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Microsoft Windows Technology

Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware 657

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the the-more-things-stay-the-same dept.
jfruh writes "Windows 8's Metro UI presents a clean and spiffy new interface for Microsoft's latest OS. But one of the operating system's oldest and most hated problems — crapware — still lurks below the surface. For instance, the Acer Aspire 7600U is an all-in-one that, at $1,900, is hardly a bargain-basement PC. And yet as shipped it includes over 50 pieces of OEM and third-party software pre-installed, much of which simply offer trials for paid services."
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Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware

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  • Questionable List (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:20PM (#42100833)

    Am I the only one that finds this list somewhat questionable?

    Of the 50 items, most of it definitely fits the definition of crapware: McAfee® Internet Security Suite, WeatherBug, Wild Tangent, etc

    But then there are some other items in here that have me scratching my head. When was Solitaire or Minesweeper crapware?

    They seem to just be listing all non-stock software (since MS doesn't include their Metro games in the box), which is not the same as crapware.

  • by Sussurros (2457406) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:22PM (#42100851)
    My clean Android is full of crapware that I can't remove. Windows crapware is removeable.

    Windows beats Android on crapware.
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:24PM (#42100867)

    why Norton Internet Security or McAfee Internet when MS own tools are better.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:29PM (#42100921) Homepage Journal

    This is the OEM business model. Razor-thin manufacturing hardware margins mean that there's a HUGE department that does nothing but inbound deals for software product placement - this is how they get profitability. Don't expect much change. Even with a premium PC line, they won't turn down these dollars thrust upon them from Symantec, and the online-game-of-the-week. Be sure, all of this is instrumented with web-bugs and behavior-tracking galore.

    Using a Windows machine will always be like this: Trapped face-up, under the urinal in Steve Ballmer's personal piss-dungeon.

  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:35PM (#42100973)
    Awhile ago I remember hearing that you could download a clean iso of Windows x directly from Microsoft if you have a valid serial number for whatever version x is. IIRC it was supposed to be an alternative to those shitty reimage discs that OEMS used to give you (or force you to burn at your own cost) but better because they were crapware-free. Can you still do that? (I haven't bought a PC in ages and I'm still using Windows 7 so I'm not sure) The best course of action would be to reload a clean crapware-free version of Windows as soon as you get the iso burned to disc.
  • by Miseph (979059) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:45PM (#42101109) Journal

    One of the worst pieces of crapware I've ever encountered, with regards to hijacking functionality, trampling user-defined preferences, insinuating itself into unrelated software, hogging resources, being uncooperative with attempts to uninstall, and just generally causing anguish and frustration is QuickTime. Last I checked, that's an Apple product and a Mac staple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:59PM (#42101211)
    These people are the reason that slashdot sucks now. Can't even set a file association using the simple 'open with...' interface for doing so.
  • by ad0gg (594412) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:02PM (#42101235)
    I don't care if OEMs bundle stuff, MS should a single click button on their OS that returns it to a pristine state.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:07PM (#42101271)

    Sure, it's a lot of "crapwear". BUT, this is an OEM issue, not a MS / Win8 issue.

    Secondly, is this news? Not really, it's been this way for a LONG TIME.

    If you buy a system for which you don't intend on wiping and building up from zero, then you'll need to uninstall a lot of this crap. It's been this way for YEARS.

    And if you DO intend on running windows, ditch the factory install and cripple-wear reinstall CD that comes with it, and buy Win8 Pro so you have the actual full CD.

    None of this is news for OEM Windows systems.

  • Just uninstall it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OldSport (2677879) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:12PM (#42101311)

    Is it annoying? I guess so... I don't really get my panties in a bunch about it; I just uninstall it and then I never have to deal with it again. Basic computer literacy, really.

  • Basic Psychology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by high_rolla (1068540) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:12PM (#42101313) Homepage

    The thing is, when they sell to a corporate this doesn't matter. The corporation just creates their own image and drops that on every machine as standard.

    The next largest market is not us techies but Joe average. Now yes, they do make money by pre installing this crapware but it also gives them an advantage. On the packaging they can show off that their machine comes preinstalled with this large list of software (highlighting various well known names). Joe average will tend to make his purchasing decision based on which machine has the largest list of features and the biggest numbers (works the same for stereos, TV's, etc). That's why all this tech comes packed with useless features that more often than not reduce the experience and performance. If you want to outsell the competition, sadly, this approach works.

    This is why this trend is not going to change anytime soon.

    You can win by not taking this approach (and Apple is probably the best example of this) but your product has to be well polished and typically you will be aiming for the upper market who more often than not doesn't fall for these marketing tricks.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:14PM (#42101319) Homepage Journal

    The question is - why are people buying these computers? Newegg, TigerDirect, and others sell components, online, and cheap. In an afternoon, a guy can build an equivalent computer from components, install his favorite OS, and be ready to start installing all his required software in the morning.

    Why pay 100 to 1000% extra, for a compromised system?

    So, maybe some slashdotters really don't understand how to turn a screwdriver. I'm sure there's kid in the neighborhood who does. Maybe your own son, daughter, niece, nephew? Give the kid fifty bucks to assemble your machine, you're still money ahead.

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:22PM (#42101367)

    The price of the machine wasn't jacked up because of the TrialWare, but the price seems unreasonably high, given so much competition at a lower price.

    The extra software gives the machine perceived value, incorrect as that may be. Lots of trialware that won't last long and makes revenues for everyone not-the-retailer.

    But then, the latest loads of Ubuntu have all sorts of crazyware, albeit not in the trial form. There are legacy Unix/Linux sillyness that most consumers will never, ever touch. No one pays an OEM to put it on a machine (oh, wait, Amazon placement for search???) when Linux is installed, but most every page you access these days has some sort of ad, or tracker, or link-to-a-good-buddy.

    I think the crapware complaint is over-rated.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:31PM (#42101439)

    And they mark up for it.

    Building your own, if you know what you're doing and know what you want is usually cheaper. But it does require work on your part, and while most of building a computer is pretty trivial some stuff (like correctly wiring a case to a mobo, or properly applying contact paste for a cooling fan) can really hold people back. Also, time and space.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:32PM (#42101445) Homepage

    The question is - why are people buying these computers? Newegg, TigerDirect, and others sell components, online, and cheap. In an afternoon, a guy can build an equivalent computer from components, install his favorite OS, and be ready to start installing all his required software in the morning.

    Show me someone who can build a 1.37-inch-thick 27" touchscreen all-in-one PC "in an afternoon" and I'll show you someone who works for Acer.

    With all the new system form factors coming out, I highly doubt you're going to see many classic, slapped-together tower PCs in people's homes in the near future.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:41PM (#42101487)

    No offense, but I've got some serious doubts about your abilities as an IT expert. I just rolled over from my Mac to the PC on which I recently installed Windows 8 and I can uninstall every single app I tried, including weather, stocks messenger and even email. Not only that, but I just have to right-click on the damn tile and the option is right there.

    I'm also curious to know what your basis is for defining Windows 8 as an amateur OS. What makes it less refined than the multitude of crappy open sources OS's available? Is a mature OS defined by the lack of integration, or the need to hunt for an ideal distro?

    As far as I'm concerned Windows 8 is specifically suited to anyone who has to do serious work. The start screen offers you a direct path to your apps without having to wade through a clutter of irrelevant secondary apps or confusing user-unfriendly utilities. I takes a basic principle that has enable Apple to be successful, but takes it the next step by offering even better integration with a multitude of content. I figured Windows 8 would make it even easier to manage users.

    It's unfortunate that crapware continues to be a problem given that it's long been Windows' biggest detriment.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:42PM (#42101495)

    Actually I got a new Dell (windows 7 and no UEFI) and it didn't come with that much crap. McAfee 15 month trial, some disk-in-the-cloud for a year, and Dell utilities. I don't think I've seen a desktop prepopulated with lots of crapware and url links for over a decade.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:44PM (#42101509) Journal

    Linux has package management. That makes it simple to remove crapware, and therefore less profitable to add it.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:49PM (#42101535) Homepage Journal

    I guess you've answered my question. If you want the latest consumer goody, and appearance is more important than performance or security, then you're stuck with whatever the vendors are offering.

    If you need a secure, reliable, stable system, and you don't care very much that it looks obsolete, then you can knock together a damned good tower at a fraction of the cost that you're going to pay for the vendor's comparable version.

  • by smash (1351) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:54PM (#42101561) Homepage Journal
    Windows 8 isn't throttled with crapware. Certain vendor PCs are throttled with crapware.
  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:12PM (#42101719) Homepage

    Let's see. There's plenty of apps on that list that I would NOT call crapware, as follows: 1) Acer Recovery Management -- well, the name says it all. It's an application that allows the user to e.g. create recovery disks for the system and/or restore the thing to factory conditions. 2) Acer Live Update -- it's a small application that periodically checks Acer's servers for updated software, drivers and BIOS. Again, quite useful. 3) Cyberlink MediaEspresso -- atleast the version I got on my laptop was the full version, not a trial one, and people do like to use the app to convert their videos for YouTube or mobile phones. 4) Spotify -- well, many people enjoy streaming music, and it's not like Spotify slows your computer down just by being installed there. 5) Crystal Eye -- it's a webcam utility which allows the user to record videos or take pictures. Since Windows seemingly does not include such an application of its own then it actually does make a lot of sense to include this.

    I just get the impression that the author felt like whining online in an effort to gain some sort of street cred among geek community, but didn't actually peruse the list properly.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:14PM (#42101739)
    most people are NOT DIY'ers

    to build your own, you need to keep tabs on computer hardware, install your own OS, and keep track of warantee on a dozen or so parts.

    Then you have to fix it when it breaks.

    Fine for me. I know far far far more, than anyone who works at level 1 help desk would ever learn in his life, this isn't everyone. Most people WANT that help desk.(part of the cost).

    You also get one point of contact for warrantee. If ANYTHING breaks, they fix it. How the fuck would a n00b know a CPU/motherboard problem from a HD problem?

    Then there is OS installs. Most people want to plug it in, and have it work. A prior generation preffered laptops to desktops because they couldn't figure out which holes to plug things in. Expect them to navigate a windows installer?

    Fuck no. After making the mistake of building PCs for friends and family, I tell anyone who's not tech savy to just buy a computer that comes assembled, with warrantee, and tech support.(those guys don't get paid enough for doing that, an extra $200 on the tag to answer stupid n00b questions for two years), If anyone wants me to build them a PC, today its $50 on top of parts for assemble and test, and another $200, for 2 years of being able to call me on the phone and answer your stupid n00b questions.

    when you buy a PC in the store, your not paying for the parts, your paying for the service.
  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:22PM (#42101799) Journal

    If you want to use Windows you're often stuck with a choice between using the OEM crapware installation or paying for a new retail copy of Windows. Whereas on Linux a clean reinstall is generally free.

  • by lgw (121541) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:23PM (#42101807) Journal

    You will not come out ahead on a "cheapest of everything" PC doing it yourself - and it won't work when you put it together. You can very well come out ahead building a "workstation" - in the $1k-2k range, you generally get more for your budget, and especially better reliability, by picking top-quality parts yourself (and avoiding the very fastest anything).

    You'll never built a cheaper Walmart PC than Walmart - but then, who would want such a thing?

  • by jibjibjib (889679) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:31PM (#42101875) Journal

    There is hardware and software which is supported on Windows but has less support, or lower performance, or doesn't work at all, on the other operating systems you mentioned.

    This means that for some applications, Windows is superior. Even if Windows is crap, it's simply not true to claim that another OS is "far superior to Windows in every way".

  • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:43PM (#42101961)

    iTunes might have problems but it's the only music library manager that actually makes an attempt at music library management. It also integrates with a lot of neat gadgets in ways that no other software does.

    And Safari is great simply because it's the only web browser in the world that renders fonts properly. Firefox, Chrome, IE, and even Opera look just hideous.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:53PM (#42102053) Homepage

    "There is hardware and software which is supported on Windows but has less support, or lower performance, or doesn't work at all, on the other operating systems you mentioned."

    I agree with you, but you left out the fact that one of those "applications" is Photoshop and the other 100,000 of them are what is commonly referred to these days as malware. Go ahead and try to name an actual application that "is supported on Windows but has less support, or lower performance, or doesn't work at all, on the other operating systems ", then I'll tell you the better alternative in the Open Source domain. ( I do agree that if you are in the desktop publishing business GIMP may not be a suitable substitute for Photoshop, though for 99% of people who need to do graphics design and editing GIMP indeed serves as a fine replacement.)

  • by ifiwereasculptor (1870574) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:29AM (#42102255)

    Home Built PCs tend to follow a simple formula if you're jinxed and don't know what the hell you're doing.

    Really, that's pure FUD. First, if you can't properly diagnose hardware, what the hell are you doing building a computer yourself? Second, that only happens when you don't properly select your components. The only things you shouldn't skimp on are memory modules and the PSU. Especially the PSU. Funnily, that's exactly where some of the popular manufacturers cut costs, since they can spend the same amount of money on an i3-based machine with a good PSU or an i5-based machine with a crappy PSU. Since they "hey, it's an i5" is way better advertising than "hey, it has a good part that you probably never heard of and therefore don't care about", they all go for the i5 and then you're possibly fucked on the long term because almost every part of your PC is being fed incorrect voltages (and that can be insanely hard to diagnose at home if you don't know what you're looking for). They also tend to invest as little in cooling as possible, so at most you get an extra fan. Build correctly and you can do way, way better than any manufacturer. After all, they must pay their employees and profit from sales, and no amount of black magic will let them do it while charging you as much as the cost of the components.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:59AM (#42102371)

    Because Symantec and McAfee are businesses whose goal is to make money, regardless of how relevant they are. Theyre actually quite good at what they do, your mistake is thinking that "what they do" is to provide solutions.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @01:07AM (#42102419)

    you don't want a $20 PSU in any system.

    That is the one of the worst places to cheap out and lot's of the low end Walmart PC do have shit PSU's in them.

  • by Smauler (915644) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @01:10AM (#42102445)

    To be honest, it's not worth anyone's time putting together a budget PC for themselves, in purely financial terms - they'll end up with a budget PC, and not have saved much, if any money. Budget PCs are almost disposable now. 1 month of 20 a day cigarettes costs about as much as a budget PC where I live (UK).

    Building your own is more an ethos, rather than a saving money strategy. I've built my own for years, and saved a little money doing it. I've also, and more importantly IMO (getting back to the original point of the thread) avoided crapware. I hate it with a passion, and won't have it on my PC.

    My system is not the best... but until yesterday (power cut) I had 2100 hours uptime. After that 2100 hours, and the obviously poor shutdown... I booted to workable desktop within 1 minute without a hitch. This is with Vista.

    This is why I make my own PCs, and get the operating systems separately. The headaches, time, and irritation I avoid is worth more to me than the initial time it takes to build it.... That and the fact I like building a new PC, too.

  • by EvilJoker (192907) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @01:20AM (#42102479)

    I find it interesting is that every statement like this excludes (or more frequently, omits) the cost ($80-100 or higher) of a legal Windows installation. Most people run Windows, and prefer it to be legal. Then you have to tack on labor - even if you only count active work to build it, it still takes a fair amount of time. Combine that with the illusion of support and warranty, and those $300 PCs (probably closer to the $260 ones) are a more attractive option for most people.

    Plus, I've seen a lot of self-built PCs. Biostar boards, Apex (or worse) PSUs, unbranded RAM, and no testing. Almost all would've gotten a better product if they'd just bought something off the shelf- even Acer makes better systems than that. Granted, I've seen DIY systems with ASUS/Gigabyte/etc, but those tend to be even more expensive.

    The only market segment where it makes financial sense is the high-end of the market. All major OEMs have razor-thin profit margins on the low-end. They make their real money on the high-end. When you get to the $1000 range, you can build a substantially better machine for a lower price, Windows and all.

  • by crutchy (1949900) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @02:08AM (#42102749)
    he's obviously never heard the age old (and oh so true) saying "happy wife, happy life"

    i'm sure there are husbands that feel the need to "be the man" and "wear the pants", but they really are the idiots of the married world, and will often be the ones that end up a multiple divorcee.
  • by Zibodiz (2160038) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @02:25AM (#42102819)
    I would kinda tend to disagree with most of your points.
    1) I totally agree.
    2) Totally unneeded. Vendor updating slows computers needlessly. If there is a critical driver update, it gets pushed to MS and will be downloaded with Windows Update.
    3) Sure, you can use it, but why? It runs as a background service, and (if it's like the Win7 version) as a systray app that hogs resources whether you ever use them or not. They do nothing for you that Windows can't do out-of-the-box. And why would you need a program to convert videos before uploading to youtube? Youtube accepts any standard video format, and if you have a camcorder, it would have come with software to do any necessary conversion. If it didn't, that's their problem, and not something a PC manufacturer should be concerned about.
    4) Totally unneeded. Spotify makes money from you by playing ads. Their software is every bit as useless as an IE toolbar. Sure, some can have handy features, but that definitely does not make up for their unneeded bloat or the fact that they're only there to make money off of you. If someone wants Spotify features, they can download Spotify. Or maybe they could just use xbox music, a new service from MS that comes preloaded in Win8 that is exactly the same thing.
    5) Maybe some folks like the features of this software better than the integrated application, but Windows 8 does have pre-loaded webcam software. It comes on the Microsoft install disk -- I purchased Windows 8 for my PC and installed it from scratch. I don't know what features it has, because my webcam unfortunately isn't compatible (the only hardware issue I've had with Win8), but it's there nonetheless.
    The only software I consider appropriate for an OEM build would be the basic Windows components, Java (which is difficult thanks to licensing), and the basic Adobe suite of free software (which MS is trying to do away with, thanks to 'viewer' for opening PDFs, and Silverlight). Everything else should be installed later by the end user, including the free MS games. After all, Win8 has a large, obvious button for the market, where people can download anything that's available.
  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:44AM (#42103991)

    I have never, ever, in all my life spent $2k on parts for a high-end PC.

    Then you're just not old enough! I remember 64K of memory costing well up to $100k (IBM System/3). I remember $10k hard drives. I remember $2k monitors... and you guys are complaining about $50 here or there for multi-gigabyte multi-gigahertz machines with terrabyte storage. Sigh. But you want to know the funniest thing? The way the computer industry is going, you are about to lose everything and you will never even realize what you had... until yeah, your devices won't be worth more than a couple bucks because they're no longer your tools, they're just devices used to spy on you in exchange for email, a very expensive phone service and angry birds.

  • The other factor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:51AM (#42104327) Journal

    You're absolutely right when it comes to component cost. However, you don't have the full cost unless the purchaser regards their time as completely devoid of worth.

    My time is valuable. I don't want to spend half a day figuring out how a heat sink retention clip works, putting the motherboard studs in the right place, but not that one hole that isn't on the board that will short it, finding out that the cheap shitbox case has 1/4 inch less clearance than it needs to for this particular CPU cooler so I have to run back to the store which is 25 minutes away, etc.

    I'd rather work with the computer, than work on the computer. But then again, that's why I use a Mac Pro.

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