More on Windows Vista and crapware

More on Windows Vista and crapware

Summary: Earlier this week, I spoke with Michael Dell about the crapware installed on Dell's consumer PCs. Now, CBC is reporting comments from an anonymous Microsoft source expressing concern about what these "craplets" will mean for the launch of Windows Vista. Is there really anything to worry about?

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TOPICS: Windows
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Yesterday I reported on my meeting with Michael Dell, where we spoke briefly about the hassles caused by crapware. Today, coincidentally, there's a story on CBC News, which goes over the same ground from a different point of view:

A senior Microsoft Corp. executive says the company is concerned that uncertified third-party software loaded onto new computers by manufacturers could hurt the launch of consumer versions of its Windows Vista operating system later this month.

[...]

The concern arises from third-party software that hardware makers commonly install on new computers in exchange for a fee, many of which have not been tested and certified by Microsoft to work with Vista, the executive said. They include things such as links to online services, and demo versions of programs.

"We call them craplets," the official said. The term is a contraction of the words "crap" and "applet." An applet is a small computer program or application.

The success of Microsoft's first major revision to its operating system in years could rest on whether or not the uncertified applets cause widespread malfunctions in consumer versions of Windows Vista that ship with new PCs starting Jan. 30.

Reporter Saleem Khan, whose by-line appears at the end of the story, has an interesting blog, but doesn't appear to have the sort of technical background that would give me confidence about the facts behind this story. And an additional red flag goes up when the Microsoft source is anonymous. With 70,000+ employees, it's easy enough to find someone who will speak about issues that are outside of his area of competence. For what it's worth, I've spoken with plenty of Microsoft developers, executives, and mid-level functionaries, on and off the record, and I haven't heard this fear from anyone.

Crapware is undoubtedly a nuisance, and the world would be a better place if software companies would pay customers instead of bribing PC makers to install trial versions of their programs. But the companies that ship these PCs have more to lose from support costs than Microsoft, and I'm certain that they won't deploy installations that are going to cost them support dollars. I predict that this will be a non-issue when PCs preloaded with Windows Vista begin shipping at the end of this month.

Topic: Windows

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  • Crapware

    Crapware? Wipe that smirk off your face Ed! Shame on you!

    OK, so it is.

    I recently purchased an HP Pavilion dv2000z with, of course, Windows Media Center XP installed. It of course came up with more than half of the desktop filled with icons and quite a few tray applications.

    Suffice it to say, I blew away Windows and installed openSUSE 10.2.

    The KDE 3D desktop (Xgl) running on an AMD T52 Turion 64X2 with 2Gigs of DDR2 ram and nVidia is superb..I recommend you go directly to downloading [url=http://en.opensuse.org/Optimal_Use_of_MS_TrueType_Core_Fonts_for_a_KDE_Desktop_on_SuSE]MS Truetype fonts[/url] with Tahoma[1] being a good pick for 'easy anti-aliasing on the eyes' reading.

    The machine is superb and doesn't break a sweat.

    Anyhow, my point is there is [b]NO[/b] crapware installed--you get a slim, lean desktop appearance, Firefox, OpenOffice, Printer, Trash and some sundry applets, utilities, games in the KDE Kicker (new in KDE 3.5.5).


    [1]To use TrueType fonts you must own a valid licensed copy of MS Windows.


    Thanks
    D T Schmitz
    • You could of just uninstalled the ....

      programs from the add and remove programs tab of Control Panel. Installing Linux is cutting off your nose to spite your face!
      ShadeTree
      • Yeah right!

        I went through this last summer with a brandnew HP computer preloaded with XP Home. The vast majority of the S*IT that was installed had no corresponding entry under the Control Panel.

        I spent quite a while blowing away directories and then running a utility to straightenout the registry. And every now and then I find another chunk of crap left over. If they'd provided the install CD and drivers I would have taken it down to bare metal and started over like I did with the previous two machines that came preloaded with XP Home (although I did reload them with W2K Pro, one is primarily a linux machine with dual-boot).
        Cardinal_Bill
      • crapware

        My new HP a1630n came with about a gig of crap on it. I tried to do a fresh install of the OS (Win XP Media Center) from the restore partition (No OS media was included!) but the crapware was reinstalled without any sort of, "by your leave?". The add remove applet took care of some of the junk. Others required a careful survey of the program folder, startup folder, and task manager to track down and remove. I wonder how much HP gets per machine to put their customers through this nonsense?
        xrayangiodoc
    • So what you're saying

      is that since it's that way now, it will be like that allways?
      Lets say Linux gets 1/2 the market from MS (Yes, I'm being extreamly generous, but it's just for sake of argument) you don't think that those same companies wouldn't pay a fee to the Linux distro to prepackage their stuff on it? This would be an excellent way for a company dealing in Linux to reap some money off an OS they can't charge for.
      John Zern
      • Even When Linux gains over 50% of the market...

        ... Craplets will not be a problem. The answer is easy to fathom since any reasonably competent person can put together a distribution - you could do it if you wanted to.

        If a distribution started putting in craplets the crowd would just go to a competing distribution that is not. That is the beauty of Linux - the competition between distributions is a true example of the free, competitive market (no pun intended)... unlike the market distortions of a monopoly.
        BanjoPaterson
  • WoW

    A clean machine - now you can run benchmarks or use some of the crappy and incredibly slow programs you mentioned. I'll stick to the professional ones and all my games - you stay with Tic-Tac-Toe - I'm sure you won't be bored and there's always another distro to download.
    TonyMcS
    • So you must be running Linux too!

      Since you are running professional software, you must be using linux. Enjoy!
      linux for me
      • hmm

        Check you definition: professional means someone is paid for the effort. (support doesn't apply)

        I yet to receive any royalaties based on my contributions to Linux.

        Enterprise would be a better word.
        LinuxHippie
        • depends on definitions....

          To be "professional" isn't solely meaning financially compensated for.

          Professional - adj. -

          1. Of, relating to, engaged in, or [u]suitable for a profession[/u]

          2. [u]Conforming to the standards of a profession[/u]

          Considering how many Linux servers are out there keeping the Internet alive and how many businesses, Schools, goverments, etc., use Linux I feel it's safe to say its professional. :)
          devlin_X
          • Except it's not professional

            Amateur might be a better word. If you get paid as a direct result of your work then you're a professional, otherwise your not.

            Hobbyist is also another word you can use.
            THEE WOLF
          • depends what definition you choose...

            You obviously DIDN'T read the previous post, or chose to ignore it, which gave other definitions of professional.

            You obviously don't use Linux and have never used it either....or maybe it was 5 years ago that you tried it.

            Get yourself up to date before trying to make arguments about something you don't understand.

            Hobbyist is a word YOU can use. It may apply to some open source applications, but I doubt you'd call OpenOffice or Firefox or Apache or RedHat or OpenSUSE or GIMP ....hmmm...shall I go on?..... hobbyist applications.

            Now stick your head back in the sand and go back to your sheeple OS.
            mdsmedia
  • Rumor maybe, but still True

    The first thing I do when I get a new PC is to format the HDD and reinstall the OS. New PCs are notorious for having tons of crapware, and even though I have no sympathy for MS, if some cheesy piece of poorly coded software doesn't work, it would not be unreasonable for a computer ignorant person (i.e., your typical home user) to blame the new Operating System. I can understand if MS is concerned.
    jpr75_z
    • Reinstalling question

      As I understand it, most OEMs just give you a restore disc, not a complete install disc. Doesn't using this just reinstall all the same crapware you started with? Or are you purchasing a separate copy of the OS?
      tic swayback
      • It varies from OEM to OEM and from model to model.

        You don't have to go to the lengths described. There is an add and remove programs tab in the control panel that works quite nicely.
        ShadeTree
        • Add/Remove is nice

          but I have found many programs that leave behind registry settings, files, etc. even after "removing" them.

          I would rather take 30 extra minutes and do a reformat/reinstall.
          Patrick Jones
          • You don't have to reinstall.

            If you encounter the crapware after a computer has been in use for a while, reinstalling is dangerous to material added after purchase.
            And even reinstalling immediately can produce problems if there are complications to use of thye reinstall disk.

            Install the trial version of Your Uninstaller. Does a good job searching on its own. And it works even if the crapware tries to protect itself with a Cannot read install.log error.

            Then use Registry Mechanic trial or any of the other good free and paid registry cleaner software just to be thorough.

            Works faster and has fewer risks of very time-consuming complications.
            Anton Philidor
      • Yes and No

        Companies like Dell give you the original OS disk, and then a second disk with the programs (jukebox, crapware, ect) and drivers separately.(at least they did on the last one we ordered a few weeks ago)

        Gateway on the other hand, if I remeber correctly, gives you a disk pre-imaged with the OS, drivers, and crapware.
        John Zern
        • No Dell doesn't

          Dell only gives you the separate OS CD if you pay extra for it - I think $10. Otherwisde they give you a restore CD with everything.
          ChazzMatt
          • Mine Did

            The Dell I just bought in November came with a XP install disc, drive disc and crapllet disc. I burned the system down installed a fresh lean copy of XP with only what I want on it. For $173.00 for the box it makes a great juke box for the shop. You can't even buy XP Home for the price I paid for the box.

            Then of course there is the issue that the average user doesn't even know how to install an OS. Let alone keep it updated and secure.

            fasthair
            fasthair