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The signature feature of Windows 7 is its redesigned taskbar, which allows you to pin programs and files so you can have quick access to them any time you want.
So, naturally, someone at Sony decided that the perfect complement to the taskbar on the bottom of the screen is a separate dock/toolbar at the top of the screen. It's installed and enabled by default, ready to appear as soon as you accidentally bump the mouse pointer against the top of the screen. And some of the icons are actually folders that spawn secondary toolbars!
On the plus side, none of those icons are on the desktop...
This screenshot documents what I saw shortly after I opened Internet Explorer on a freshly set up HP notebook. It's just so full of fail that it's hard to know where to begin.
There's the HP-branded Bing toolbar, with a search box and a Facebook icon. And then, right below it, there's another toolbar, from Ask.com, with its own search box and its own Facebook button. The Favorites bar has HP and Amazon shortcuts, both of which are duplicated in other toolbars. And the home page is an HP store just filled with offers to sell me software.
Is it any wonder that Internet Explorer just threw up its hands and decided to stop working?
Every laptop I looked at has its own updater program. In a perfect world, it would concentrate on things like device drivers and BIOS updates. This is, alas, not a perfect world.
Sony's updater, shown here, makes a bold promise when you first use it: "VAIO Update helps to keep your VAIO tuned for optimum performance." But the four updates shown here are just for the unnecessary stuff included with the PCs. For some strange reason, you have to click the New Software button to learn that there's an updated graphics driver and a second update for the included Blu-ray playback software. If you update manually, each updater launches a separate installer that requires you to select your language from an alphabetical list, and doesn't remember your previous choice or take any hints from your system settings.