For better or for worse, EULAs (those licenses with which you often have to agree to install software) are here to stay.

But the ways installers display them to the user differ wildly. Since part of the purpose behind our EULAlyzer program is to help keep users informed about what they’re agreeing to, we thought we’d take a look at some less-than-ideal examples to highlight where they may have gone wrong.

.Net Framework EULA

.Net Framework EULA

Today’s example: Microsoft’s .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Setup.

It seems fairly obvious that someone wanted to cram a lot of options and information on a single screen, which is fine. But one of the sacrifices that forced was the almost comically small box in which the EULA is displayed.

The text above the EULA says in part (emphasis added):

Be sure to carefully read and understand all the rights and restrictions described in the license terms.

Yet doing so requires scrolling the EULA display quite a bit. And the “Page Down” key (mentioned below the EULA) is hardly any more useful than the “down” arrow key, due to the tiny size of the box.

Some of the major problems:

  • The EULA display box is small. Really small.
  • The EULA uses rich text formatting and large fonts which, while nice for the printed page, cause the EULA to look out of place and require more scrolling than would otherwise be necessary.
  • There is extra space at the top of the EULA. With everything else taken into account, this prevents even the first line from fully being displayed.

To Microsoft’s credit, a “Print” button is provided. This is extremely useful, but shouldn’t practically be a requirement to read the EULA with any ease.