Okay, that’s not entirely true. But the company did somehow become the most powerful software outfit on the planet, so they can’t be total morons, right? The software you’re about to see – the worst Microsoft products – suggests otherwise.
I’m going to warn you: this article is not for the faint of heart. The things you’re about to see will irratate, annoy and otherwise decrease the quality of your life.
It’s not too late to stop reading.
It is now, however. Guess you’re stuck reading about the Top 5 Free Worst Microsoft Products. Sorry about that.
#5: Internet Explorer 8
Okay, I’ll admit this much: Internet Explorer 8 is better than Internet Explorer 7, and far superior to Internet Explorer 6. But that’s hardly a compliment.
You’d think that, in the futuristic-sounding Year 2010, the browser offering from the most powerful software company on the planet would be an amazing thing to behold. The only thing that amazes me about Internet Explorer 8, however, is how little it seems to have learned from its competition.
Internet Explorer 8 fails at blocking many popups, insists on opening a vast number of sites in a new window instead of in a new tab, and is overall very stressful to use””particularly if you’re already used to a quality browser. Combine this with a seemingly steadfast refusal on Microsoft’s part to include more than one search engine by default and you’ve got one of the worst Microsoft products that I’d rather avoid altogether.
I will say one additional nice thing about Internet Explorer 8, however: it’s the most powerful Firefox downloading tool on the planet. Because that’s all I ever use Internet Explorer for: downloading Firefox.
Just please, don’t use Internet Explorer 8.
#4: Blue Screen of Death Screensaver
This one’s a matter of perspective, I suppose. I discussed the Blue Screen of Death Screensaver during a recent article on pranking your parents using the family computer. I then suggested this as a great little prank, and for the perpetrator of said prank it’s as much fun as a barrel of monkeys.
For the person on the receiving end of said prank, however, it’s akin to being repeatedly punched in the stomach by every single monkey in the aforementioned barrel. There’s nothing worse than getting to your computer and thinking it’s completely and irreversibly dead””except, that is, for thinking your computer is completely and irreversibly dead before realizing it’s just a cruel joke.
Why does Microsoft offer this? It’s bad enough that their products crash so often as to make the blue screen of death infamous, but to then capitalize on said infamy for the sake of some sick joke? This product, I think, causes untold misery to people around the world every year and needs to be stopped.
Don’t download the Blue Screen of Death Screensaver.
#3: Microsoft Office Dinosaur Screensaver
Remember those old Microsoft Office advertisements that featured dinosaurs complaining about technology issues? Me neither.
Anyway, there’s a screensaver based on those ads.
Yep, that’s right: the least memorable advertising campaign immortalized as a screensaver. The dinosaurs complain about technology and then try to dance their way out of their predicaments, implying all along that life would be better if only they’d purchased Microsoft Office 2003.
Hilarious, right? Yeah, I don’t really think so either. Don’t download the Microsoft Office Dinosaur Screensaver.
#2: Plus! Dancer LE
Sure, you like your computer now, but imagine if you could download dancers for it. Then your desktop could be a dancing party! Look, they even have Scooby-Doo!
What really makes this piece of software so great is that it’s not at all annoying. Having someone dance on my desktop is awesome. And it’s soooo practical! Think of how much easier getting work done will be now that Scooby-Doo is dancing in front of everything!
Okay, yeah, that was sarcasm. File this one under “bad ideas executed poorly.” Don’t download Plus! Dancer LE.
1. Bing Toolbar for Firefox
Pretty much every search engine on the market offers some sort of useless, bloated toolbar, but this is just insane: Microsoft offers a Bing toolbar…for Firefox.
Finally, a toolbar perfect for people tech-savvy enough to be using the open-source Firefox browser, but not tech-savvy enough to realize that search-engine specific toolbars are a waste of precious vertical space.
This unholy matrimony between awesome and awful disturbed me so much that I had to check it out. I have nothing but regrets. The toolbar, like most such toolbars, serves no real purpose other than pushing certain products and services on you.
There’s a search bar…but it only uses Bing. There’s a news button…but it only shows MSNBC. There’s an email button…but it only connects to Hotmail. You get the idea.
The design is awful””sure, it’s clean, but it uses up way more vertical space than a search bar and a few buttons could possibly need. It’s as if it’s trying to waste precious screen space. This would all be bad enough in and of itself, but the installation process bundles a bunch of crap I’m not interested in. First I see questions like this before installing:
Okay, fair enough, there’s some optional bundles I can say no to.
But there’s more. During the installation process I noticed the Bing Toolbar took the liberty of installing Silverlight, the Windows Live ID Sign-In Assistant and the Microsoft Search Enhancement Pack without so much as asking me permission first. There was no cancel button, so all I could do is sit there and watch as software I had no interest in imposed itself on my machine.
I was angry.
I tried turning off the computer, but that only made my computer laugh at me manically. I unplugged the computer and pulled out its battery but somehow it just kept on installing unnecessary and useless software, as though possessed.
Desperate to stop the installation process at this point, I grabbed my axe and swung at my computer with all my strength, only to have the axe-head shatter within centimeters of the screen.
There is no cancelling an installation of the Bing Toolbar.
For the love of all that is sacred, do not download Bing Toolbar for Firefox – easily one of the worst Microsoft products. It’s evil and will corrupt your computer with dark magic. I spent last night sobbing silently into my pillow, not sleeping at all.
Don’t download the Bing Toolbar for Firefox.
Not every free offering from Microsoft is terrible. I personally think Microsoft Security Essentials is the best antivirus on the market, and it’s 100 percent free. In a few days’ time, Mahendra will prove this point by showcasing the best 5 Microsoft products.
Having said that, there are no redemptive qualities to any of the software mentioned above. None.
Do not download them.
If you think you know of a worse free product from Microsoft, share it below in the comments. I won’t be downloading any of it to confirm, however, as I’ll be spending the next five days removing all the aforementioned useless crap from my computer.