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Software Windows Hardware Technology

Who Installs the Most Crapware? 583

Barence writes "PC Pro has done a thorough test of the software bundled by nine of the leading laptop manufacturers to find out who installs the most crapware on their PCs. Manufacturers such as Acer add as much as two minutes to their boot times by stuffing their machines full of bundled software, with own-brand proprietary software being the worst offender. HP's bundled apps, meanwhile, have a memory footprint of more than 1GB. PC Pro has also reviewed three pieces of software which promise to remove rubbish from your PC — with mixed results."
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Who Installs the Most Crapware?

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  • Tough discussion.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skgrey ( 1412883 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:12PM (#29913663)
    Boy, this is going to be a tough discussion. I wonder how many mod-points are going to be spent labeling items "flamebait" for talking about Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac..

    Anyway, I think Acer I got for my wife is the worst. I also recently purchased an HP, and it actually got a lot better in terms of less crapware. I was very surprised, although Vista disappeared ten minutes after I got it out of the box and Windows 7 magically appeared later..

    Any geek worth his salt gets rid of the current OS installation anyway and installs their flavour of choice anyway :)
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:13PM (#29913675)

    The crapware installed on thses computers are advertisements. These computers would cost a lot more money if they didn't have all this preinstalled rubbish on the HDD, but I'd much rather take a couple minutes to remove Spore Creature Creator from my new HP than pay the extra money for buying an "ad-free" computer.

    Maybe this is why Macs are so expensive for the same hardware.

  • iWork vs. MS Works (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:25PM (#29913869) Journal

    But in other areas the MacBook merely mimics Windows' offerings: media software offers little functionality that isn't available elsewhere, and Apple's office applications can't compete with even Microsoft Works.

    I wonder if they've ever used the iWork suite? It can both read & save as MS Word/Excel/Powerpoint for the respective equivalent applications, which is something MS Works apparently can't do. I know this by the number of students I have to instruct to save their MS Works documents as RTFs so their instructors can view their papers.

  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:34PM (#29914003)

    Indeed. Dell's business stuff is great. In founding my current company, my partner and I actually purchased $10,000 worth of Serious-Business-Level rackmount equipment as individuals. Dell doesn't care, which is just the way it should be.

  • Geek Squad Ripoff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:39PM (#29914101)

    I was standing in Best Buy line one day at the computer desk. They were buying a brand new laptop (forgot the brand), but they got the complete upsale from the Geek Squad guy. Basically he told them that yes they could buy the laptop for the listed price, but that it would be unusable because of all the junk on it. They would need to pay geek squad another $149 to take the computer and clean up all the junk that comes with it to make it usable. And the poor people had to do it... They had no idea what to do or uninstall, and were being told that if they didnt do it then the computer would be near unusable.

    Sadly the geek squad guy was close to the truth. A new computer that isn't cleaned is booting slower, using more memory, and running slower than it should be. It just was wrong that it was necessary for the unskilled user to have to pay $149 on top of the cost of the device... I thought about jumping in and telling them it was a rip off, but then I'd have had to deal with it....

  • How many clicks? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by halll7 ( 1009535 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:40PM (#29914119)
    There's some irony in the fact that you have to hit this website over 20 times in order to read the article...
  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:41PM (#29914133) Homepage Journal

    It's not the installation that bothers me but the assumption by software vendors that their software is so important that it should auto-start.

    This cannot be stressed enough. Not everything needs a systray icon. Not everything needs to be so complicated to remove from startup without asking me in advance. Apple is a guilty party of this, even moreso with Itunes. Going to system.msc to try to remove a startup item(which is hard to read) is going to give you a guaranteed "access denied".

    To this day I sometimes still see a little "hp" icon on the systray that disappears before I can get to it. No idea what it is. All I wanted was a printer driver. A CD burning util doesn't need to run 24/7.

    When can we just start having sw vendors just label it what it really is: spyware? Sure it might not phone home, but it still has all the other symptoms in common. I thought there were a few court cases about that topic.

  • by shadow349 ( 1034412 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @02:49PM (#29914247)

    This line of reasoning begs the definition of "crapware," and the #1 response would be "stuff you don't need on your computer." It doesn't have to slow it down, it doesn't have to have an enormous memory footprint when it's running or a huge disk footprint when it isn't, it just has to be stuff you don't need. And depending who you are, that can be quite a lot.

    By that definition, the "crapware" winner would have to be most Linux distros. With the exception of machines that are set up for development / production environment, do you honestly think that most people go through each package, one-by-one to determine their need or do they just select the "Desktop" option (for example)?

    The last installation I did had somewhere near 1000 packages and I would put money down that I, as a "power user", have used less than 100 of them. They are there, though, in case I ever need them since disk space is cheap and that really is the only cost for them.

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KillerBob ( 217953 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:01PM (#29914415)

    Compare the performance of something like FoxIt PDF Reader ( [] ) against Adobe Reader, and then tell me with a straight face that Adobe's version is better. And if you leave Windows-land and get to Linux, then there's options like evince which are also significantly better than Adobe's offering.

    And honestly, the only reason that Flash is installed on my computer at all is for YouTube. If I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn't have that load of crap at all... more often than not, it's used for intrusive ads on websites, not anything of actual value. (gawd, I hate surfing at work, where I am in serious hock if I'm caught using anything other than MSIE 6.0... *shudder*)

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:03PM (#29914453) Homepage

    So you are saying the GIMP is superior to Photoshop.

    I don't know what he's saying, but I'm saying PSP9 is superior to Photoshop.

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigtoy ( 170668 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:17PM (#29914649) Homepage Journal

    These computers would cost a lot more money if they didn't have all this preinstalled rubbish on the HDD,

    I don't buy it.

    The vendors are selling these computers for a profit even without the operating system installed. The manufacturer does not install the crapware unless they actually believe it is a benefit to the consumer, or they are getting their palms greased (more likely).

    I would be very surprised if any of the money that the manufacturer gets from the crapware vendors is used to reduce the cost of the box.

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:26PM (#29914783)
    Yes, this is true but crap != crapware, the latter is only a subset of crap until third parties start installing it on PCs before selling them. Then... yah, it's crapware.
  • Re:Lenovo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @03:58PM (#29915265)

    The IBM updater is great. One-click updating updates every device driver, updates your BIOS, updates firmware...

    Yep, and it also updates the adware on your laptop [].

    (This hit me too - I updated the software on my T60 and up pops some Lenovo ads)

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @04:08PM (#29915415) Homepage Journal

    MHO, if it has a real uninstall script - that really uninstalls the damned program without magic incantations and four downloads from the manufacturers web site - then it's mostly harmless and I don't care. I can't for the life of me figure out why these companies don't do that....

    It's one of three reasons:

    1. The release engineer who coded the installer is clueless about the registry, about windows standards, and is a void.

    2. They want to make it so difficult to uninstall that you decide to keep their scumware installed rather than go through the bother of removing it (or paying someone else to remove it)

    3. Product management refuses to let the release engineer do things the right way (see below)

    I've designed many installers, and I've inherited spaghetti-coded installer projects that had to be nearly completely rewritten (Installshield pro). I was always blocked by management from completely redesigning it but every time I had to add new functionality to a module I would completely rewrite and comment the code. The first release after I took on the project included fixes which made it clean up after itself on an uninstall (mostly hacks to work around code I wasn't allowed to rewrite). At one point I was so fed up with maintaining the shitty code that I wrote a whole new installer in Installshield Developer on my own home computer on my home time and brought it in and demoed it. I FINALLY won everyone over - except marketing, who put a stop to it. Why? Because "it's different" - the thing is, I made it compliant to Windows Logo program standards, had it self-repairing and everything. They (marketing) were so put off by the fact that it was different that they didn't care that it was modern and MORE marketable because the installer didn't look like it was for a 16 bit OS any more (keep in mind this was in 2001, and last I heard they were STILL using the same crappy old installer). So, I deleted the code. (justice was served though: months later they offshored development, I was let go, thank GOD - I was the only one they retained through the end of the year, and a few months later they gave me a generous offer to come back, and also asked if I happened to have the installer. I said hell no to coming back because it was DISGUSTING how they laid off all my friends the day before thanksgiving, and I also told them there is no way I am giving them work I did on my own equipment on my own time.)

    Speaking of which I really miss release engineering. I really ought to go back to it.

  • by BIGstan ( 308841 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <natsgib>> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @04:10PM (#29915455)

    Masonux [] is a Ubuntu mod with minimal stuff - but has Synaptic on it so guys like me can install just what they want. Small image, small HD footprint. Crap free!

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @04:14PM (#29915543)

    Adobe Reader is crapware.

    There are two well known alternatives of decreasing footprint, FoxIt Reader (which is about as bloated as Acrobat Reader 6), and SumatraPDF, which is tiny, fast and, feature light.

  • Re:Lenovo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @04:18PM (#29915617) Homepage Journal

    Now if someone could come up with a PDF-conform editor that allows annotations, that'd be great. PDF is an ISO standard, is it that hard?

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @04:19PM (#29915637)

    The Acer Aspire One I got recently was loaded with crap, but the biggest source of problems came from Google and especially McAfee. Every time I started that thing up from hibernate mode I had to wait for the Google apps and sidebar to load. Then McAfee anti-virus starts grinding away trying to scan the entire system. Even when I thought I had disabled automatic scanning I still found it cranking away.

    So every time I started it I'd spend a minute or so in the OS just waiting for it to be responsive. Eventually I'd get something like a browser open and would spend several more minutes for the computer to perform at a speed that was even remotely functional. The best part was how McAfee was only available for a 60 day trial.

    So I went through and uninstalled every last unnecessary bit of garbage and performance improved dramatically. In place of McAfee I installed AVG which doesn't seem to be nearly as taxing.

    It would be nice if the OS prioritized apps on start up, giving priority to the user, instead of this apparent mad dash to see who can get started first. And even better, it would be nice if these computer companies stopped cramming all this crap on these machines and at least paid some amount of attention to the performance capabilities of the machine. I realize this stuff helps subsidize some of the cost of these computers, but at least offer the option to get a machine with a clean OS.

  • roundtop-vjas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RoundTop-VJAS ( 580788 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @05:13PM (#29916527)
    This is why I love my LG laptop & netbook. 0 crapware. Heck, if you want the LG utilities beyond the basic drivers you have to load them yourself.
  • Re:Lenovo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crazybilly ( 947714 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:01PM (#29917289) Homepage Journal
    mod parent up. It's insane to me that I can't annotate a .pdf on Linux. In-freaking-sane. It's really a deal breaker for me when using Linux for work stuff.
  • Re:Lenovo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PaganRitual ( 551879 ) <> on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:26PM (#29917667)

    My brother bought a Sony laptop from one of those electronics and furniture and white goods all in one stores (Harvey Norman for people in Australia to reference), and they didn't give him any sort of discs at all. They simply said that when he needed a reformat or a service to bring it back in. I do believe I warned him repeatedly and gave him much better options, but then if there is something that every IT nerd knows, it's that family members will ask for advice on IT related issues, and then consistently go and do the exact opposite thing. No doubt Harvey Norman charge a tidy sum for running through the reformat/install on a recovery disk for 15 mins.

  • PC Decrapifier (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sunwolf ( 853208 ) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @08:44PM (#29919083)
    I'm surprised the PC Decrapfier [] didn't make it on their list of cleanup apps. I haven't used it in a while (haven't had the money to buy a new computer), but it has served me well in the past.

New systems generate new problems.