I really can't understand why so many apps force their valuable customers to first download a suck downloader just for downloading the installer? Why can't things be simple and direct?
Let me tell my story. I installed Windows Live Photo Gallery sometimes ago and I would like to uninstall it now. Interestingly I cannot find the entry in Add/Remove programs. I could see other Windows Live service, just not Windows Live Photo Gallery. Double checked at the installation folder (C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Photo Gallery) and all files are there. Read this KB and I don't think I went to a wrong place. Is Windows nowadays so intellengence that it can detect my wish for uninstallation and hide the relevant entry?! I then planned download the installer again, and hoped it was a MSI so that I can launch the uninstaller manually. Unfortunately what I got from the official sites wass only a CRAP web installer that only allows me to download new Windows Live services. What's installed is installed and cant be removed from that. I tried to search for a offline installation package but only unofficial sources were identified.
What the hell.
I understand that having such kinds of web installers helped the vendor to have better control on the download - they can use them to play to control the deduce the most suitable installer, find one the best mirror used, limit the download speed, or even some installer have P2P function that speed up the download a lot (especially for large files). But one like me can easier throw out tons of drawbacks for only providing web installers.
- The first reasons can't be simpler. There may be people without Internet connection, at least it may be the case when they plan to install the problem. Are they expected not to install the application? Someone may argue that if some apps' usages are highly depending on Internet (Windows Live service maybe?), there is no point for users without Internet connection to install that. Well, that's stupid argument. I don't think installation and usage should be considered as one. Even for those apps which requires online activation, the activation process should be able to be independent of the installation process. Afterall installation is just copying files and perform some preconfiguration, maybe.
- The seond reason is that some people may not give up installing the apps even they don't have Internet connection at the time of installation. Some one them will try to google for unofficial sources to download the offline installer. This is an extremely dangerous action as you will never know whether those unofficial sites are trustworthy or not. So providing only web installer actually pushing your valuable customers to risks.
- The third reason is there is case like me. Some "intellegence" web installers will only download installers of apps you haven't installed. Users can never uninstall the installed apps through the web installer.
- Forthly, user may have their own favorite downloader. Why should we force them to use yours? It's not only above user's convenience to download, but also there may be firewall blocking outgoing connections by default. Not all firewall (or their configuraiton) allow temporary connections nor ask the users for actions when new executables are trying to access Internet. Are you expecting all users to add firewall rules or modify its configuration just to download your product?
All in all, I really hate web installers. Please give me back my offline installer. Period.
BTW, I just managed to uninstall Windows Live Photo. In addition to uninstalling the "Windows Live Photo" from "Add or Remove Programs", you also need to click "Change/Uninstall" for the "Windows Live Essential" item, then you can choose to remove any Windows Live components in the pop-up uninstaller.