Unhelpful helper programs
Of the three common (and vulnerable) internet helper programs that require frequent updates to close security holes, at least two of them do not really need to be installed and running on your PC.
Two software giants, Adobe and Oracle, have decided to attempt to make some extra money off of their freely available software by offering to install other programs along with their popular and free internet helper software.
Apple Quicktime for Windows (Mac version not included)
Since Apple is effectively abandoning Quicktime for Windows by failing to release any further security updates (or any updates at all) it is time for all Windows users to remove it from their PCs. PC World magazine recommends adding this to the list of unwanted software such as Java 6 and Windows XP - Wow! They don't like it at all. So fire up your uninstaller and get rid of it immediately!
If you don't use a dedicated uninstaller program then use Programs and Features in the Control Panel or Apps and Features in Windows 10 settings.
Adobe Flash and Reader
On the internet page where you can go to install or update Adobe's Flash player you will notice that optional software is offered to be installed when you click the install button unless you deselect the check box to prevent it.
The same is true for Adobe's ubiquitous PDF Reader program.
Think about removing Adobe Flash (Shockwave) Player from your PC
Remove Oracle Java
A video specification called HTML5 replaces Adobe's Flash on many websites. Most browsers support both the video element in HTML5 and either the H.264 video codec or the WebM format. Unfortunately, there's still plenty of Flash content still on the internet.
Adobe's Shockwave Player requires too many and too frequent updates to be considered safe from hackers. This leads me to deduce that it may be better (and safer) to simply uninstall Adobe Flash Player from my PC, but I enjoy the wide variety of the flash content on the internet, just what the hackers are hoping for I suppose.
However, if Flash Content is not important to you then you should probably remove Adobe Flash Player from your PC. Use Programs and Features in the Control Panel to access the uninstaller program. (In Windows 10 use Apps and Features to remove programs)
Note: If you use Google Chrome be aware that Flash is embedded into the browser and you will need to disable it within Chrome's Plugin page. Access it by entering chrome://plugins into the address bar.
Doing this will result in blank spaces on a few websites where flash-based advertising is situated. But most of these ads are irritating anyway, which is why I have set my default browser (Firefox) to request activation of the Flash plugin to view flash content rather than leaving it always turned on. One of these days I will do the proper thing and uninstall flash in its entirety. Hopefully before my PC is infected with a monstrous PC virus.
Remove Adobe Reader from your PC then replace it
There are a few excellent replacements for the Adobe Reader program that do not need to be constantly updated and are also not the primary targets of hackers that Adobe Reader has become. Of these, Sumatra PDF Reader and Foxit Reader are two of the acceptable replacements for Adobe Reader.
Be sure to uninstall Adobe Reader completely by using Programs and Features in the Control Panel (or Apps and Features in Windows 10) before installing any other PDF software.
Of these two I recommend Sumatra PDF reader because Foxit Reader's installer also wants to install unacceptable software on your PC if you don't decline it during the install process.
If you wish to try Foxit Reader I suggest you use Ninite to install it to avoid this situation entirely.
Note: Sumatra is also easily installed using Ninite. After installing Sumatra run the program and finalize its settings by clicking the menu (three horizontal bars at the top left.) Choose settings then options. Click the bar labeled SumatraPDF is your default PDF Reader. Also adjust the view options here and then whenever you click on a PDF on the internet or on your PC Sumatra will open to display it.
An added benefit of using Sumatra is that it is lightweight and speedy. It uses less PC resources and usually opens much faster than Adobe Reader.
Finally, I recognize that many business users prefer to use Adobe Reader DC rather than any of its replacements. To them I advise, Keep it Updated! On the Adobe Reader download page always uncheck the Optional Software Offer before clicking the Install Now button.
Java is both an internet helper program and a type of programming language that developers have used to add features to enhance webpages and create PC software. The truth is that Java is not used all that much by webpage creators any longer since more efficient tools have been developed.
If Java is not installed on your PC there will be very little loss of functionality since few webpages depend upon it any longer to function.
The downside of Java is that it requires constant updates to close the many security holes inherent in the software. Your PC will probably be better off without Java installed at all!
Finally, there is another good reason not to have Java installed on your PC. When installing or updating Java the installer program (on the Oracle site) will place (if you do not decline it) the terrible ASK toolbar on your PC and also will change your search agent default to ASK, not good. This is reason enough for me to avoid, as well as advise others to avoid Java like the plague.
Both the ASK toolbar and ASK search tend to redirect your searches to undesirable advertising sites or, worse yet, sites that may place spyware or even a PC virus on your computer. No specific download needed. Simply loading the webpage into your Brower can trigger the malware insertion if your installed Antivirus Software doesn't detect and stop it.
Software like this is irritating, if not dangerous! If Oracle wants its users to install this type of software they are doing no one any favors.