Free software providers, including such giants as Adobe or Dell, will often try to make the downloaders download more than they are trying to download. Is there a name for this practice?

  • This is the first time in my life I've used the verb "fob off". Please comment or edit if you feel it's not a natural usage.
    – user18036
    Nov 15, 2013 at 18:48
  • Related question: Word for software less harmful than malware
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 15, 2013 at 20:12
  • I usually call it ‘annoying as all hell’, but that is probably not an accepted, technical term. ;-)   (It’s similar to all that free software where you only have to give your e-mail address to access the download page, and voilà, five seconds later you’ve been signed up for about 547 utterly useless newsletters for things you care ne’er a whit about!) Nov 15, 2013 at 20:24
  • 2
    Excellent use of "fob off" ! Nov 16, 2013 at 0:16
  • Please note that what you are referring to is gratis software, not free software. From Wikipedia: "Free software[1] is computer software that is distributed along with its source code, and is released under terms that guarantee users the freedom to study, adapt/modify, and distribute the software. Please edit your question.
    – jcora
    Nov 19, 2013 at 10:28

2 Answers 2


Foistware refers to any software, bundled with some other primary software, that attempts to install without the user's knowledge or consent during the installation of the primary software. I think this best fits your request. Other sources can also be found

Crapware is another, less-widely used term. You can probably guess its meaning.

Product bundling is a marketing term used to describe the sale of several products combined into one package, and is often used as a sales tool to increase the marketability of a group of products. This probably doesn't quite fit what you are after - product bundling tends to be a very conspicuous approach to marketing a product; the buyer believes they are getting more product for their dollar.

Shovelware is an industry term to describe a package of software typically denoting the quantity of inclusions, rather than the quality of inclusions. Old 90's PC games are commonly bundled together and sold as shovelware, where you can buy "500 of the greatest Solitaire games ever!"


It is often called bloatware

Myriad applications pre-installed on a PC by the vendor. Many PC manufacturers are paid by software vendors to pre-install lite versions of their products on the PCs they sell.

  • Bloatware is similar in concept, but not quite the same as what the asker is looking for. Bloatware refers either to preinstalled software or to integral, bloaty parts of optional software, rather than to separate, but bundled, crapware. Nov 16, 2013 at 11:05

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