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Microsoft Windows Technology

Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware 657

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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  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:27PM (#42100889) Homepage Journal

    Root then install a 3rd party ROM. Get a direct from china device that doesn't have it in the first place.

    Problem solved.

  • Crapware by design (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:30PM (#42100933)

    Windows 8 arguably comes with crapware by default, even on a clean install. The Microsoft Store, Bing toolbars, weather and financial tiles, and the abomination that is TIFKAM (the interface formerly known as Metro). Clean and spiffy? I don't think so.

  • by Relayman ( 1068986 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:32PM (#42100951)
    True, if you think Macs are not PCs...
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:36PM (#42100995)

    That's why I bought a Galaxy Nexus from Google. No blood sucking crapware, plus I don't have a contract with the Devil.

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:43PM (#42101093)
    Everything that Windows 8 brings to the table works against bloatware -- for example, Windows 8 Store apps can't monopolize CPU and memory unless the user deliberately launches and is actively running them, generally speaking. Store apps (aka Metro) are very well behaved due to intentional OS constraints. Desktop apps can still be poorly behaved and set themselves to run on startup, phone home, etc., but that's just because Windows 8 is compatible with poorly behaved apps written for previous Windows versions. Microsoft's Windows 8 software logo requirements for desktop apps mandate that apps _not_ add themselves to the "run on startup" registry keys. But that part is not enforced, which was the right call on Microsoft's part. If they made Windows desktop software a walled garden, everybody here would be screaming bloody murder.

    tl;dr version: basically Windows 8 brings a substantial improvement against bloatware in that the RT/Metro/Store side protects your CPU/memory resources from being consumed by it; but the legacy desktop side is still an unlocked experience, and vendors can install junk on there if they want to.
  • Disable it (Score:5, Informative)

    by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:54PM (#42101169) Homepage

    As of Ice Cream Sandwich:

    - Settings / Apps / All
    - Select the unwanted app/service
    - Click Disable.

    It's still in ROM of course, but it won't show up in the App Draw, it won't be started on boot, and it won't consume any memory or CPU time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:00PM (#42101221)

    That's the cost to fix a PC that the OEMs already messed up. All PCs bought from the Microsoft Store come crapware-free.

  • Re:Nothing new here (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:05PM (#42101265)

    This is the OEM business model. ... 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.

    This is a premium PC? Well, premium price anyways, when compared to an Apple iMac [] I see a higher res screen and better graphics for less. Of course, it'll also come sans all the fingerprints on the screen, since it's not a touch screen. I think that alone is worth several hundred $ in Apple's favor, or however much you value your finger should you ever try to touch my monitor. I kid, I kid... not.

  • by lexman098 ( 1983842 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:18PM (#42101345)

    I think your making some big assumptions. Rooting the one x is very easy []. Worst case scenerio most of the time is you have to reflash.

    Or just deal with a locked phone full of crapware...

  • by OldSport ( 2677879 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:19PM (#42101349)

    Right click > open with > select program and check "always use this program for this kind of file." Just so you know. And you could always, like, uninstall the Word preview if you weren't planning on using it, which would solve the problem as well.

    I had a similar problem on my Mac. Fucking iTunes used to try to open every movie I made in iMovie, so then a clicked the mouse a few times and told it not to. Problem solved.

  • by sdnoob ( 917382 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:24PM (#42101411)

    the big PC makers make a ton of money off those crapware distribution deals.. they make money on windows in the end, which is why you won't find a no-OS or linux PC from any of them for the same price as a windows one of the same model and specs...

    i suspect windows 8 will be *worse* than earlier versions, due to having two separate user interfaces to pollute instead of just one.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:48PM (#42101525) Homepage

    If you're talking about QuickTime for Windows, there's a big difference between that and the QuickTime that comes with Mac OS X in terms of the things you describe.

  • Re:Nothing new here (Score:5, Informative)

    by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:53PM (#42101551)

    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.

    Not really. It's hard to find as cheap parts that they use in the pre-built stuff. A quick look at NewEgg shows a Windows 7 mini-tower, AMD dual core x64, 4GB RAM, 320GB HD, AMD Radeon HD, integrated sound card, gigabit Ethernet, and 150W power supply for $229. Even if not a Cyber Monday price, picking the cheapest of everything quickly surpasses a pre-built PC these days. And for me it's difficult to pick the cheapest of every component.

  • by AaronLS ( 1804210 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:54PM (#42101559)

    I would like to differentiate where the problem is, and provide suggestions on how people can avoid this problem.

    This is a problem with buying from certain manufacturers/retailers who add bloatware. Simply don't support this practice with your purchases. It has nothing to do with the OS. Linux and Android are just as susceptible to this if not more since the OS is open source, such as when wireless providers modify the Android OS itself(rather than simply adding applications) which can cripple the OS with bloated features, instability, or poorly designed UI. In this case you can't simply uninstall an app to undo the problem, but usually must flash the device. I'm not saying the OS being open source is a bad thing; I'm just pointing out how some carriers abuse this.

    Examples of how to avoid bloatware(for phones or computers).
    -Only buy phones which come with the stock/vanilla Android OS. I personally prefer the Nexus devices for this reason. Additionally, these devices usually will have OS updates available earlier than others.
    -If your phone does have a lot of bloatware, something like Cyanogen mod(if supported on your phone) can give you a OS with less bloat and more freedom. I actually flashed my Nexus One with Cyanogen and freed up alot of internal memory. Even my stock Nexus One had slowly become bloated with apps that I didn't need over time like Twitter, which came along with OS updates and could not be moved off internal storage or uninstalled. I went from 5 mb free internal storage(which is a serious problem) to 100 mb free internal storage.

    -Sometimes you can call sales and request that you get only the stock OS on your computer or laptop. I know businesses have been able to request Dell laptops be provided this way.
    -Build your own computer or buy barebone, and load the stock OS yourself.
    -Take note of bloatware when using other's computers, or go to a store where the model is setup and you can test drive. Take note of which manufacturers have the most OEM bloatware. If you are used to helping other's with their computers, it is usually pretty obvious what apps are things they didn't install, and are bloatware.
    -Be wary of a computer that advertises lots of free software. If it is really full version software, then you are paying for its cost somewhere in the price of the computer. Better to buy a computer without this hidden cost, and use the savings to buy the software that you pick out(instead of the OEM's choices). If it is only trial software, then maybe the computer is a very tiny bit cheaper as a result, and your time is probably worth more than the trouble of dealing with the bloatware and "Trial Expired" popups. So either way, avoid bundled software. I don't even like bundled antivirus.

  • Re:Just uninstall it (Score:4, Informative)

    by antdude ( 79039 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:56PM (#42101575) Homepage Journal

    Uninstalls don't always clean well and tend to leave left overs behind. :(

  • Re:Disable it (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:18PM (#42101761)

    If you press uninstall updates the button will then say disable. Then press that and you are good to go.
    Android 4.2 fixes this by making them separate buttons.

  • Re:Nothing new here (Score:4, Informative)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:11AM (#42102171)

    Dual core AMD x64 processor: $58. Hard drive: $59. MB: $59 with integrated AMD Radeon HD and all the extras (didn't see gig-E or USB3.0 in the first example, but you can shop around). 4GB ram: $19 (yeah, ram is that cheap). 250W PSU (couldn't even find 150W): $20. Case: $15. Total: $230 USD, right now. And that is bottom-end components, if you want anything higher, you start getting cheaper than the mass-produced stuff. This took me 1-2 minutes to find, if I shopped around I could maybe push it a bit cheaper (of course, that is with sales, but that works in your advantage since you can pick up each component separately or in combos for the best prices).

    And I'm not even using any combo deals, which could drop the price a few dollars. Of course, you don't get Windows for that price, but you don't get the shovel-ware crap, either, plus you get to choose exactly what components you want to maximize without massive markups. Most of the components are likely going to be junk at that price... but the whole computer is junk at that pre-built price.

  • Re:Nothing new here (Score:5, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:50AM (#42102335) Journal

    You can get a laptop built to your specs with vendors like Pioneer. []. They used to give you the option of Ubuntu pre-installed, but even now you can avoid the Microsoft tax by not selecting an OS.

    To my mind, this is how all laptops should be offered.

  • Re:Nothing new here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @01:21AM (#42102493)

    I helped my brother pick out a new computer this weekend. After looking at the prices of PCs in his range ($350), I decided that building him a system would be far more cost effective. Note I didn't say cheaper--it wound up being $50 more--but it's a pretty decent system all the same, and with specs significantly better than the pre-built he was looking at.

    When I compare my PC to similar pre-built models, I find that the pre-builts tend to cost $800 more, and with worse hardware.

    Then again, maybe my local stores just suck.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @03:41AM (#42103113)

    Skype doesn't come pre-installed, so you had to volitionally install it from the store.

    Nope, that's not true.

    "Skype for Windows 8 will be in the Windows Store on October 26, the day Windows 8 and its ARM-based sibling, Windows RT, are generally available. Skype for Windows 8 also will be preinstalled on "the top 12 Windows OEMs' machines," Skype officials said." []

  • by GuldKalle ( 1065310 ) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @03:55AM (#42103167)

    You can still do that, and you don't need a cd key to download.
    It's kind of hard to find a link, but it's there. For the record, is an official MS CDN: []

  • Re:Questionable List (Score:4, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @04:49AM (#42103357) Homepage Journal

    You need to think about it from a typical end user's point of view. I worked in a computer (repair) shop for a few years and you would be surprised what the average person's expectation of a laptop is.

    2) If there is a critical security issue with one of Acer's apps then it makes sense to have an automatic update mechanism, because the chance of the user going to Acer's web site and checking themselves is close to zero.

    3) Yes, if you have a camcorder it might have the right software, but if you are just using your phone or the built-in web cam you probably won't. Uploading 1080p video can take a long time so it makes sense to reduce the file size first. Plus you might want to burn it to DVD, which again means conversion.

    5) This is a good example of why OEMs include their own software. The MS app is basic and can't control all the features of the camera. It works fine for most people but the OEM will want to differentiate their webcam from the rest with extras, so they need their own app. In other words it isn't completely pointless crapware, it does actual provide some additional functionality.

    People often complain about pre-installed anti-virus software as well, but consumers expect it to be there. Of course McAfee is the worst choice by far but having none isn't really an option. Can you license Security Essentials for pre-installation?

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.