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MacKeeper, in detail please

7746 Views 68 Replies Latest reply: Nov 12, 2012 9:48 PM by MadMacs0 RSS
  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 8:22 PM (in response to jayv.)

    Pr0digy V. wrote:

     

     

    I appreciate the feedback and agree with everything said, i have, and will, advise people to stay away from MacKeeper but objectively so far in the current version i ran i can not find confirmation of most horror stories out there (including my own experiences maybe 5-6 months ago when i tested it). Wish i would have documented in detail back then what was happening on my system so i could have saved me this fishing expedition

     

    There's several hundred comments on my site, which has been mentioned already in this thread, detailing problems with MK. Since you're unlikely to want to wade through the dozens of pages, I'll sum them up for you.

     

    From the feedback I've received, problems with MacKeeper seem to fall into a few broad categories. These are in order of frequency, starting with the most frequent:

     

    1. Slows down the system

    Early versions of MK were a premature port of a similar prodcut called PCKeeper. Since Zeobit obviously knew little about OS X programming at that time, they used a windows emulator (WINE) process which really ground a lot of machines to a halt. I'm not sure when Zeobit dumped WINE but I believe it was before MK2012. However, widespread complaints of severe system slow downs keep coming in. Having tested the demo on my own machine over a dozen times, I couldn't reproduce any slowness, so I would be inclined to put those claims down to conflicts with other 3rd party s/w. However, that being said, I've never used a lot of MK's functions, nor have I ever used the full version, so its hard to say for sure what the program might do that causes slow downs.

     

     

    2. Intrusive pop-ups / aggressive marketing

    This seems to be the second most common complaint: annoying pop-ups that won't leave people alone, impacting their workflow and productivity. People complain that they get the feeling that MK is taking over their machine. Since Zeobit went out of their way to make it difficult to dismiss, avoid, or remove both the pop-ups and the app itself (at least until MK2012), this has understandably generated a lot of ill-will towards the company and the program.

     

    3. Loss of system files, complete system crashes

    These complaints are not as frequent as 1 & 2, but common enough to be of concern. I can only guess at the causes. At least one is likely to be use of MK's 'FastClean' function, which cuts binaries, removes language packs and disects s/w programs AND system files in other ways at the click a button with no warning. Many of these binaries and system files simply cannot be removed in the way that MK's programmer's thought, and using the FastClean option is likely to render some apps and possibly the whole OS inoperable.

     

    That's not the only dangerous feature of MK. Aside from my own site, I don't think anywhere  - not even on Zeobit's own site - warns users that if they uninstall MK after using MK's built-in encryption feature they'll lose access to all that encrypted data. This is one of the reasons its essential not just to junk MK in the trash, but to undo anything that you've done with it beforehand.

     

    4. Misleading advertising claims

    Some people who have experienced 1, 2 or 3 start to look into Zeobit's advertising. I've compiled a number of reports from users stating that Zeobit have made false testimonials. These range from claiming a 5-star review on MacUpdate to claiming a System Administrator at a major university recommends MK to all new students. I've checked those two out myself and found them false. I've heard of a couple of others that I haven't checked out (Thomas Reed's got some examples on his site I think), but the effect here is the same as 2: it enhances the ill-will and distrust of MK and Zeobit.

     

    While 4. is in itself not a problem with running the app on your computer, MK requires that you give it full root access to your machine and it requires internet access and the ability to invisibly "call home" to function properly. You would have to be careless in the extreme to trust any app from a developer that engages is such unsavoury practices. Does anyone need MK so much it's worth the risk of causing system slow downs, complete crashes or exposing your personal data?

     

    As others have already mentioned in this thread, the suite of utilities comprising MK are mostly functions that already exist in the system (like encryption, for example), or can be obtained by other, less-dangerous utilities like OnyX, or do things that you should never do to your system anyway.

     

     

    I'd be interested to read your review when it's done. If it's online, it'd be great if you could post a link to it, or contact me personally through Applehelpwriter.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,915 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 8:54 PM (in response to MadMacs0)

    I just read a post where someone else was complaining about MacKeeper ads. It was on speedtest.net. There is both a MacKeeper and a Google Chrome ad. I have been wondering why so many people are using Chrome. Now I know the answer. Sadly, apparently all anyone needs to sell software is an ad with a big button that says "Click me" and they do. It works for MacKeeper and it works for Google. I think I've finally found the secret sauce to get me on the anti-MacKeeper bandwagon - they are teaming up with Google.

  • Purd Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 8:58 PM (in response to softwater)

    I never think of even trying Mackeeper. This is because I never eed his kind of software which control my Mac. However, I have seen a couple f my friend use it as an indispensable tool on their Mac. They are, f course, novice users Yuthant believe the advertising claim.

     

    Thy said to me that they can't live without MacKeeper. Theyvare deeply indoctrinated and become Mackeeper de hard now.

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,305 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 9:33 PM (in response to jayv.)

    To add my two cents, I have installed MacKeeper, and have not experienced ANY of the problems people have claimed to have with the software. To the best of my knowledge the software started as a bad and poorly programmed port of PCKeeper tot he Mac OS, which caused it to not run too well in earlier versions, but which seem to be corrected in large part in newer versions. However, the software does not provide much that cannot be found implemented better in other software packages, and the software also seems to be built around getting folks to subscribe. As a result, it's not the best business model from the user's standpoint, and doesnt offer much for the user.

     

    However, with all that said, the software is neither malware nor a scam (though the latter is primarily a matter of perspective, and many thigns might be cconsidered a "scam"). Those who claim it as such are just blindly jumping on the bandwagon without much knowledge of it. Perhaps its just their way of promoting others' displeasure or even their own, but its nothing more than folks calling Windows or Office a "Virus" because they hate it or have had problems with it for some reason.

  • MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,345 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 10:32 PM (in response to etresoft)

    etresoft wrote:

     

    LexSchellings wrote:

     

    In this thread Linc and Etresoft said to have installed Mackeeper, and tried it, they found that it was impossible to delete everything by uninstalling. I have (knowing it was scam software) tried it three times (SL, Lion) in a non-production mac: uninstalling completely was impossible (even in KeychainAccess it left remnants), some files found were different everytime, two of the installations did not generate issues as far as I could see, one caused errors and other issues (in this case I had to do a clean install of the OS, as Linc did).

    The state of installers and uninstallers on MacOS X has always been very poor. If you want to blame someone for a bad uninstaller, blame Apple. This is where Apple really is ten years, or more, behind Windows. Only App Store apps have a decent, system-supported uninstall process. Although I missed MacKeeper's original uninstall process, from what I understand most of the continuing complaints about it stem from it not removing log, cache, and preference files. I didn't even bother to check for those because I don't know of any apps that remove those files.

    I'm not sure whether a historic perspective is worth anything at this point, but the uninstaller is something I've followed from the beginning when the complaints were that there was none at all. At first ZeoBIT wasn't even recognizing the need to uninstall anything.

     

    The next phase was to have customers call their 800 number for instruction, presumably so they could talk them out of it.

     

    When the complaints grew they finally posted a list of all the files and directories that needed to be deleted. The initial list didn't include everything which was great for the developers of EasyFind and Find Any File. They also didn't mention that you wouldn't be able to empty the trash without unloading the running background processes and the aforementioned KeyChain entries. I believe it was around this time that a user was convinced that there was a hidden file that was causing popups or popunders to continue to nag him when users who had never installed MacKeeper were not seeing them. At least one such user eventually got to the bottom of it by calling everybody involved in the ad. His findings were posted months after the accusations somewhere in the forum.  This is also about the time that Phil Stokes first published his how to remove blog.

     

    Then came the built in uninstaller and new complaints about having to enter ones password (which users mistakenly thought was going direct to ZeoBIT and having to answer a question about why they needed to uninstall it. Again there were complaints of left over files, but not executables and all relatively small. This is also the time frame I mentioned earlier when users reported that a large chunk of hard drive space was returned to them after the uninstall.

     

    That brings us to MacKeeper 2012 and your experience with a relatively trouble-free process. Phil Stokes still get's a few visits to his site after a failure, but most are easily resolved by reading and implementing

    NOTES

    1. If you have any problems carrying out the steps, try starting your Mac up in Safe mode, and then running the procedure.

  • LexSchellings Level 5 Level 5 (5,510 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 1:20 AM (in response to jayv.)

    @Prodigy: I use Adblock and (proxy blocker) Glimmerblocker. They work very good but don't stop everything: the Mackeeper ad on Speedtest.net comes up as soon as you ran the test, even with both blockers, popunders often come up on other sites.

    @etresoft: hi, a thread like this one gets you on steam quickly .

    I wrote Speedtest.net about this ad and asked them to remove it, they had a weak argument to not do it so I suppose this is one that Zeobit really pays for.

    @softwater, good post, thanks

    @Thomas, was the offer to pay for a good review ever repeated?

    @all: anybody with new information what Zeobit does with the customer information?

  • MadMacs0 Level 4 Level 4 (3,345 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 2:19 AM (in response to LexSchellings)

    LexSchellings wrote:

     

    @Thomas, was the offer to pay for a good review ever repeated?

    There were several allegations that ZeoBIT was paying people to write good reviews, but the only one that was ever confirmed was that they offered users of the original MacKeeper a free upgrade to MacKeeper 2012 if they would write an honest review. Most of those ended up on MacUpdate and Derek Currie is the expert on that one. I can invite him to this party if anybody is really interested in details.

    @all: anybody with new information what Zeobit does with the customer information?

     

    I suspect this is overblown. They collect enough information to charge your credit card if you choose to purchase it. They can upload some mostly anonymous data about your platform if they choose, but I haven't seen proof that they do. It would be difficult for any app to access any privacy information without you knowing it. A lot of applications do this. Some tell you exactly what they are collecting and others don't. Mostly you have to rely on Little Snitch to tell you if they are phoning home for any reason and then you have to figure out for yourself why that might be. As I said they ask you why you are deleting it, but I'm not sure they can even connect that to anything but your computer or perhaps IP address. Most companies do all this for obvious marketing reasons, nothing more.

     

    What has been speculated about this?

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,050 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 4:12 AM (in response to LexSchellings)

    @Thomas, was the offer to pay for a good review ever repeated?

     

    Nope.

     

    (For those unaware, I've mentioned before that very shortly after I posted an article about Zeobit's unsavory marketing practices and why you shouldn't waste money on the features provided by MacKeeper, I was contacted by a Zeobit rep. He wanted to know what my fee would be to write a review of MacKeeper. Of course, since I had just written a review of MacKeeper - and he knew it, because he had mentioned it in the e-mail - the implications of that were unstated, but still fairly clear.)

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,915 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 7:00 AM (in response to MadMacs0)

    Thanks for roundup! With Topher's information it all adds up. Zeobit had a product but their market was saturated. They quickly did a port to the only antivirus market with growth opportunity and with their shady, but incredibly effective advertising, it took off way faster than they expected.

     

    Phil Stokes has updated his MacKeeper removal page to explain how the MacKeeper 2012 works fine. The funny part is that few people bother to read that and say things like "Do NOT use the MacKeeper uninstaller - it will damage your computer" and then link to Phil's site where he says to use the MacKeeper uninstaller. No wonder people get confused.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,915 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 7:12 AM (in response to LexSchellings)

    LexSchellings wrote:

     

    @etresoft: hi, a thread like this one gets you on steam quickly .

    Well there is a reason for that. At one time (back during the Flashback "incident"), I was a proud member the MacKeeper-bashing crowd. Someone called me on that position and said that MacKeeper was different than MacDefender and not really malware, just, ahem, unfortunate. I checked and, sure enough, he was right. Then I tried that infamous uninstaller and it worked fine - better than most, actually. That's what keeps me in ASC. Sometimes I get wound up about something and learn something new.

     

    MacKeeper itself isn't all that interesting. But people's attitudes, approaches, and reactions to it are just fascinating. I'm a good programmer, but not a good salesperson or marketer. I'm trying to "get back in the game" so to speak and quit my day job next year. The efficacy of MacKeeper's (and apparently Google's) over-the-top advertising is greatly interesting. I could never bring myself to copy them, but that is definitely an area where I can improve.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,915 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 5:54 PM (in response to jayv.)

    Pr0digy V. wrote:

     

    MacKeeper's Cleanup features can still cause major damage.

     

    There are a number of apps that do similar things. People have a new Mac with 972 GB free and they will run something like that to free up 42 MB of space.

     

    A fair assumption is that at least 90% of everyone who installs MacKeeper will click "Fix issues". If even half of those people experience similar issues that is still a huge amount of users that find their Mac messed up. The uninstaller works, the application itself does not.

    Do you know what "issues" it finds? If the default setting is to strip binaries or languages, that would be really bad.

  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
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    Aug 13, 2012 8:50 PM (in response to etresoft)

    etresoft wrote:

     

    Do you know what "issues" it finds? If the default setting is to strip binaries or languages, that would be really bad.

     

    If you're prepared to spend time debating it, you might as well spend a few minutes finding out for yourself. Just load the demo and see what it brings up in the suggestions when you hit the Fast CleanUp menu. Every time I've run it, I've seen stuff in there that I would never recommend people removing, including binaries and language packs.

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