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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...
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...