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Nuance PDF Reader - Acresso-FLEXnet agent is Annoyware/Adware WARNING.

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On 2011-02-26 I downloaded Nuance PDF Reader ($FREE) via an email from that said:
Thank you for your interest in Nuance PDF Reader.
To access your download of Nuance PDF Reader software, click here.
By confirming your email address and downloading the file, you are signing up to receive periodic follow-up emails regarding the Nuance PDF Reader.
Any emails we send you will contain unsubscribe information, and you may opt-out of future emails at any time.

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What wasn't explained to me was that Acresso/FLEXnet "marketing" software would be silently installed at the same time as Nuance PDF Reader, but I fortunately became aware of this as soon as it first tried to phone home, which caused my Windows 7 Firewall Control to ask me what permissions I wanted to grant it - so I disabled all of its outbound access. This effectively ring-fenced the problem software.

I nevertheless determined to stick with it and give the Nuance PDF Reader a fair trial anyway, despite the above detestable marketing practice.

My conclusions on Nuance PDF Reader:

* Primarily, it seems to be an annoying 5th column marketing teaser, offering no particular advantages, for which you pay the price by letting it in through the door in the first place and then regret later. It has its advertising contained inside the application.
* It seems to be cuckoo software and persistently takes over the file association to PDF files across your system (including Firefox), which you then have to restore manually.
* It offers arguably less and certainly little or nothing more than Adobe Reader (also $FREE and with no Annoyware/Adware).
So here it is, over a year later. I had been putting it off until I felt strong enough to confront the de-lousing of my system of the Nuance PDF Reader parasite. Yesterday I had a quick google about it and after reading this:
How to remove Nuance PDF reader from Firefox (& short review)

If like some people you install the free Nuance PDF reader, then uninstall it but it's still taking over PDFs in Firefox, here is how I got rid of it. It worked for me, but your mileage may vary... (read the rest at the hyperlink above)

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- I took control and:

* used RevoUninstaller to remove Nuance PDF Reader.    :Thmbsup:
* This promptly caused it to try to phone home again (I blocked that too) - thanks Windows 7 Firewall Control.    :Thmbsup:
* However, I had to manually delete the Acresso/FLEXnet Connect agent software bits - which had been buried away in a couple of separate parts of the OS. I used Unlocker to forcefully delete any open files/folders that had been locked by residual running processes. Unlocker can also kill the locking processes at the same time as deleting the files/folders.    :Thmbsup:
* Just in case, I checked for and expunged any and all residual Registry traces/hooks of these proggies (Nuance, Acresso/FLEXnet Connect) from the Registry, using CCleaner.    :Thmbsup:
* I doublechecked that the system was all clear by searching for relevant files/folders using Locate32.   :Thmbsup:
As regards the extent of OS hook embedding and OS damage, I would estimate Nuance PDF Reader as rating about 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), where any Norton/Symantec product would be 10. So Nuance PDF Reader is rather like a relatively harmless trojan/virus.

Nuance PDF Reader is clearly a common Nuisance. For example, on the Microsoft Answers forum there is this post:
What is Acresso software manager agent and how do I get rid of it?
GerodS [MSFT] replied on August 18, 2011
Did you install Nuance PDF Reader recently?  In my case this was the culprit.  I foundt his out by going to C:\ProgramData\FLEXnet\Connect and looking at the date of the folders in there.  Then I found the "installed on" column in "Add remove programs" to find what I installed on the date.  I found in my case that it was the Nuance PDF Reader.

Then I found this Via Bing:
Check out the first comment at the bottom:  "To my surprise, the ’software vendor’, Nuance in this case, decided to remove the ‘disable automatic…’ option and, whether I wanted it or not, my computer was going to call Nuance every day at 10 a.m., just to say ‘hi’, I suppose. To their credit, ACRESSO has an ‘uninstall’ utility at their own site and, hopefully, the the process was successful but I do NOT appreciate Nuance’s insistence of staying in touch with my computer, whether I wanted it or not and without asking for my permission. The Reference Guide does not mention ACRESSO, FLEXnet Connect or the fact that some third party software was installed."
I did not find good directions for uninstalling this on this Accresso site, so I am in the middle of uninstalling the PDF Reader instead...

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I find Adobe PDF a huge monster. I liked it up to version 6, then it has gone mad, huge, and forces updates all the time.

Nitro PDF reader is actually pretty good and no hidden gifts that I know of. Quick to start, has print-to-PDF and a few editing features

I have the Pro tool paid, but on other computers I put that one

Ah, pdf , one of those understated topics. Sorry to hear that Nuance is so nasty. : (

The point of those small 3rd party readers was supposed to be that they were tightly coded and efficient without Adobe Reader's bloat. There were a couple threads here a while ago discussing a few of them.

Most of the PDFs I look at are science papers, so I haven't seen any/many malicious ones. So I really haven't put much effort in trying to replace Reader.

Thanks Iain for the report

Nitro PDF reader is actually pretty good and no hidden gifts that I know of. Quick to start, has print-to-PDF and a few editing features
-iphigenie (September 29, 2012, 05:21 AM)
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veering off-topic -
Nitro PDF also have a helpful Firefox add-on:

I have had most versions of Nuance PDF Converter Pro installed, so apparently this has been on my machine(s) for a long time!

Wait - I just searched for both "Acresso" and "Flexnet" on my current box and it's in a lot of places: all the Nuance apps (PDF Pro, OmniPage Pro, PaperPort Pro) as well as Macrovision and anything to do with Installshield. Most places it seems to be associated with ARPProduction.exe, which despite the .exe extension does not seem to be an executable. (??)

Neither Norton AV 2012 nor Malwarebytes has any problem with all of this. Computer scans clean at all the usual online scanners, too. Does anyone have anymore detailed info on these?




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