The 20 most annoying tech products

6. Bonzi Buddy (1999-2004)

Described as a "helper" application, Bonzi Buddy delivered contextual ads to your PC, basically after collecting information from you. Its passing has not been mourned.

As reader Randy J put it to us: "I used to do support for one of the big ISPs. Bonzi Buddy was one to remember. I once used a computer with it on there. It kept popping up and obscuring things you needed to see. I had to uninstall it from many, many people's systems."

7. MySpace (2003 to present)

Gwendolyn would like to be added as one of your friends. Brittany would like to be added as one of your friends. Latisha would like you to view her free adult video, which incidentally will download spyware to your hard drive.

Sure, the biggest Web sites always attract scammers (see eBay), but they don't have to make it easy. MySpace's minimal barriers to entry make it a haven for bogus "friends."

8. Microsoft Windows Vista (2007)

It's one of the unwritten laws of computing: All versions of Windows are annoying. Vista wins a prize in part because of its overzealous "Cancel or Continue?" confirmation windows so brilliantly lampooned by Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials.

But that's only the tip of the Vista annoyance iceberg. Installing Vista onto an older system? There's a good chance that your graphics card, sound card, and some of your older software won't work properly. And even if you have a new system with either the Premium or Ultimate version installed, Vista won't display its nifty 3D Aero interface if your PC lacks the graphics horsepower for it. No warning screens, no error messages, no explanations -- Aero simply doesn't work. That's annoying.

9. Microsoft Windows Update (1998 to present)

Yes, we know, our computers would be even more vulnerable if we didn't use Update to plug Windows' seemingly endless security holes. But using it to distribute Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage tattleware puts Update firmly in the annoyance column (not to mention the way it auto-restarts your system after it's done installing).

Delivered as a "critical" update last spring, WGA installed itself with minimal notice, secretly phoned home with information about users' systems, and wrongly identified possibly millions of legitimate copies of Windows XP as pirated.

10. Apple QuickTime for Windows (2001 to present)

What is it about media players that makes them think they own your PC? Install QuickTime, and it immediately sets up camp in your Windows system tray, drops icons on your desktop, and loads the qttask.exe applet every time you power up -- no questions asked.

You can kick it out of the tray, but the next time you upgrade or reinstall the program, it sneaks back in. Worse, if you want to use iTunes, you have to take QuickTime along with it. Plenty of programs are looking for a home in your system tray, but most of them ask politely first.

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Dan Tynan

PC World

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