AOL Is Malware/Spyware/Bloat/Etc.

I’ve spent the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and the few days after, on Long Island at my parent’s place.

My mother is a typical 60+ year old in that she cannot fully understand the Internet or computers. My sisters and I have bought her computers over the years so she can use “the emails” and go to Marc Anthony’s web site (she’d leave my father and never speak to us again if Marc asked her to).

To make it “easy” for her to use the Internet we set her up with an AOL account. This is years ago when AOL was in version 6 or 7. I’ve been sans work laptop during this trip and have been using my mom’s computer.

One word. Wow.

I cannot believe AOL’s software install isn’t flagged with the Federal govt’s cybercrimes division. I did a bit of a test with it, just for sh*ts and giggles, and here’s some of the results.

First, my mom’s machine’s specs 1GB ram, 2.5Ghz processor.

AOL 9.1. I uninstalled, then re-installed it. Upon the install I answered a million questions and waited for a good 1/2 hour for it to download a bunch of stuff. What the software DID NOT DO was ask me questions about how I want AOL installed. For instance… it put AOL launch icons in:

  1. The systray
  2. The programs menu
  3. The start menu
  4. My desktop
  5. As a right-click option
  6. In the IE browser favorites
  7. AOL added an AOL search bar to IE
  8. The install changed the IE home page to AOL.com
  9. Lastly, AOL has no setting or option/config menu to keep it from running in the background. If it’s on your machine, it’s running. End. Of. Story.

It’s insane how much AOL does to almost completely takeover someone’s experience with their computer.

Oh and the second phase of my test… I did a little alt+cntrl+del and viewed processes. AOL was absorbing, even when it wasn’t running (other than in the systray), 45MB of memory and putting CPU usage at a minimum of 25%!!!! WTF?!?

When I removed AOL and used IE-only, no CPU spikes, no screen drawing, no clicks that took 25 to 30 seconds for a system response.

I want to cancel my mother’s AOL subscription but I don’t have 2 free hours to try to get through their tangled web of customer “service” numbers and prompts.

It’ll be a good day for the Internet when AOL shuts down as a faux ISP and focuses only on the aol.com portal and content.

Until then AOL, expect your business to continue to dwindle. And ffs, can’t you see why?

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