Pet Peeve: “Free Downloads”

pet_peeve.pngIf you’ve been searching for free video conversion tools on the Internet, I’m sure you’ve come across a lot of “Free Download” applications. They’re advertised as “Free”, but essentially they are not really free. They are crippleware versions that can be downloaded for free. So you think you just downloaded and installed a freeware application, but instead you have a trial version that is crippled or has a big watermark across your converted video. Now, there’s nothing wrong with shareware or crippleware, just so long as they don’t advertise it as “Free” and trick you into wasting your time downloading and installing it.

I came across this issue recently when I forgot the password to an Excel VBA macro that I created. I thought I could do a simple search on the Internet to find a free password remover, and sure enough I got hundreds of hits when I Googled, “VBA Excel Password Remove Free”. Of course, none of my hits were truly free and useful software. I spent hours downloading, installing, running, uninstalling, etc. to discover there is no Free password removal software available!

Now, I have no problem paying a nominal cost for a tool that will remove the VBA password, however, I was very suspicious that any software tool that I chose would do the job. I would hate to pay for an application (that I would probably only use one or twice) and have it not work! Thus, I was on an holy crusade to find a free alternative.

In the end, I stumbled across a web site that explained how to use a Hex Editor to alter the Excel XLA file that allowed me to change the VBA password, so I was able to resolve my issue. But I’m still wondering, what the heck was that password I used???!!!


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