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Best Buy $39.95 "Optimization" At Best a Waste of Money 504

DCFC writes "The Consumerist deconstructs the appalling 'optimization service' that Best Buy has been pushing on consumers in recent weeks. The retailer charges 40 bucks to give you a slower PC, and make bizarre claims that it makes it go 200% faster. 'We ran the 3DMark 2003 graphics benchmark on each laptop, comparing optimized and non-optimized settings. For two of our samples, the Gateway and Toshiba, performance changes were negligible. On the Asus laptop, however, optimized tests actually scored about 32% worse than the non-optimized setup. We have been unable to isolate the source of this performance change. On none of the three tested laptops did the optimized settings give a performance boost in our test.'"
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Best Buy $39.95 "Optimization" At Best a Waste of Money

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  • Best Buy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frizbie ( 1549673 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:42PM (#30646698)
    Ha!... they charge 40 bucks to clean up the startup, great... This might actual put Best Buy in the running for the most corrupt company in existence. Best Buy is going to have a hard time passing up Jiffy Lube for most corrupt company in 2010. Perhaps they should also tack on another 100 dollar charge to help carry it out to your car, they could totally market it as a "zero shock pc transport service"... that's sure to screw with the general public... throw in some more big words and act like they are doing us a service. Jiffy Lube look out!! your not the only ones that are screwing people mercilessly. "No,... just the cheapest oil change you got... No.. sir... sir... no.. I already have wiper blades... sir... SIR, no... sir listen.. I don't want the manufacturer's suggested monthly screwing, just the oil change."
  • by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:45PM (#30646734) Homepage

    1) Download: http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ [pcdecrapifier.com]
    2) Install
    3) Run program.

    Hell, I'll even give you free PC optimization months down the road after your PC looses it's new PC smell!

    1) Download: http://www.ccleaner.com/ [ccleaner.com]
    2) Install
    3) Run program.

    You're welcome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:46PM (#30646756)

    I can confirm that the optimization consists of:

    1) Running some registry tweaks/fixes
    2) Get the latest Windows updates (unless we were backlogged with a lot of work, in which case we'd skip it)
    3) Uninstall unnecessary programs (usually only at the customer's request)

    All of this was automated through an in-house "Customizer" program. So the optimization consisted of turning the computer on, hooking it up to the network, and running the program.

  • 3dMark??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:59PM (#30646952)
    WTF? That test determines 3d gaming performance. While I do not doubt that the best buy "service" is junk, 3dmark would by no means be a valid metric.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:02PM (#30646988)

    I'll give an optimization, but not free (due to time). I'll take the new PC and:

    1: Image off the original partitions so I make sure I have all drivers. These go on two copies of burned media, as well as a USB flash drive.

    2: Pull a live CD, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda (or whatever the disk is.) This makes sure that any defects on outer tracks get reassigned if they might be a bit faulty.

    3: Install the included version of Windows clean.

    4: Install Microsoft Security Essentialls from a USB flash drive.

    5: Activate the machine if needed. Then image the activated machine so it can be restored to a known good imaged state that is activated.

    6: Update everything via Windows Update and add service packs if needed.

    7: Install ccleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Firefox/Adblock or Chrome/Adblock, and SpywareBlaster.

    8: Install user software that is licensed (Office, Acrobat, etc.)

    9: Make an image of the complete system.

    Now the machine is ready to be handed over to a customer with high recommendations of doing backups to an external drive or Mozy. The advantage of this system is that the customer, should he or she trash the HDD, a complete image restore is just a boot of a recovery CD away.

  • Re:System tuning... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:03PM (#30647024) Homepage

    Can you remember when system tuning was part of the sysadmin's job?

    Yeah, back when computers were so slow that they really needed tuning.

    Now? Let's be honest, your computer will probably run best if you just don't screw around with it. You want your Windows system "tuned"? Reformat the drive, reinstall Windows, install the latest version of all appropriate drivers, run Windows update, and then install *only* the applications that you're going to use. That's about as "tuned" as most people need.

    If you want to tune it further, try changing your performance settings to "Optimize for best performance" or whatever the equivalent is in Windows 7. It'll look a bit worse, but it may improve performance a little. Yes, you might also be able to disable some services and squeeze out a couple extra cycles, but how much does it matter these days? You're much more likely to break something than to effect significant performance improvements.

  • Staples (Score:5, Informative)

    by deathtopaulw ( 1032050 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:06PM (#30647066) Homepage
    I am a Staples easytech idiot and we basically have the same service for $10 cheaper called a pc tune-up. We run a norton toolkit scan, meaning "find out if we can push a virus removal service (129.99)," and nothing more than a basic "windows cleanup." This is usually a 29.99 service although it just so happens to be free right now. All the big box stores are a scam, preying on the lack of basic public knowledge like any local car mechanic.

    Sadly I happen to be preaching to the choir. We will continue to have customers pouring in with the most mind-numbingly simple problems that we charge $150 to fix in the end. It's this fact that actually makes it a difficult job for me.
  • Re:Friends (Score:1, Informative)

    by malkir ( 1031750 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:24PM (#30647312)
    I worked there for 4 months, the place sucks.
  • Re:Friends (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:38PM (#30647512)

    I like it! Did you know you can also do that with dresses? Wear it to a party! As long as you don't get food or jizz on it just return it and say you accidentally bought the wrong size or that it doesn't match your panties or whatever.

  • Bah (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrDoh! ( 71235 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:39PM (#30647524) Homepage Journal

    Had this happen myself looking at a dell netbook. I asked why one was more expensive than the other as it looked like a similiar spec. They said they'd optimised it. I asked what needed to be optimised on a stock xp install (thinking drivers perhaps updated, nothing that a windows update wouldn't fix) and was then shown task-manager and told to look at all the things running. I asked 'which service can you disable in that list that isn't needed and will make the system run faster?' and she didn't know.
    I got the 'unoptimised' version, and noticed it had been filled with crapware and dell/bestbuy links that aren't standard. So, yeah, basically, you're paying them to remove the stuff that THEY've already added.

    What a ripoff.

  • Past Experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:53PM (#30647728)
    I had the misfortune of working for what was Firedog and also GeekSquad in high school. Both organizations are SALES based, not service. I walked on the job all googly eyed thinking it would be some wiz-bang-pop techno extravanganza, but in reality it is a constant banter from upper management chanting "sell more services", and IMO generally at the cost of quality of information conveyed to the customer.

    Their exist a definitive rift between the tech savvy and the cup-holder-cd-tray-croud, but rarely will a mass marketed consumer company be open and fair in its practices, exspecially when they have the upper advantage of capitalizing on the ignorance of many.

    I burned all the blue and red shirts once I resigned both post. May the Maths forgive me for my trespasses with those conglomerates.
  • Re:System tuning... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) * on Monday January 04, 2010 @07:01PM (#30647814) Homepage Journal

    That's exactly it. I've read stories about how good the Geek Squad USED TO BE. And, I've read more stories about what they are now. All they have is an almost completely automated boot CD with which they activate a half dozen antivirus and some system testing tools. A couple of cleanup tools. It takes ages to run the full suite of tools, which is why people bring their computer in on Monday, and it's still not done on Friday. Googling for MRI-5.1 might be informative. You might even find an ISO to explore.

    MRI has basically good tools on it, I won't badmouth the CD - it's worth having in your toolkit. But, tools can't make a craftsman out of a novice.

  • Re:Friends (Score:3, Informative)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @08:03PM (#30648608) Homepage Journal

    Friends don't let friends take their computers to Best Buy!

    While true, the thrust of TFA is that friends don't let friends buy their computers from Best Buy.

    If you follow consumerist, you'd know that Best Buy is all-around one of the worst companies in the world, right up there with AT&T, Comcast, and AIG. Best Buy is also famous for lying on the phone about their inventory [consumerist.com], holding holiday orders hostage [consumerist.com], not honoring extended warranties [consumerist.com], overcharging for items they don't have and refusing to cancel the order [consumerist.com], even entering your house without permission [consumerist.com]. And that's just in the last month.

    More on-topic, it's becoming increasingly rare to go into a Best Buy and find a computer that hasn't been "optimized" [consumerist.com] with a nice little $20-$40 markup.

  • Re:Friends (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mateorabi ( 108522 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @12:39AM (#30651242) Homepage
    It's a whole liability issue. They're not supposed to enter when they are unsupervised with a minor. It's just a bad idea all around. When I was 16 an appliance repair guy got about two rooms into the house before he remembered to ask how old I was (I'm tall and looked older.) He skedadled real quick and waited on the porch for my parents to get home.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @12:56AM (#30651348)

    I worked at Best Buy for 7 years, starting in the tech service desk even before the GeekSquad moved in. We were on a daily basis old to walk customers who just wanted to buy the machines without any extras. For Thanksgiving we would prep most of our inventory on the Black Friday deals with about $80 of extra services that we wouldn't budge from selling if the customer didn't want it. Way it was figured was that somebody sooner or later would pick it up. Our tuneup consisted of deleting all the icons on the desktop, running a script that installed all of the latest updates, and loading a registry file that mostly just tweaked the Windows menu bar delays. It was a take it or leave it situation. Employees who couldn't keep up with it were reassigned to different departments or simply given fewer hours. Management would walk around with some sales spreadsheet they updated and printed every 20 minutes. If you were doing poorly, the Sales Manager would bitch you out. If you were doing well, you were ignored, temporarily. I was routinely told to bend my customers over the counter and take em' for all I could. Let's not even get into my supervisors habit of going through customer's documents. I had this older lady once that had a few gigabytes of photos and videos of her and her husband in bed and in different poses. My boss copied the directory and burned several dvds for a few employees. I helped her when she picked up the machine. It was tough looking at her with a straight face and with several employees snickering behind her. While I never participated in that behavior, I guess I should have spoken up. The discount was too great though and our bonuses were crazy.

  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @02:46AM (#30651942)

    A couple of months ago I needed a USB DVD to install Windows 7 on a netbook.

    But why? Assuming you have access to a PC with a DVD drive, a USB port, and a 4GB or larger USB drive, you didn't need a USB DVD drive. Installing Windows from a USB stick is trivial:

    1. Make sure your USB stick is FAT32 formatted. Unless you mucked about with formatting, that should be the out-of-the-box default.
    2. Copy the contents of the Windows DVD to the USB drive, keeping the folder structure the same.
    3. Stick the USB drive in your netbook and reboot. When prompted to boot from USB drive (the BIOS might say CD or DVD), press any key and get on with your install.

    I've never understood why most "Install Windows 7 from USB drive" tutorials on the web have so many extra, unnecessary steps. I've done this install on three different netbooks, across multiple installs on one (beta to RC to RTM), and have never had to do anything more than just copying the files to my USB key.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.