September was not a good month for computers in my home. My Compaq Presario C500 died. The soup I spilled across the touchpad likely had something to do with that. The replacement SONY VAIO lasted 5 days before its internet connection failed, just enough time for me to order a replacement through eBay. I bought a refurbed hp 6730 from heyheyca, and I recommend him: 5 stars in all four categories.
The 6730 arrived Tuesday morning, and I spent the afternoon connecting to the internet. heyheyca gave me a choice of operating system -- Microsoft's Windows XP or Vista -- and I chose XP. I once had Vista. Can't say enough bad things about it. For the first time in more than a year, I am running a Windows operating system. When I run Windows, I feel anxious. (I plan to install Ubuntu Linux (UbLinux) tomorrow.)
Shareaza is an example of why I feel anxious when I run Windows.
I spent most of yesterday clearing out my inboxes, but I had one other task that caused me to delay the installation of UbLinux. My wife commanded me to burn a music CD for a neighbor boy. (Guys, when your wife asks you to do something, that's a command.) Just one track. The problem was that I did not have the track. So, to purchase a download, I googled it.
The first item to come up in my Google search was Shareaza. 'Free!' it said. 'Legal!' it said. I was skeptical of those claims, but I decided to try it. The only way I could try it was to install it. So I did.
Big mistake. Huge.
I installed Shareaza and searched its listings for the track I wanted. Shareaza had many videos of performances of the song. It seemed to have many audio tracks, too, but I sampled them all and found them all to be the same hip-hop remix. Disappointed, I googled again, linked to another site, and soon had the track I wanted. I burned the CD for the kiddie, tested it, and went back to clearing out my inboxes.
I work with both Firefox and Chrome browsers running and switch between the two. The first time I switched to Chrome after I installed Shareaza, I noticed a new tab open: Shareaza. I did not open it. Shareaza did. I closed the tab and switched back to Firefox. There I noticed that Shareaza had changed my default search engine from Google to Shareaza. I had other things to do, so I went back to clearing out my inboxes.
There I was, minding my own business, when a little window popped up in the lower right-hand corner to tell me that vander1221 was visiting my hard-drive via Shareaza. "Hmmm," sez I. For a few minutes I tried to see what business vander1221 had with my hard-drive. Nothing bad seemed to happen, so I gave it up and returned to clearing my inboxes.
Later, the same window popped up with another name in it. Someone else was visiting my hard-drive via Shareaza. "Hmmm," sez I again. I did some research.
Turns out Shareaza is a peer-to-peer network. When you join, you invite others to share your files. How that makes for legal downloads I don't know, and I earned a law degree.
Matters got worse.
I switched back to Chrome and found -- wonder of wonders -- that the Shareaza tab had returned. Persistent little devil. I closed both browsers and restarted them.
Chrome came up with an extra tab: Shareaza. Evidently the little devil had written itself into my 'Tabs at Start' list. Firefox came up without my regular tabs. Instead, there was only one: Shareaza. This devil was out of control. I made a decision: Shareaza delenda est.
I looked for an uninstall.exe in the Shareaza folders without success. I turned to Google for 'uninstall Shareaza'. The first site listed was singularly unhelpful. The second site was a forum whereon a frustrated user wrote about his failures trying to uninstall Shareaza via the Control Panel. I gleaned enough from this to have a go at killing Shareaza on my computer. Here it comes:
How I uninstalled Shareaza. (How to uninstall Shareaza.)1. I closed all applications, and I mean all.
2. I clicked the START button (aka the WINDOWS key).
3. From the START menu, I selected 'Control Panel'.
4. In the Control Panel window, I double-clicked the 'Add or Remove Programs' icon. . . . and I waited while 'the list was populated.'
5. I selected Shareaza and clicked the 'Remove' button in the lower right-hand corner of the 'Add or Remove Programs' window.
6. A warning popped up to tell me that Shareaza could not be removed because it was running or 'resident in memory'. (Note those last three words.)
7. I got a drink and mulled over the situation. This was the same problem the kid on the forum had. I decided.
8. I hit the START button.
9. I selected 'My Computer' and opened it.
10. I searched my C drive until I found the Shareaza folder.
11. I clicked on the Shareaza folder and hit the DELETE key.
12. When my operating system asked if I really wanted to delete the Shareaza folder and all its contents, I clicked 'YES'.
13. The operating system returned a warning that access was denied. This surprised me, because I was in administrator mode. I had access to everything.
14. I got a stiffer drink and mulled over the situation anew. I decided.
15. I hit ctrl-alt-delete keys. This brought up the Windows Task Manager.
16. In the Windows Task Manager, I clicked the 'Processes' tab.
17. I scrolled down until I found the Shareaza process.
18. I highlighted the Shareaza process.
19. I clicked the 'End Process' button in the lower right-hand corner of the Windows Task Manager window.
20. I clicked the START button.
21. From the START menu, I selected 'Control Panel'.
22. In the Control Panel window, I double-clicked the 'Add or Remove Programs' icon. . . . and I waited while 'the list was populated.'
23. I selected Shareaza and clicked the 'Remove' button in the lower right-hand corner. Success. Shareaza deleta est.
I hope you learned something from my pain. My father had a saying: Experience is not just the best teacher. It is the only teacher. My corollary: It does not have to be your experience.
I recommend against Shareaza. I found it to be a greedy devil that gave me nothing worthwhile, gave away files I paid for, threatened to give away work that I created (and thereby debase my copyright), and led a mutiny against me for control of my computer. If you read my tale and decide to install it anyway, good luck with that. At least you know how I killed Shareaza.