A new sport: hunting and killing useless processes. The Paint Shop Pro X3 case. (http://www.sandon.it/node/53)

Lately I started a new sport. After each installation, I hunt and kill all the useless processes that too many applications runs at startup without a good reason. Although Delphi is in the pack too (why does it starts BlackfishSQL without asking?), today I'll examine Corel Paint Shop Pro X3. I've been using PSP since version four or five - and it was a good small program for image editing. Now in the Corel's hands it entered the "bloatware" category fully - and adopted tha bad behaviour to install several processes running all the time without asking the user. The latest setup, fully luser compliant, asks only the destination folder.

Than it does what it likes with your (my) machine - arrogantly. It installs and starts:

  1. Protexis license server (as a service)
  2. Corel File Shell Monitor (registry Run entry)
  3. Corel Photo Downloader (registry Run entry)
  4. A misterious Standby Service (standby.exe, in <common files>, registry Run entry)
    Update: it seems it scans and reads files. It may be run with -SCAN and -SCANWOM parameters. Why, I still don't know.
  5. QuickTime 7, which in turn installs its own Run entries.

I can understand the first entry, although I do not like this kind of copy protection - if every program would use such a technique we would have half of the machine resources dedicated to run license services. It seems I can set it to manual and start it in a batch file before running PSP.

I asked Corel support what is Corel File Shell Monitor for - and if it could be disabled - they just said it is to keep track of image filed moved and to update PSP information about them, but no more.  Why they didn't write a shell extension instead of a separate process I do not know - maybe the reason is they didn't know it. Disabling it has no bad effects - although I guess it also generates thumbnails for PSP images.

Corel Photo Downloader is a utility to scan removable disk for images - something I - and I guess most users - don't really need. Disabling it is ok.

I am still investigating what the Standy Service is, and why it is started at startup. I didn't install IDA in W7-64 at home, don't know if the version I have will work. If needed, I will disassemble it at the office.

QuickTime is always the same QuickTime - I really hate Apple software on Windows machines - and it's another application which usually does not respect the rules.

Frankly, I do not understand this way of deploying applications. First of all, that's my PC, not yours. I have the right to know what runs and why. The fact that some users are incompetent is not a good excuse to deal with all users as incompetent. Or maybe the real incompetents are the developers developing this impolite software and their managers. And in times of security threats, unknown, maybe vulnerable processes running without your knowledge is a risk. Remember the "SQL Slammer" worm? One of the biggest issues were the many PCs unaware of running MSDE. But seven years later this lesson is still not learned. The unqualified developer instead of looking for the proper way of solving a problem, will just add a new process to one of the "autorun" entries of your machine.

I decide I won't let them alive on mine.


Source URL: http://www.sandon.it/node/53