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Microsoft Worried OEM 'Craplets' Will Harm Vista 527

elsilver writes "An article at the CBC indicates that Microsoft is worried that the assorted crap most OEM companies load onto a new machine may affect users' opinion of Vista. An unnamed executive is concerned that the user will conclude the instability of the non-MS-certified applications is Vista's fault. Is this a serious concern, or is MS trying to bully OEMs into only including Vista-certified apps? As for the OEMs, one "removed older DVD-writing software they found was incompatible and replaced it with Vista's own software." — do they get points for realizing it was both buggy AND redundant?"
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Microsoft Worried OEM 'Craplets' Will Harm Vista

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  • Craplets? (Score:5, Funny)

    by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @08:57AM (#17554936)
    I've always like to call that extra bloat by the name of "Circusware". When I power up a shiny new Dell, I always feel like I'm at a circus where there are all of those different games where you can win a small stuffed animal for the equivalent of $20 or $30 in game tickets.
    • by BirdDoggy ( 886894 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:19AM (#17555154)
      I give MS a couple more points to the good for adding a delightful new word to my vocabulary.
      • by dr_strang ( 32799 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:22AM (#17555182)
        "Craplets": Best new word this year so far. I respectfully submit this word for inclusion into Webster's Dictionary.
        • Re:Craplets? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Corporate Troll ( 537873 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:35AM (#17555312) Homepage Journal

          It's been in the Jagon File [] for ages..

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @11:14AM (#17556562)
            Maybe so, but if I was the word I would start worrying. Microsoft has embraced it and the next step is to extend it. I don't know how they will do that but once they do then the word will be on the road to extinction. Unless, of course, Microsoft have applied for a patent for it.

            Application at the USPTO:
            Application for patent by Microsoft Corporation.
            Craplet: Microsoft Certified Module for the Windows Vista Operating System.
        • 1. Buy box (Score:3, Insightful)

          by msobkow ( 48369 )

          1. Buy box.

          2. Reformat drive.

          3. Install OS clean from media without all the crap, or use an existing corporate image.

          But the idea of blaming third-party products for Vista's perception problems is the clumsiest FUD to come out of Microsoft's spin-doctor department in years. They have bugs that log to system files in WinXP that haven't been fixed for THREE YEARS or longer, so I don't buy the "it's the driver" excuses any more.

        • by gmajoe ( 718442 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:34PM (#17558756)
          Not only that, but "OEM and the Craplets" may be the best band name I've heard in a while.
      • Re:Craplets? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KUHurdler ( 584689 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:31AM (#17555274) Homepage
        I totally agree with MS on this one. Now if Microsoft would just stop all the background craplets themselves... we'd have a finely tuned machine.
        • Re:Craplets? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave ( 746256 ) <> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @10:56AM (#17556334) Homepage Journal
          Agreed on both points. First, just give me an OS, and stop bundling all your own shit with it. But to the GGGP post, it took me 45 minutes to uninstall all the crap that came on my new work Dell (Compuserve still lives??) - and the worst part is they don't even include a Windows install disc with the machine!! All you get is a "restore" disk which restores your computer to its initial crap-loaded state. I hate having 40 tray icons load when I boot - it shouldn't take my brand-spankin new dual core 2GB RAM machine longer to boot than my fresh Windows install on an old P4 512MB machine.

          Can I see all the crap and bloat of OEM-installed apps (all for the Benjamins, of course) tainting a person's view of the OS (and even the "Dell"/other brand?) - abso-freikin-lootly.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by derEikopf ( 624124 )
            For $10 Dell will include a reinstallation CD. I always get them for my clients and the absolute first step in setting up a new Dell is a reformat/reinstall.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hackstraw ( 262471 ) *
            Can I see all the crap and bloat of OEM-installed apps (all for the Benjamins, of course) tainting a person's view of the OS (and even the "Dell"/other brand?) - abso-freikin-lootly.

            OK, lets look at this from a "normal" person's POV.

            "Normal" people buy computers of two types. Macs or PeeCees. Macs come from one manufacturer, with one OS. PeeCees come from various manufacturers with one OS.

            If something goes wrong with their computer, it gets slow, it crashes, or any of that they blame the manufacturer or
    • Re:Craplets? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gmack ( 197796 ) <> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:25AM (#17555208) Homepage Journal
      I wish. Their listed example "MDG" has a history of preloading whatever they feel like it and then giving AOL your credit card number so they can bill you in three months whether you even use AOL or not. "We don't go into your account sir so we cannnot know if you used it or not"

      I'm not sure whose side I'm on with this one.. on one hand I could see where OEMs would want to preload with useful utilities but on the other hand they often go far beyond that and install outright crap. Even with XP I've gotten a lot of business by showing up at people's houses or offices and uninstalling some strange DVD burning software that was barely tolerable with windows 98 but now it just crashes XP and doesn't work even half way as well as the cd burning wizard that is built into XP.
    • by mauriatm ( 531406 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:34AM (#17555304) Homepage
      The simplest solution already used by hundreds of users of newly purchased laptops and desktops with Windows XP is the PC Decrapifier []. Originally named the Dell De-Crapifier [] the name was soon changed to support other machines "with crap" (I'm sure Dell didn't like their name dragged through the crap).

      Although this is only for XP, I'll bet a version for Vista will come along soon. Or at least one could hope.
      • I've had to work out my own solution to the "crap". When I get a new computer, I wipe the drive and install the OS from scratch. Yes it's a hassle, and it takes too much time and I shouldn't have to do it, but the alternative is dealing with a bunch of junk that's incompatible and buggy.

        The bigger problem comes with the computers I bought that only had those "Recovery" disks instead of actual Windows installation disks. The last time I dealt with one of those I actually went out and bought a copy of Wind
    • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @10:00AM (#17555612) Homepage

      That's the best description of those craptacular add-ons from OEM suppliers I've seen yet. Circusware, hehe. I remember the first time installing a retail copy of Windows on a home built PC. Startling in how clean it was. No trial anti-virus or AOL logos (okay, it was a while ago).

      I thought it was interesting that Michael Dell asked how much people would pay to get a clean copy of the OS without all the bundled crapware. You can read it in this article: Zdnet blog []

      I would've asked how much it was worth to him to get me to stop building my own PC's and buy another Dell? The arrogance of the position that I would have to pay extra to get rid of crap I didn't want in the first place really chaps my undies. Screw you, Mikey. You can take your cheap ass hardware and OEM circusware, along with your call center techs who don't speak English as a native language, and stick it all right up your ass. Don't act like you have a right to my business. If you want my money, earn it you arrogant bitch.

    • The best advice on a new machine is to re-install the OS. Unfortunately with some very low-end PCs, there isn't a re-install disk.

      For corporate environments, Dell, HP (etc.) will pre-load a specified image with the corporate setup. Alternative is to use ghost or similar to build your machines.

      The manufacturers get a couple of dollars for each crapware loaded (does any one know the real amount?) On Dells, the Optiplex (business line) has less crap than the Dimension (consumer), but they've started puttin
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @08:58AM (#17554940)
    It's the operating system's fault if an installed program causes system instabilities.
    • by Ingolfke ( 515826 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:11AM (#17555060) Journal
      MS isn't claiming that the OS will be unstable. They're saying poorly written apps will crash and the users will blame that on Vista, not the poorly written apps.

      It's a legit concern... although I'd say that's part of rolling out any new piece of software that other software is dependent on, so they just need to deal with it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aussie_a ( 778472 )
        Theoretically its a legit concern. In reality I think they were brainstorming on ways to try stop OEMs from installing third party software and stumbled across this little treasure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times ( 778537 )
        It's a legit concern, but it's really a problem of their own making. Microsoft has made it's business out of the idea of splitting the system integrator from the OS developer, and now they're whining that they don't have complete control over the system integration. Well boo hoo. Some of the problem is that OEMs are trying to differentiate themselves with these "craplets" because of the fact that pretty much every other OEM is selling the same exact OS.

        Sometimes, OEMs are installing this extra software

    • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:13AM (#17555070)
      thats rubbish. i can write a program what would crash ANY OS if it was preloaded on there. i agree with the poster, MS does have it tough in these respects, that much of what oem's preload is bullshit that slows down the system.
      • thats rubbish. i can write a program what would crash ANY OS if it was preloaded on there.

        Probably not if you only run it with user privileges on a well-secured Unix box. Which would be the point.

        • by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:35AM (#17555314)
          fork bomb + autorun = bad experience on ANY platform
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MartinG ( 52587 )
            ulimit -u
          • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @11:04AM (#17556424) Journal
            On every BSD system I've used, there is a per-user process limit that is lower than the total process limit. This means that a fork bomb will only affect the user who runs it. Someone with root privileges can still log in and run pkill/killall.

            Actually, this is a real problem on OS X. A load of sysctls haven't been tweaked since the NeXT days, and the default limit is 100 processes per uid. If you've got a few terminals open then it's very easy to hit this limit, and once you do it's pretty much impossible to do anything unless you can ssh in as another user (I miss virtual terminals on OS X). Mind you, it's much easier to kill OS X by simply allocating a load of memory a page at a time. Hopefully Leopard will include a less broken VM subsystem, but I'm not holding my breath.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by madcow_bg ( 969477 )
      No, but the stupid users (and the not-so-stupid) will think it is.

      We must note that for 10 years straight MS has been targeting their product to the uneducated majority (I mean not computer educated). They have been able to bear the fruits of that stupidity (as in not-wanting-to-switch, afraid-of-thinking, that kind of things) for so many years.

      Now when the tables are turned, and the stupidity is against them (negative PR because of 'craplets'), they don't want it. Sorry, but you can't have the cake and eat
    • I call bullshit on this:

      cat /dev/random > /dev/mem

      So, is linux buggy?

      Something from userland? Here it is:

      int main()
              while(1) {
  • My guess (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @08:58AM (#17554942)
    My guess: the era of pre-loading software and packing computers with shit as an "added bonus" is over. Most people know the things they like and they have internet access to download them. This was not true 10 years ago -- you wanted burning software with your cd burner, media player software for your camera, etc. But now these apps just mess everything up.

    A company like apple, which monopolises the whole process to fit with their brand, is in a better position here. I mean, from a marketing perspective, all it takes is one lousy OEM company to install buggy shit on their computers and you can ruin the Vista brand.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If you can install a user level application and ruin the entire OS then you need to look at other more fundimental problems.
      • I concur (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:13AM (#17555076) Journal
        A logical extension of Microsofts argument would be that NO outside software can be trusted, unless you pay the special fee to MSoft so that it's "certified", otherwise they'll refuse to take the blame for anything. That just reaffirms my belief in the parent posts argument, that it's the OSs fault.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gordo3000 ( 785698 )
          except its an old problem. there are a lot of different pieces of software that can ruin the speed and functionality of a computer(not nearly as much now, but even still..). the worry is some resource hog will really slow down the experience at random times(a POS piece of software my school required in order to get on the network was just like this, and worse, they didn't have anything I could use to uninstall it or stop it from running ever).

          I don't care about the machine, I can write crap software to bu
      • Re:My guess (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:21AM (#17555178)
        To ruin the user experience

        Actually it takes only 1 application that you use frequently that sucks and your overall feeling of the OS is down. Just take an example, how often have you heard "linux sucks because I XXX does not work".

        Same happen in Windows. Buy a new laptop and see it painfully load 35 icons in the systray, replace the default association of JPG file to another crapware that display a 30 seconds modal popup dialog that says the viewer you are using is shareware and open IE on the HowTo buy page. The feeling of the user will be: Vista sucks, and I paid 2000$ and my machine is slow like a dog because of Vista. Natural feeling.
        The same feeling that people in Europe that have been provided with the XP-E edition ( no media player ) think that XP is shit because it cannot read a stupid AVI file.
        • Re:My guess (Score:5, Informative)

          by dabadab ( 126782 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:47AM (#17555450)
          "The same feeling that people in Europe that have been provided with the XP-E edition ( no media player ) think that XP is shit because it cannot read a stupid AVI file."

          This is ignorant bullshit. The sans-WMP version was aimed at OEMs who would then install an other player (since, you know, that was the fucking point of it all) so the user would receive a computer that has a media player. The chances that an end user would end up buying an "Edition N" (since that's how it's called) are rather slim and most probably he would have to get out of his way to get one.
          (Also, from what I have seen, in a default Win XP install WMP probably is not able to play DivX/Xvid encoded avis.)
        • Re:My guess (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @10:11AM (#17555762) Homepage
          The feeling of the user will be: Vista sucks, and I paid 2000$ and my machine is slow like a dog because of Vista. Natural feeling.

          Problem is that the customer is RIGHT in that statement. I am demoing Vista here at the office because the Boss wants us to test it as many of our customers are the "oooooh new shiney!" type.

          I am running it in slow hardware... Pentium 4 3.2ghz 1gig ram and SATA drives.

          and it is in fact SLOW AS A DOG compared to XP.... Yes, I only have a low end Nvidia 6600GT video card with 256 meg of ram, so that might be the problem as well.

          But the honest truth is that Vista is very slow compared to XP. if I turn off all the crap it gets better but most people wont turn off the crap because the difference between vista and XP disappears.

          And that is what customers want... Purdy shiney flashey! they do not give a rats ass about anything they cant see and feel.
          • and it is in fact SLOW AS A DOG compared to XP....

            I call BS. I'm running Vista (RTM) on a P4 2.66GHz (Northwood) system with a GeForce 6200 (AGP, 128M) and 768MB of memory. It's not what I'd call fast, but it's not "SLOW AS A DOG" either.

            Keep in mind that the NVIDIA drivers included with Vista are old and slow. Upgrading to the latest build (now officially available and WHQL certified) improved performance substantially.

            Vista needs AT LEAST 512M of memory to run decently, preferably 1GB. Memory, not CPU ti

      • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
        If you can install a user level application and ruin the entire OS then you need to look at other more fundimental problems.

        So which one OS do you know which will perform just as well as a clean install if you load a ton of crapware on every startup?

        I suppose it should be a magical one, where if you load ten apps each taking 10 MB of RAM and 3% of CPU idling, you still end up with all of your free RAM and 0% CPU usage.

        The "fundimental" problem is with you.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      My guess: the era of pre-loading software and packing computers with shit as an "added bonus" is over.

      I wonder if that will stop MS trying to shove Windows Live in your face when you first start Vista. They certainly did it in the beta release, and it would be hard to see how they could justify that if they seek to ban other AV / Firewall products from being installed by Dell or whoever. It's like what they did when they bundled MSN with Windows 95.

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )
      If that era comes to an end, you can expect higher prices for consumer-grade computers. All that crap subsidizes the cost of the machine -- do you really think AOL or McAfee would be on there without a little money from the software makers?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:19AM (#17555156)
      I worked for one of the leading crippleware-pre-installed-on-Windows companies that pre-installed software on something north of 80% of windows OEM computer out there.

      We payed the OEMs handsomely for the privilige of reducing the functionality of our software - both in discounts and in revenue-share kickbacks for upgrades.

      I'm pretty certain the money the OEMs makes from this crippleware *MORE* than pays for the cost of Windows (especially the discounted OEM windows) - and is the #1 reason HP, Dell, etc like Windows over Linux.

      Get rid of the paid-for-crippleware, and OEMs will jump to Linux very quickly.
    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      I think you're being wildly optimistic that OEMs won't try to litter the desktop of new machines with software nobody in their right mind would ever use just because Microsoft says "they suck". Now, MS could leverage something through it's OEM agreements to force them to take them off, but you can bet you would have AOL and the like crying bloody murder (and monopoly).

      Besides, why is Vista so special? From what I can tell it should be more resistant to OEM software bugs than 95/98/ME, and no less resist
  • Craplets you say? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arose ( 644256 )
    What about the assorted crap Microsoft puts into a new install of Vista, wouldn't that affect users' opinions as well?
    • by DingerX ( 847589 )
      Dude, you're missin' the point. "Craplets" are bits of software not authorized by Microsoft. If we're going to make trusted computing work, we've got to run everything through authorized channels. Only those with deep enough pockets should be able to threaten system stability. It's about access to resources. You wouldn't want the end user to get the notion that s/he could write and distribute software (shudder).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arose ( 644256 )
        So they are making a 100% crap-free system by redefining everything not authorized by Microsoft as crap?
        • Yes, they're saying everything not part of the OS is crap, and I tend to agree...

          Crap, cruft, call it whatever you wish... It's stuff installed on the OS when I wish to have a clean copy of my OS from the start.

          You can call the OS *itself* crap, sure, but then you shouldn't purchase a laptop with Windows preinstalled.
          There exist several alternatives for that option these days.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It enrages me more when they won't even provide a proper Windows install CD so I can wipe and clean-install.

      Sorry, that simply won't work. On many OEM laptops (many Sony, some Dell, some HP) you have components that simply won't work right with the default Windows drivers. The truth is that the OEMs actually do quite a bit of work digging up exact working versions of drivers; and debugging the dependances between them; and going back to the HW and SW vendors to resolve problems. I'd go so far as to say

  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HugePedlar ( 900427 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @08:59AM (#17554960) Homepage
    I'm sick of buying laptops, particularly for work, which come with bundles of shit preinstalled. It enrages me more when they won't even provide a proper Windows install CD so I can wipe and clean-install. Anything that spells the end of this policy is welcome.
    • by udderly ( 890305 ) *
      Right. I just did a data transfer onto a new Duo Core eMachines for a customer. It was loaded with "craplets." Wild Tangent, (essentially spyware), five different AOL entries, a useless 90-day trial of McAfee, a useless 60-day trial of Office, The Big Fix (totally redundant--manages Windows Updates), a 30-day trial of Napster and other useless and memory-hogging crap.

      I'm used to starting with a clean hard drive and installing an OEM Windows, so I was horrified by how many apps were running in the syste
    • What kind of second rate vendor isn't giving you a reinstall CD?

      People crap all over Dell here, but to their credit I get a (clean) reinstall CD with every business machine I purchase, and many of the consumer models. Even better, their deal with MS allows their OEM CDs to reinstall on any Dell machine (firmware check, iirc). Most /.ers will claim that locks my copies of windows to the Dell machines...but if I were to get a new machine from a different vendor it would probably come with a new OEM windows a
      • by jimicus ( 737525 )
        Actually, Dell are one of the better vendors. While their reinstall CD isn't 100% clean, it's pretty damn close. Shame that only applies to their "business" laptops - the Latitude series, for instance.

        Certain others I won't name are substantially worse.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by clifyt ( 11768 )
          "Shame that only applies to their "business" laptops"

          Kinda goes into the whole What Are You Willing To Pay For idea...

          If people are only willing to spend $500 on a $1200 laptop, the extra money has to come from somewhere. They don't put the spyware and otherwise on the machine because they want to, or are inherently greedy.

          I own both Mac and Dell laptops and it always amazes me that people are always riding my Mac as 'expensive' Dell stuff costs nearly exactly the same for the same product class. And
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by D-Cypell ( 446534 )
        Actually, when I bought my Dell laptop I got a 'recovery disk' and not a Windows XP installation disk. The default setup included a disk partition with the XP files on it, presumably the 'recovery disk' just bootstraps installation from this 'hidden' partition.

        Naturally, I had blatted this partition when I installed fedora. Then, when a few weeks latter I decided I actually wanted to dual boot I seemed to be SOL. However, in Dell's credit and despite consistent negative press regarding their technical suppo
    • by Daltorak ( 122403 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:55AM (#17555548)
      Stop buying garbage, consumer-level hardware from the major OEMs if you don't want consumer-level garbage software shoved in your face.

      Let's pick on Dell, since they're what I'm most familiar with in my professional dealings:

      Part of the reason many of their machines, -especially- the Dell Inspiron laptops, are so cheap is because the cost of the machine is being heavily subsidised by 3rd-party product placements. They also outsource technical support for consumer-level hardware to second-rate call facilities in India that don't have the capability to escalate problems to technicians in the United States.

      If you buy a Dell Precision laptop, you'll get the proper media and you won't be subject to piles of shovelware. Yes, it's somewhat more expensive, but you get treated much better. The build quality of the Precision line is miles better, to boot; it's more likely to last the rigours of four, five years of use.

      Always remember: You get what you pay for.
  • good and evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @08:59AM (#17554964) Journal
    Good: Having seen the software that comes on new prebuilt systems, crapplets is an awfully nice term to call them. I wouldn't mind seeing them go the way of the dinosaur.

    Evil: This is about as immune to abuse as a government controlled press.
  • Does this mean that I won't get my free CompuServ account with each new computer I buy?

    In all seriousness, this is great news. I'm all in favor of Packard-Bell supporting a group home for the criminally insane and mentally handicapped, but don't have them write software. The first thing I do when I get a new computer is to wipe the Hard Disk, reinstall Windows, and one by one copy drivers I need off of the Manufacturers' website.

  • Understandable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saxmachine ( 1045648 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:02AM (#17554986)
    Having gone through several prefab Windows boxes in my time (Gateway, Dell, Sony mostly), it seems to me that the volume of crap applications that come pre-loaded and all of which run at startup time has increased dramatically, to the point that the first thing I have to do with any new brand-name PC is either uninstall all the bloat one-by-one or else wipe the drive and start from scratch with a fresh OS install. For a desktop PC, I can understand everyone telling me "build your own, then it will only have what you want on it." Fair enough. But what about portables? Is there a good laptop manufacturer who will sell me a "blank slate" laptop? Ordinarily, I would expect this sort of performance-hindering bloat to reflect badly on the manufacturer. I think MS is right to be worried that the PC makers might jump at the chance to shift the blame onto the new OS, rightly or wrongly.
    • by adnonsense ( 826530 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:06AM (#17555016) Homepage Journal

      Is there a good laptop manufacturer who will sell me a "blank slate" laptop?

      Yes []

      • Ahhh, I see the fanboi mods are out in force this morning.

        Seriously, though, I would think Apple or just about any flavor of Linux would fit this description. If the GP meant manufacturers who sell Win machines, look at the Dell Latitude and Precision lines (God, I sound like a Dell fanboi myself). They have significantly scaled back the crap for the business machines.
      • Re:Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Speare ( 84249 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:27AM (#17555226) Homepage Journal

        I like the Apple hardware products and the OSX, but to say that Apple doesn't load their new laptops with crapware and sleazeware would be disingenuous. If I buy a $3K MacBook Pro, should I expect to get a popup asking if I want to upgrade my trial copy of QuickTime? I enjoy the iLife suite of software, but I didn't have much of a choice to buy the laptop without it. I don't think the trial edition of OpenBase or the inclusion of OmniOutliner or ComicChat can really be considered a "blank slate."

        The only thing in Apple's favor here (and it's a big point in their favor) is that it's absolutely and amazingly trivial to wipe the slate clean myself: drag unwanted items to trashcan, Empty Trash. I am still annoyed that a preinstalled QuickTime on a flagship hardware image is nagware. Hello, the 70s called and want their nags back. If the alternatives like VLC and Mplayer would really integrate as a replacement for QuickTime, I'd probably use them instead.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Quicktime point well taken.

          However. How many of these apps automatically load on startup? I don't ever remember OmniOutliner or ComicChat starting up every single time I start up.

          Want to remove iLife, OmniOutliner, etc? Drag them to the trash. Empty trash. Try removing Dell Media App, Dell Quick Sets, RealPlayer and AOL on XP and tell me how long it takes.

          Oh... and Apple at least still bundles the Install DVD so you can go to a completely blank slate if you really want to.
    • With laptops and desktops there is quite a few drivers bloated that are needed to fully use it but some of things that are preloaded are not that bad I don't want M$ to go any ware near bullying OEMs into only including Vista-certified apps because if they can put that off what is stopping them for making it a pain in the a** to run non certified apps with end less UAP like pop-up's. Things like that would hurt open source software.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stu42j ( 304634 )
      You can buy a barebones laptop from, for example, ASUS [].

      Also, Alienware PCs and Laptops are supposedly free of bloatware.
  • Simply put, OEM distributors should provide the software on CDs as optional installs. Every time someone I've known has bought a new PC, they have asked me to 'clean it up', because 90% of the shit which gets pre-loaded isn't wanted.

    By providing the original installation media without installing it, Microsoft is happy that the software doesn't come pre-loaded, the end user is happy that they don't have to remove stuff once they buy their computer, and the OEM distributor should be happy because they will ge
    • by hal2814 ( 725639 )
      It's not as simple as just making it optional. These computer manufacturers get a good chunk of change for installing that crap and it helps keep down their computer prices. I'm not in favor of the stuff either but if it's optional, they're going to have to charge more for the 'no crap' option. I'd rather it just be understood that I'm going to reinstall Windows as soon as I buy a computer and get a discount for the crapware I'll never use.
  • Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:05AM (#17555012) Homepage

    My computer came with XP and a preinstalled keyboard shortcut program. This program had the nasty side effect of crashing ANY fullscreen app that tried to launch, with the single exception of Jedi Outcast.

    At the time, none of these other games I had were designed with XP in mind, so I immediately assumed that XP's compatibility was abysmal and I was NOT happy. Fortunately I was able to correct the REAL problem soon enough.

  • finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyber1kenobi ( 666018 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:06AM (#17555018) Homepage Journal
    I never thought it would come from Microsoft since they want their OEM customers to be happy, but it's about time somebody raised a stink about the BS that gets installed by the OEMs themselves. Toshiba & Sony I believe are the worst culprits. They install so much shit on the computer - at least 10 startup items and services - it's a complete joke. And then when you encounter something like what Toshiba does to the built-in power management functions of Windows - they won't let you get to it! "Please use the Toshiba power management applet..." BYTE ME! You'd think they would want the overall PC experience to reflect well on their brand too, so slowing down everyone's brand new PC with a load of junk isn't the way to go.
    • Toshiba and Sony are bad, but at one time, Compaq was the absolute worst bundler's I've ever seen. Worse then even Packard Bell's bloated builds of the day

      Back when Windows 95 first came out, Compaq had a build of 95 that was so overloaded, I referred to it as CompaqOS. Looking at it you would have no idea that MS even made the OS, since just about every branded Windows Item was Replaced with Presario. Even the Login prompts were different, with a graphical user interface similar to the Welcome screen but w
  • I for one agree (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:10AM (#17555054)
    My current employer has been going about 5-6 years. Virtually every PC in the place shipped with an XP license. Yet I find myself having to pay for another XP license for every PC through the volume licensing scheme.

    Part of the reason for this is because I don't want to upgrade to Vista within 18 months, which I'll pretty much have to if I don't have an easy way to downgrade. However, even without Vista on the horizon I'd be doing this. The reason is that even buying PC's aimed squarely at businesses through business suppliers, I wind up with OEM builds which have all sorts of odd things on them. For instance:

    • A few years ago, a major system builder included an "easy screen resolution changer" which has an awkward tendency to automatically bump the screen down to 800x600. Bit of a problem for the person with a 21" trinitron screen.
    • Another major system builder's laptop build consists of 7 CDs. One for the operating system, goodness alone knows what takes up the space on the other 6. The rebuild process using those CDs takes about 3 hours with innumerable reboots, and after that I still need to get Office on there.
    • Every laptop ships with some sort of "configuration" software which is obviously meant to make wireless configuration easier. Yet it makes configuration harder, as all of a sudden I need to either account for every possible piece of wireless config software in my "This is how you set up wireless" document or I need to publicly announce that you must use Windows' already perfectly good wireless config tools.

    Because of Microsoft's leaning on these vendors, I can't get a straight, simple Windows install CD with these PCs. Instead, I get an automatic "system restore" CD which includes all this extra rubbish. And the product key on the PC only works with CDs supplied by the vendor.

    So what I'm working on now is my own automatic-building CD which installs a plain, boring Windows setup, handles drivers and installs basic stuff like office. I've spent the last 3 days on this solid, and it's soul destroying. You wind up spending half the day watching Windows install, getting to the end and finding that you made some simple mistake and now it's back to fix that, recreate the CD and try again. Ghost isn't really an option, as I've got more different hardware configurations than I know what to do with and I don't have the budget to replace every single desktop and laptop in one go.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rufus211 ( 221883 )
      I can't find it right now, but somewhere in Microsoft's Windows Genuine Crap stuff they have a tool that'll let you use any windows serial with any version of windows. I used it to upgrade my desktop with a Volume License Key install (and a pirate key) to an OEM key from my laptop (laptop is linux only).

      No idea if it's kosher with the licensing, but you could just use a pirated key on install and then use the tool to force the original serial back onto the machine.
  • I'm with microsoft on this one. I'm the IT guy for a medium size company, and when we get a new windows laptop its a tradeoff between the time it takes to reinstall and hunt down all the drivers, and the time it takes to skim the pork out of the crap the OEM preinstalled for you (sometimes only to find out that all the BS cant be cleanly removed all the way and having to break out the windows CDs anyway....). I completely agree with MS' standpoint on this one, however I dont really agree-or-disagree with
  • Is this a serious concern

    Yes, I think it is... I remember a recent Dell laptop we got... It was so riddled with crap that at the first boot, before we had uninstalled a lot of stuff like antivirus tool *trials* and whatnot, we had confirmations and requests to do stuff basically whatever step we tried to take in Windows. Why can't these just set up their Windows installs with whatever drivers they need (drivers, not applications) and leave the user with a stack of CD's to install. They could even call the
  • First thing you do when you buy a new PC is remove all the terrible software installed by these OEMs. Same goes for the damn 'extras' CDROM shipped to people from their ISP.

    Microsoft is dead correct, this software is virtually always terrible.
  • Dell, but they weren't excellent until I grabbed fresh drivers and the restore CD and did a clean install. I easily got a 10-15% performance boost on one of them, which I found kind of shocking. OEMs make money pre-loading some of this stuff, so I see their need/desire for it, but they really do need to be more selective. And how about just giving me the applications on a CD and letting me chose, would save me a lot of time.
  • Observations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:28AM (#17555244) Homepage Journal
    It's funny that Microsoft is worried about distributors ruining their product, whereas Linux relies on distributors to make it into a usable product.

    It's also funny that volunteer projects like Debian and Gentoo seem to have no problem making a great distribution out of widely scattered and disorganized software, whereas the commercial vendors who ship customized versions of Windows seem to be universally succeeding only in making Windows crappier to the point that you really don't want to use the customized version.

    I guess that Microsoft middle road between providing just the bare bones like Linux and the FSF do on one hand, and providing a complete package, like Apple does, on the other hand, really isn't working well.
  • Microsofts own fault (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is Microsofts own fault. Back in the good old days, there were ads telling you to call 1-800-piracy (or whatever), if you bought a PC with Windows, and only got a restore CD, instead of a real Windows CD.

    At some point they changed this policy,and now reward those manufacturer who sell systems with restore CDs. Of course the manufacturers jumped the chance, and included as many "craplets" as they could. And with most manufacturers shipping ONLY restore CDs and no install CDs, the only way to get a clean
  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) * on Thursday January 11, 2007 @09:41AM (#17555378)
    Beside the annoying trial crap that fills up diskspace, the worst stuff is the boot-time startup crap that cripples the machine and adds another 45 seconds to boot time. I'm not talking about system or server services here, but the third-party consumer applications like iTunes or Real-player. Msconfig is good for dianostics, but sometimes you have to hunt down offending start-up programs in the registry to permanantly turn them off at boot-time. MS should remove the "run" option from the registry for those sorts of things and require them to go into the old "start up" folder. That way, they will be easy to find, and a normal user can delete them without hosing the entire machine.
  • Lol (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Thursday January 11, 2007 @10:10AM (#17555736)
    It must suck to be a computer manufacturer.

    *XP is released, Dell sells a billion computers*
    Customers: Why the hell won't your computer allow me to edit my pictures, and why do I have a virus?
    Tech Support: Well you need to install this third party software and...
    Customers: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's too hard!!!!!!!!!!!! Do it for me!!!!!!!!!!!
    System Builders: OK, it's all installed.
    Customers: Why the hell is my computer so slow?
    Tech Support: Well you said that you wanted us to install this software for you and...
    Customers: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Make my computer faster!!!!!!!!!!!
    System Builders: OK, it's a bare build again.
    *Vista is released*
    Customers: Why the hell won't your computer allow me to edit my pictures and why do I have a virus?
  • Terminology (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @10:13AM (#17555788) Homepage
    So, if Microsoft starts to block theese Craplets, does that mean the OEM people will be getting Turdburgled ?
    I just want to make sure I have my terminology right for when the shit hits the fan.
  • Hang on a mo... (Score:4, Informative)

    by GregWebb ( 26123 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @12:35PM (#17557754)
    '... all the assorted crap OEMs load...'


    * Windows Media Player
    * Windows Movie Maker
    * CD burning wizard
    * Zip files wizard
    * Outlook Express (you try explaining why it's needed on a server OS, or removing it...)
    * MSN
    * Windows Messenger

    I'm sure I've missed something, please feel free to enlighten me.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:02PM (#17558206)
    If Microsoft OS designers took the Operating Systems Design 101 classes many universities provided over the years, they wouldn't be in this situation. Think about it. Why do Windows users think that when an application crashes or has problems, it is the operating system causing the problem. And if THAT is still the case for their latest OS release, they deserve getting blamed for the failures.

    Device drivers are another story but still, tech support should be able to troubleshoot the problem instead of telling most people to reinstall the OS.

    Forcing developers to get MS certification is just another way to control the development market and allow Microsofts own developers advantages when they feel they want the market. It is interesting how Microsoft is already concerned about who will get blamed for poor user experiences with their NEW operating system. I guess businesses must be having a grand time with it already.


The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford