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Ask the Readers: What’s the Worst Software You Can Think Of?

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When it comes to judging software, there are several different aspects to consider, such as its stability, interface, performance, price, and overall usefulness. Sometimes a program or app might seem great at first, but after using it for a while, it updates into a bloated piece of crapware. Now is the time to vent about whatever software out there bugs you the most.

Everyone has a program out there that they love to hate. It could be a program you’re forced to use at work, or maybe a home program that doesn’t have a good alternative. Maybe it’s just software that you’ve given up because you managed to find a good replacement. Whatever the case me be, we want to hear in the comments section below. What do you think the worst software in the world might be?

The software that receives the most complaints will receive a groovyPost Award for the Worst Software of 2012 and earn a place among a list of the top ten apps/programs to avoid that is coming soon.

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75 Responses to Ask the Readers: What’s the Worst Software You Can Think Of?

  1. Ryberg360 January 30, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    Norton. It is the 1st program I uninstall when I setup new PCs. If you do use it, it crashes processes for a number of other running programs. Anytime you google search an issue, the first thing that shows up is “check to see if Norton is running.” Garbage

    • Steve Krause January 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Now you got me thinking about all the Junkware installed on my HP when I bought it last year….

    • Brian Burgess January 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Yeah, crapware gets a big + for new PC’s. Unless it’s a Microsoft Signature PC, the first thing I do to a new computer is reformat and install a fresh copy of Windows.

    • ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Exactly. Microsoft actually wins in my book on the AV side of things — Windows Security Essentials.

      Hey @disqus_8H4zdmnIVx:disqus / @mrgroove:disqus — is AV built into Windows 8?

      • Brian Burgess January 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

        ShockerSH Yes! Windows 8 has built in Antivirus now. It’s called Windows Defender, and it’s the original Windows Defender, which protects against spyware, and merged with Microsoft Security Essentials, which is Microsoft’s free Antivirus protection — which we fully endorse here.

        If you want to check out more about that, here’s an article I wrote up about it:

        http://goo.gl/CtnVg

  2. dlminton January 30, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Adobe cs5. Actually Adobe anything. I can envision the development thinking, “Hey, this feature works, let’s change it, it’s too intuitive., Useful Help? Ha! They don’t need no stinkin’ help…let ‘em ask each other”. Overpriced, overfeatured bloatware.

    • Steve Krause January 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Adobe Anything :)

      I like that…..

      • Nan Bushq February 23, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

        Adobe anything, squared! Awkward, bloated, and now that they’re drunk on their own version of design, illegible and unreadable. I’ve dumped everything, yes, even InDesign, which I used to love.

  3. BillyBean January 30, 2013 at 6:32 am #

    iTunes! It’s the worst and most terrible software I’ve ever installed on Windows. It’s even worse than most of the bundled bloatware that comes with prefab PCs.

    Have you seen how many processes iTunes installs and runs in the background? Here they are:

    AppleMobileBackup.exe
    AppleMobileDeviceHelper.exe

    AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    AppleMobileSync.exe
    distnoted.exe
    iPodService.exe
    iTunesHelper.exe
    iTunesPhotoProcessor.exe
    MDCrashReportTool.exe
    mDNSResponder.exe
    SyncServer.exe
    qttask.exe
    dotmacsyncclient.exe

    And that doesn’t even include the 6 or 7 sync processes that are installed if you try to tie it into your Outlook or webmail contacts.

    It’s almost as if Apple purposefully made iTunes bad, I’ve heard it is better on Mac but that doesn’t make it excusable. While we’re at it, Safari for Windows is also terrible. Apple went as far as to entirely stop updating it about a year ago.

    • ZHexDFix January 30, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Seconded. iTunes is the worst software in history. It has caused nothing but problems. It is the main reason I switched to Android early on.

    • Steve Krause January 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      +1 more for iTunes….. That’s the first one that came to my mind. Now that I’m past that….. I’ll think of the next one!

    • Brian Burgess January 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      +100 for iTunes on Windows. I think iTunes 11 is even worse too. I got off my iTunes habbit a couple of years ago though, and haven’t looked back.

      • ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

        What alternatives are there on a PC?

        • Brian Burgess January 31, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

          ShockerSH There’s much better alternatives. Personally i like Foobar2000. It’s definitely more geeky, but you can skin it to death and it works with iOS devices…and other mobile players too.

          Here’s an article I wrote on it: http://www.groovypost.com/howto/sick-of-itunes-intall-foobar2000/

          Otherwise, I still have my collection of Music stored on my Home Server, then most of the time I use the streaming service MOG — http://www.groovypost.com/reviews/mog-windows-desktop/ — I like it better than Spotify, it streams at a higher bitrate, and has most of the music I need.

        • k.misc November 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

          I would recommend MusicBee as an alternative.

    • ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      You know what, I think the same thing. It’s like they make iTunes crap on my PC so i’ll buy a MAC.

      Is iTunes any better on the MAC? Anyone?

      • Henry Barnett February 9, 2013 at 12:37 am #

        I have itunes on my iMac and it is fine. In addition it works very well with the Apple TV and Airport Express Wi-Fi set up and of course the Remote app. Never had a problem. All these perople saying it is “the worst” are probably anti Apple. I am anti Windows having changed to iMac 2 years ago after using Windows since it started!! Worst software? Windows in all its forms.

        • Andy June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

          It’s not a case of being ‘anti-Apple’. More a case of not being so pro-Apple that you have bits of ‘California Designed’ products dripping out of every orifice like it seems you do.
          If Windows is so poor, give us a FEASIBLE Apple alternative to an enterprise solution that doesn’t involve mp3’s and teenagers.

          • Anthony August 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

            Ha, love this post. Apple is so far away from enterprise ready that they even stopped trying when it came to servers and told people to use a mac mini instead. It’s on their own website, if I were them I’d be ashamed to call that little thing anything more than a print server. http://www.apple.com/server/

    • Russell February 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      I agree totally that iTunes is the worst. I’m not a big Apple fan anyway – I think they started in the wrong direction when the dropped the Lisa and, now that Steve Jobs has gone, I think they’ll just go downhill at an ever increasing rate.

      My daughter bought me an iPad Mini for Christmas and I want to synchronise the calendar on it with my PC. I have tried to use iTunes to do it but it just doesn’t do what the instructions say it should. It might work OK for music but it’s absolutely useless for anything serious. I have an Android based (Samsung) phone and synchronising that with my PC, using Samsung Kies, is an absolute breeze.

    • TheRock30 March 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

      I just got home from a frustrating day at work using- or trying to use Lotus Notes. Its a sin that they make people use that garbage especially in work places. Despite that, I have to cast my vote for iTunes, it actually makes me mad just thinking of that big big bloated piece of $#@! Even more when I see an update throwing another shovel full onto the pile.

    • whitelephant June 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      I second, third, and quad that! I have had a functioning computer before installing itunes in the past and itunes actually broke the os! Not to mention it slows to a crawl if you have a large music library….like over 2000 songs….yuk, time to kill itunes forever!

  4. Bogdan Bele January 30, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    I’ll go with BillyBean on this one. iTunes always finds new ways to make me hate it.

  5. tooltip86 January 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    adobe reader is one of the worst i’ve ever seen. A lot of useless updates, big ram consumption, and a few other issues. By far the best reader is foxitreader, light and easy to use and the ability to use tabs like any browser. Also Adobe flash is just awful, a lot of security issues, useless and frecuent updates, I open three videos or more and the browser crashes, using around 600mb of my ram wich is unaceptable for me and the worst part is that android ics and jelly bean doesn’t support this crap.

  6. Brian Burgess January 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Just off the top of my head: iTunes, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader, Norton, McAfee, Digsby, WinZip, Worthless Toolbars, any and all Crapware!

    • Forrest Hopkins January 31, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

      DID YOU JUST INSULT JAVA?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?? YOU PROBABLY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT DOES, DO YOU?? lol but srsly?

      • Austin Krause January 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

        You know, Java itself isn’t bad. What is bad is Oracle mixed with Sun and Microsoft. Terrrrible combination.

    • M Hanson February 3, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      You forgot IE

      • Brian Burgess February 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

        Actually I don’t hate IE like I used to. IE 10 for desktop is pretty tight now, the metro-style version on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired. I use IE 10 for Microsoft sites, but Chrome is still my default ;-)

        • Steve Krause February 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

          Aye

          Chrome is my default but IE 10 metro in my Win 8 tablet. It works.

  7. Ziggy January 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Microsoft Vista by far would have to be the worst software, Nightmarish to say the least. So for me, it’s “Hasta la vista”, Vista!

    • daikyozin January 31, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      You think Vista is bad?! What, you don’t remember Windows ME?
      Did you ever see Microsoft Bob?

      • Ziggy February 2, 2013 at 2:12 am #

        I bow in reverence to you, daikyozin! How on earth did I fail to remember good (bad) ‘ol Windows ME. Must have been blinded by Vista’s eye-popping candy and all its bells-n-whistles. I think I need to visit Microsoft Bob. I hear he’s handing out more candy and party balloons…

  8. Ocelotty1 January 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    iTunes, monster system hog, svelte & sleek Apple my A$$ – It is so bad I refuse to have it anywhere near my primary rig. and if Adobe ask me for yet another update…..

    • ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Adobe… Isn’t Adobe the reason Windows always gets hacked at Hackathons?

  9. Steve Krause January 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Well….. this is more of an online service but I’m going to have to go with Google DFP (DoubleClick for Publishers).

    Super confusing. Very annoying trying to start out on it.

  10. Mike Rothman January 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    iTunes for Windows is the easy, cheap answer. Quite the temperamental resource hog.

    But my real favorite, the disk management tool I tried years ago which quickly and effortlessly let me erase my hard disk – which I had not intended to do. Bad on me.

    • Steve Krause January 30, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

      Nice… And the name of this feature rich disk tool?

  11. Tom Hier January 31, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Any of the Microsoft Office products since they went to the ridiculous ribbons at the top. The old menus worked just fine. The new ribbons are complex, tedious, poorly named (what’s the difference between “View”, “Review” and “Slide Show” in PPT, I ask you??). I so much hate the ribbons that I installed a program that sits on top of the ribbons with a quasi-old-style menu. But someday that’s not going to work, and I’m going to be out of luck. Stupid, stupid, stupid “enhancement” that adds absolutely no value. Thanks, Microsoft!!

    • Joe Green June 13, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

      The gargantuan space-hogging Ribbon is just the icing on the cake. MS Word gets *everything* wrong. Not just in terms of the UI but its behaviour is indescribably awful. Scrolling jams; cut’n’paste cuts/pastes the wrong thing almost every time. It makes inscrutably wrong decisions about auto-formatting. It re-inserts spaces when you hit backspace, but only every other time. Sometimes it deletes things which are nowhere near the cursor. It does *different* wrong things for mouse and keyboard interactions. It’s all so over-engineered; I bet *nobody* uses most of what it claims it can do. (I could get by with Wiki markup and an external spelling checker.) Templates do bizarre things. I could go on and on. All this would be bad if it were a new product but it’s as old as the hills. None of this would matter if I didn’t have to use it at work, but it’s such a drain on productivity that I literally freeze at the keyboard hardly daring to type or touch the mouse for fear of wrecking the document.

      Rant over. I’ve got to back to pretending to use it now.

      • Joe Green June 13, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

        (Ok so not literally literally freezing but certainly literally metaphorically freezing.)

  12. Sam January 31, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Has anybody played with ACT!! ? This is the worst by far. I have to use this at work. Everyone hates it but no one admits it because it is supposed to be this awesome database where we can reference anything and everything. Instead everyone has to come to me to access anything. ERR! It runs in the background even when you shut it down it still has little fingers out there in all of your programs just trying to get a grip and rip out everything you love about your awesome work computer.

    • Steve Krause January 31, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      Act…. wow, that is taking me back. Is that the customer contact app where you keep track of customers and other things?

      I remember working on that for a client back…. 20 years ago. Is that still around? wow…

      • ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

        dude… how old are you? LOL

        • Sam February 11, 2013 at 5:25 am #

          I’m 23 years old. They have “updated” this system to the current year and it is still a giant pain.

  13. Peggy Dorgan January 31, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I have to agree with the iTunes Folks. I absolutely hate it & the newest version is even worse. Is there an alternative to use for updating & adding music & books to my iPad & Kindle?

  14. ShockerSH January 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    OK – you know what drives me crazy? Quicken.

    Every year they bug me like hell to upgrade to the next version. I say “Why, Quicken runs great already!”.

    So, to get even they timebomb me and after two years drop all bank update support so I “HAVE” to upgrade.

    GAH!!!!! Die Intuit!

    ok. I feel better.

  15. Stan Silverman January 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    I think Java ranks right up there with iTunes and Norton

    • Jaredjeya July 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Really? I don’t think you understand what Java is. It isn’t a piece of software – it is what software is made of. Without it you wouldn’t have half the programs out there.

      Just because it tries to bundle AskToolbar (but doesn’t force or trick you) and updates frequently to fix security issues (which you get in programming languages) does not mean it is the worst software out there.

  16. daikyozin January 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    I had to use Dell DataSafe Local Backup to make recovery disks for my laptop. It used half the screen and half the CPU time pestering me to upgrade, the whole time it was running. You would have to see it to believe how obnoxious it is.

  17. HENRYB65 February 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    How about JUSTCLOUD. It’s an iCloud backup which runs an app on your computer. Looks good and looks great value for money. Mine then stopped and they told me that the software has a bug that they cant fix. (Have it in writing!) Their suport took FIVE MONTHS to tell me this. Get my money back? Well they kept 3 months of use. “I had a service” they said. Crap!

    • Steve Krause February 4, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Ouch….

      Ok looks like we will do a roundup of best cloud backup solutions OK.

      Thnx for the comment. I know backup is a hot topic for readers. A good warning in this JUSTCLOUD.

      • Henry Barnett February 9, 2013 at 12:45 am #

        Steve, happy to see the “Ouch” comment. Companies that produce software that fail and 1) Do not help 2) Deny liability and 3) When faced with an abuse report as with BBB.org decide to try and rectify the situation, but only marginaly, derserve to be “Named and Shamed” Perhaps that’s the next title for a “Cloud Post”. Glad you took notice.

  18. John Smith February 3, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Probably against the tide but have to hate Windows 8 – It wants too much control over how I set up and use it. Can’t imagine how much they had to spend in subsidies(bribes?) to get computer companies to install it for new sales.

  19. Steve West February 6, 2013 at 2:47 am #

    +1 for iTunes for Windows. This piece of software after an upgrade would no longer recognise my Apple devices. It prompts you to uninstall iTunes and re-install it, this in itself is crazy and time consuming. I did this about 20 times over a few weeks and also tried various tips to get the Apple Mobile Support drivers to work, in the end I gave up.
    I managed to fix the problem bu re-installing the OS and then crossed my fingers when i installed iTunes, so far so good. My confidence in Apple is now dented :(

  20. Mark Vlach February 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    iTunes + QuickTime + whatever other services and BS get’s installed — Try MediaMonkey as an alternative on Windows. It’s deep and can be daunting at times but it will sync just about any device including Apple i-(your choice). Been using it for years and have it completely dialed in to do exactly what I want. One of the best apps I’ve ever owned.

  21. DudeInMyrtleBeach February 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Oh, come on.

    As an IT engineer, I can name in a second flat the worst crapware ever written.

    AOL Desktop

  22. Ms Hanson March 1, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Internet Exploder, hands down.

  23. Anonymous May 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Mac OSX is the worst ever. Windows 8 is the second worst.

  24. DanV May 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    itunes – cant tell you how many times it has wiped my ipod music colletion despite synching only selected playlists and folders.

    It does as much for Apples reputation as Windows Vista did for MS !

    Can I sue apple for wiping my music collection again ?

  25. RuM May 17, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    iTunes and Adobe Reader. Both are at version 11 and have become so overgrown that they are in need of a reboot.

    Windows 8. Have you ever tried to explain the Start screen, charms, and hot corners to someone who just purchased a new laptop without touch? What do you tell them when they can’t play DVDs out of the box?

    Adobe Flash and Java. Great technologies, but age and popularity have taken their toll in the security department.

    Web Browsers. It’s awesome we have a choice, but with so many web browsers (and their 20+ versions a piece) makes it hell on a web developer and e-commerce! Throwing in smartphones and tablets only puts more fuel on the fire. Why can’t the world ever be perfect where websites render the same under all available web browsers?!

  26. Jaredjeya July 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    I can’t understand why so many people are hating Java…it’s a programming language. There are going to be so many security holes in it because people could use it in unexpected ways. It actually updates far less frequently than “Windows .NET framework”, doesn’t require a restart and doesn’t force or trick you into installing the bundled toolbar.

  27. Barbara Smith August 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Oh, people, people. I don’t doubt you have issues with the software you have listed, but there are other software options that are available aren’t there? Maybe I missed some posts, but all of the nominated programs COULD be avoided by using a different program, even if that is a nuisance.

    Well, let me nominate the true winner–Family Tree Maker for Mac 2. It’s the ONLY mac software that links family trees (ha! more in a minute) to ancestry.com. No choices. Why is it so bad? Here we go…

    Unless you are one of the golden few who simply are lucky, you will find this product:

    1) Suddenly unlinks synced trees and grandly tells you that the online tree is deleted. Of course, it’s not and you can even find the online tree still on ancestry. That online tree will still think it is synced, too.

    2) Creates duplicates of individuals unexpectedly and will not find them when you run the “find duplicates” app on the program. Somehow, I sort of expected individuals with the same name, birthdate, parents and maybe death date would appear as potential duplicates. Nope.

    3) The program crashes constantly for no apparent reason. Then, when reopened, you can expect to find that your previously clean file has acquired errors. Sometimes you are lucky and able to close the program before it crashes. That may still give you an error message about not closing it correctly next time you use it.

    4) Dont expect any help from the developers or ancestry.com here. Oh, they will make the non subtle suggestion that you just are making beginner errors and give you a huge list of things to try, but they don’t work. I have gone the long route around, following their suggestions and wasted hours and hours trying to fix the problems. Lucky me–all the problems are still there, even though I followed the instructions to the letter.

    This is the same review I gave on Amazon. I tried unsuccessfully for weeks to convince ancestry.com that the problem with the software was real and they should just admit it and state they are working on fixes. Even though the people are as cordial as they can be, none of them will admit anything at all is wrong with the software–therefore there is no reason to fix it.

    So there is my nomination, folks. You can easily see the scope of the problem by googling “problems with ftm for mac 2″ or “problems with syncing trees with ftm mac 2″ or any such variation.

    I am sure there must be some huge, expensive prize for my submission of this drek camouflaged as software. I hereby ask that any monetary reward be dedicated to FIXING THE STUPID PROGRAM.

    Cordially yours,

    Barbara Smith

  28. whitelephant January 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Gotta 2nd, 3rd, and 4th the piece of crap apple makes for software Itunes….its the only software that every month or so bothers me so bad I threaten to uninstall it. Only problem is…if you want to backup your apps, contacts, etc and have a Iphone or ipad …….guess what u need it! Seriously I have spent all day many times trying to figure out what happened when I tried to download a podcast, just to have it freeze up on me! As good as Apples handheld equipment is….their software sucks as bad! Oh I have windows 7 with Itunes!

  29. Andrew February 27, 2014 at 3:11 am #

    Oh come on DudeInMyrtleBeach…!

    You’re an IT engineer and you didn’t say IE6!

    IE6 is by far the worst, so bad when designing websites the whole lot has to be pretty much re-written just to render properly for ie6.

    Windows 8 as well.

    But yes, I agree with other comments, iTunes is very very bad.

  30. Dietmar April 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Syteline ERP system is the worst ever ERP System you ever can buy or work with.

    Absolute ridiculous to work with. Millions screens, no direct printing (save to a file which you have to find and then print, even checks), no financials direct to the system.
    There is nothing worse I ever worked with.

    If you want something that works right out of the box Made2Manage is your favorite.

    D. Stahl

  31. Paulios May 31, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Interesting read through the comments! Brought back lots of awful memories of my early computing days.
    There has been a HUGE omission from everyone’s list of bad, bad software and, to be honest I am TOTALLY STUNNED that no one has mentioned the biggest, most useless and most irritating bloated program out there!!!!
    Wondering what it is?

    …….

    ……….REALPLAYER!

    I see it still refuses to die off too…Save us!

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