AOL Instant Messenger was updated recently to version 5.5 – and apparently it secretly installs Wild Tangent, a “game content delivery service,” along with the IM program. Wild Tangent is typical adware – software you didn’t ask for and don’t want, installed without your knowledge or consent (in anything other than a meaningless technical sense – a clause buried in a license agreement does not constitute “consent.”)

People are complaining about it in this forum on; what worries me are the reports from people who blame Wild Tangent for slowing their system to a crawl.

Here’s a list of steps to remove Wild Tangent from a Windows XP system. I do not vouch for these instructions; they look reasonable, but I haven’t tested them.

1. Close AIM

2. Open My Computer and navigate to the folder Program FilesAIM

3. Delete the file AIMWDInstall

4. Navigate to the folder Program FilesAIMSysfiles

5. Delete the file AIMWDInstall (do not delete AIMWDUninstall)

6. Open Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel

7. Uninstall WildTangent multiplayer library

8. Uninstall WildTangent Web Driver

9. Uninstall WildTangent Updater

10. Restart the computer

11. Navigate to the folder C:Program Files

12. Delete the WildTangent folder

13. Navigate to the folder C:WINDOWS

14. Delete the wt folder

15. Open Start/Run and type regedit

16. Delete the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWildTangent (please be careful working in the registry!)

17. Add the domain to the IE restricted sites zone (even if you don?t use IE)

18. If this is the only user account on this PC you?re done. If not, keep reading

19. Open regedit again

20. Navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionInternet SettingsZoneMapDomains

21. Right click on it and hit export

22. Type a name for the file and save it to C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDocuments or any other place that all accounts can access

23. Log into each account, double click on the file, and hit yes in the box that appears

24. You’re done

That does a thorough job of removing Wild Tangent. Running Ad Aware apparently does an adequate job of removing it if you’re more comfortable with that.

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