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Whenever you install a new piece of software, you are often presented on-screen with a EULA (End User License Agreement). This is the contract that you enter into with the software company and you have to accept it for the download to start. But let’s be honest – how many people actually read the EULA? If you used to be like me, you just click “agree” without reading it and hope that there isn’t a clause in the agreement that says that Bill Gates can repossess your house in the middle of the night whenever he feels like it.

But not reading a EULA can be dangerous. For example, if you accept a EULA without reading it, you could be inadvertantly agreeing to have spyware installed on your computer or private user data transmitted back to the company. Later on, there’s no recourse to complain – because it was in the EULA and you clicked on “agree”. The fact that you didn’t read it is no defense.

So a freeware software program called EULAlyzer could mean the difference between wearing your shirt and losing it.

When you begin to install a new program and a EULA pops up, you would copy and paste the entire EULA into the EULAlyzer. You would then click the “analyze” button and it begins to very quickly scan the text for what it calls “interesting words and phrases”, such as “spyware”, “virus”, “sell your soul to the Devil”, “you must kiss Steve Jobs on the lips” and so on. It will then give you a complete list of what it thinks you should look at before you click the “accept” button (see screenshot above). Each word or phrase is graded in order of seriousness (the “Interest Level”) and clicking on a particular phrase will take you directly to it in the EULA so you can read it in full.

A very simple tool but an extremely useful one. You can download EULAlyzer from here. If you would like a EULA to try out the software, here’s one for Windows XP Home Edition.


Have you ever found any interesting / weird / downright unethical clauses in a EULA? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Mark O'Neill
    December 12, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    This post has just made Lifehacker USA and Lifehacker Australia!

  2. Linda Martin-Peoples
    December 11, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Hi Jason!

    3rd paragraph under screen shot...

    "So a freeware software program called EULAlyzer could mean the difference between wearing your shirt and losing it." on EULAlyzer...takes you right to it!

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    This definitely looks like a "must-have" to me!
    Thanks Mark!


    • Aibek
      December 11, 2007 at 3:28 pm

      Totally agree, this is a must-have one. Please note, you can also use for web applications.

  3. Jason
    December 10, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Cannot download from that link.