Waterfox 15 & AVG

IMPORTANT: Waterfox is an UNOFFICIAL (not supported, affiliated, sponsored, etc.by Mozilla Corp.) 64-Bit redistribution of Firefox for Windows.

I am really getting tired of applications trying to sneakily install security software/toolbars. Java and Flash have been doing this with their recent updates. Avast! has their ‘web rep’ plugin that it likes to install on ALL your browsers. The latest offender (and a major one at that) is Waterfox 15. After downloading Waterfox 15 and uninstalling Waterfox 14 (more on this in a bit) I went through the install process. After the initial install screen and selecting where I wanted shortcuts placed I was taken to a screen asking how I wanted to do the installation:

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

In order to NOT install the AVG crap, you need to select Custom Installation and make sure none of the options are checked. Now, when I uninstalled Waterfox 14, I did so the Windows Control Panel method. However, in order to get a screenshot of the install screen I tried running the installer again and was given the choice to add/remove features (which was about a half dozen AVG related items), repair or uninstall. I selected the uninstall option and got really unhappy when Avast! alerted me that it had blocked the program from attempting to install Trojan Horse Malware. This caused the Waterfox installer (or uninstall to freeze), so I fired up System Explore and discovered an AVG installer was running in the background. After terminating the AVG installer, the Waterfox installer alerted me that the install was interrupted and could not continue. I went into the Windows Control Panel and just manually removed Waterfox.

Since I wanted to still use this profile, I just re-assigned it to Firefox 16 Beta via the ProfileManager application I use. Upon launching Firefox 16 Beta, I noticed my default search engine was now AVG Secure Search. Looking at the plugin in the add-ons manager there was an AVG Security Toolbar, that was installed but disabled. Went back into the Windows Control Panel and sure enough I saw AVG Security Toolbar was installed. I was able to remove it and now my default search engine is back to Google.

Because of the above incident I am no longer going to use or endorse Waterfox. It does not bother me that they are partnering with AVG as long as we have a choice if we want to install the toolbar. What angers me is that when using the Waterfox uninstall tool (unlike Firefox, you must install older version of Waterfox in order to update) it takes it upon itself to install the AVG Security Toolbar without the user’s consent. So, if you already have Waterfox on your machine and want to remove it, use the Windows Control Panel. The Waterfox 15 page includes in the list of features “Optional AVG Security Search“. It ain’t optional if you try to remove Waterfox. It also talks about an updater that doesn’t sound it is working correctly.