May 31, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Trial software trying PC users' patience

That new PC that's running slower than the old one it replaced might be weighed down with several applications destined to gather dust on the desktop.

PCs are becoming increasingly cluttered with preinstalled software--in some cases the traditional trial offers for Internet service providers like AOL and EarthLink, but also newer applications like spyware-blocking tools which, somewhat ironically, inundate users with pop-up windows advertising their services.

Complaints about the "crapware," as Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens put it, are prominent in discussion forums and blogs related to PCs. But last week's deal between Dell and Google to install Google software on new Dell PCs shows that more and more of the real estate on the PC is for sale to application vendors, as PC vendors continue to look for new sources of revenue to boost their margins.

Of course, this isn't a new problem, and there's no indication so far that Dell customers won't receive their Google software with open arms. For years, in fact, PC makers have been trying to get every extra dime they can by selling little pieces of the desktop not already controlled by Microsoft. Now the value of that real estate--which in Dell's case reaches around 37 million people a year--is soaring.

Big software and Internet companies, such as Google, are willing to pay for the privilege of appearing on those systems, said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. Financial terms of the Dell-Google deal were not released, but companies across the technology world are increasingly recognizing that "the PC is an advertising vehicle that's sitting in front of their customers," Kay said.

For their part, PC makers say they carefully vet the programs chosen for inclusion on their systems. Hewlett-Packard, for example, provides several different dial-up options because it doesn't want to lock its customers into any one service, a company representative said. And Dell allows some of its high-end XPS customers to decline certain preinstalled software, according to a representative. Customers who want cheap PCs will probably have to endure the barrage of trial offers and pop-ups, but it's likely PC vendors will start to offer more choice in the matter to buyers of high-end machines such as Dell's XPS line, Kay said.

"Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly."
--Roger Kay, analyst, Endpoint Technologies Associates

The most persistent offenders seem to be icons for trial versions of applications or services, according to several PC support experts interviewed for this article. Almost all major Windows consumer PC companies, including Dell, HP and Gateway, give new PC users the opportunity to sign up for free limited-time access to dial-up services from the likes of AOL, EarthLink, PeoplePC or Netscape. Even if the full version of the program isn't installed, the trial versions can run in the background and tie up system resources that could be flowing to actively used applications.

Another source of frustration are system management consoles that some vendors ship with their PCs. Many of these "system update" programs essentially duplicate Microsoft's Windows Update service, according to Jon Helin, director of technical services at PlumChoice Online PC Services. And third-party software installations can also trigger the automatic download of applications that are supposed to help run a peripheral like a printer, but wind up sitting unused and hogging system resources, he said. PlumChoice estimates that 90 percent of the complaints its online PC technicians receive related to a slow-running PC can be fixed by deleting unneeded programs.

Corporate PC customers insist on determining exactly what software ships on their orders, and PC vendors increasingly allow small- and medium-size businesses to do the same. But consumers are left to fend for themselves, and some savvy PC users have become fed up with the situation. Many PC enthusiasts simply wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall a clean version of Windows as soon as they receive their PCs.

Of course, that's becoming harder to do as some PC vendors no longer include a full copy of Windows XP with their systems, said Samir Bhavnani, an analyst with Current Analysis. In many cases, customers are prompted after starting up their PC for the first time to burn their own recovery discs, which will include all the unwanted applications. Some vendors, such as Dell, charge $10 for a CD copy of Windows XP for new buyers.

Individual programs can be removed by going into the Add or Remove Programs function of Windows, or by ending processes in the Task Manager window, but fragments of these programs can remain in the Windows Registry and continue to adversely impact performance. A complete reinstall fixes the problem for good, but it can lead to a search for the drivers needed to make all the necessary software and devices work properly.

The Geek Squad, which provides PC support service over the phone, online or in Best Buy stores, has had to develop individual uninstall scripts for some persistent offenders, Stephens said. This is especially true for some antivirus programs, which can still cause problems when the trial version is uninstalled and a different antivirus program is installed, he said.

Customers who purchase PCs through Best Buy can take their systems to the Geek Squad counter and, for a fee, let the technicians go through every piece of software that comes on a new PC and make recommendations as to what should stay and what needs to go, Stephens said.

Added Kay: "Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly." But as software dealing with everything from spyware to Internet access continues to proliferate, so do the problems such software can create.

See more CNET content tagged:
real estate, EarthLink Inc., PC company, Dell, Google Inc.

150 comments

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Add your comment
EXACTLY!!!!
Your article is spot on! I totally agree with Roger Kay... "Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly." - THANK YOU!!!

After reading c/net's article about last week's deal between Dell and Google to install Google software on new Dell PCs, I wrote to Dell Canada to voice my objection.

Their reply?
Quoting Dell, "We do apologize, all of our systems come with the pre installed software and trial programs. We have no way of the Customer to request not to have this pre installed on their system. The only thing we can suggest is to contact Technical Support for assistance in having the programs that are not required removed from your system."
Posted by houseofman (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EXACTLY!!!!
Your article is spot on! I totally agree with Roger Kay... "Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly." - THANK YOU!!!

After reading c/net's article about last week's deal between Dell and Google to install Google software on new Dell PCs, I wrote to Dell Canada to voice my objection.

Their reply?
Quoting Dell, "We do apologize, all of our systems come with the pre installed software and trial programs. We have no way of the Customer to request not to have this pre installed on their system. The only thing we can suggest is to contact Technical Support for assistance in having the programs that are not required removed from your system."
Posted by houseofman (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EXACTLY
Your article is spot on! I totally agree with Roger Kay... "Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly." - THANK YOU!!!

After reading c/net's article about last week's deal between Dell and Google to install Google software on new Dell PCs, I wrote to Dell Canada to voice my objection.

Their reply?
Quoting Dell, "We do apologize, all of our systems come with the pre installed software and trial programs. We have no way of the Customer to request not to have this pre installed on their system. The only thing we can suggest is to contact Technical Support for assistance in having the programs that are not required removed from your system."
Posted by houseofman (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
EXACTLY
Your article is spot on! I totally agree with Roger Kay... "Simplicity is elegant. The less stuff you have on a system, the more likely it is to run cleanly." - THANK YOU!!!

After reading c/net's article about last week's deal between Dell and Google to install Google software on new Dell PCs, I wrote to Dell Canada to voice my objection.

Their reply?
Quoting Dell, "We do apologize, all of our systems come with the pre installed software and trial programs. We have no way of the Customer to request not to have this pre installed on their system. The only thing we can suggest is to contact Technical Support for assistance in having the programs that are not required removed from your system."
Posted by houseofman (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wake up Dell
Hope you read this story. The truth is in there. Take me for example. I buy lost of Dell computers, laptops as well as desktops and yes we look for bargains just like any one else. But when I don't see a restore CD or I do see a lot of crapware bundled with my computers that I need to send out to one of our customers or sales persons, then I am frustrated. I started to design and build our own PC's and even started to look at other venders such as System Max (not to happy with them either). In short I STOPPED BUYING AS MANY DELLS AS I DID BEFORE. Don't get stupid, fire the idiot that came up with those ideas in the first place. Build computers in a reliable and SIMPLE fasion and let your customers decide for themselves as to what software they want to install. By the way Google has gone down the STUPID WAY with that toolbar. They got a good thing going for themselves with their search engine and mapping programs. Adware and spyware people do the tool bar thing. DON'T JOIN THEM
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree
Google software is very useful and it's free.
Their toolbar is downloaded by millions for a reason.

I agree that crapware is crap, but Google is not crap.

Also, it is one thing to say I want this and don't want that, but you are speaking for yourself.

In the real world PC vendors need to sell desktop real estate in order to be competitive. There isn't much margin of profit for hardware companies and it's extememly competitive.

The long shot is that if they do not come up with other ways to make cash, then the price of the PC goes up.

That is how it is. Like it or lump it.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
RE: Wake up Dell
Perhaps you should reinstall your spellchecker?
Posted by Mallardd (47 comments )
Link Flag
Wake up Dell
Hope you read this story. The truth is in there. Take me for example. I buy lost of Dell computers, laptops as well as desktops and yes we look for bargains just like any one else. But when I don't see a restore CD or I do see a lot of crapware bundled with my computers that I need to send out to one of our customers or sales persons, then I am frustrated. I started to design and build our own PC's and even started to look at other venders such as System Max (not to happy with them either). In short I STOPPED BUYING AS MANY DELLS AS I DID BEFORE. Don't get stupid, fire the idiot that came up with those ideas in the first place. Build computers in a reliable and SIMPLE fasion and let your customers decide for themselves as to what software they want to install. By the way Google has gone down the STUPID WAY with that toolbar. They got a good thing going for themselves with their search engine and mapping programs. Adware and spyware people do the tool bar thing. DON'T JOIN THEM
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree
Google software is very useful and it's free.
Their toolbar is downloaded by millions for a reason.

I agree that crapware is crap, but Google is not crap.

Also, it is one thing to say I want this and don't want that, but you are speaking for yourself.

In the real world PC vendors need to sell desktop real estate in order to be competitive. There isn't much margin of profit for hardware companies and it's extememly competitive.

The long shot is that if they do not come up with other ways to make cash, then the price of the PC goes up.

That is how it is. Like it or lump it.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
RE: Wake up Dell
Perhaps you should reinstall your spellchecker?
Posted by Mallardd (47 comments )
Link Flag
Hear! Hear!
Vendors should consider the cost to remediate problems caused by "trial software." Keep it simple.
Posted by PAJohnson (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agree
A year ago I helped my son purchase a new computer for his home business. I normally build my own computers but my son lives 7 hours away and needed a warranty and support. This was a new high-end machine from BestBuy. It came with AOL and a bunch of other crap installed. After checking the system using PCPitstop.com I found that AOL was bogging the system down. I uninstalled it and the speed increased by 20%.

Unfortunately the uninstall broke Norton Antivirus that was also preinstalled. It took multiple call to Tech NoSupport to figure out how to get NAV working again. (For the most part they were idiots!)

I don't know what they made off of AOL but it cost them in $upport time and convinced me not to do business with them again.
Posted by walterwood (41 comments )
Link Flag
Hear! Hear!
Vendors should consider the cost to remediate problems caused by "trial software." Keep it simple.
Posted by PAJohnson (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agree
A year ago I helped my son purchase a new computer for his home business. I normally build my own computers but my son lives 7 hours away and needed a warranty and support. This was a new high-end machine from BestBuy. It came with AOL and a bunch of other crap installed. After checking the system using PCPitstop.com I found that AOL was bogging the system down. I uninstalled it and the speed increased by 20%.

Unfortunately the uninstall broke Norton Antivirus that was also preinstalled. It took multiple call to Tech NoSupport to figure out how to get NAV working again. (For the most part they were idiots!)

I don't know what they made off of AOL but it cost them in $upport time and convinced me not to do business with them again.
Posted by walterwood (41 comments )
Link Flag
Fresh Install?
No biggie guys just do what I do when I have bought a new PC in the past.

C:\Format C:
.
.
.
[Insert OS CD]
D:\Install.exe

It isn't exactly rocket science to do this, and while it may be an inconvenience, I really don't mind the computer manufacturers selling out. Why? How else are we going to continue to get top of the line PC's for $800-$1000. So I get an hour worth of pressing the [OK] button, and the advertisers get nada. Besides when I think about all the money I saved I can't help but smile thinking how I outwitted those knuckleheads.
Posted by jwarren.carroll (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not these days - read the story
you dont get the windows cd anymore

you can't just format c:\ and be over it
if you use the recovery disk you make it reinstalls all the crap

you are hosed
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
You echo my sentiments.
The more junk they put, the better. And who cares about licensing... MS has this thing called VLKs (volume license keys) hint hint. I don't feel like there's anything wrong with using it if I DID pay probably $50 to MS through my hardware vendor...

In the near future, with Vista and beyond, installing an OS will be so much easier with the new XImage format. Vista itself will come on DVD in that lovely format which will kill Ghost and the like. Find out more about it and see why the future is all peach keen.
Posted by Fictia (32 comments )
Link Flag
Fresh Install?
No biggie guys just do what I do when I have bought a new PC in the past.

C:\Format C:
.
.
.
[Insert OS CD]
D:\Install.exe

It isn't exactly rocket science to do this, and while it may be an inconvenience, I really don't mind the computer manufacturers selling out. Why? How else are we going to continue to get top of the line PC's for $800-$1000. So I get an hour worth of pressing the [OK] button, and the advertisers get nada. Besides when I think about all the money I saved I can't help but smile thinking how I outwitted those knuckleheads.
Posted by jwarren.carroll (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not these days - read the story
you dont get the windows cd anymore

you can't just format c:\ and be over it
if you use the recovery disk you make it reinstalls all the crap

you are hosed
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
You echo my sentiments.
The more junk they put, the better. And who cares about licensing... MS has this thing called VLKs (volume license keys) hint hint. I don't feel like there's anything wrong with using it if I DID pay probably $50 to MS through my hardware vendor...

In the near future, with Vista and beyond, installing an OS will be so much easier with the new XImage format. Vista itself will come on DVD in that lovely format which will kill Ghost and the like. Find out more about it and see why the future is all peach keen.
Posted by Fictia (32 comments )
Link Flag
It's horrible
After building my last few systems from scratch, I finally decided that I needed a notebook computer for when I am out and about. None of the DIY options for notebooks were appealing, so I wound up buying an HP notebook. Windows was loaded down with so much crap that it takes several minutes to boot (with T2300 Core Duo processor). Even after uninstalling all the crap, it takes just as long to load. The restore DVDs that I created after booting up the first time simply put back all the crap that I neither need nor want. I re-partitioned the hard drive and installed Ubuntu and that is mostly what it runs now. The only problem now is that the QuickPlay Direct feature does not work (I get the famous blue screen when I start Windows XP Embedded from grub).

It does seem that we are coming full-circle. Originally, computers did not come with any software -- including the OS. Now, vendors are including so much crap that people are going out and buying the software separately. Just sell the computer with the OS already installed with the drivers for the included hardware. If you want to offer a value-add, include install media for the extra stuff (media players, trailware, etc.). If your consumers really see the value, they will install the software themselves. That's how I have handled things with the systems I have built for others.
Posted by eBob1 (188 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's horrible
After building my last few systems from scratch, I finally decided that I needed a notebook computer for when I am out and about. None of the DIY options for notebooks were appealing, so I wound up buying an HP notebook. Windows was loaded down with so much crap that it takes several minutes to boot (with T2300 Core Duo processor). Even after uninstalling all the crap, it takes just as long to load. The restore DVDs that I created after booting up the first time simply put back all the crap that I neither need nor want. I re-partitioned the hard drive and installed Ubuntu and that is mostly what it runs now. The only problem now is that the QuickPlay Direct feature does not work (I get the famous blue screen when I start Windows XP Embedded from grub).

It does seem that we are coming full-circle. Originally, computers did not come with any software -- including the OS. Now, vendors are including so much crap that people are going out and buying the software separately. Just sell the computer with the OS already installed with the drivers for the included hardware. If you want to offer a value-add, include install media for the extra stuff (media players, trailware, etc.). If your consumers really see the value, they will install the software themselves. That's how I have handled things with the systems I have built for others.
Posted by eBob1 (188 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not just PCs.
Startupware is being overloaded on commercial hardware, too. A certain large printer manufacturer installs 4 startup processes during the install of driver software for their photo printers. One of them is apparently a 'share your photo album to the web' driver. No permission, no notice. And yet, if you rip out all 4 of the start entries from the system, the printer still prints.

And commercial software isn't better. I'm seeing phone home programs for (purportedly) update checks on nearly every large application, and a lot of little ones. Users need to manage these things, or get used to doorstops.

And yes, I'll agree that brand-name PCs are the worst. Having to remove 20+ startups is unreasonable on an allegedly fast new PC.

Jerry Stern (webmaster, startupware.com)
Posted by Filetiger (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not just PCs.
Startupware is being overloaded on commercial hardware, too. A certain large printer manufacturer installs 4 startup processes during the install of driver software for their photo printers. One of them is apparently a 'share your photo album to the web' driver. No permission, no notice. And yet, if you rip out all 4 of the start entries from the system, the printer still prints.

And commercial software isn't better. I'm seeing phone home programs for (purportedly) update checks on nearly every large application, and a lot of little ones. Users need to manage these things, or get used to doorstops.

And yes, I'll agree that brand-name PCs are the worst. Having to remove 20+ startups is unreasonable on an allegedly fast new PC.

Jerry Stern (webmaster, startupware.com)
Posted by Filetiger (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Support Crapware...
As a home user that has 2 computers that get updated maybe once every 3 years (like a normal person? not an IT geek) I appreciate that all this crapware must be lowering the cost of the computer (I'm talking Dell here) to me. If Dell makes its margins on crapware and sells the hardware close to cost (they do) I get a cheap computer that can be free of crapware in less than an hour and save money.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well Said.
My thoughts exactly. I know how to use the add/remove programs thing, I can just take them all off and get a laptop for cheap.
Posted by o2mcgovem-20822100750713932708 (34 comments )
Link Flag
Support Crapware...
As a home user that has 2 computers that get updated maybe once every 3 years (like a normal person? not an IT geek) I appreciate that all this crapware must be lowering the cost of the computer (I'm talking Dell here) to me. If Dell makes its margins on crapware and sells the hardware close to cost (they do) I get a cheap computer that can be free of crapware in less than an hour and save money.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well Said.
My thoughts exactly. I know how to use the add/remove programs thing, I can just take them all off and get a laptop for cheap.
Posted by o2mcgovem-20822100750713932708 (34 comments )
Link Flag
Bottom Line:
C2 Security states that you should uninstall and or stop all unnecessary services, programs and applications.

That IW the bottom line.

Often times it's easier to wipe out the entire pre-installed OS (crapware inclusive) and re-install just a plain vanilla Microsoft without the bells and whistles.
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bottom Line:
C2 Security states that you should uninstall and or stop all unnecessary services, programs and applications.

That IW the bottom line.

Often times it's easier to wipe out the entire pre-installed OS (crapware inclusive) and re-install just a plain vanilla Microsoft without the bells and whistles.
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Or get a Mac
Yes, I know you all expected a smug comment from a mac user,
but indeed that is one of the differences between the systems - the
OS comes cleanly installed, no noticable load of unwanted extras,
and you get a fully functional clean restore DVD for the OS and
system apps. All included in the price. The more I read about what
doesn't come on a cheap PC the more I realise why there is a price
difference for macs.
Posted by David Lazarus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right on, Bro:-)
I don;t mind rubbing it in.
Macs users don't have this crapware installed and they don't have that archaic thing called the registry!

LOL
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
Not entirely true
Well, I have two Macs and this isn't entirely true. Both my iMac G5 and my Intel Mini came pre-installed with MS Office demo, Quicken, and the Mini came with iWork demo. I didn't want any of these so out the door they went.

The difference with the Mac is that at least they're far easier to be rid of. My point, however, is that even the Mac is not completely devoid of this (and I personally consider MS Office "crapware").
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Link Flag
just the facts...
No, there's no crapware pre-installed on a mac; none at all...

<cut & paste from apple's website>

" Safari 2
" Mail 2
" Address Book 4
" iChat AV 3
" iCal 2
" Font Book 2
" DVD Player 4.5
" Preview 3
" Xcode 2

More software
In addition, the Power Mac G5 comes with an incredible bundle of software:
" iLife 06
" QuickBooks New User Edition
" Art Directors Toolkit
" FileMaker Pro Trial
" GraphicConverter
" OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner
" Microsoft Office 2004 Test Drive
" Zinio Reader
" Apple Hardware Test

<end cut & paste>

This PC vs. MAC thing is a lame as it is old - especially when the arguments are devoid of facts.
Posted by hhs2112 (42 comments )
Link Flag
Mac=No Spyware
PC users don't realize that there is no Spyware that targets the Mac OS. No pop-ups demanding attention. The closest thing is QuickTime, which asks you to upgrade to Quicktime Pro, but lets you dismiss that when you start it.
Posted by mycomputerman (4 comments )
Link Flag
Macs have crapware, too
Did you forget about that trial version of Microsoft Office?
Posted by lephtee (4 comments )
Link Flag
Or get a Mac
Yes, I know you all expected a smug comment from a mac user,
but indeed that is one of the differences between the systems - the
OS comes cleanly installed, no noticable load of unwanted extras,
and you get a fully functional clean restore DVD for the OS and
system apps. All included in the price. The more I read about what
doesn't come on a cheap PC the more I realise why there is a price
difference for macs.
Posted by David Lazarus (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right on, Bro:-)
I don;t mind rubbing it in.
Macs users don't have this crapware installed and they don't have that archaic thing called the registry!

LOL
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
Not entirely true
Well, I have two Macs and this isn't entirely true. Both my iMac G5 and my Intel Mini came pre-installed with MS Office demo, Quicken, and the Mini came with iWork demo. I didn't want any of these so out the door they went.

The difference with the Mac is that at least they're far easier to be rid of. My point, however, is that even the Mac is not completely devoid of this (and I personally consider MS Office "crapware").
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Link Flag
just the facts...
No, there's no crapware pre-installed on a mac; none at all...

<cut & paste from apple's website>

" Safari 2
" Mail 2
" Address Book 4
" iChat AV 3
" iCal 2
" Font Book 2
" DVD Player 4.5
" Preview 3
" Xcode 2

More software
In addition, the Power Mac G5 comes with an incredible bundle of software:
" iLife 06
" QuickBooks New User Edition
" Art Directors Toolkit
" FileMaker Pro Trial
" GraphicConverter
" OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner
" Microsoft Office 2004 Test Drive
" Zinio Reader
" Apple Hardware Test

<end cut & paste>

This PC vs. MAC thing is a lame as it is old - especially when the arguments are devoid of facts.
Posted by hhs2112 (42 comments )
Link Flag
Mac=No Spyware
PC users don't realize that there is no Spyware that targets the Mac OS. No pop-ups demanding attention. The closest thing is QuickTime, which asks you to upgrade to Quicktime Pro, but lets you dismiss that when you start it.
Posted by mycomputerman (4 comments )
Link Flag
Macs have crapware, too
Did you forget about that trial version of Microsoft Office?
Posted by lephtee (4 comments )
Link Flag
Refuse pre-installed software.
In the past, there have been instances of
adware, spyware, and various other things
installed by vendors too. The solution? Buy the
computer without an OS pre-installed, and
install the operating-system(s) and
application(s) you want yourself.

OS and application installation can be time
consuming (particularly Windows, ugh!), but it's
otherwise straight-forward. And the benefit is
you get a lean system with just the bits you
want there.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Some of you guys don't get out much
Some of you guys are tripping off these glib easy suggestions because you haven't been computer shopping in a while and aren't familiar with the current marketplace. If you're shopping in retail places like Best Buy or Circuit city you aren't going to find a pc without the os loaded; you aren't going to get a reinstall disc because that info is now embedded on your D: partition drive on the pc; if you send to the manufacturer for a backup disc it will have all the freeware junk on it; you won't be able to completely uninstall the freeware because much of it will be reconstituted at startup from hidden files; and if you try wiping your disc clean to start from scratch you will be screwed because some of your hardware will require newer drivers that aren't generic and aren't on standalone Windows discs. No, it isn't as simple as it was 5 years ago, and anyone who thinks it is can go shopping to prove it to yourselves...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
Refuse pre-installed software.
In the past, there have been instances of
adware, spyware, and various other things
installed by vendors too. The solution? Buy the
computer without an OS pre-installed, and
install the operating-system(s) and
application(s) you want yourself.

OS and application installation can be time
consuming (particularly Windows, ugh!), but it's
otherwise straight-forward. And the benefit is
you get a lean system with just the bits you
want there.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Some of you guys don't get out much
Some of you guys are tripping off these glib easy suggestions because you haven't been computer shopping in a while and aren't familiar with the current marketplace. If you're shopping in retail places like Best Buy or Circuit city you aren't going to find a pc without the os loaded; you aren't going to get a reinstall disc because that info is now embedded on your D: partition drive on the pc; if you send to the manufacturer for a backup disc it will have all the freeware junk on it; you won't be able to completely uninstall the freeware because much of it will be reconstituted at startup from hidden files; and if you try wiping your disc clean to start from scratch you will be screwed because some of your hardware will require newer drivers that aren't generic and aren't on standalone Windows discs. No, it isn't as simple as it was 5 years ago, and anyone who thinks it is can go shopping to prove it to yourselves...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Link Flag
Free PCs
With all the advertising that's being crammed into PCs, why not just let the advertisers subsidize the whole cost of the boxes and give the things away for free?

And people wonder why Macs cost less than PCs.
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whoops
Make that "And people wonder why PCs cost less than Macs."
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Link Flag
Free PCs
With all the advertising that's being crammed into PCs, why not just let the advertisers subsidize the whole cost of the boxes and give the things away for free?

And people wonder why Macs cost less than PCs.
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whoops
Make that "And people wonder why PCs cost less than Macs."
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Link Flag
Short memories - E Machines
Once upon a time there were e-machines - loaded with crapware. Supposed to be the new business model. Look where it got them. But maybe they patented this "business process" Now there is a thought. Release the lawyers. If not, I claim a patent pending.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Short memories - E Machines ... actually
Yeah, what it got them was a Gateway buyout. They bought this little company to replace their once direct market giant. Boo-hoo how society turned on them for the use of crapware bloat, bull$#!t they did just fine and another company that was failing had to buy them to bolster their own failing business model. Here is an interesting take on the Gateway - eMachines buyout/merger. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.billpalmer.net/com000181.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.billpalmer.net/com000181.html</a>
Posted by Pongidae (2 comments )
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The self-restoring ball & chain
After a couple of years, my eTower (remember these?) became reeeeaaal sloooooowww. I went through the startup and service lists (under msconfig) and found all these quick-start, auto-update, etc. pieces from Real, QuickTime, Acrobat Reader - you name it. I unchecked them, and it was like getting a new PC. Trouble is, some of these ball-and-chain pieces re-enable themselves when you update the software. Hence - a background check :) and a restart or two whenever v.7.05.01 gets updated to v.7.05.02, which is pretty often.
Posted by byl01 (34 comments )
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