Ashampoo Burning Studio

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Program works, but it's the OTHER stuff that sucks"

    June 14, 2011  |   By make_or_break

    Pros

    Easy to use interface, fast ripping tool. Good-sounding files.

    Cons

    Associated Conduit Apps Engine secretly installed toolbar and changed homepage in FF4, tried the same but blocked in IE9. Abuses admin privileges.

    Summary

    Downloaded this to test CD ripping problems with my TSSTCorp DVD burner.with another media app. Chose it because of relatively high ratings here on CNET. The finished install of the trial version was slick, and did the ripping quite fast with good-sounding MP3 files on the finish end. But in this version it didn't accept tag data edits (I could make the edits but Ashampoo didn't embed them into the finished rips), nor did it have an album art database to draw from, leaving it up to me to use another program to hunt down or otherwise acquire the artwork from other resources.

    But the worst thing about this install was the Conduit Engine, a third-party app installation utility that was bundled with the actual program. I made the install from a non-admin user account in Win7, but provided the requisite admin password to allow the install to happen. Conduit Engine secretly installed an Ashampoo toolbar in FireFox 4 and tried to do the same in IE9, but safeguards within IE prevented it from happening automatically. Moreover CE rudely CHANGED the homepage of FF4 without any user input or acknowledgement. Unacceptable behavior for ANY program. If I ever had any notion that I would keep this program it went down the toilet with the Conduit Engine's abusive acts. There were other examples of CE's abuses of the admin rights; I uninstalled the Ashampoo package in the user account, but when the routine opened up FF to go to a feedback web page, it was using the ADMIN account FF profile(!). It was simple to tell this right away because of the lack of add-ons I have with the admin FF profile. With this sort of invasive behavior there's NO WAY any Ashampoo app will ever find its way onto any of my machines again.

    As a heads up, if you do decide to try Ashampoo and then decide to uninstall for whatever reason, you will also have to uninstall the Conduit Engine separately. For me, the whole sordid episode left a very BAD taste. In my book Ashampoo now sucks for choosing to partner with Conduit.

    Updated on Jul 19, 2011

    Based upon comments left after my review, it seems that there is an opt-out for the installation routine to keep Ashampoo from changing browser settings. Well and good, but my point is why should a media program WANT TO CHANGE BROWSER SETTINGS in its default install routine in the first place? Easy CD-DA Extractor didn't do this. MediaMonkey didn't do this. iTunes didn't do this. Zune software didn't do this. Sorry, but a conscientious organization would openly tell a user that settings would change before proceeding with the install. Most people don't choose a customized install, in part because most 'custom' installs involves in-depth knowledge of what the user wants the program itself to do (hard to do when there's no prior experience), and Ashampoo knew that. However benign it perhaps was in The Big Picture, it's still a classic example of abusive social engineering by recognizing what an average person wold proceed and using that to their advantage. That's a F grade, period.

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4 replies to this review

  • Reply by AshampooHolding on February 12, 2013

    Hi everyone,
    I'm very happy to announce that we have begun to remove Ashampoo Toolbar from our setup files in agreement with a lot of customer feedback. For assistance please contact our customer service at sis@ashampoo.com. Best regards, Melanie from Ashampoo

  • Reply by patri-65 on July 1, 2011

    If you choose "custom install" you can choose whether to have the "ashampoo toolbar" and "ashampoo home page" or not it's up to you.

  • Reply by Mark_Albert on June 26, 2011

    Caveat Emptor: Accepting the defaults for the express installation, will install the Ashampoo toolbar and switch the user's home page. These options are embedded in the recommended express installation, and the the messages are grayed out until the user clicks the custom installation option. While I agree this is a bit sneaky, users who click the install button without reading what is displayed on their screens have to accept some responsibility for what happens to their computers.

  • Reply by geek999 on June 18, 2011

    It seems very suspicious that nobody else has noticed this secret toolbar installation.

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