How to remove a plug-in?

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MoonShadow

How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby MoonShadow » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 04:41

I visited a site that offered a tutorial but required the Windows Media Player Plug-in to play it. Extensions have a remove button, but not plugins. Does a plug-in's disable button completely remove it from the browser and if so, why use the same term for different functions. Else how do I get rid of the Media Player piggy if I install it.

By the way, I'd like to know of a way to determine an add-on's resource consumption independent of the browser itself. Any thoughts?

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Blacklab » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 07:57

Similar question here. After two weeks of using Pale Moon (my first Mozilla based browser experience) I was surprised to find that the following Plug-ins had loaded themselves without any action on my part and without any obvious means of removal. Have disabled all without any consequences so far. (These Plug-ins appeared only on XP/SP3/32bit machine running PM 12.2 which does have some music files and Windows Media Player 11 installed. However no music purchased or even played since installing PM - only use of WMP 11 has been to play a few BBC Radio podcasts!)
1. MS DRM 9.0.0.4503 DRM Netscape Network Object.
2. MS DRM 9.0.0.4503 DRM Store Netscape Plug-in.
3. Windows Media Player Plug-In Dynamic Link Library 3.0.2.629 Npdsplay.dll
4. Windows Presentation Foundation 3.5.30729.1 WPF plug-in for Mozilla browsers.
(5. MetaStream 3 Plug-in 3.2.2.26 - this did uninstall when I tracked down it's association with unwanted Viewpoint Media Player and uninstalled that!)

I have found some information at http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=1542495 but the solution offered does not seem very satisfactory. Are these self loading Plug-ins just a facet of Mozilla browsers?

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Moonchild » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 08:49

The plugins mentioned are installed at the system level, and not "mysteriously added to the browser installation". They are only loaded in the browser if they are enabled in the add-on manager -> plugins. Otherwise, they are just .dll files sitting on your hard drive doing nothing at all (and therefore completely harmless).
Physically removing the DRM and similar dll files from your system may break other pieces of software that want to use them, so I don't recommend that, and doing so is at your own risk.

I always recommend to keep an eye on the plugins list in your browser and disable ones you don't actually use or need.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Blacklab » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 09:30

Moonchild: Thank you. I assume from your reply that all 4 Plug-ins mentioned are part of Windows Media Player. I shall therefore leave disabled until WMP refuses to work, requests me to enable them, or perhaps WMP can re-enable the plug-ins by itself should they be required. Whichever, I shall leave well alone. I also assume that the answer to MoonShadow's second question is that the only way to remove the plug-ins would be to uninstall WMP itself.

MoonShadow

Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby MoonShadow » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 19:35

@Blacklab: Sounds like a plan that will work for me as well. I don't mind it hanging around on the Plug-in list so long as it takes no resources and doesn't slow down PM. Thanks for your input.

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Moonchild » Sat, 16 Jun 2012, 22:01

If disabled, they will not be loaded and not take resources and just be an entry in the list.
The WMP application will not need to do anything with the plugin entries to function, and it's not a requirement for the plugin to be enabled for WMP (a different application) to function. It will only be used if you actually want to play WMV files in the browser.

I personally have the DRM etc. plugins disabled too, i don't need them, nor should you need things like the "java deployment toolkit" (You only need the runtime environment even if you use java on sites) or the "WPI detector" that may have been installed with your .NET framework.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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MoonShadow

Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby MoonShadow » Sun, 17 Jun 2012, 04:17

Just to be clear, I understand you to mean that a plug-in, or at least the WMP plug-in, takes no resources when idle, whether enabled or not and consequently until I need to run a WMV it makes no difference whether I disable it or not?
So why do you feel it's a good idea to leave them disabled? Also, because I haven't yet allowed WMP to plug into me, I shouldn't expect to see the DRM module unless another media player was installed?

I was never clear about Java. It seemed likely that JavaScript would need some kind of run-time library, but after I installed the full Java package from Sun I later decided to uninstall it in hopes it would help reduce the chance of a malware infection (done more out of ignorance and paranoia than actual knowledge.) In any event, everything seems to work fine without it, providing I tell NoScript to permit JavaScript to run. There's no Java or run-time library that shows up in my installed program list, so I figured that whatever JavaScript needs is somehow handled in the background. It appears from what you said that some sites can use Java and its runtime libraries independent of whether or not I block JavaScript. If so, is it best to leave Java uninstalled? I have no known need for it on this system.

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby lyceus » Sun, 17 Jun 2012, 06:03

MoonShadow wrote:I was never clear about Java. It seemed likely that JavaScript would need some kind of run-time library, but after I installed the full Java package from Sun I later decided to uninstall it in hopes it would help reduce the chance of a malware infection (done more out of ignorance and paranoia than actual knowledge.) In any event, everything seems to work fine without it, providing I tell NoScript to permit JavaScript to run. There's no Java or run-time library that shows up in my installed program list, so I figured that whatever JavaScript needs is somehow handled in the background. It appears from what you said that some sites can use Java and its runtime libraries independent of whether or not I block JavaScript. If so, is it best to leave Java uninstalled? I have no known need for it on this system.


Dear Moonshadow:

For Windows media player, maybe you want try another player that is open source that is called Video Lan or VCL (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/) I use this instead WMP since it can play even DVDs without trouble, as well all my media files from flash video to AVI. This install a web plugin if you need it too.

Oracle Java is only used if you need to run Java applets which come for special applications like old game consoles/old computer emluators or signature validation systems. The chances that you need that are low and always you can install and uninstall the program as you need. Just one warning: Please always install the latest version since Java often get bugs and security patches.

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Moonchild » Sun, 17 Jun 2012, 09:23

Java is not JavaScript - people, for whatever strange reason, keep confusing it.
They are two completely different things.
Just like Visual Basic (VB) is not the same as VBScript.

JavaScript is internal to Pale Moon, is always enabled.
Java is an external plugin for "Java applets" that are run as separate embedded objects in pages. Java may be used for games, widgets & gadgets, to full-blown complex applications running in the browser.

I hope that clarifies that. Despite the similarity in name, it's absolutely not the same. Analogy: An Apple is also not the same as an Apple Tree. They may be related, but are two different things.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby Moonchild » Sun, 17 Jun 2012, 09:32

MoonShadow wrote:Just to be clear, I understand you to mean that a plug-in, or at least the WMP plug-in, takes no resources when idle, whether enabled or not and consequently until I need to run a WMV it makes no difference whether I disable it or not?
So why do you feel it's a good idea to leave them disabled? Also, because I haven't yet allowed WMP to plug into me, I shouldn't expect to see the DRM module unless another media player was installed?

They are indeed loaded on demand. The reason I say you should leave them disabled is because.. they are loaded on demand :D
If you have no particular use for a plugin in your browsing, it's good practice to have it disabled because the plugin can be loaded and run at any time because of content on pages you browse to. If there is a problem with a plugin (like a security issue you don't know about) and a malicious website tries to exploit it, then it will succeed if you have the plugin enabled, and fail if disabled. It prevents unwanted processes from being run.

Compare it with leaving the keys in your car. By itself it won't do anything, but if someone wants to use it, they can. That someone can be a friend (in which case you want it) or a car jacker (in which case you don't). It'd be better to give your friend the keys when he needs the car, no? ;)

If and when you find out you do need a certain plugin (Pale Moon will tell you if you are missing a certain plugin to show content) all it takes is enabling it in the add-on manager, and refreshing the page you are on. Of course recommended to disable again after you're done with your session, unless it's something you regularly visit and need.

EDIT: DRM may be present even if you don't have WMP installed as a plugin. It's a separate system. It may also be used for some (scarce) sites that allow you to download DRM-protected content, not necessarily play it immediately in the browser.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

MoonShadow

Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby MoonShadow » Sun, 17 Jun 2012, 14:21

Thank you both for the explanations and clarification.

@Lobocursor: I've heard that VLC is a good media player, but I don't usually dabble in that stuff unless I trip over something on the web. So are you saying that if I install VLC in lieu of WMP, I won't get prompted to install WMP if I open a WMV tutorial? In other words, does VLC install its own plugin to trap WMV files?

@Moonchild: Beautiful explanations as usual. Clear, concise, and thorough. The allegories and similes do help too, with subtle humor being a nice touch. Not sure I'd trust anyone with my car keys ever since my daughter crashed my favorite set of wheels.

Your implication is that client-side DRM is needed by sites to download content. I thought DRM was decryption at the time of rendering. I guess you mean if I open "protected" content interactively. ((Soapbox)): They wouldn't need such silliness if they charged a FAIR price for their product. They want to keep a monopoly for the bucks. Kinda like illegal drugs: if they were legal, competition would drop prices like a moon rock on Jupiter. As it is now, they just kill each other for control of their monopoly. I never understood why a music CD costs more than movies that are twice as long and usually cost hundreds of times more to make. The best joke of all is how the industry lobbied congress to extend the life of a copyright so they can issue season reruns of "I Love Lucy" and Andy Griffith at $40-$50 a pop. And oh, how I miss Gomer Pyle...

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Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby lyceus » Mon, 18 Jun 2012, 04:34

MoonShadow wrote:Thank you both for the explanations and clarification.

@Lobocursor: I've heard that VLC is a good media player, but I don't usually dabble in that stuff unless I trip over something on the web. So are you saying that if I install VLC in lieu of WMP, I won't get prompted to install WMP if I open a WMV tutorial? In other words, does VLC install its own plugin to trap WMV files


Please give me a public link where I can get a similar video like you want to see and I'll test it. I changed my preferences in Windows to select VCL as my default media player so I can check for you and you save the mess to check/install/uninstall. :D

MoonShadow

Re: How to remove a plug-in?

Unread postby MoonShadow » Tue, 19 Jun 2012, 01:41

That's very kind of you, Lobo. I've searched for the site again, but can't find it. It happened about a week ago and because at the time I decided not to install the plug-in I kept no record of the site. It was a tutorial from an educational institution. Many of them post their stuff on YouTube and internally redirect their content playback there. In this case I believe they hosted it themselves. I have found very few places that require playbacks be only in WMV format.

Having said all this, Moonchild put my mind at ease when he pointed out that plug-ins take no resources until they're needed, and if disabled they can't sneak up to catch me unaware. I haven't heard of any big problems with WMP but I understand Adobe just released another critical patch to Flash. Having just reinstalled Windows due to an infection that prevented me even from recovering my backup, I was reluctant to reinstall flash. However, there's no alternative to Flash when nearly every site uses it.

Nevertheless, I appreciate your offer and the effort you went to to offer it. Thank you very much.


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