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FreeFileSync - automated backup - Mini-Review

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@Lintalist: In answer to that:
I suspect that the risk is a mis-perception and that you may therefore be worrying unduly.
There is in fact little or no risk if software that you want to install at install time also asks you if you'd like to install some other software (PUP = "Potentially Unwanted Program").
You can accept it or not.
PUPs are not viruses (at least, not yet, anyway).

If you have a decent AV program - I use MS Defender (Security Essentials) AND MBAM (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) - then they will in any event nowadays usually catch the PUPs and ask you if you'd like to delete them.

Even if you did accidentally let a PUP in, you could uninstall it later, without difficulty. As I said, PUPs are not viruses.

I would quite understand, if one was of a nervous disposition, that PUPs might seem like a scary risk, but they aren't, so you would probably be advising your friends from a position of ignorance.

PUPs are usually merely annoying "push" apps -especially if they slip through without one's approval. I got a real PUP on an otherwise "clean" laptop last night - SysTweak (
I suspect it was either as a result of my 6y/o son downloading a game, or (more likely) a 4-hour Steam re-install and download of Fallout 3 (the original files had been wiped by a forced install of Win10-64 "Anniversary Update"). Anyway, this morning, MBAM found the PUP and I told it to delete it.

"The sky is falling down!", said Chicken Licken.

Perhaps not the thread to discuss this but I don't feel I'm worrying unduly. I've spent way too much time (many hours) fixing & cleaning up other peoples computers (sometimes complete re-install of OS). Not everyone pays attention or knows what they are doing I'm afraid. I don't agree PUPs aren't scary, I think they are plenty of nasty PUPs out there (bitcoin mining, browser tracking and redirecting etc, some are difficult to remove).

In FFS case the dev. is playing games to make things difficult to bypass (there is a lengthy thread on the forum about the cat & mouse games on how to bypass the installer and avoid installing it with a pup).

I'm happy to have spent money on a professional program with professional support.

Anyway, some general background links for those interested (some older info at times):

2016-12-15 0717hrs: Updates to the OP (Mini-Review):

* Version is now v8.7.

* There are a raft of new/improved features - now numbering 30+

* The developers put a forced option on users - you either get FFS $FREE with Candyware, OR you start paying periodically recurring licence fee $donations (each time the "thank-you period" ends) - that gets you the temporary FFS Donation Edition with "bonus" (hah-hah) features including:

* ad-free installation without Candyware
* auto-updater
* portable zip package

* There is an introductory video (quite good) on the website.

* I have copied to the foot of the OP (Review) above a review that I posted on the FFS website, giving them some feedback:
Review of FFS posted at
by Slartibartfarst (5 Stars rating)

FFS is an excellent $FREE backup tool. It also has one of the most sound ergonomically-designed GUIs that I have come across. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for good, reliable backup software. Why would you NOT want to use it?
As a regular and committed user of FFS (FreeFileSync) since 2012, I wrote a very favourable mini-review of FFS at the Forum. That review is periodically updated. Only read it for the information it might give as an introduction to using FFS and/or especially for the comments from people on the forum, who are generally keen fans of using good and innovative software - such as FFS, for example.

FFS is an excellent $FREE backup tool - BUT, the single biggest downside to the tool seems to be the Candyware approach that insists on installing PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs).
I fully understand that the Candyware is done out of necessity for funding and that it may also explain the high frequency of updates/changes released for FFS. However, Candyware is simply a huge PITA - it upsets the AV (Anti Virus) software and MBAM (Malwarebytes) - and rightly so. Goodness knows what CR#P it is trying to install.

Unfortunately for FFS, Candyware seems to be the single biggest negative reason that many potential and existing users have mentioned to me for NOT using FFS and for instead using some other (and possibly inferior) backup software. I just thought I'd mention that, because it drives users away, which is not a good thing and the developers would presumably know that - so it is probably all done with deliberate method.

So, FFS is an excellent $FREE backup tool - but the $cost?
Well, you either pay for it with your time and inconvenience from the repeated PITA of Candyware installs and then (say) stop using it because you get sick of that, OR you stump up a $donation.

I actually consider that having the forced option to donate and thereby getting a Candyware-less and also a PORTABLE ZIP installer that auto-updates is a relatively smart and sane way to go - so, all kudos for doing that However, no-one likes being coerced by having their arms twisted, and this will therefore probably antagonise some people (I know it does me) and may even put them off and who otherwise could be giving positive WOM (Word-Of-Mouth) advertising - rather than negative - about FFS - to their friends and relatives. This is reflected in some of the comments in the Forum.

--- End quote ---

@Lintalist: Having just download and installed the FFS v8.7 setup (installer), I thought it might be useful or of interest to you - and others with similar concerns re Candyware - if I noted a few observations about the installation process:

* The download itself did not cause an alert from the AV component in either WinDefender or MBAM.
* When the installer was executed, it immediately triggered a PUP alert (re the Candyware) from MBAM, but nothing from WinDefender. So I set MBAM to let the installer run this once instead of automatically immediately quarantining it as usual (can't be too careful where children are using the laptop).
* The installer ran, but it had a disabled "ZIP" install option button (it was greyed out). It had not been thus disabled in the v8.5 installer. This is presumably how the developers now control those users who want a "portable" install in the "$FREE" version. This functionality is presumably now only enabled for the $donation users, so the developers have thus deliberately reduced the value of what the $FREE suckers users get, in order to increase the differential of the value proposition for getting the $donate version. Shonky tactics.
* The installer requested access several times through the firewall to addresses on the Internet. I run WFC (Windows Firewall Control) and have it set to pop up manual approval windows for any such firewall access requests from new proggies that have not previously been given access. So I just temporarily blocked each request as it arose ("block for now and ask me later"). The installer continued to run after each block.
* At no time did the installer present me with an option to accept/reject any Candyware installation. (Was the same for the v8.5 installer.)
* The installation finished normally and apparently without installing any PUP. (Was the same for the v8.5 installer.)
After making these observations, I would guess that, in pursuit of max "$monetisation", some developers may be treading a very fine line between distributing a sound and stable product and deservedly gaining the reputation for deliberate trojan virus-spreading. The developers for FFS are presumably in that bind and this is an example of that. It is what from some perspectives could be an arguably shameful use of Candyware and excessively frequent updates as a mechanism for incrementally marginally ripping people off whilst euphemistically calling the product "$FREE" or "$donationware" (though "$coercionware" might be more applicable).

The so-called "business model" for developers using seems to have been broken in favour of something less than ethical.
At the moment, there seems to be no security "risk" (for me) to continue using updates to the $FREE version and as @x16wda indicates, no real advantage in, nor incentive for using the $donation version, since it seems at best to be nothing more than a temporary rental/licence.

I would usually consider buying a lifetime licence for a product that I liked/needed, but probably not for FFS now, after what has gone before. One might be able to get away with arm-twisting/lying/cheating/abusing and even stealing from people for a long time, but eventually the silent majority will say "enough" - e.g., (say) as US President Nixon learned, and as the more recent presidential campaigners apparently belatedly discovered. Given the chance, people will tend to vote with their feet.

There was an amusing cartoon of Nixon's head with a caption under it that said "Would you buy a used car from this guy?" Says it all really - though for a long time people evidently did buy into what Nixon said.
So, good as the product is, I'm not entirely sure that I'd buy a "lifetime" licence from the developers of FFS after their apparently relatively poor showing on the commercial front. Similarly for InfoSelect - another of my favourites.
As I have said elsewhere:
“By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them.”
 - Matthew 7:16

--- End quote ---

@IainB thanks for the follow up information, useful information for others as well I'm sure.


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