Spyware in Windows DVD software

Snowing again today. Snow is forecast until the end of the week. I don't object to it – ordinarily I don't get to see it, and rarely as much as this – the only other time was when I visited Saariselkä in Finland 5 years ago.

Weather update over and done with, on to the main point of this post.

Whilst trying to setup Windows XP on a new PC for my in-laws, I've been doing my best to stick to free or open source alternatives to commercial software. So I've naturally gone with OpenOffice.org (the Polish version), AVG Free Edition, etc..

One of the things we wanted to do the other night was to watch a film on DVD. I have a full copy of PowerDVD but sadly that's somewhere at home in the UK at the moment. The Windows version of VLC displayed the menu, but would not play the film – it crashed with an exception. After searching around, I found Cliprex, which claims to be totally free DVD player software for Windows.

WARNING – Cliprex is filled with Spyware. Fortunately I'd already installed Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta, and it detected and removed it as Cliprex was installed. Cliprex then also refused to play the DVD, thus sealing its fate of immediate deletion. I recommend that everyone should avoid Cliprex, based on my negative experience.

As an interesting aside, MS AntiSpyware also picked up a number of bits of spyware from two partitions of the old Windows 98 disk I'd installed into the computer in order to transfer data. It does seem to be pretty effective.

The solution in the end was to purchase and download the InterVideo XPack for DVD which allows DVDs to be played through Windows Media Player. I realise that this is largely to do with the DVD encryption stuff not being royalty-free, but it was annoying nonetheless.

Apart from that hiccup (and the issues between Canon cameras and HP printers I mentioned before), everything has been plain sailing so far and the new system is working out well.

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