Still free. Not as easy

Malwarebytes updates just got a little trickier. Firefox extensions are about to get an extreme makeover.

Malwarebytes is still free. But it could be easier.

In the last few weeks, I’ve installed Malwarebytes on maybe 10 or a dozen customers’ computers.

Malwarebytes is a solid anti-malware product. Their new paid version is also an antivirus product, protects against ransomware, and makes it hard to visit an infected website. I like the paid version a lot, and recommend it to customers in the market for an effective anti-just-about-everything product.

That said, the free version, which will scan and clean malware on demand, works great if you already have an antivirus product. Install Malwarebytes Free, run it on demand, and let it clean malware from your computer.

Back to those customers using the Free version. I heard from many of them last week when Malwarebytes offered an update to the program. Updates to security programs are good things. You should approve those updates.

But several people told me that when they did the update they also received an upGRADE to a trial version of the full product.

It’s fairly easy to revert to Malwarebytes Free:

Open Malwarebytes
Click on Settings | My Account
At the bottom of that window, click on Deactivate Premium Trial
Click on Yes

More detailed instructions and pictures here. Once you complete that process, you’ll be back on the free version.

But, I have two concerns about this.

First, enabling all the features contained in the trial version will conflict with any other third-party antivirus product you are using. Everything will slow waaaaaaaaay down for you as both products try to decide who’s the boss of protection.

My second concern is that the trial version expires in 14 days unless you pay for the full version. You should be asked to opt in to a trial version.

This upgrade appears to be making people opt out, and that’s not at all the same thing! You’ve already opted out of the Trial once. You shouldn’t have to keep doing that. Still a great product, but I’d like to see them make this change in their update process.

There’s a big Firefox update coming. It’s going to break your Firefox extensions.

I love Firefox. I’ve been using it since version 1.2, and we’re now on version 56.0. It’s a great product, but sometimes it gets on my nerves. It’s seemed sluggish and temperamental lately.

But there’s good news! Version 57 is scheduled to roll out next month. It’s going to be, according to people who’ve been beta testing it, faster than all get-out and as secure as possible.

The bad news? One of the best features of Firefox has always been the ability to customize it with useful (or, let’s face it, fun) extensions. But version 57 makes big changes. And most of your extensions aren’t going to work.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably not using extensions — roughly 40 per cent of Firefox users don’t — so there is no bad news for you. For the rest of us, here’s how to tell if your favourite extension is going to survive the purge:

  • Open Firefox
  • Click on the three horizontal lines at the top right (“hamburger menu”)
  • Click on Manage your add-ons (“puzzle piece”)
  • Click on Extensions on the left side of the window

Extensions that will continue working after the upgrade look normal. Extensions that will not function after the upgrade have a yellow Legacy label.

Developers still have time to make new extensions. Check this list to see the status of extensions. You can also search here to see what’s available and what’s compatible.

When I first looked at my extensions a few weeks ago, I was dismayed to see how many wouldn’t work. When I looked today to take a screenshot for this article, I see fewer Legacy extensions than before.

It would be helpful if the new version of Firefox would look for replacement extensions automatically!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our friends and family in Canada, and to Canadians wherever you are. Have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along.


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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