Campaign to abolish crapware

Campaign to abolish crapware

Summary: 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.

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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

no-to-crapware.pngSomething 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Acer laptops as they are released for purchasing, but it does very little except badger you every few days that it's out of date; in fact, you can only update it when you buy it.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.

</gratuitousRant>

Topics: CXO, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Software, IT Employment

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15 comments
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  • How low Norton branded products have fallen

    There used to be a day when any computer [i]without[/i] a Norton product on it was considered crap. How the times change.
    Michael Kelly
    • Agree

      I remember the time when Norton was the only anti-virus I would trust (somewhere around Win 3.1). I just did a fresh install of XP on a Pentium III. Worked great. Added Norton - and it now moves only slightly faster than the line at the DMV. The only reason that I "renewed" the subscription (automatically) was because I mistook Norton's renewal warning for a phishing attack. Yes, us old guys can be that stupid...
      Citizen Gkar
    • Thats the problem with paid-for software

      as they have to keep adding unnecessary functions to justify a continuing product as the price they set. There are just too many bells and whistles on simple bits of software. I'm glad i moved to Linux and don't have the crapware issue.
      deaf_e_kate
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    Supposedly Microsoft is in the beginning stages of getting this trend reversed... this is one of the reasons Apple wants to have complete control of their PC, to control the whole experience right out of the box.
    mikefarinha
  • Acer's crapware is amazing!

    When you buy an Acer machine with Vista, you find all this crapware:
    - Norton 360 trial ---> USELESS because too intrusive and trial
    - Office 2007 trial ---> USELESS because trial
    - Acer eData Security management -> USELESS because a casual user will never encrypt the files, and this application is poorly integrated in Explorer and it causes a lot of problems
    - Acer eLock Management -> USELESS
    - Acer eNet Management -> USELESS because Vista already has a network center
    - Acer ePower Management -> USELESS because Vista already has a power management
    - Acer ePresentation -> USELESS
    - Acer eSettings Management -> USELESS because Vista already has tools to show the advanced system settings
    - Acer grid -> USELESS
    - synaptics mousepad utility -> USELESS because Vista already recognizes the mousepad No need to install any 3rd party software running in systemtray.
    - Realtek HD Audio drivers -> USELESS because Vista already recognizes the soundcard and new drivers are avaible on Windows Update. Vista already have an audio control panel, No need to have a 3rd party software running in system tray for doing the same thing.
    - Acer launch manager -> USELESS
    - Acer arcade pack -> USELESS
    - NTI CD-DVD - > USELESS because Vista already has a burning software, and NTI has a lot of issues with Vista
    - Adobe reader 8 -> USELESS because it's an old version and you need to uninstall it
    - Google toolbar -> USELESS and it has compatibility problems with Internet Explorer
    - Old Nvidia drivers -> USELESS because old. Why Acer still installs Nvidia drivers older than 1 year?
    qmlscycrajg
  • Norton_Removal_Tool.exe

    ...is available from the Symantec website. Works pretty well at removing most Symantec crapware in one fell swoop.
    wmlundine
  • RE: Crapware

    Ah, yes, that insidious [b]CRAPWARE![/b]

    The best thing one can do is to scrub your system clean of that garbage. I know someone who has automated this chore.

    He plugs in a flash drive, and lets loose the crap cleaner scripts he has created over the years. He uses a master purge script, and tailored scripts for each specific POC it finds.

    After the system is de-crapified, this script defrags both the registry AND the hard drive. User is presented with a much sleeker system.
    fatman65535
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    I've been using the term "crapware" to describe the plague of... well... crapware that infests major vendor machines for most of this century. It is, of course, a neologism that was perhaps inevitable. But I'd like to lay claim to the term as perhaps the initial user... I mean... look what a similar distinction did for Thomas Crapper.

    KS2 Problema
    dogmo1001
  • It used to be that you got the option of installing crapware

    Remember how your computer actually came with install discs? My first thing was always to clean the hard drive and reinstall, installing only what I wanted to install. In many ways those were the bad old days. Remember trying to find enough IRQs for all your gadgets? What I miss is that I could configure my computer the way I wanted it configured.
    niallfromdublin@...
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    I'm ready to join the campaign. Where do I sign up?
    cburkitt2
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    I completely agree people that are new users need something simple like how to use a mouse I think there should be different tutorials on how to use different components like the printer the scanner the camera if they are getting one just different PRACTICAL THINGS I think also in the midst of it all you need to find out where the user is as far is how experienced they are on a computer and what they are going to use the computer for then based upon those results different programs should be offered after those programs are chosen then build a computer based upon what was chosen I think doing all these thing will give the computer user a better experience
    anonymous
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    Another reason to move to Linux... no crapware, even on pre-installed systems. SLED 10 from Lenovo is one example. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • Sure...

      no crapware, but countless hours learning new functions, finding and installing drivers (oh, not that one, guess I'd better look again) -- that is if anyone has bothered to write one. MS may have its faults, but so does any OS that you can basically plug in some piece of discount hardware into and have it functional nearly always (unless it is fifteen years old). Linux -- you are at the mercy of strangers who may not care about your little video card. But no crapware and the ability to look down your nose at everyone. "Oh, I have switched to Linux, I am such a better and smarter person." and don't you newbies every try and switch "oh, you mean you do not know how to program in four languages? Moron, how can you find the on button?" Yeah, I love Linux folks. At least the Mac crowds aren't as elitist.
      Citizen Gkar
  • HP + AntiChrist = Zongo

    Are we all agreed that Zongo is the King of the legal Crapware? There is no functioning uninstaller for it. It has to be removed by the same methods used to get rid of WinFixer and Zango.

    HP tech managers should be placed in an open cage on a busy street with a billboard detailing their epic loss of consumer concern.

    Suffer. Suffer. Suffer.

    love.
    Noah Vail
    NoahVail
  • RE: Campaign to abolish crapware

    Don't want crapware? Buy a bare system and a separate OS disk. That way you know the system is clean. Otherwise, make sure your system comes with an actual OS install disk instead of the pre-crapped-on installation restore disk. Then make the first step of customization be a re-install of the OS.

    <sidenote>
    Yeah, I know everyone can't do that, but if you're one of those, then you're just stuck with what you bought if you can't find someone to do it for you. Nobody to blame but yourself if you're not willing to learn how to really use your machine.

    You'll have to excuse me if this sounds like a rant, but I grew up back when computers were still completely useful without an OS installed or on a disk. Back then, a computer had a small programming interface in it's firmware and would leave you there if it couldn't find a disk to boot.
    </sidenote>
    kingmph@...