The Worst Piece Of Snake Oil Software

There are many benefits to seeking advice from IT experts for your computer systems, but one of the biggest was that you can avoid one of the most infamous computer scams ever attempted.

In 1893, a man named Clark Stanley gained attention for his showcase of rattlesnakes, the oil of which he claimed would work as a cure for practically any malady. Ever since that day, people use the term “snake oil” to describe fraudulent products meant to fix a problem yet seemingly do nothing.

On 24th August 1995, the day Windows 95 launched, another piece of software released that has been regularly described as snake oil software that does nothing but potentially makes your computer slightly worse, and only reached success due to a limited level of computer literacy at the time.

SoftRAM95, released by Syncronys was meant to fix an early issue users had with Windows 95 by increasing the amount of random-access memory (RAM) available for the operating system to use.

Windows 95 launched with a minimum specification of 4MB of system RAM, but in practice to use its multitasking features and enjoy the operating system as it was intended to be used, users needed double that amount and often more besides.

When RAM costs several hundred pounds to buy, SoftRAM95 marketed itself as a much cheaper solution at a mere £60, and allegedly worked by increasing the size of the page file, a form of virtual memory Windows used and one that could be easily altered for free for the minimal boost it provided

However, German computing journal c’t found that it did not even do that much, giving false information to the computer and pretending to undertake some form of memory compression.

This angered many people, and led to an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, which organised a recall of SoftRAM95, as well as a version for Windows 3.1 and despite attempts by Syncronys to get out of the situation, they would eventually declare bankruptcy in 1998.

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