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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.
If you decide to take advantage of the free trial, woe be unto you when the trial ends. The makers of antivirus software have an army of designers, an endless supply of blood-red pixels, and copywriters skilled in the art of scaring the crap out of you.
Here are two examples I saw on a Sony notebook after the Norton trial ended. (A later dialog box included a "Stay Unprotected" option. Classic!) Notice again that there's no way to make the warnings stop. With persistence, you can hide the current warning, but there's no information on how to uninstall the expired program and replace it with something else.
This Samsung notebook includes the CyberLink DVD Suite, which prompts you for your name and e-mail address every time you start up—with, naturally, two options: Register Now or Remind Me Later. The software offers basic capabilities already available in Windows (and in free Windows Live programs like Movie Maker). But you'll run into hard blocks as soon as you try to move beyond those basic capabilities.
If you try to save a video file in anything other than WMV or AVI format, or if you choose the option to burn a DVD or save a file for use with an iPod, you'll see a dialog box like this one. The constant appeals to upgrade must wear some people down. But if you don't want to pay, take my advice and ditch this nuisanceware.