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Fix Confusing "Maybe Later" Option in MBSetup.exe Installer


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There are currently 3 options in the Malwarebytes installation process - Buy Now, Activate License, or Maybe Later - see Step # 8 of support article Download and Install Malwarebytes for Windows (revised 09-Sep-2020).  When I recently installed Malwarebytes I answered "Maybe Later" and declined to enter my email address and was (pleasantly) surprised to see that I ended up installing Malwarebytes Free (i.e., without activating the 14-day trial period of Premium features). If I understand the support article Deactivate Premium Trial in Malwarebytes for Windows (revised 14-Sep-2020) correctly, if I had answered "Maybe Later" but provided my email address I would have received a 14-day trial of the Malwarebytes Premium features.

To make it easier for users to install either Malwarebytes Free (all Premium features disabled) or the 14-day trial (Premium features activated for 14 days or until the user manually deactivates the trial at Settings | Account | Deactivate) I would like to suggest that Malwarebytes replace the single "Maybe Later" option with two clear choices:

  • Malwarebytes Free (no prompt for email address)
  • Malwarebytes Free with 14-Day Trial of Premium Features (with prompt for optional email address)

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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Windows Defender 4.18.2009.7 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1070
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

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35 minutes ago, lmacri said:

To make it easier for users to install either Malwarebytes Free (all Premium features disabled) or the 14-day trial (Premium features activated for 14 days or until the user manually deactivates the trial at Settings | Account | Deactivate) I would like to suggest that Malwarebytes replace the single "Maybe Later" option with two clear choices:

  • Malwarebytes Free (no prompt for email address)
  • Malwarebytes Free with 14-Day Trial of Premium Features (with prompt for optional email address)

I do not think that will happen. It goes against what the marketing department wishes, They want everyone to try the premium features. In many cases, (shown by some of the removal cases here) the trial shows issues in which the computer is reaching out to bad sites and is only noticed for premium users or when the trial is active.

39 minutes ago, lmacri said:

When I recently installed Malwarebytes I answered "Maybe Later" and declined to enter my email address and was (pleasantly) surprised to see that I ended up installing Malwarebytes Free (i.e., without activating the 14-day trial period of Premium features).

I think you are lucky there. Since you had Malwarebytes on the computer before, you did not get the trial. When I install MB on a computer which has never had MB on it before or on a new Windows install. I do not give my clients email and the trial is activated each time. Disclosure, I do it several times weekly.

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15 minutes ago, Porthos said:

...I think you are lucky there. Since you had Malwarebytes on the computer before, you did not get the trial. When I install MB on a computer which has never had MB on it before or on a new Windows install. I do not give my clients email and the trial is activated each time. Disclosure, I do it several times weekly.

I performed a reset to original factory condition on 30-Aug-2020 so I'm not sure how my Windows registry would know that I had previously installed Malwarebytes Free.

The support article Deactivate Premium Trial in Malwarebytes for Windows (revised 14-Sep-2020) states "When you download Malwarebytes for Windows for the first time, you can provide your email to unlock Malwarebytes Premium features for 14 days". I might have misunderstood, but that sounds like you only receive the 14-trial of the Premium features if you provide an email address.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Windows Defender 4.18.2009.7 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1070
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

Edited by lmacri
Added quote from revised support article
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4 minutes ago, lmacri said:

I performed a reset to original factory condition on 30-Aug-2020 so I'm not sure how my Windows registry would know that I had previously installed Malwarebytes Free.

I have not done one this week yet so I will see on the next one. Something might of changed. Could be Geo location specific since you are in Canada and I am in the US.

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2 hours ago, lmacri said:

I performed a reset to original factory condition on 30-Aug-2020 so I'm not sure how my Windows registry would know that I had previously installed Malwarebytes Free.

I suspect that they don't pull the info from the registry, otherwise non-paying users would be able to constantly delete such traces from the registry and reinstall every time the trial is about to run out in order to keep the Premium features perpetually without paying.  It likely uses some sort of hardware ID/UUID based on the specific components in the system, MAC address of the network adapter(s) etc., just as Microsoft does for activating Windows and just as Malwarebytes does for identifying each device where a subscription is installed/active as tracked at My.Malwarebytes.com for Premium users.

That said, they do often reset the free trial with new versions so that even users who have already had the trial on their systems multiple times and had it expire many times end up getting the free 14-day trial once more.  This is likely done so that they may see the improvements, changes and new features/capabilities in each major release as the improvements may convince them to finally purchase a subscription once the trial is over.  This is especially true whenever there is a major feature added such as a new protection component or detection/engine capability, such as when Anti-Rootkit was added, and later when Exploit Protection and eventually, Ransomware Protection were added, though often times they seem to simply reset the trials with less significant releases as well, likely due to a high conversion rate.

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1 hour ago, exile360 said:

.....That said, they do often reset the free trial with new versions so that even users who have already had the trial on their systems multiple times and had it expire many times end up getting the free 14-day trial once more.  This is likely done so that they may see the improvements, changes and new features/capabilities in each major release as the improvements may convince them to finally purchase a subscription once the trial is over...

Hi exile360:

That's what I expected - that after I finished my installation that the 14-day trial of the Premium features would be activated and that I would have to go to Settings | Account | Deactivate to manually switch to Malwarebytes Free (or wait 14 days for the trial to end) - but that's not what happened. I answered "Maybe Later" and declined to enter my email and ended up with Malwarebytes Free (i.e., with the Premium features locked out).  Even if Malwarebytes used the MAC address to confirm that I'd never activated a Premium license on this particular device, why assume that I didn't want to try the 14-day trial of the Premium features this time? If they're going to redesign the installation wizard, why not just give the user the option of installing the 14-day trial or Malwarebytes Free instead of making that decision for them?

I'm still unclear about the role of entering an email address (an optional step) during the installation.  According to the final paragraph of the support article Download and Install Malwarebytes for Windows (revised 09-Sep-2020) "Once you have chosen to activate a Malwarebytes Premium subscription, activate a 14-day trial, or use the Malwarebytes Free version, you are taken to the main Dashboard of the program. Malwarebytes is successfully installed on your Windows device." That sounds like there are two different installation streams when you answer "Maybe Later" - one for the 14-day trial and one for Malwarebytes Free (i.e, with Premium features already lock out at initial launch as I described).

The statement in the support article Deactivate Premium Trial in Malwarebytes for Windows (revised 14-Sep-2020) states that "When you download Malwarebytes for Windows for the first time, you can provide your email to unlock Malwarebytes Premium features for 14 days".  That implies that if you do not to provide your email that you will not be able to unlock the 14-day Premium trial.  If that's correct then the installation wizard should clearly state that you can't unlock the 14-day trial unless you provide an email address.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Windows Defender 4.18.2009.7 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1070
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

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They might not have reset the trials this time, which would explain why you weren't offered the trial, assuming you've run the free trial on that system previously.  It all depends on whether or not they've reset the free trial in this release, and based on your experience, it sounds like they chose not to this time.  The email is likely for registration purposes, like in case the user decides to eventually purchase the software, they'll already have their email on file to make their purchase and register their account.  For users that don't purchase, it is likely being collected for marketing purposes in order to send them promotional messages and similar items and possibly for the sake of sending them the monthly Malwarebytes newsletter.

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As an end user who's used Malwarebytes for over a decade I just wanted to provide feedback to Malwarebytes and let them know that I found the logic flow for their revised stub installer (I used MBSetup.exe v4.1.1.186) was somewhat confusing after I chose "Maybe Later", and don't understand if entering the optional e-mail address during installation has any affect on whether users receive the 14-day trial of Premium features or Malwarebytes Free (i.e., with Premium features locked out). I'll leave it to Malwarebytes to decide if my feedback is useful or not.  

I don't know if my experience uncovered a glitch in the stub installer or if this is now intended behaviour, but continuing to speculate on why I ended up with Malwarebytes Free (with Premium features locked out) isn't going to help me now.  The Malwarebytes employees who re-designed the installer are the only ones who could tell us that.  I only own one Premium license and it's currently in use on a Vista SP2 test machine that has no other real-time AV protection, so I'll have to decide for myself now if I want try a clean reinstall on my Win 10 machine to see if I get the 14-day trial this time or to deactivate that license and temporarily transfer it to my Win 10 machine so I can see how well MB Premium v4.2.1 runs in real-time protection mode with my Windows Defender AV.
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64-bit Win 10 Pro v1909 build 18363.1082 * Windows Defender 4.18.2009.7 * Malwarebytes Free v4.2.1.89-1.0.1070
Dell Inspiron 15 5584, Intel i5-8265U@1.60/1.80 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB NVMe SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620

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Yep, and I made a note of your feedback for my report to the team; I just wanted to explain why reinstalling the OS/clean installing the software wouldn't necessarily allow activating the free trial again because of anti-piracy measures.

Malwarebytes works fine alongside Defender; we have many users running the two together and I am currently doing so on my own system as well.  Just be sure to disable the option in Malwarebytes to have it register in Windows Security Center so that Defender doesn't disable itself.

Edited by exile360
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