try to make it as easy as possible to get set up (plug in hardware, insert CD, follow instructions). For those that are not computer literate, or don't work in IT, this method actually works well. Until the service is cancelled, that is. As it was with my parents, I think the tendency is to forget that you installed the programs and then you are left wondering how to fix what is going on. Luckily, my parents have 2 sons that both work in IT, who can fix any problems that they run across. Others may not be so lucky though.
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