Freeware? No, scamware!
May 13, 2009 1 Comment
I have a bad day today. I pulled SDHC card out of my digital Canon and put it into my Lenovo T500 to move photos on the disk. MOVE. After that I found out that there are some files of various lengths with proper names. But none of them was proper JPEG file. Except one that contained three fourths of some old picture deleted long time ago. In a panic move – those are the worst ones – I copied files back to the card to check them in the camera. No luck. Now I don’t know if they were corrupted before. But my bet is that they had gone wrong somehow before this whole episode happened. I decided to recover any JPEG file on the media on a binary basis. JPEG has its typical header with magic number so maybe, just maybe I’ll find something.
I tried various recovery freeware programs that were simple or lame or whatever. And then I hit Smart Image Recovery – reportedly freeware download. Let’s try it, why not. Uh, the download wants my email to send me the download link (that should be the first warning, I know). Ok, why not, I rely on Gmail spam filter anyway. I downloaded the software and started it. Buy or continue free? What?! How could the word “BUY” find its way into the freeware? Of course I want to continue Free! Ok, paid functions will be disabled. Oh, man, paid functions? You mean you would show me the pictures and I would not be able to recover them, right? (In the end this crappy software found NOTHING on that card although some other free trial found many files – of course, recovery was not for free. :-))
During the scan of the memory card dialog appears: You have some problems in Windows Registry and some temporary files (what a surprise!). Do you want to download our bla-bla cleaning software? You gotta be kidding!!! (I never use multiple exclamation marks, but I just felt like that in that very moment.) This is not freeware at all! I’ll run away if I see anything from Smart PC Solutions (or smartpctools.com) again. I don’t know what “scamware” really means, but it was the first word instead of freeware that came to my mind. Extremely annoying, not giving promised values and I feel safe only thanks to anti-virus solution I wouldn’t dare to turn off. Because you never know. This time it was only annoying software, but what it will be next time?