PC Brother Software Administrator Free wants to sell you some software. | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

PC Brother Software Administrator Free wants to sell you some software.

Avoid this "free" software manager and its recommended replacements.

PC Brother Software Administrator Free is a free utility for managing programs. It can terminate running processes, perhaps disastrously, and uninstall programs. In fact, it offers to uninstall your free programs and replace them with paid software that's every bit as good, though some of the programs it recommends are inexpensive or free. Many are expensive, though, and the download link doesn't tell you how much a program costs before installing it.

PC Brother Software Administrator Free's interface bears a family resemblance, not just to the developer's other tools but to similar freeware. It has three main buttons: Software, Running, and Uninstall. It opened on the Software page, which is a catalog with prices listed; one program was $495, but most were less. Clicking the Running button listed our system's running processes; we simply had to select one, such as explorer.exe, and click Terminate to, what? Crash our system? We didn't try, nor did we end any of the other processes that might have called a BSOD or worse. Clicking Uninstall opened a tool listing our installed software on one side with a series of boxes for "recommended" replacements. Sometimes the tool recommended free software, though why we'd want to uninstall Google Earth and replace it with Chrome, Firefox, or IE is a question we can't answer. The cell phone charge utility that came with our motherboard seems more useful than any of the three shareware system utilities the software recommender recommended for our system. And we're not sure how Adobe Photoshop Elements replaces Microsoft Silverlight, but we are sure we can't afford to find out. But we'd draw the line at replacing .NET Framework Security Updates with BizPlan.

If you're looking for big-ticket shareware to replace your existing software, PC Brother Software Administrator Free certainly enables you to do just that, and we won't ask your reasons. Otherwise, avoid this software. Its goal seems to be to get you to ditch your existing programs so you can buy some new ones. At best, it will recommend an alternative to what you already have. Used carelessly, it can remove important programs and possibly even harm your system.

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