Keep Your Grubby Junkware Off My PC

Ed Bott’s Windows Expertise — Why do new PCs come with so much junkware? Ed Bott hits the nail on the head with something that really annoys me. Recently I purchased a new laptop from Dell and had to spend a bunch of time uninstalling a bunch of crap software that I didn’t want that was bloating my new machine. Do I want 6 months of free anti-virus protection? Hell no. Do I want 6 months free of AOHell? No friggin’ way. Microsoft Messenger? No, thank you. Quick books or whatever else they call that Quicken crap, nope. What a pain in the ass to have to uninstall all that stuff. Outlook Express? The worst email reader of all time. Music Match or whatever the hell it’s called that wants to be my “preferred media player? Go away.

And then what’s worse is all these things are time programmed to pop up on you in the future. I uninstalled Word Perfect when I got my PC and now some damned Word Perfect thing is trying to run every two days and everytime it does it asks me to install the Word Perfect disc — and the only way to kill this is with the control alt delete. Ughhh.

Why not let me click a little box on what software on want preinstalled with my PC? You can make the default that they are all checked but give me a chance to opt out if I want. Ed correctly identifies the motivation for Dell and most other OEMs loading your new PC up with this crap.

“The makers of the bundled software pay cash to Dell for every copy of junkware installed on a new PC. (Hmm, where else have I seen that business model?) Pretending that this is some sort of noble customer service is a flat-out lie.”

I’m paying you good money for hte PC. How about not subjecting me to this annoyance? I Wish something could be done about this.

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9 Comments

  1. Pete says:

    I bet they would be happy to charge us more and offer a ‘clean’ option. The question is how many would pay for it? I for one will happily save the money and ‘clean’ it myself. These days I can get boxes from Dell cheaper than building the equivalent.

  2. Bill says:

    I did a fresh install of XP Pro when I got my new Dell last summer. A lot easier than dealing with all that crap.

  3. DWAnderson says:

    FWIW, if I recall correctly, Microsoft used to restrict what OEMs could install along with Windows. One of the rationales was that these things could affect the out-of-box experience. At the time this was scoffed at by many as anti-competitive– including those with the power to enforce antitrust laws. The result was that at least one significant impediment to the now PITA out-of-box experience of many uninstalls we now have is gone.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One of the many reasons why I prefer to buying white box machines with a vanilla OS installation.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s a good thing that we have the anti-trust regulators to protect us from big bad Microsoft. Can you imagine how terrible the world would be if we didn’t have someone to protect innovative companies like AOL and Real Networks. I mean how would these great companies survive if they aren’t allowed to bombared PC buyers with pop ups and constant “update” requests.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thomas,

    The thing is you’re not paying “good money” for a PC these days. You’re paying “cost” plus a razor-thin margin for the PC manufacturer. Most of the margin goes to the retailer (unless you buy Dell, then they try to upsell you so they don’t have to ship the barebones systems that even they lose money on).

    I work for a major PC manufacturer, and I can tell you we spend a lot of time and effort to make sure the PC components work properly and have specs that go a little beyond off-the-shelf stuff. Would you rather spend all that time yourself? Have all the hassle of risking to buy memory that might not work with the motherboard? Driving to the store to take it back (or pay for shipping it back to, say, NewEgg)? Testing all the software that gets put on there to make sure it works well? Some PC manufacturers actually do that, you know.

    Putting software on the systems that you don’t need helps PC manufacturers stay in the black. And it brings down the price for you, the customer. You just don’t realize how much because you don’t have insight into the equation that produces the retail price.

    What would happen if you saw how much not having the software on there would do to the price you have to pay? What if all PCs (from all manufacturers) were to go up by $200? Would you rather pay $200 more for a clean system? Mind you I don’t even know what the exact offset in price is, I’m just speculating.

    By the way, putting Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware stuff on the boxes helps from a support perspective, too. Who do you think gets the call for support when a virus hits the system? Microsoft? HAH! The call goes to the manufacturer, of course. And that costs the manufacturer money. Which gets put into the price of the box.

    I agree that there is usually too much useless software on there, and I personally am capable enough of building a system from scratch and just put on what I deem necessary. But not everyone is.

    It’s a delicate walk on a tight-rope for PC manufacturers to provide what people will buy and stay profitable at the same time.

  7. Anonymous says:

    dwanderson is correct. As an example, Google for “RealNetworks Tinkerbell.” Several states complained that Microsoft’s license agreements made it difficult for RealNetworks to do everything they wanted with “Tinkerbell.”

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Real Networks is the last thing I want anywhere near my PC. I wrote a blog rant on this a while back. http://thomashawk.com/2005/10/microsoft-and-realnetworks-resolve.html

  9. Thomas Hawk says:

    Good points. $200 more for a PC wouldn’t be fun to pay. Still I think I’d at least like to have the option at Dell to deselect certain things and then have Dell adjust my bottom line price upward on a software by software basis.