We can soon expect a sudden influx, a mass exodus of students seeking refuge at some of the world's best universities. With this, the amount of prospective students heading to the local computer store to get a new laptop will be immense, just as years before.
crapware - noun [krap-wair] 1. an act of defecation which then moulded to create an electronically manufactured item of software. 2. Norton AntiVirus 2008
Something that caught my attention was the decision that Microsoft would be bundling their all-round anti-virus program in partnership with Sony, Toshiba and some others, in new computers. The first thing you want to do with your new computer is customise it to how you see fit. However, most spend their time removing all the crap software, free-trials, shareware software, and bundled software "recommended" by the manufacturer.
My new laptop was a custom made, specially designed and modified laptop, pre-installed with various bits of "off-market" software to enable me to do my work. Even though it came from a production line in Coventry, it had no crapware on it. However, I can guarantee that over 95% of all new laptops will be bundled with some third-party software which isn't needed.
Crapware comes in many forms, and it's not always the easiest software to remove. Norton AntiVirus 2008 is installed on many Acer laptops as they are released for purchasing, but it does very little except badger you every few days that it's out of date; in fact, you can only update it when you buy it. Acer also produce a tool for every element of their laptop - a wireless detection software, graphics software, hot-key support, all this sort of stuff, when in fact they're not needed and just slow the computer down.
You may be offering a high-end laptop with 250GB drives and 2GB of RAM, but by bundling all this crap software which the user doesn't need, you could save them a whole chunk of physical memory by not having them load up every damn time they turn the laptop on.
No wonder computers are so slow nowadays, even with the fast graphic, the speedy technology and suchlike; boot-up times are slowing down, and it's not a result of Windows Vista either. My Vista SP1 machine (yes, Service Pack 1 does help) - AMD Athlon 64 3200, 80GB hard drive, 2GB RAM, and NVidia GeForce 6200, it takes no more than 15 seconds from cold boot to load up. The reason it takes very little time? It's not weighed down with bundled crapware; the equivalent of concrete shoes for computers.
I want to make a plea to computer manufacturers and the software industry out there. Please think twice about the pre-installed crap you put on computers before you ship them. They annoy people, and it causes no end of trouble trying to remove them. A new computer should be just that - new, without anything slowing the system down. If a user wants to install something, provide it on a disk - not pre-installed.