Pokki is a desktop organizer and an application store. It claims to provide access to various applications and an easy way to organize them from your status bar. It’s supposed to make the system more convenient for mobile use and to return the look of earlier Windows start menus.
- Why we list Pokki as malware
- History of Pokki infections and distribution methods
- Avoid potentially unwanted programs
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to remove Pokki using Windows Control Panel
However, Pokki is potentially harmful.
In most cases, it is installed by bundlers without full disclosure (in my case there was NO confirmation for it, just for software that was using the app store) and thus it is a harmful program. In addition, it comes with various browser hijackers including Privitize VPN and Delta, which conflict with each other, show lots of popups, and also ought to be removed.
The line between legitimate software and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) is not always clear, however, Pokki’s dishonest distribution and its adware-like behavior indicate that you will likely be better off without it.
Pokki is not malicious, but it is a disruptive program. It can be removed using manual and automatic methods:
|Sources of the Pokki start menu||Bundled with other programs.
Installed with applications by SweetLabs.
Installed bloatware on Lenovo computers.
Downloaded from Pokki’s website.
|Effects||The Start Menu disappeared.
Ads for various applications.
Disk and internet usage is up.
Error pop-ups from various applications.
|Possible damage||Privacy-violating programs installed.
Applications installed without your knowledge or consent.
Hijacked Start Menu.
|Removal of Pokki start menu||Use Pokki’s uninstaller to remove the program.
Use anti-malware tools (Spyhunter) to find and remove unwanted files and other suspicious programs.
Remove browser hijackers from your browser.
Why we list Pokki as malware
First, Pokki is harmless on itself and perfectly legitimate application if you have installed it alone. This can happen if you download it from their website.
However, PUPs are labeled so because they’re installed dishonestly. And this is quite often the case with Pokki. The first time I tested this software, it came with browser hijackers and installed adware without any consent from me. Thus, it was an unwanted application and no different from other malware.
Even if I did like the software, I would uninstall it and scan my PC. One should always test PC after noticing new unexpected software or installing bundles.
History of Pokki infections and distribution methods
The Pokki application might trigger some unpleasant memories for people that installed it via deceptive software bundles. While Pokki was praised by security researchers at one point, it soon was condemned for being delivered without users’ consent (Lenovo to ship all new PCs with start menu replacement). In addition to this, people insisted that they had Pokki despite never installing it and struggled to remove it from their Windows. At the time that this questionable piece of software was active, SuperFish adware was also a very relevant problem that also had recently resurfaced.
In September of 2017, Pokki was found being delivered to users through deceptive marketing strategies. (Please note that if you voluntarily download Pokki software from its official website, the tool is legitimate and should not cause problems.)
The Pokki start menu is a product by a development company called SweetLabs and their product has received a lot of attention from people in the United States, Iran, India, Brazil, and Indonesia. There has been some controversy about this program: some people found it rather fascinating, and others blamed Lenovo for selling computers that had the Pokki software pre-installed (Cmon, Lenovo. Pokki still roams free). Users expressed that they suffered inconveniences while trying to connect to corporate systems and feared that it was a malicious application trying to infect them with more malware.
It was Lenovo who, in 2013, assigned SweetLabs the task of producing the Pokki suite which, at first, was seen as convenient software. Later on, one of the most popular labels for Pokki was bloatware (What is bloatware?) which is basically redundant software which was included with a new computer or mobile device by the manufacturer and without users’ permission.
You will see the Pokki icon in the Windows status bar when the application is running. If you right-click on it, you will get a link to “About Pokki” which tries to explain what it is:
Search and access your apps, files, control panel, and power options with Pokki’s Windows 8 Start Menu. Pin and organize your favorite apps and websites just like you would on your smartphone.
Avoid potentially unwanted programs
Bloatware is quite difficult to avert since you receive it together with the purchased computer. It can also be difficult to remove, annoyingly. Potentially unwanted programs are somewhat similar.
PUPs are usually installed together with freeware applications. In most cases, this happens because the installation processes (Setup Wizards) are designed to be misleading.
In order to outwit hackers or developers that wish to promote their products in inappropriate ways, we hope you will select advanced/custom modes for installers. Read Eula and Privacy Policies. Also, always make sure that the software you decided to download and the site it’s hosted on is respectable. If you detect any inappropriate conditions, like displays of online advertisements, please cancel the installation.
We do not recommend keeping the Pokki organizer on your PC if you feel like it is bothering you. You should uninstall it completely together with malware coming from the same bundle instead.
You can use an anti-malware program like Spyhunter to get rid of Pokki and other PUPs, though you can uninstall Pokki from Control Panel, too. The program might appear as not just “Pokki”, but also “Host App Service” or “Start Menu”. You will also have to remove browser hijackers and reset search engine settings as well.
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to remove Pokki using Windows Control PanelMany hijackers and adware like Pokki install some of their components as regular Windows programs as well as additional software. This part of malware can be uninstalled from the Control Panel. To access it, do the following.
- Start→Control Panel (older Windows) or press Windows Key→Search and enter Control Panel and then press Enter (Windows 8, Windows 10).
- Choose Uninstall Program (if you don't see it, click in the upper right next to "View by" and select Category).
- Go through the list of programs and select entries related to Pokki . You can click on "Name" or "Installed On" to reorder your programs and make Pokki easier to find.
- Click the Uninstall button. If you're asked if you really want to remove the program, click Yes.
- In many cases anti-malware programs are better at detecting related parasites, thus I recommend installing Spyhunter to identify other programs that might be a part of this infection.