Apple’s software for Windows has been causing problems on more and more of my clients’ computers. I’ve been wrestling with bluescreens caused by iTunes, file extensions hijacked by Quicktime, and now I’m suspicious that an uninvited service has been causing problems in Outlook.

An iTunes installation includes far more than a music library that syncs to your iPod. There are multiple services and kernel mode drivers and program addins, with very little of it included in any disclosure or presented with any options. Apple also installs its “software update” framework, which it has used to install additional unrelated software without adequate disclosure, notably when it used the update service to install its insecure Safari web browser a few months ago.

The last few releases of iTunes install “Bonjour,” a service that’s only used if you share iTunes libraries across a network or use AppleTV. You don’t do that. Why is that running on your computer without your knowledge?

You’ve also got “Apple Mobile Device Support,” which syncs with iPhones and iPod Touch. If you don’t have one of those devices, you don’t need that software.

And if you’re running Outlook and iTunes, you’re probably running an Outlook addin named “iTunes Outlook Addin” or “Outlook iTunes Sync Addin.” Take a look! In Outlook 2003, click on Tools / Options / Other / Advanced Options / COM Addins. In Outlook 2007, click on Tools / Trust Center / Addins, and click on “Manage COM Addins / Go” at the bottom. Now how did that get there! Make it go away. I suspect it of causing Outlook problems for several clients in the last few months.

There is a way to install iTunes without most of that unnecessary bloatware but be warned – it’s not for the faint of heart. If you have to install iTunes, this guide will lead you through the process of locating the installation files for its individual pieces, so you can install only iTunes (and Bonjour if you need it), and leave the rest of it behind.

It doesn’t help that the latest version of iTunes breaks the connection between J River Media Center and iPods. You’re now forced to install iTunes if you get one of those devices, because Apple creates closed, unfriendly platforms and fiercely locks out potential competitors. Here’s more info about that.

I hope my iPod Classic doesn’t break – it connects to J River Media Center and I will never install iTunes or Quicktime on my computers. Apple is moving way up on the list of vendors helping send my kids to college.

Share This