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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.
It seems like every PC maker wants to reinvent the wheel. Or, in this case, the Control Panel.
Sony calls this the VAIO Control Center. It's a hodgepodge of settings dialog boxes that mostly duplicate functions already in Windows. Here, for example, you can choose a "Thermal Control Strategy." If these options seem oddly familiar to those in the Power Options Control Panel, well, that's because they are absolutely identical. Sony isn't alone among laptop makers in offering unnecessary utilities, unfortunately. In fact, this is one of the cleaner, less intrusive ones I found.
How many desktop icons is too many? Personally, I think the correct answer is "anything more than one," but someone in the business development group at Samsung obviously disagrees with me.
This startup screen could be Exhibit A in the case against crapware. There are 17 icons on the desktop, and they cover the full range of needless junk: unnecessary utilities, trialware, a user guide, and a feedback form. Hey, I've got some feedback right here...