Even perfectly useful software can sometimes hide unexpected packages. While it’s more common among free and repackaged software bundles, even such common and vaunted software as Windows is sometimes packaged with unnecessary programs. The common industry term for this is ‘Bloatware’, because it bloats the computer with unwanted files and processes, which can eat up valuable hard drive space and cause slowdowns.

Often, these extra programs are perfectly functional and safe, but that doesn’t justify sneaking something in without your permission. Keep an eye out for suspicious check boxes on new programs as one little check mark can mean a whole suite of unwanted or (in some cases) malicious software will mysteriously “appear”. In certain cases, like the extra software bundled with Windows, removing it can be a laborious and frustrating process, so where possible it’s best to avoid it entirely.

No need to panic however; generally, bundled software is related to the software it’s bundled with. In some cases, it might even be useful. Sometimes you don’t know you need something until it’s already there in front of you. But be wary, and make sure that you only get the programs you want installed.

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