Martin wants to know about FreeFileViewer – is it safe?

By | June 18, 2011
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Martin wants to know about FreeFileViewer – is it safe?
I came across this file while checking for something else. I was wondering if you had seen this site and, if so, is it a safe one. Thanks.

Our answer
Sounds like a great program – opens all kinds of files. Unfortunately when we went to download it, we found it using a curious installer, called InstallIQ. InstallIQ allows the developer to earn revenue from a free program. InstallIQ sets cookies on your computer (no big deal) and it makes changes to your registry. This means InstallIQ earns money from somewhere – most likely advertisers. This smacks of adware to us – and with the registry entry and cookies – it looks like InstallIQ comes close to being spyware too.

We didn’t download FreeFileViewer because of its installation methods. We don’t recommend that you do either.

Here’s more information on the installer (InstallIQ) that FreeFileViewer uses:

InstallIQ™ Information

Click the ‘Download’ button to begin downloading the software using InstallIQ™. When the download box appears, click ‘Run’ or ‘Open’ to start downloading. Once the download has been completed, the installation process will begin.

InstallIQ™ manages the installation of your software. During the installation we set cookies and update your registry:

Our websites install cookies on your computer. The product and last session cookies includes information about when and what products you downloaded. The user cookie helps us to recognize you on subsequent visits. An identification cookie is placed on your computer if you choose to register with us. None of our cookies contain Personally Identifiable Information. For information on how to remove cookies click here.

InstallIQ™ also updates your registry with a unique installer id. The installer id allows us to recognize you on all our websites. For information on how to remove the registry entry click here.

InstallIQ™ automatically uninstalls once you have received your download.

Advertisers & Publishers – Learn more about generating revenue and traffic from your Windows application using InstallIQ™

29 thoughts on “Martin wants to know about FreeFileViewer – is it safe?

  1. Vicki

    Thank you for all the valuable info you provide us with on so many different things. Your newsletter is wonderful!

  2. donald

    No, it is not safe. It comes with several spam files that my computer is having a tough time removing. Pure spam.

    1. infoave Post author

      This is the kind of misinformation that confuses people. So we want to clarify. First of all – you don’t get spam from software – spam is unsolicited commercial email – it doesn’t come from downloaded files. Secondly, to get rid of “spam files” (emails) you just need to delete them.

      What this program installs is various adware and software that may be deemed “spyware”… but a program doesn’t install spam. Just wanted to clear that up.

  3. Amy

    How can you uninstall it once you installed it, now my computer can’t get it off, and it keeps freezing when I try to remove/uninstall it? Please help!

  4. Rollory

    This little piece of crap was RECOMMENDED to me by Glad I thought to do a search on it first. Goes to show you can’t trust Microsoft either.

    1. Diana

      RECOMMENDED to me by thought to do a search on it,after I installed it(but didn’t click finish). will try to unistall.

  5. Shortchanged

    As others have written, i downloaded as was recommended by Microsoft, however i scanned with Malwarebytes and found a ‘pup’ file, so it does contain tracking malware. Now i can’t find the binary file to delete it.Will keep trying.

    1. infoave Post author

      PUP is not “malware” it means Potentially Unwanted Program. What exactly is tracking malware? Are you coining a new term? PUP is POTENTIALLY UNWANTED PROGRAM — not “tracking malware”.

      I really get a chuckle out of people who are so concerned about being tracked. Do you think Google or anyone else really cares what sites you visit? They don’t. It’s all about the money. They want to know what sites you visit because it shows your interests and then they can display ads for things you might be interested in rather than just general ads.

      As for me – I’d much rather see an ad for a new book or a new computer than I would for lip gloss or eyeliner.

      chortle chortle

      1. George

        infoave claims there’s no such thing as “tracking malware” then describes why he likes this non-existent product.
        I agree with the other poster; Get over yourself.

        1. infoave Post author

          We never ever said anything about Malware trackers. We have written a lot about tracking cookies. And I have no idea what non-existent product to which you refer. And just to clear things up we said there are more important things to worry about than “tracking cookies”- they are simply text files and cannot infect anything.

          Perhaps you should stop smoking whatever that is your smoking 🙂

      2. sandy

        I down loaded free file viewer about 5 years ago and have had no problems. When others in my org . haven’t been able to open files ,I have been able to. It’s been great. I now have a new computer and it doesn’t want me to down load it. bummer.

    1. Jayellevee

      Stephanie, I appreciate infoave’s advice. I am fairly new to understanding about spyware etc, and I don’t want to get misled by people using inappropriate or emotive terms about it. Let’s have accurate responses!!

  6. jd

    I also had trouble with a file opening-freefileviewer came up as a solution frrom window’s auto “helper” I also downloaded it but checked the terms and cond. I thought they were going to do all kinds of pop-ups and web page redirects so looked you up in search. Sooo… tell me,
    am I screwed or what next? I bmarked your site and am very glad to have found it.

  7. RJT

    I followed Lucas’s and ploughed through a page of conditions and then followed the simple instructions to delete, but when I looked up programmes, there it was still sitting pretty. It had several sub programmes which I deleted and now it is gone

  8. Richard Magruder

    Go to control panel, then uninstall programs, scroll down to freefileviewer and uninstall. The message came back successfully uninstalled. I never asked to have freefileviewer installed adn never approved the installation of it, it was just there, got past user account control and norton and another MS security screen.

  9. barry

    I was having problems with freefileviwer taking over my excel spreadsheet and making them basically unusable, often turning them into .xlxs files.
    I did just what Magruder said and the problem went away. And yes, I allowed it to download based on a Windows recommendation.

  10. Tom

    Thank you. I don’t know where it came from and have no idea what it is supposed to do to make my life any easier. Conclusion – it must be an excuse for sneakily making money out of me.
    I have apparently successfully uninstalled it. Thanks to Richard Magruder.

  11. John Middleton

    For those who have trouble removing an unwanted program I would recommend
    Revo Uninstaller Pro, in Hunter Mode, if it won’t remove it, i’d suggest you use
    the computer for target practice,

  12. Carol Dawson

    New to this thread…but glad to know not to install this program. However, what would you recommend instead, that is not a danger~danger~danger to my computer, and is hopefully free or low cost? Thanks.

    1. infoave Post author

      I don’t know — but maybe I’ll lurch around the web someday and find something. If anyone else has any suggestions, feel free to chime in 🙂

  13. Roz

    Hi I don,t understand whats happened to Microsoft Word. When they introduced ‘Office 365’ for a months trial. Also I did not purchase the software. However, I cannot save my word files now. So when the Free File Viewer came up to view files from word I googled it as I do not download any software unless I have investigated them. Now I cannot open word documents without some kind of software to do so.
    Not sure what the solution is?
    And where to go from here?
    Thanks for the info concerning Free File viewer.

    1. infoave Post author

      I have no idea what version of Windows you’re using. If you’re using Windows 7 or Windows 8x you can view Word documents with Windows WordPad.

  14. Francis O'Neill

    I found your post after downloading the FreeFileViewer program.

    I downloaded this file from – to hopefully unpack an ICL file on my computer. I’ve let them know about it.

    I got a bit suspicious with the amount of time it was taking to install and how it sat there for some time with the installation. What transpired was that the download hijacked my Firefox browser and possibly put other nasty stuff like spyware on my machine – I think I may have had a Trovi or Tuvaro browser installed but didn’t spend too much time looking at it – and instead got rid of it.

    I got rid simply by using System Restore – rolling it back to just before the install.

  15. Betty Wingfield

    I don’t know what program to use to view files backed up onto my new Toshiba External Hard Drive. Please suggest something safe. Thanks for all the great info.

    1. infoave Post author

      Hi Betty, we answered you personally since you didn’t include your operating system.


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