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Poll: How do you feel about the amount of software that comes on new PCs?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 18, 2007 8:39 AM PDT

How do you feel about the amount of software that comes on new PCs?

-- I don't like it at all! (Reasons?)

-- It's overwhelming. I'd pay to have less. (How much would you pay more?)

-- It's a bit much, but if it shaves a few bucks off the price, it's worth it. (What's a few bucks to you?)

-- I like it. I'm glad it's there. (Give us some examples of the ones you used.)

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Just unpacked an Acer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2007 9:15 AM PDT

It had 2 titles I ejected so that wasn't bad at all.

1. Symantec's 3 month demo.
2. A Yahoo toolbar.

There wasn't much else so in my view this seems to be largely hype?

Bob

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Dell
by smithjc55 / July 18, 2007 12:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

I have just unpacked a Dell and then I have to register the DVD software. Of course the product code is in a Sans serif face so one cannot interpret the difference between figure ")" and Capital letter "O". Then there are fgure "1", Cap "I" and lowercase "L". Mind you its not only on new computers!!!

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Don't salt my meal without me okaying it!!
by jmarkross / July 18, 2007 3:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

I do not like the ad-crap on the drive of a new computer. I understand advertising...but put all that stuff on some shiny and gaily-decorated discs and I'll choose what I want. I respect that and I applaud it. Remember when VCR's began springing into action once a protected tape was crammed in? It had to be made idiot-proof, which means it IS NOW made for idiots. I like my machines to do what I tell them. I'll do the strategic thinking. I NEVER buy any free trial software that rears it's ugly head a hundred times to "remind" me of something. Ever get some stupid e-mail that tricks you--and then locks on your computer like a desperate carp? Make some "Computers for Dummies" and sell them as such.:P

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shovelware/crapware, whatever.
by Bob Dahlberg / July 19, 2007 3:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

I DON'T want Yahoo--I DON'T want AOL, etc, but being a non-expert, worry about what I might inadvertently erase if I just zap their files. Are there necessary common files that I might lose? What can I do to get rid of those pre-pacaged programs, yet not screw everything up?

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uninstall
by dena1936 / July 22, 2007 4:21 AM PDT

First look for an uninstall file. If it has none, go to Control Panel. Select "Add remove programs", then select what you want to uninstall. This is the safe way to remove programs that you don't want. You are strongly advised not to just delete the programs. An advanced user can then go to "run" type in regedit and do a search for the programs you just removed to make sure there isn't anything referring to the uninstalled programs. I always like to do a search on "my computer" for anything lingering there.

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Not that big of a deal...
by urluckyday / July 19, 2007 4:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

Honestly, I think that it is ridiculous for someone to say that they are switching to Macs or moving away from PC's just to get away from shovelware. It's not that big of a deal, and I think that people who really could use the trial software should have a chance to if they want. Sure, the manufacturers could make it a bit easier to get rid of all of the software, but it's really not that big of a deal otherwise. Just do whatever you want to clean it off, and you're done with it forever. Seriously, spending $1,000+ more to buy a Mac just because of some trial software is a bit outrageous unless you've just got money burning a hole in your pocket.
*Flame shields up*

Some things that I have used in the past that is considered trial:
1. Microsoft Office 2003 (60-Day trial)
2. McAfee Virus Shield (back in the Win98 days)
That's about all, but they were pretty helpful, and I even went on to get the full version of Office 2003, so in the end, it did more good than bad.

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... but still annoying
by nevido / July 31, 2007 10:17 PM PDT

I have several apps that can open Word docs but it always seemed to be the expired demo that launched first to open them. So I'd have to wait till it launched, then quit it, and then open with what I wanted to use. Very annoying. Especially after I weeded, only to have a Office demo launch from a backup drive!

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I wish it was all just hype.
by thellar / July 19, 2007 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

Unfortunately none of it is hype. My laptop came with so much junk it took me a over an hour to clear most of it off and I'm a computer geek. My parents just bought a brand new Core 2 Duo Toshiba Tecra and it literally came with so much preinstalled garbage that the computer took a couple minutes to start up or shut down. It was horrifying.

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Name names.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 19, 2007 10:09 PM PDT

Share who did this to you.

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Here you go.
by thellar / May 4, 2008 2:30 PM PDT
In reply to: Name names.

Toshiba is the one I know the most about and they preinstall a staggering amount of garbage programs. On the dell computers that I've seen it's exactly the same story. I don't know about hp, asus or the other main computer manufacturers but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it's exactly the same story with those.

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OK if it's only a couple
by supermanx1a / November 24, 2007 12:17 AM PST
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

I don't mind a couple of extra prgs as long as they are useful and usable. I open them all and discard almost 95 - 97% of them . Sometimes you get a useful freeware similar to Post-It or something like that but it's rare.

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Pre-installed Software
by lonfjjr / November 24, 2007 1:19 PM PST
In reply to: Just unpacked an Acer.

Waste of money....would rather spend it on the hardware.

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If..

I bought new computers I would be livid at the amount. The manufacturers, however, have finally heard the public screaming and are starting to lessen the amount of "crapware" they pre-install.

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Depends...

While much is trialware or demos for a new user, when they find out they don't want it, and can't get rid 100% of it or too many steps to do so, then you find an angry user. Heck, if a new user can simply wipe it clean of any such s/w cand in few steps, you can have many a happy user. There's always one pgm. that seems to defy its removal, thus all the hard feeling. It should be a separate CD(s) to test any optional s/w rather than be pre-installed. After all, its the user that makes the final decision not the vendor. -----Willy Happy

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We should get paid

Manufacturers are getting paid to include this crapware on our computers. We should get paid everytime we accidently click on the application icons. We should also get a fee for having to spend hours attempting to remove the crapware and not being successful!!!

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pre-loaded junk on new computers
by Ardy Mattox` / July 18, 2007 12:36 PM PDT
In reply to: We should get paid

right now I'm bummed because I had to take computer to clinic...and get wiped clean...but now I have all that junk back that I managed to get rid of once. I can't remember how to uninstall aol... and a ton of other crud. I don't have time for this!!! I'd sure like to wrap this junk around the folks' necks that sold this computer to me! Neat computer, but with a load of junk!

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Not at all

When you first start up a brand new computer, you don't want to get riddled with a plethora of software that the OEM places in your computer. First and foremost, they have no right to put such things into a computer that you've paid for, unless you've specified it to be there. This is one of a few reasons why I avoid buying from OEMs and just build my own PC.

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Buy a Business Model
by lou24772 / July 18, 2007 1:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Not at all

I bought a Business Model HP computer with XP Professional. It came pre-loaded with nothing! I loved it. It got to put on only the programs I use & there was nothing to delete. Try the Business Models--they are worth the price. Right now, you can get a great deal on a business machine that is running XP. Everyone is running for Vista. They can keep that too. I'll think about it in about 3 more years when Microsoft works out most of the problems. Why should I buy Vista now & do the work for them?

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Custom Computer or Business Model
by Retheesh / July 18, 2007 2:36 PM PDT
In reply to: Buy a Business Model

Buy a Custom-built PC or a Business model PC. Lou24772 is right on the money when he said that business models DO NOT come with PREINSTALLED programs. Though, just in case, look in the description to see what software it comes with. I have been using, since the beginning, custom built PCs that I built on my own.

Recently, though, I noticed that companies like Dell are offering business model computers. (PCs, notebooks, servers, etc.) For Dell, they called them the "Vostro" line of computers. They come with NO bloatware. They have PCs, notebooks and servers available. Of course, they come with the OS Happy The prices are very attractive as well. Check it out. Check out some other brand sites as well for their business computers. As always, I will recommend custom built PCs because you know what is going inside.

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Branded Business Model or DYI
by cnetmessageman / July 18, 2007 5:42 PM PDT

Got to agree too, Retheesh. Dell (Vostro 200 Slim Line) and other brand name vendors are listening at least to the "crapware" complaints (the next hurdle will be Customer Service).

For crapware free or minimal impact crapware, selecting a Business system is the way to go. There are of course, advantages and disadvantages to this choice.

ADVANTAGE: In most cases you have the option to load Windows XP instead of Windows Vista.

DISADVANTAGES: (1) A bit pricier
(2) Limited selection and customizing choices


The next option is using a Local Computer Vendor. This gives you the opportunity to specify no crapware. The key here is to be very specific about what you want on and in the system. It will probably cost you more than the branded system but you have a lot more control. Unfortunately there still are some compromises that you'll have to make because the vendor doesn't stock certain brands and has a tendency to use generic part for memory and other components.


If you have the knowledge or can persuade a knowledgeable friend or relative to build you a Custom Computer then this is your best option. It will save you some cash over using the local vendor and you can get high quality parts that you can upgrade with of-the-shelf replacements if you desire to do so later. The cost should be about the same or less that what you'd pay for that Business Class machine.

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How to Handle Those Bonus Programs
by cnetmessageman / July 19, 2007 2:08 AM PDT

A number of posts have floated some intriguing ideas on how a PC Vendor could install "crapware" and still give the Customer his/her freedom of choice. To some degree Dell is attempting to do some of this in a variety of ways. The reality is, however, that once the program is installed there is no guarantee that you'll successfully remove all vestiges of it from your computer. The only guaranteed method is to reformat your disk drive and re-install the OS, drivers, and the Application YOU WANT.

We have seen various commercial attempts at doing this via Uninstaller programs but even those specifically written by the software vendor can be problematic where it either doesn't remove everything or removes somethings required by another program - even if it asks your permission before removal how would the average PC user know what to do.

There are also Registry Cleaners and other cleanup programs but they all suffer from the same weakness as the Uninstallers. So the best and safest solution is not to install the "garbage-ware" in the first place; unless specifically requested by the customer to do so. This is known as the "OPT IN" versus the "OPT OUT" approach.


With this caveat in mind, I propose a number of solutions that should offer an acceptable compromise to both PC Vendors and Customers:

(1) A computer loaded with a link on the desktop to a variety of "enhancement" applications. This offer a number of creative possibilities:
(A) STATIC: Local HTLM pages providing product info and path to the installer program(S). And the ability to delete the installer folder if desired. A startup program could kick off the ad link but would offer the ability to be disabled or removed.
(B) DYNAMIC: Link to the Computer Vendor's Webpage for downloading and installing Tuneup Tools and other "enhancement" programs by third-party vendors.

(2) All "crapware" programs would be contained on a separate disc that is included with the system. Customers can choose which ones they wish to install.

(3) Have a system restore partition which has just a basic system image (no "crapware" included). Restoring from this image eliminates "crapware" with possibly an optional install of these programs. Costs some disk space but offers an extra level of safety - a backup partition. Besides, with today's humongous disk sizes, this really shouldn't be a major issue.

(4) Provide a set of System Restore Discs that either:
(A) Do not include any "crapware"
(B) Have the "crapware" on its own separate disc
(C) Have the "crapware" as a separate install option.

Each of the above would still allow the PC Vendor to host "advertisement" for third-party software without compromising the customer's system or freedom of choice. This would, therefore, still provide a revenue stream and help subsidize the cost of the PC. Any additional costs for providing these alternatives to current practices should be minimal at most.

Of course the two extremes could still exist but each has a significant cost to the PC Vendor as well as potential customers:

(A) No "crapware" - Customer: higher cost / Vendor: less revenue

(B) Permanent or semi-permanent "crapware" - Customer: cost in time and/or money to remove unwanted programs / Vendor: (i) negative PR and possible loss of future and current sales resulting from annoyed and frustrated users (ii) possible negative PR from unstable and slow systems.

Obviously there are better and less costly options that the ones we are currently given by big name vendors.

Are you willing to pay more for less a hassling "Crapfree" computing experience.

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Back in the day...
by gslrider / July 19, 2007 5:27 AM PDT

I remember the days when they gave you the discs with those extra software. You chose whether to install them or not. And the only warez pre-installed were the essentials. ie. Explorer, Wordperfect (that's right, Wordperfect), Solitaire, etc.

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Ah yes , the good old clutter free days
by cnetmessageman / July 19, 2007 12:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Back in the day...

A lot like the situation with Cable and Satellite don't you think. Remember when these service were commercial free!! Now they are so packed full of ads, it's sometimes worse that broadcast TV. And to add insult to injury, we are required to pay these jokers to bombard us with junk. A bit like our branded PCs, but I am far less certain that we are getting any kind of benefit out of this deal.

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Excellent Response Regarding Solutions
by jayhawk13 / July 19, 2007 7:28 AM PDT

This is a well thought out letter from cnetmessageman that offers a number of valid solutions. Any of them would be better than the current (but improving) situation.

As a computer technician I frequently get asked to address "slow machine" issues, and in the past era of smaller hard drives to address inadequete disk space. I usually start by going to Add/Remove programs. AOL software is probably the worst but Symantec and McAfee are close behind (do we need both, do we need either). Unfortunately most inexperience owners don't even know how to remove all of the "free trial" icons on the Desktop so they just leave the clutter there for fear of doing damage.

As for my myself, I prefer to avoid the issue by building my own systems however that's not possible with the laptops. Usually I dedicate the first few hours to removing EVERYTHING but Windows including registry entries, left over Program Files, etc. I then install my own time-tested and proven programs and make an image backup to replace the supplied recovery discs.

I understand that most people don't have the skill to do that. I especially feel for those that don't realize that most of the supplied trial programs are over-priced bloatware that are easily replaced by more efficient and less expensive alternatives.

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aol and nortons
by alice_b0wie / November 23, 2007 10:27 AM PST

i've learned over time, never install anything aol or bought/owned by aol and anything produced by nortons/symantec. you're just asking for trouble...

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Ever tried a rebuilt??
by 1_aceracer / July 20, 2007 1:43 PM PDT

If you don't like all the crap that comes on many new PC's and want to save some $$ you might want to try a rebuilt machine. The ones I have been getting have ONLY a copy of XP on them and nothing else.
The service I have received from the rebuilts has been JUST as good as the new ones I have used.

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Crapware bogs downt he best of PCs
by comptuerwizard56 / July 18, 2007 4:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Not at all

I bought a new HP computer not to long ago with great specs (Core 2 Duo processor, 2 Gb ram, 500 GB hdd, geforce 8800 graphics, etc.) but when I first turned on the computer after agreeing to eula's and other dumb questions, it took 7 minutes to load. The second reboot still took about 5 minutes. There was so much crapware in my taskbar and startup. I was so tired of waiting for it to boot that I went out and bought a fresh OEM copy of XP Pro. After installing kaspersky antivirus and firewall and a few other load up programs, it reduced the boot up time to a mere 1 min and 32 sec!

Stop with the crap PC makers. At least put the crap on a disc.

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Something to think about....
by cbrader2k / July 19, 2007 12:11 AM PDT

I do agree that some purchased computers come with a ton of useless software, but would it really justify a copy of an OEM copy of XP Pro? I suppose you would have to weigh the time you want to put into removing the unneeded items versus starting fresh.

Honestly, I would just grab a small set of utilities (e.g. CCleaner, Auslogics RegDefrag, etc.), which I would put on my machine anyway, and tear the junk off; rather than drop the cash for Win XP (on top of what I just spent for the computer).

To each their own, but it sounds like a shotgun approach to surgery.

Thoughts?

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I Hate it
by mrobinsonjr / July 19, 2007 2:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Not at all

man i got my dell inspiron 1300 notebook for christmas and i had a partitioned hard drive, sonic record now and all of that other dumb stuff. i used powerquest partition magic to unpartition my hard drive. i also uninstalled musicmatch jukebox. 3 months later i eventually had to reformat my hard drive because the ****ware messed up my windows regestry plus i had a virus on my computer.

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formatting
by dena1936 / July 23, 2007 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: I Hate it

I do format my computer about once a year, to start all over. The thing is, with these large hard drives & big programs and the need for all the protective programs, it is becoming harder to put it all back together again. I have a kazillion serial numbers & disks I need to find and enter all over again. I find it easier to after first looking for an uninstall file within the program. Then you can go to Windows Control panel to "add, remove programs, & make sure it is uninstalled there. After that, I run regedit, search for the program & remove all reference to it. Of course back up your registry first. There may be some that won't delete. I then search my hard drive for the program and delete anything lingering there. Usually, if I do another search in the registry, I can delete what would not delete before. It is time consuming, but I find it more time confusing to format my drive everytime I want to get rid of anything. As for viruses, I always make sure that I put McAfee Security package on. Also, a spyware program and a program to fix my registry & Adaware. (the full versions, not the free ones) Your computer should be clean after this. The reason the uninstall features don't always work is because the software sometimes put in a do not delete order deep in the registry.

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