Online web installers really annoy us – in an age of increasing multiple computer ownership they are a huge step backwards and Skype is yet another company intent on making life difficult for users.
What Is A Web Installer? If you want to install Skype on a new computer you have to sign in to the Skype website (or create a new account if you can’t remember your details) and download and run a 1MB ‘stub’ setup program – which then downloads and installs the remaining 23MB of the Skype program.
So if you want to install Skype on three computers you have to download the whole thing three times – and obviously you can’t do it unless you’re currently connected to the internet on all three computers…
A much simpler way is to just download the whole 24MB Skype setup program – which you can then copy and install whenever and wherever you like.
Where To Download The Full Skype Setup Program – Our ‘go to’ method would be to get it from Filehippo but, unusually, they only host the stub too – not the full program.
Fortunately you can still download it from Skype directly here – they just make it difficult to find from the Skype website! Once you have downloaded the SkypeSetupFull program file, just run it to install Skype – you can then copy it to (and run it on) other computers if you wish.
Who Else Uses Web Installers? The most infamous are Google (for Chrome), Oracle (for Java) and Adobe (for Adobe Reader, Flash Player and Shockwave Player) but you can download the latest full versions of all these programs from Filehippo.com
One awful example we saw this week was a tailored version of McAfee antivirus supplied to customers free by a broadband provider as part of a broadband package. The web installer took 2 hours to complete on the first computer due to slow internet access and, because it was an online web installer, this had to be done all over again on each of the user’s other computers, not just copied to them :-(
Splitting the download and installation process into 2 parts is unnecessary, prevents people copying the program to other computers and could cause a problem with some firewalls as both the download stub and the main program have to be allowed appropriate access rights through the firewall.
They also take longer to install and don’t save any download bandwidth as you’re still downloading at least the same amount of data. So why do companies use them?