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Windows has its own simple out-of-box experience for a new PC that requires accepting a license agreement, choosing a time zone, and configuring Windows update. HP adds its own separate setup routine to new consumer PCs. It's a full-screen, animated show that highlights the HP brand while asking questions that most PC makers handle with a simple dialog box.
This step tries to convince the new PC owner to activate the 60-day trial version of Norton Internet Security. And it illustrates a theme that crops up over and over again in these OEM installations. You can say yes, but no doesn't mean no. If you click No here, the wizard helpfully reminds you that "you will be reminded later." Later, as it turns out, is in a matter of milliseconds. If you click No, you immediately see an "are you sure?" dialog box.
This Samsung notebook comes preloaded with a wheelbarrow full of trial software versions. This filtered list shows more than 20 separate programs, each of which will find a way to get in your face with an "offer" to let you pay to unlock the full version.
The most annoying part of this excessive software preload is the collection of games from Oberon Media. In addition to the Game Pack, there are no fewer than 10 individual games preinstalled. It takes five clicks and a minimum of 30 seconds to uninstall each one.
Every consumer computer I looked at for this story came with a trial version of a security package. McAfee and Norton are the leaders in the preloaded trialware game, but Trend Micro occasionally plays as well.
If you don't activate the software when you first turn on the PC, you'll see frequent reminders like this one, filled with warnings about the evildoers lurking just outside your office door. The only way to close this dialog box is by clicking the faint, practically invisible X in the upper right corner. And if you try that you're rewarded with more frightening dialog boxes before you eventually suppress it. But none of those prompts include an option to uninstall the software. For that, you need to make your way to Control Panel on your own.