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How can AxCrypt 1.x be Freeware and what is this OpenCandy or Universal Downloader business?

AxCrypt 1.x is open source and free software. Regardless if you are a private individual, a government or a corporation there are no license fees to pay. Even e-mail support is free, and you'll usually get a response much faster than from any commercial provider. During European business hours, I'll usually respond within an hour or two.

While AxCrypt is free of charge, developing, maintaining and supporting it is not free. In order to make this equation work, I need revenue. Some I get from OEM agreeements, some from donations and some from agreements with advertising networks such as Google and OpenCandy. However, effective as of June 30, 2016 AxCrypt 1.x is no longer distributed with any kind of advertising. AxCrypt 2 never had any advertising.

The intention is to be able to afford to spend more time to develop and improve AxCrypt, which which is a win-win situation. I get to do what I want to do most - develop great free software, and you get to use it.

Software with Open Candy - AxCrypt 1.7.3156 and older

The most controversial source of income is OpenCandy, which is a company promoting software during the installation process. I have researched various providers of this type of service, and found that OpenCandy appears to have a proper code of conduct, and appear to live up to it. The software recommended via this partner is from reputable vendors, promises to uninstall cleanly and not to contain malware, spyware or other breaches of personal integrity and security.

Please note that while OpenCandy certainly is advertising, it is to my knowledge not any form of malware or spyware. Also be aware that I have opted out of offering software that I personally deem to be essentially useless for anyone, such as registry cleaners and other software of dubious functionality. I do allow offers of software that might not be professionally useful, but just plain fun such as games.

The offers of additional software are 100% optional! If you don't want to install anything but AxCrypt, just click the 'Cancel' button when you are offered the additional install and the installation process will continue with just AxCrypt being installed. Please note that the AxCrypt installation is very streamlined, so there will be no further questions asked after you press 'Cancel' for the offer! AxCrypt will just install and be done with it.

As a curiosity I want to mention that the final clincher causing me to accept bundling software with the installer was the realization that Oracle Corporation bundles the Ask Toolbar with Java - a technology installed in billions of devices and virtually every single PC. The Ask Toolbar is much worse than OpenCandy and their partners as far as I can determine. The Ask Toolbar for one thing does not uninstall cleanly. If Oracle can get away with bundling such a software with Java - I should be able to bundle better software from a better partner. So I get to do what I want to do most - develop great free software, and you get to use it.

If you are in need of a plain Windows Installer (.msi) installer package, for example for group policy deployment or if you for any other reason want an installer that is entirely free of the OpenCandy code, please register for an account and log on. Once you are logged on, you will have access to them via the download page. There is no purchase necessary to register an account.

Should you have any specific complaints about the OpenCandy offers, please do not hesitate to contact me immediately.

Software with Softonic Universal Downloader

Certain downloads in some cases may be wrapped by the Softonic Universal Downloader. This is similar to Open Candy described above, but uses slightly different technology.

To get the unwrapped software, please logon as epxlained above.

How to get software w/o any additional offers

To avoid installing anything but just the software that we're providing such as AxCrypt, you have the following options, in decreasing order of convenience:

  • Simply decline the offer when and if it is made using the 'Cancel' button. The installer will still first look to see what previous offers you have installed, and then communicate this to the OpenCandy server in order to decide which offer, if any, to make. Then you can hit 'Cancel' and just the software in question will install.
  • For OpenCandy wrapped installers, start the installer with /NOCANDY on the command line. The installer will still load the OpenCandy code, but it will not do anything except note the prescense of the /NOCANDY switch and then just continue with installing AxCrypt.
  • Register for an account and log on. When you are logged on, the download page also includes raw .msi-installers. Where appropraite you'll have to pick the right bitness (32-bit or 64-bit), or just try one - you'll just get an error message if you try to install the wrong one. These are also great for group policy deployment.
  • Download the complete source code, follow the detailed instructions and using only free tools and libraries you'll be able to build your very own software directly from the source code absolutely free of anything except the actual software you're after.

For non-interactive installations of AxCrypt you can still use the regular .exe-installer, but specify the /S (upper-case 'S') switch for 'Silent'. This will install AxCrypt without any user interaction and without any OpenCandy offers being made.