Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
No, it is not.
Then why are so many people concerned about it? Why is the next question most people ask "How do I get rid of it?"
Probably because they didn't ask for it, they don't know why it's on their machine, and their firewall is suddenly reporting that it's attempting to access the internet. All things that have come to be associated with...
you guessed it...
I recently received email from a marketing representative at Viewpoint pointing out that "Viewpoint has a clean bill of health from liutilities, hijackthis, Pestpatrol, Adaware, System Info, Computer Cops, Webroot Spysweeper, Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta, and more...", and directing me to their FAQ.
The FAQ is very informative, and clears up many of the assumptions that people have been making, confirming some and stating others to be false. I encourage anyone with concerns to read it.
But from a consumer's perspective, the problem still remains. Let me address the points I made at the beginning.
They didn't ask for it. Viewpoint components are installed as a side effect of installing other software, most notably AOL and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). The software claims to be "required", but I have a hard time understanding why I need yet another media player in order to chat with friends on AIM. The fact that Viewpoint is installed at all, and more importantly, how visible this fact is, is in the hands of these other packages. Personally, I would expect that a) Viewpoint would be optional, and as such b) I would be given a clear choice at setup time for these other software packages. Sadly that is not always the case, and Viewpoint can simply "appear", seemingly without warning.
They don't know why it's on their machine. As I just pointed out, I have no clue as to why I would need another media player in order to chat with my friends on AIM. The same is true for many packages that include Viewpoint software. Some clearly need the technology to deliver their functionality. But for others, Viewpoint is used only when certain features are used. If you never use those features, or never even think about those features even existing, the presence of an unexpected package such as Viewpoint is at best, confusing, and at worst quite distressing.
Their firewall is suddenly reporting that it's attempting to access the internet. I understand why this happens, and from a technical perspective, it's a good thing. Viewpoint, or more specifically viewmgr.exe, is checking for updates of the Viewpoint software. Many software packages now do this automatically as a way to ensure that as many of their users have the latest and most stable releases. The problem here is the cascading effect of the previous two points: you didn't ask for it, you don't know what it is, and all of a sudden it wants to access the internet? Of course that's going to raise concerns, as well it should.
So what's the answer?
In my opinion:
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.