Don’t install free applications from the Internet without understanding what else may be installed (if at work – make sure it’s permitted by your organization’s policy)Even commonly used applications (e.g., Flash, Java) may install additional programs – make sure you deselect the option to install the “promoted” apps.If you already have one of these applications or toolbars how do you get rid of it?If you find you have installed something you didn’t want, you’ll need to uninstall it manually. The first place to check is the Programs or Add/Remove Programs application within the Control Panel (on Windows). You may also need to look at the add-ons or extensions within each browser and remove from there, and possibly reset your homepage and default search engine if they’ve been changed.Author: Stephen Judd (+Stephen Judd, @sjudd)This article (I downloaded what?) was originally published Thursday July 18, 2013 on the Military Families Learning Network blog, a part of eXtension. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. As computer users, we often run into situations where we need an additional program to accomplish something, and it often happens at the last minute. Beware of what additional software may be hitching a ride with that nifty little program!ScenarioAn educator, Chris, wants a copy of a YouTube video to show to a class while not online (we’ll disregard the copyright caveats today). The educator next door suggests that Chris download a YouTube capture program to save the video locally. Being a saavy user, Chris goes to a site like download.com because they screen for malware and are owned by CBS.Chris finds the program and clicks the download link. Since there’s only an hour until the workshop, Chris clicks that they’ve read the user agreement and accepts all of the install defaults. Chris captures the YouTube video and uses it in the presentation and is quite pleased.The next day, Chris’ homepage and default search engine have been changed, and there are all sorts of links and ads on pages where there shouldn’t be.What happened?When Chris installed the program, the installer included a bunch of “helpful” applications (most in the form of browser add-ons) that modified the browser. These changes result in special affiliate links and ads that generate income for the company that created the installer.While small software utilities are often “free” to the end-user, they do cost time and money to develop and maintain. Developers realize that users like Chris may not be willing to pay for an application that only gets used a handful of times. So the developer works with a company that packages the installer for their app, and in return gets paid for each download.Now Chris isn’t happy, and the IT department probably isn’t either. These tag alongs can be difficult to remove and can ruin the user experience on the web.TakeawaysDon’t just accept the defaults, be aware of what other programs are being installedYou don’t really need a toolbar, coupon reminder, or the like.