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Hijacking file extensions, forcing itself into context menus and downloading additional data – no, it’s not a virus, but any app you can mention from NCH Software.

They’re known online for providing good software, useful niche converters and media editors The Best Free Video Editors For Windows The Best Free Video Editors For Windows Video has become a common part of everyday life. You'd think, then, that free video editors would be common. Turns out the selection is limited for Windows users. Here are our five top choices. Read More that can do the job for you at the drop of a hat. But should you take the risk of installing a useful app if it is liable to hijack your computer in such a way?

NCH Software: Who Are They?

A slightly shadowy software publisher originating in Canberra, Australia and with a Denver Colorado, USA office supporting North American customers, NCH Software develops and releases a huge number of media and file conversion utilities.

muo-nch-software-homepage

Launched in 1993, NCH apps often appear on cover disks and can also be found across the web through popular legal app download sites.

NCH Software’s customer care is notoriously limited, and their shunning of social media makes them far less easy to contact than many of their competitors.

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Useful Software, For a Fair Price

For an appropriate price, NCH Software provides a variety of useful media and file converter applications Convert Any Video Or Audio File To Any Format & Burn Discs With Format Factory Convert Any Video Or Audio File To Any Format & Burn Discs With Format Factory Not all video conversion software is created equal. Recently, I received a DVD copy of a TV show I appeared on. I was very antsy to use the content from that DVD as advertising for... Read More , the majority of which work as advertised.

muo-nch-software-videoedit

A quick perusal of the NCH Software website may reveal a variety of “free” apps, but these are almost all trial versions with limited features. You’ll need to upgrade to the full version to unlock advanced features.

Whether you’re planning to edit photos, create DVD labels, edit audio files, digitize video or convert file formats, NCH Software has a tool that you can use.

The question is: should you?

Typical Problems Caused By NCH Software Applications

After installing an NCH Software app, you might find that it helps you deal with the urgent file conversion or media editing task that you had in mind.

It’s what you notice later on that will raise eyebrows.

The insidious creep of NCH Software will spread across your PC slowly at first. Perhaps you’ll launch an MP3, only to find it is playing in a completely different app: an NCH Software one, of course, and perhaps even one you weren’t aware of installing. File extension 2 Best Tools To Change Or Remove File Type Associations [Windows] 2 Best Tools To Change Or Remove File Type Associations [Windows] Having unused file types associated with software that you don't use isn't a big deal, but some of us are a little OCD with our Windows. That's fine, and we should have that control. Now,... Read More hijacking is pretty low, don’t you think? Certain malware scanners certainly do, highlighting some of NCH Software’s apps as malware.

Alternatively, you might notice the hijack of your context menus. Every time you right-click, something will happen, but the menu will take a while as the NCH Software entries are added.

Ultimately, you’ll realise that NCH Software has somehow taken over your PC. While McAfee and WOT don’t list these apps as malware, they’re certainly borderline and we wouldn’t advise installing Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It? Know What Software To Uninstall With Should I Remove It? Here at MakeUseOf, we've put out many articles reviewing and highlighting software that allows you to completely and cleanly uninstall applications from your system. One issue many of you run into is not knowing which... Read More any of them, free or otherwise.

NCH Toolbar Remove It

Also, NCH Software insists on bundling third party apps in its installer, taking you longer to install and run the app you were looking forward to use. The practice of adding bloatware to installers Begin The Fight Back Against Toolbar Installer Bloatware! [Opinion] Begin The Fight Back Against Toolbar Installer Bloatware! [Opinion] Recently I had cause to install some free video conversion software and was amazed to find so many attempts to fool me into installing additional software, not to mention attempts to upsell at the end... Read More  really should be banned. Sometimes they’re toolbars, other times, Google Chrome, which of course, you’re already using Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark Browser Wars: Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera, The Definitive Benchmark If you could only choose one browser, which one would it be? Which is best: Firefox, Chrome or Opera? We'll show you. Read More .

By now you may be thinking “surely NCH Software know about their software’s shortcomings and have provided support for users to deal with these issues?” It’s a reasonable point of view. Sadly, NCH has a pretty poor support system, with bug reports usually going unacknowledged.

This isn’t to say that bugs aren’t resolved – they are. However, to benefit from updates to the NCH Software that you have purchased over three months previously, you’ll need to pay for it again.

Yeah, just re-read that: pay for it again.

Problems Uninstalling NCH Software

One of the major complaints levelled at NCH Software is the difficulty users encounter when trying to uninstall the applications after discovering a bug or becoming fed-up with having other software installed.

For some reason, the standard method of uninstalling an app from NCH Software just doesn’t seem to work reliably. While their website includes steps that you should use, there are other methods that can be considered reliable. However, don’t put any money on these actually working – even if the software has been removed, the Windows Registry may remain tarnished, resulting in problems running other apps of a similar type.

You can use a slightly complicated method of uninstallation that involves browsing to c:\Program Files (86)\NCH SOFTWARE and renaming it to XXX.NCH SOFTWARE, using a familiar, easy to remember term for XXX.

muo-nch-software-regedit

From here, open the directory, and find the uninstaller program in the subfolder corresponding to the application you wish to remove. Once done, open the Windows Registry editor What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Windows Registry Editor & How Do I Use It? [MakeUseOf Explains] The Windows registry can be scary at first glance. It’s a place where power users can change a wide variety of settings that aren’t exposed elsewhere. If you’re searching for how to change something in... Read More (WIN + R > enter regedit > OK – if this doesn’t work, press WIN + R > enter CMD and from the command prompt enter regedit) and with Computer selected open Edit > Find and run a search of the registry for NCH.

Once NCH has been found, right-click, select Rename and change this to XXXNCHXXX, where XXX is something memorable. Press F3 to repeat this action on all appropriate registry entries with that name. After you see the message “Finished searching through the registry” you can close all open windows and reboot your computer, hopefully safe in the knowledge that the NCH Software applications have been completely purged.

NCH Software? No Thanks!

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is avoid NCH Software. It might not be malware 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer We would like to think that the Internet is a safe place to spend our time (cough), but we all know there are risks around every corner. Email, social media, malicious websites that have worked... Read More , but you’re unlikely to have a good experience. If you really must use it, perhaps install it in a virtual machine What Is a Virtual Machine? What Is a Virtual Machine? Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system, but why does that matter? What are the pros and cons? Read More , so you won’t have to deal with it as part of your daily computer use.

Are you using NCH Software? Have you had any problems with it, or has your experience been remarkably pleasant? We’d love to know what you think, and any solutions you’ve developed to dealing with this company’s applications.

Hit the comments!

  1. Howard
    October 20, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Time and again, my NCH Mixpad on an iMac has malfunctioned after, usually, about 18 months use. It will hang, or simply refuse to mix down. When I send a crash report as invited, I am informed there's a fix. I download it, only to find my paid-for app has been reverted to an unpaid, older version, one that limits what I can do. So I am forced to pay.
    NCH Support do try quite hard to help, if you persist, but issues continue: today I find that several earlier projects have lost all their audio. All that remains is the skeleton of my hard work: fades, level adjustments etc. Quite a lot of users say they encounter that.
    This is initially promising but utterly infuriating software. Nothing, but nothing, has so wasted my freelancing time over the past seven years.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 20, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Howard.

  2. Shugo
    October 20, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Found this too late, but I appreciate the article confirming my fears. I fell into their trap exactly as you described: I needed to do some simple audio mixing, googled and downloaded their mixing app, and then later discovered that all the filetype associations on my computer were a mess. Trying to open 7zip archives just popped up an NCH window casually offering to download and install another of their programs to open the file for me. :^) Piss off.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 20, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Shugo. Just wish more people would look into NCH before buying.

  3. Sera Qui
    October 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I cannot rename, what should I do? It doesn't available.

  4. Mike
    September 24, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I downloaded the free video trial version for my desktop and a few days later I start getting driver issues and unusual start ups. I didn't want to place the blame on the software...until I purchased it for my laptop. Same thing a few days later and now my screen doesn't even show. Thanks NCH.

  5. scoobie do
    September 15, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Interesting; but having personally known the owner of the business for many years, I'm not surprised as it reflects his borderline paranoia and lack of ease with people generally. Highly intelligent in the context of program designer, but inclined to a messiah complex and seems to like lording it over others from a safe distance. Basically; a prick.

  6. Ken
    September 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    A different point of view re: NCH support.
    This article is a little scarry. Before reading it I purchsed Express Invoices from a reputable local store and installed it. on my home office computer. My need is to access invoices and estimates on my workshop computer located in another part of my home. The invoice system installed ok and looks good but I had a lot of trouble with the network interface getting through to the installed software. Over three phone calls I spent over to two hours on the telephone with NCH customer support trying to resolve this problem. They answered the phone promptly with minimal wait time and they were incredibly patient with me. They were very through in trouble shooting the problem. Ultimately they correctly diagnosed the problem to be within the computer the software was installed on. Perhaps a hidden fire wall or malware app that I was not able to turn off. So far the solution has been to reininstall the software on the other computer and it seems to be working ok., but it is to soon for me to give the software my unqualified endorsement. I just want to comment on my positive experience with their customer support.

  7. Marcial
    August 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    It doesn't matter how good a program is, the problem is that no body is going to force you to use it. the computer is mine and no body get in mi device without my permission.

  8. David Tyler Collins
    August 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    i think NCH software is kind of hilarious. it's like they're a popular and respected software company from another dimension, an alternate earth timeline, where software and computers never went that far. i've looked at all their software. it's bizarre stuff in small, hard to explain ways.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      That's a great summary, actually David!

  9. Jason Osborn
    August 20, 2016 at 4:54 am

    I was sold this under false pretences by NCH, I was told that I couldn't use my Waves VST Plugin on the demo version unless I purchased the full version. I asked them to respectfully refund me. I have been totally brushed off with emails
    since I purchased the software!

    Thank you for contact NCH software support, As we previously mentioned, the case was already sent to our developers, based on the date of purchase/license activation date(April 24th 2016) we cannot proceed with the refund. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, as soon as we have an updates we will let you know.
    Regards,
    Sebastian
    NCH Customer Service Team

    If the date of purchase is to long ago, doesn't that say a lot about their software support as my Waves VST works with so many other Audio Editors. The only reason I chose this was because of constant high reviews!
    If you got money to throw away on a tool that MIGHT NOT do what its support team says it does, then its a great Audio Editor :(

    • Tina Sieber
      August 21, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Thank you for sharing your story, Jason! I hope others see this before falling for the same scam tactics.

  10. Helen
    August 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Hi i have recently been getting an email every time i log giving me this message can any one help do i need to do anything

    Express Invoice Invoicing Software logged the following error message:

    Cannot start service because its logon details are wrong.
    Unable to start the background service!.

    To adjust when and to whom these messages are sent, open Service Settings from the Options dialog of Express Invoice Invoicing Software.

  11. Zach
    August 12, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Woah woah woah.... Just to be clear.. renaming registry entries and program file directories does NOT uninstall the program. It just removes it's file extension associations and hides the application from the Start menu/screen (Win. 8). To completely remove the application manually, you will have to delete NCH files from the Program Files directory, the registry, your AppData folder(s), and even the Windows directory in some cases. The list can be quite extensive.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Good catch, Zach, thanks for sharing.

  12. Jeni eakins
    August 10, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Hi I do have nch software which i paid for to do my business invoices, my computar is pretty old and will be purchasing a new one how do i transfer my nch software over to my new computar.

  13. Lexi Shaw
    July 24, 2016 at 12:29 am

    After installing NCH's Videopad editor, my computer has been riddled with several popup sites, a new toolbar that I did not install myself, and several popup pages that leave you no option but to close the entire browser and start it back up again. I've tried repeatedly to clean everything out and nothing seems to work. Pages even pop up if you click on nothing while browsing. Good software, horrible, horrible experience. I've no idea what to do about it now.

  14. David Baars
    July 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I do use 2 of NCH software packages, WavePad and VideoPad, but only the free versions. Fortunately the free versions do all I need them to do.
    But, as you point out, the installer can, if left to its own devices install unwanted and spurious software on your computer. But you can prevent them loading. What you cannot do is prevent it from installing an NCH Software app on your machine and it is pig to get rif of.
    Unfortunately all the other free audio editing apps out there are useless compared to the NCH version.
    What I also will not do is pay for their software.
    I paid them once for a version of Wavepad to run on Windows 2000, then the machine failed and I had to get a new one with (wait for it), Vista. Of course the application would not run nor even install. On contacting NCH I was told I would have to purchase a complete new version, not even a current user discount. Fortunately the free version worked fine.
    I use software from other suppliers (Applian comes to mind) and they offer, usually, free or low cost upgrades. NCH will not get a penny from me.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 17, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Hi David, thanks for sharing your NCH Software experience!

  15. Denis Vandale
    June 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I want to know if debut can handle dual layer dvd, that is can it handle a video file that is 5.5 hours long. My experience with 3.01 is no! But you can't get help unless you buy the program then it is too late if I find that it cannot handle such a file. Shitty support, I just want a question answered before I buy.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 27, 2016 at 2:19 am

      That should keep you from buying that product in the first place! Hope you decided against it and found a better alternative.

  16. amyam
    June 14, 2016 at 2:21 am

    After purchasing this "software" I experienced the lack of audio (!!!) in my recordings, and wrote to NCH. They had stated that theirs was a policy of 30-day refund, no-questions asked. Another liar to add to the bunch. So I began to email them 2 weeks after trying out the shabby product, and course, no answer for two weeks, the 2 weeks went by quicklyl. And then the 30 day period for the refund passed. For all my trouble and money I received NO ANSWER to the emails I wrote. Eh. We may have lost some money, we may have wasted our time, however, the individuals at NCH lost their conscience/souls a LONG time ago, how horrible is that.

  17. howard
    May 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    COMPLAINT DESCRIPTION
    Glitches in software without a return/free replacement
    1.trying to enlarge image
    2.i used the scaling tool
    3.i saw, exactly, on repeated attempts, a distortion with just a single
    layer when applying the scale effect
    4. it has happened repeatedly, and has never properly worked

    This is exactly as i sent in the online form, according to the requested
    information.

    The 4.1 version that I had purchased contained glitches, some of which are
    only corrected with the download version offered, and which is not covered.
    These glitches were found 30 days after purchase. I feel manipulated by the
    software company, and feel I am entitled to a full coverage for the updated
    version.
    ive been dealing with this scheisty company for years, i have to take a cold shower after i deal with them, to wash their scum off of me; the shoddy character exposes itself in quirky renders, which ive kept very minimal..and, to preserve a decent video edit, time consuming run around methods to compensate for the softwares issues. The customers aren't duped,; moreso, this company is criminal, and needs to be reported to the better business bureau; if their is an offshore method, I have a friend in Australia that can help me destroy this ...garbage and put them behind bars!

    • Alysha
      June 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      NCH offers a no questions asked, money-back guarantee. Have you contacted their support asking for a refund? Also, they allow free upgrades for several months after purchase, I think it is about a year after purchase or if they do a major release that you have to pay an upgrade fee. Hope this helps.

  18. GG
    May 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I installed a converter for 3D model files and a mesh editor. They work fine, but after starting my computer today I've had constant invites to install other NCH softwares, what they call "install-on-demand". Not so bothering for the computer but quite a hassle for me, like the daily "upgrade to Windows 10 for free" message I can't get rid of. Every time I decline, a new programm appear in the start menu, I have to click on the icon, wait for the pop up and decline. I think I'm uninstalling the programms very fast, and checking my registry right after.

    ***EDIT***
    Done, By the way, I noticed that beside the programms I had installed (Spin 3D and MEsh Converter) there was a third exe file which happened not to be removed with the uninstall [assimpext.exe], I eventually deleted it as I suspect it was the component responsible for the intrusive NCH policy. Ran Ccleaner, and it looks fine.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 19, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience GG! Sad to see NCH has not modified its bad habits :(

    • Alysha
      June 13, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Sorry for your frustration and glad to hear you had no problems with uninstall. With its free programs, NCH hopes that you will also try their other programs. I can see how it can be annoying, but free is always nice!

  19. GG
    May 19, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    I installed a converter for 3D model files and a mesh editor. They work fine, but after starting my computer today I've had constant invites to install other NCH softwares, what they call "install-on-demand". Not so bothering for the computer but quite a hassle for me, like the daily "upgrade to Windows 10 for free" message I can't get rid of. Every time I decline, a new programm appear in the start menu, I have to click on the icon, wait for the pop up and decline. I think I'm uninstalling the programms very fast, and checking my registry right after.

  20. Linda Taylor
    April 9, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I purchased NCH Wavepad on a disk from Beach Software and when I tried to install it McAfee told me that the install file contained a Trojan. Aretmis!AB03D50519FB. I am just frustrated and afraid to allow it to install especially after reading the above information. I am really wishing I could find a good safe audio editor.

    • ancient clown
      April 26, 2016 at 12:07 am

      Check out "Audacity" for a really decent audio editor that is also free.

    • Alysha
      June 13, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      NCH Software does not contain viruses or malware. WavePad is an award winning software and there are a lot of reviews from people who love using it. You can check here to see that NCH Software is deemed safe by norton - https://safeweb.norton.com/report/show?url=www.nchsoftware.com and McAfee - http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/www.nchsoftware.com

      • Unknown
        November 2, 2016 at 11:23 am

        HitmanPro Alert blocks VideoPad Editor as a malware exploit attempt. HMPA also blocks the VideoPad uninstaller as attempting the same exploit forcing the user to manually remove the software.

        McAfee catches nothing, Norton is malware.

  21. JamesTo
    March 19, 2016 at 12:24 am

    Think this is a great company. I guess Hitler was a great leader. Try and contact them they will not respond either by email or phone. Software should be considered malware bloat ware. If you do by within a year you will get notified of a update which you will have to pay for again. To this company you are a dollar sign thats all.

    • Alysha
      June 13, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Support tries to reply to all queries within 24 hours during regularly scheduled work days. Platinum and Silver support customers do receive priority. Queries submitted on weekends may take longer to receive a reply. Did you submit a ticket through their support site? http://www.nch.com.au/support/index.html

  22. Keijo
    March 14, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Having read in full the article and comments, and having also read NCH trying to go in the right direction, I gave it a try, but it was a no-go. Associations still hijacked by Prism and Videopad.
    Liars, I'm glad I haven't sent you guys a dime.

    For testing purposes, I made a restore point and then installed Videopad and Prism, to find out the associacions for ZIP and ISO, among others, hijacked by Express Zip and Express Burn. Then I rolled back to the restore point and, decided to never use NCH again.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 14, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Keijo

      Thanks for sharing your NCH experience. Disappointing that it didn't work out as you'd been lead to believe.

    • Alysha
      June 13, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Sorry to hear about this. We will look into it. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  23. Jean bibi
    March 8, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hello !

    Last week,

    I installed NCH in my PC and I had much problems.
    I uninstall it.
    Note that CCleaner helped me to make this

    Later :

    Avast find "no virus"
    But "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware" discover two malwares and destroyed them !.

    Now my PC is OK.

    I hope that this can help.

    Good luck

    Bye,
    Jean Bibi

  24. Howard
    March 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    With Wavepad, Mixpad and Express Burn - an identical scenario repeated itself three times at about two yearly intervals, first on my pc then on Mac. Software stops working properly, a 'we have a fix' note comes up, you download that - and find you're reverted to a limited trial version and invited to pay all over again. Support staff can be friendly and attentive if you really press the point, but clearly there's a continuing problem in the upstairs office.

  25. HydroxCookiesHoax
    January 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    NCH Software is taking steps in the right direction:

    (Page added Jan 2016)

    http://www.nch.com.au/software/safety-guarantee.html

  26. DiggerP
    December 3, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Hi, Despite some comments to the contrary, I can confirm every single part of the article.
    Sofar as I'm concerned NCH is a rogue company.

    Hijacking ALL- yes ALL file extensions is lower than low.
    Even files with extensions that it couldn't possibly open, except for installing another of their programs that will.

    Even just installing Wavepad will do this and even if you untick all file extensions in the program , it will still interfere and use the Edit With command.

    Christian, you must have a lot of patience to do it via Windows Regedit.
    I used a Registry Cleaner/ Editor , in this case jv16 PowerTools which will find them
    in one fell swoop.

    Just from Wavepad alone I found almost 700 entries , even for documents like PDF,
    which Wavepad can't open no matter how hard it tries -LOL
    NCH just renamed it to NCH.pdf and commands like OpenWith and EditWith referenced
    to Wavepad.

    Utterly ridiculous, I'm calling it Scumware, because no other company I know of
    is doing this kind of file extension hijacking.

    They also play a currency scam. Depending on which country you log in from to their website , the price changes and also the conversion rates.
    Range for Wavepad Master was US$45 to US$70 -discounted a few months ago.
    Plus they're playing the US$ and AUS$ exchange rates..apart from others...
    and always to your disadvantage....

    There's only one thing that I may disagree on and that is that they charge a fair price
    for their software. In the first place it depends on the country from which you access their site and also that there's no Upgrade policy.

    If the program expires after a few months, you either have to buy it again or do without.

    If you must try it- do so in a virtual machine (VM) , but never expose your real installation
    to this crap.

    Christian, Thanks again for your informative article

  27. dimitria
    December 1, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    ..yea, mine too.. so annoying.. couldn't fix the looks of icons and even one of my other software just displays a blank icon like it's an unknown file though however when doubleclicked it opens the program, but when one need to recognize the kind of file...it's so annoying

  28. Mike Rebate
    November 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    How did I end up here? One guess. Yes, my laptop was molested by a NCH video editor which received rave reviews at LO4D site. NCH garbage hijacked file associations for documents which corrupted my filing system. Videos, WordPerfect and WordPad now share the same screwy NCH icon. I wouldn't be posting here if ONLY the video file icons were changed. It matters not if the vids had Daum Pot Player or the NCH icon, but corrupting all my document icons is not acceptable.

  29. Ivano Stefanelli
    October 7, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Good news:

    It 'just install the software after you create a restore point, even with the system of internal Windows.
    Then copy the installation folder that is located in Program folder, in another hd or flash key.
    After restoring windows to the point created earlier.
    Then paste the folder NCH copied first in the program folder.
    Start Debut.
    He only download codecs that are used like FFmpeg ...
    For safety I still created a point of return with Rollback Rx. Now we monitor the behavior for two, three months and maybe more... I'll let you know!
    Hello to all

  30. Ivano Stefanelli
    October 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I confirm. I have tested another one...
    the associations changed without notifying the user (It is very annoying and irritating) and you can not solve with normal tools.They had to go from the log files and deleting files and even restore some sys files windows.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 8, 2015 at 7:35 am

      Thanks for taking the time, Ivano.

  31. Jim Kelley
    October 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    TBH I've never had these kind of problems with any of their software, and I've been using it for years, so I think that's a crockpot of bull. There is a recent, unrelated problem however. They've become greedy. I've only ever needed the free versions of their software for whatever projects I'm working on- mostly Wavepad as it's my go-to audio editor for nearly everything I do.

    But now all of their free versions are now just free trials, forcing you to uninstall and reinstall repeatedly if you want to keep working on your projects. And to make it worse, their customer service does absolutely bloody nothing. They don't properly answer your questions nor take your complaints into account.

    You're better off pirating their software really, if you've never had the problems mentioned above. Yeah the programs appear in the context menus? So? That's never affected load time for me, so nbd.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 8, 2015 at 7:29 am

      I'm delighted you've had no problems, but declaring all contrary experiences as "a crockpot of bull" is utterly ignorant.

      • Jim Kelley
        October 20, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        I apologize. I was cross at the time I read this and that was rude of me. Rather, I disagree with the article as I've never had such problems listed, however I have had problems with their customer service recently.

  32. Ivano Stefanelli
    September 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    For years I install Debut. Only with the latest versions have had these problems. It is true that change associations. It happened to me just yesterday.
    I went on youtube and I wrote this, and also that you can not solve with a simple uninstalling.
    The other problems are not aware. Even if it was only this, that the associations changed without notifying the user It is very annoying and irritating.
    I'm sorry because it was one of the few, perhaps only to record directly to FLV.
    Hypercam it have installed from much time. Now install Techsmith Camtasia and try this big software.
    Fortunately I had installed on the PC Rollback RX and I restored all without problems.

  33. Mandrake Rootworker
    June 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    They're typical of what has become the prevailing American business 'ethic'. As such, they have done to Capitalism precisely what the former Soviet Union did to the abstract theory of Socialism -- turned it into a parody of what was originally intended. Obviously, their view of the customer is no more than a rube, to be swindled at will, so of course there is no support - why support your victims? Seems to me if there are 'extremists' out there who think they hate "America", they should realize that what they hate are people like this who have turned America into the vile corporate bully it has become. Hey, Mustaffa! Stop wasting your valuable jihadists on random targets, and zero in on people and organizations like this, who really DESERVE your ire!

    • Anna
      November 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      The company is based in Australia, but I agree with your premise. As goes the U.S., unfortunately, so goes the world.

  34. Maire Flannery
    May 30, 2015 at 7:13 am

    I never had such an experience, malware, or spiteful I call it. I bought the Converter, and was urged to give the NCH audio editing a trial, which I used until the trial expired. I declined to buy and Hell broke loose on my audio files. The two folders I had been working with Disappeared. Gone. Not in the recycling, not hidden, just GONE.And all of my audio files lost the trademark mp3 musical note icon. I was annoyed but thank Heaven I had raw files to work with (on my smartphone) and I began all over again, like a spider whose web has been destroyed. Next - I wanted to convert my files to .cda, which was an option in Converter. However, I did not want to burn a CD there and then, and I wanted to use Windows CD maker. Impossible. I was prompted to launch the NCH disk burner, and there was NO other option! That or nothing! I chose Nothing. I left my files as mp3s. I uninstalled all NCH software on my pc that I could find, and now I'm going to take my computer to the doctor.

  35. sonov aer
    May 26, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I seem to always have conduit on my puter with NCH - I think it may have started in 2012 or 2013 versions maybe? Their progs are or were great though. I don't know about worse ad/malware or "reading your emails". Dvdvideosoft seems to have gone wrong in 2014. Some great progs before but even then their converter made bad mp4 that won't stream in a browser. "Any" is my other favourite(!). They've struggled along but Any video converter free seems pretty darn good currently. Look around on their site for the good download - one is faulty at the moment.

  36. Allen
    May 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    PUP.Optional.SearchApp.A

    I looked at my quarantine file on Malwarebytes, (May 15, 2015), on my Dell Windoze 7 w/Chrome LT, I noticed the above file was quarantined and also noted that the above file first appeared on Feb 17, 2015, and that’s the date that I also installed the NCH converter. I removed that program promptly, I also cleared my cache and ran another scan to verify that the Dell PC was now clean, which it was. But then I noticed when signing onto Chrome, there was a notify that it was possibly corrupted, so I resolved that by Restoring Default Browser Settings in Google Chrome: Open "Settings" and scroll to the bottom and click “Show Advanced Settings" then scrolled to the bottom of the page again and click "Reset Browser Settings". This removed it from Chrome.

    NCH was originally purchased/installed by me to convert my Windows WMA music files to MP3 format so that my music would be compatible for my N7 OTG Nexus Media Importer, [USB FD > N7]. BTW, the NMI works GREAT!

    NCH actually converted my files really well, only with one major (to me) flaw: After a CD/list of files to be converted completed, my Dell LT HD just screamed! Ouch! (9 out of 10 times). I had to do a hard stop each and every time to resolve this issue. Not pleasant. NCH got the job done though and and it did it very well, except for that *very* irritating flaw. But then add the PUP problem it apparently caused me. Boo-Hiss!

    I vaguely remember reading online somewhere previously, that someone was warning people that the NCH converter program put a virus on their PC. I ignored/or maybe I forgot(?) about it when I installed it. Hmmm, this ‘problem’ has been definitely identified , (yes I researched again, found it here --- people complaining for several years now and NCH has apparently done absolutely NOTHING to resolve it! Shame on them! Until they do, (and they publicize the fact that this issue has been fixed!!!!!), PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE/INSTALL NCH PRODUCTS!!!!!!!!!!

    Rant over!

    Allen

  37. Dee
    May 14, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Just installed NCH's screen motion capture freebie a few days ago and was dismayed to find the resulting avi file didn't run. Had to use Windows Movie Maker to create a usable file. Bad fail considering Switch used to be a good little program. Now I've spotted NCH Express Zip has installed itself on my context menus. Sorry, NCH, the friendship is over.

  38. Almark
    May 8, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    The sad part about this company that I've noticed for years is it's useful software. In fact others don't create such useful software. It's a real shame they install bad code and even malware.

  39. Bill
    May 1, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I've noticed that NCH software that I have purchased, automatically updates it's self to a newer version, then deactivates it after 14 days, forcing me to repurchase it or it stops working. Thankfully, I backed up copies of the versions I bought, but have to reinstall them every 14 days. Very illegal and annoying. I'd like to learn about good alternatives to their tools. Mainly Mixpad, in case you know of any. Thanks for your article.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 3, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Thanks for your suggestion, Bill, I'll feed this back to the team.

  40. Faar Side
    April 25, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for this article, and to all who commented. I am in full agreement, through my own first-hand experience, that [at least one] NCH utility is trash.

    I needed a utility to capture audio streams and output them to disk as either an mp3 or wma file. I found NCH's SoundTap, which will capture and output the streams as mp3, down-loaded it, and gave it a try. Simple to use, did just what it said it would - captured online audio streams and wrote them to disk as mp3 files . The 2nd day after installation is when I began to notice "irregularities" with my Windows7 PC.

    First, SoundTap not only installed itself, but also a whole host of un-wanted audio-related software in a start-menu folder that I believe was labeled 'AudioHQ'. I DID NOT specify that I wanted anything but SoundTap installed during the installation process.

    Second, even when NOT running SoundTap, I noticed PC performance was suddenly TERRIBLE. I had a close look at ALL services and processes and did not see anything unusual at first. Then, I noticed the 'SYSTEM' process (NOT 'System Idle') was consistently nailed at 50%. The only time I had seen that before was when my system was hijacked by malicious software. I have kept a close eye on what my system is running since that incident. I could not account for this change, so, I decided to do a full system scan with Norton in both Windows live mode and Windows safe mode. Live mode showed nothing. Safe mode showed 8 security risks that had not been there the day before I installed SoundTap. Norton resolved all 8 risks. I decided to uninstall SoundTap (since it was the only new install done in that 2-day period). Bingo. The 'SYSTEM' process went back to normal (if you can consider anything that Windows does is 'normal').

    What the he!! was SoundTap doing with 50% of my cpu when it was not even in use at the time? And, why/how was it doing it through the 'SYSTEM' process? This sounds like malware to me.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Fear Side, thanks for sharing your experience with NCH.

  41. William
    April 24, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I installed Switch Sound File Converter. It worked exactly as promised, but I did notice a few out of whack things occurring on my computer a few weeks after the initial install. At first it was pop ups even with my ad block software running that would take me to a site affiliated with NCH, then my homepage switched, then after I started poking at it trying to fix these symptoms it started opening a web browser by itself and installing a couple other NCH programs. I have really slow internet so that was not too much of a problem, but when I uninstalled it my AVIRA antivirus detected a HOST file being manipulated and stopped the process from completing. The uninstall did complete and I ran MBAM(malware bytes anti-malware) just to make sure. No detections...like you said it might not be malware by definition but NCH should be ashamed of offering software like this. The product was sound, complete with a batch converting option which converted all 200GB of my FLAK files into high quality MP3s so I could use them on my iphone...but with issues like this I will run it inside of a virtual machine, or find another program...or use a older machine that is not my main office computer. Thank you OP for your intelligent break down of this issue.

    Kudos!
    Will

  42. Xing
    April 8, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I can't seem to rename the files found after searching NCH in regedit... help! ><

  43. rob
    April 2, 2015 at 3:36 am

    make a restore point before installing unknown software - and use Revouninstaller-1.95 and Avira to clean up

  44. rob
    April 2, 2015 at 3:30 am

    use NCH before autumn of 2012 or 2013 (can't remember which) and use Freestudio 6.0.0.128 or preferably no later than 6.2.13.304

  45. Travis
    March 15, 2015 at 3:33 am

    I used a uninstall application called Geek Uninstaller (http://www.geekuninstaller.com/). Got it all.

  46. R . K .
    March 1, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I am amazed to go through the comments made above . I have been using NCH softwares for past 6/7 years , and I am happy with that , Almost all the NCH softwares are easy to install and easy to uninstall . These are very easy to use , with user friendly interfaces . They do all the work perfectly for which they are written . For a test , I completely uninstalled Switch Sound File Converter using Revo , and then played the MP3 which was earlier made using SWITCH . I had no problem at all in playing the MP3 . I tried AVG , BitDefender , Avast , Malwarebyte and Kasperesky Antiviruses . None of these pointed any NCH software as any kind of threat . I am using both Audacity and Wave pad and never found them interfering with each other . While installing any NCH software , the installer gives option to install some other NCH Softwares too , It however does not force for it . If any one does not want to install other softwares , he should not click those options . It is as simple as that . Big names like ADOBE , ORACLE etc are doing the same thing , that too for some third party software . Is something being plotted against NCH or what ?

  47. Jerry
    February 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I think NCH software is constantly calling home when ever it is being used with the data that is being used. While I did like the WavePad application, I see high usages of internet traffic when data is being captured and displayed by the application.

  48. Jerry
    January 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I have noticed that every time the NCH Wave Pad records sound, that my local area connection starts sending packets - I guess back to the mother ship.

  49. BigMuff
    January 6, 2015 at 3:44 am

    I've intalled NCH Debut Video Capture and it's video editor (this last one was installed when I've pressed "edit capture", but it asked to me if I wanted), and they work fine in both pc (Windows 7 and 8). They appear in programs list, they work fine and they are lightweight.
    Every time you want to use a new function, it asks you if you want to install extra NCH software.

    The only thing that does not convince me, is that everytime I want to rename their desktop shortcuts, it forces me to rename them as administrator. That´s very strange... It's my desktop!

    Anyway, after reading some articles like this, I decided to uninstall it.

    Please, tell me your opinion about my comment, I really liked them.
    Cheers.

  50. John
    November 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    NCH Software's Wikipedia page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NCH_Software has absolutely no mention of all the problems this software creates.

    I tried to put in a section there about how NCH Software will hijack registered file types on your computer but someone reverted it.

    I request anybody who comes to this page to go to wikipedia and edit the NCH Software page and describe your experience.

  51. John M
    October 13, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Just saw an ad on Facebook for some interesting-looking software from NCH. Needless to say, after doing some research, I didn't download it. Thanks for the information!

  52. Michael Kenward
    October 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I wondered if NCH might have updated its approach and adopted more ethical business practivces. I see not.

    I got bitten when I installed Express Scribe and even paid for the "pro" version. Mistake on my part. I keep looking for an inexpensive alternative. Sadly I have yet to find one. NCH could write the best software going, but you won't catch me using it.

  53. Tam
    August 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    How about using SandBoxie for installing it in a sandbox? Then, simply delete the contents of sandbox after use.

  54. Krish
    August 8, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I have used NCH's Slice Audio Splitter. It is perhaps the best splitter out there. Uninstalled it and found better tools here: http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/products/dvd/Free-Video-Dub.htm

  55. ChillPenguin
    August 8, 2014 at 1:50 am

    That's one way to handle it, it was my method of choice as well, but you can also find open-source programs to handle most of these tasks without having to change operating systems. When the source-codes are out in the open it's unlikely that the apps will act like malware. Sourceforge is your friend.

  56. J R Celoni
    August 8, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Right on target, including the comments, from my perspective: The software I loaded (including two I licensed) worked as advertised, but the dealbreaker for me was "pay for it again." I don't remember the specifics, but I eventually couldn't get my licensed versions to do more than the free versions; maybe it autoupdated or I let it (which I doubt because in fairness to them it warns you you have to pay for upgrades) and I couldn't get back to the old version. I tried to get support but never got a response. Fortunately there are other free utilities that do what I need, but it would have been nice (and worth the license fees) to have a virtual suite from them if support had been better. Fortunately I haven't experienced the 'hijacking'--yet?

  57. Ja V
    August 8, 2014 at 12:57 am

    NCH and others of their ilk are one of the (minor) reasons I switched to Linux. Now my apps come from the distro's repositories, and are clean (and free).

  58. suzybel
    August 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I first used Switch (NCH audio file converter) and found it did the job, was easy to use and free. I wanted to change to another that was included in a media player. I had converted hundreds of WMA files to MP3 using Switch. When I uninstalled it, for some strange reason, my now MP3 files converted back to WMA files. Head scratch time. Also, it did manipulate some of my settings and install or try to install other NCH programs.

  59. smaragdus
    August 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Everything that comes from NCH is a complete junk, aggressive, deceptive, malicious and dangerous to boot.

  60. dragonmouth
    August 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    The root problem is not with NCH but with Windows and its crappy Uninstaller. It never does a complete job. Always leaves either directory entries or Registry entries or both, behind. If you were to check your Windows Registry line by line, you would find thousands of orphaned keys. Of course, with 100k, 200k or more keys in the Registry, it is not an easy undertaking. Whoever invented and coded the Registry should be strung up by his short arm.

    • Angry Thinker
      August 7, 2014 at 6:09 am

      But that does not absolve NCH. If NCH wuld not co-install crap in the 1st place, Windows uninstall facility would not have to come into action.

  61. Anon
    August 6, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I've used their Pixillion software and even though it was the paid for version, I still had to treat it like most freeware programs. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I think you should remove junk and cross promotions if you exchange money...

    In the end, it did the job I expected of it.

  62. Howard B
    August 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    "Sometimes they’re toolbars, other times, Google Chrome, which of course, you’re already using." Um, no, Chrome's weak extension capability made me kick it off my system; Firefox has much better extensions, including the indispensable DownThemAll!

  63. Chris M
    August 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I use their audio file splitter all the time for chapterising single file mp3 audio-books, and provided you are careful (Revo gets a two thumbs up here) it is a very helpful tool. however, it took a few trial and error instals to get it how I want it. Also, video-pad editor is pretty good, provided you exhibit the same care during installation. Their habits are annoying, but not if you are aware of the shite they play :)

  64. Mike Merritt
    August 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I just used "Revo Uninstaller" and it worked great. Using it's most intense setting, it removed over 100 extra register entries that NCH missed. But even after that, I found about 3 registry entries (which clearly said NCH) which I had to delete manually - and I had to remove (delete) the "NCH Software" folder from my "Program Files".
    Also, I made sure that my Internet was OFF when i did the uninstall - so that it wouldn't phone home !

  65. Nate
    August 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I tool was fool enough to install this piece this piece of s**t software (1 or 2 anyhow) and then the others appeared like a fungus. It's the gift that keeps on giving (like an STD). While I was able to remove the software (using the same method you did). However I am glad that someone published an article on this deplorable company and it's atrocious software.

    Now if we can just find a way to banish this company from existence then I would be happy :).

  66. dj habinpapa
    August 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I often see programs exhibiting below characteristics:

    1. When I uninstall the program, it automatically connects to a predefined remote web server, WITHOUT user consent nor interaction.
    2. When connected to the predefined remote server, user's information such as IP, OS, browser infos are logged despite the fact that its user has never agreed to provide such information.
    3. While doing so, the program opens a 3rd party app, with which it is not affiliated in any way whatsoever, WITHOUT user consent nor interaction.

    In my opinion such programs should be labelled Malwares.
    One ironic example is AVG ;)

  67. Angry Thinker
    August 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Correction: I did not install NCH, but 1 or 2 of their apps :-)

  68. Angry Thinker
    August 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    A very useful article, thanks! I installed NCH, and experienced some of the problems you describe above, although not the extreme ones.

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