The other day one of my cousins asked me to see if the hard drive was ok on a laptop he was given as the previous owner thought it was running hot. I found a free hard drive test program on some Softonic web site and decided to try it. When starting to get it going there was a statement that reported that some programs will also be installed if they are allowed; that didn't surprise me but I figured I'll just uncheck them.
At first it notified me that it wanted to install Wajam and I didn't allow it (BTW I wonder if the uncheck option even worked anyway), but then the real problem kicked in next: all of a sudden Whitesmoke & a couple of other toolbars started to be installed without asking permission or given a choice to answer no. I immediately went into Task Manager and ended all Softonic processes, did a System Restore to the day before, and ran his anti-malware programs and everything worked out fine.
Anyway my message is that when downloads are done, make sure to watch exactly what's happening because sometimes additional downloads might not have an uncheck option and/or are not easily known unless you are on top of what's going on; that also made me wonder if sometime it's not even possible to know what else is coming into the computer on some of those websites
I did find SpinRite afterward and I sense that's a very good program and I might try it for him but I don't plan on doing any work on his laptop because it has other problems, I just wanted to make the comments I did based on the subject title; naturally I'd be interested in any followup opinions