back to article Feeling heat from Macs, Microsoft sells PCs sans crapware

With Apple Macs in its sights, Microsoft has been quietly reselling PCs that offer customized, slimmed-down installations of Windows designed to run faster and to be easier to set up and maintain. The software company has been selling computers preloaded with the custom Windows image since at least October 2009 under the a …

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You... You...

You go girl!

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Anonymous Coward

Not much point.

In my experience most mac users still believe the problems windows had over 10 years ago still exist; just like apple haters still think they only have one mouse button.

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But ...

They DO only have one mouse button - oki, the "button" is more like a touchpad on a laptop embedded into the top of the mouse and allows you to scroll, flip backwards and forwards and all kinds of other things but it IS only one button! ;)

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Linux

Integration of a deviant device.

> In my experience most mac users still

> believe the problems windows had

> over 10 years ago still exist; just like

> apple haters still think they only have

> one mouse button.

In an environment that is crushingly oppressive, just what use are you going to get out of a deviant pointing device? Just what is that extra button going to get you? It's not really standard and not part of the standard system dogma.

It's like any other bolt-on change.

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Thumb Up

Psst...

You know Macs have contextual menu's too, don't you? ;)

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Thumb Down

Sigh... M$ cotton onto the reality of the market ten years late.

Sounds good, but still won't make me ignore the process of going in and removing all the crap it installs anyway. Like IE and media player, for something that isn't 150MB of sh*te.

And security essentials never expires, it also never works. I used it for 2 days. It took me on average 37 minutes after boot to update and then told me it had a newer version and had to not only reboot but also reinstall itself.

Needless to say I was not impressed with it and it was uninstalled in favour of something else. They (the trained monkeys in the cellar under M$ HQ) do not understand speed and the requirement for resources by software the user wants, NOT the OS and AV systems.

Signature has a glimmer of a posibiltiy of a hope of an idea for an understanding into what people actually want with their PC's in the 21st century, but I won't be holding my breath.

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WTF?

re: security essentials ... never works

Sounds like there was something seriously amiss with your system (and I don't mean that you were running Windows).

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Silver badge
Boffin

Clean install of OEM Windows

This guy came up with a tool that can extract activation info from OEM copies of Vista, and he's working on a beta for Win 7:

http://www.directedge.us/content/abr-activation-backup-and-restore

It's dead simple:

(1) Run the ABR backup tool to extract the OEM info, and save it to a USB stick ;

(2) Install a fresh copy of Windows using an Anytime Upgrade DVD - don't enter a key, but it must be the same version as was installed previously ;

(3) Run the ABR restore tool with the files from the USB stick. Job done !

This doesn't work with retail copies, or OEM copies that have been upgraded to a different version, but it's just the ticket for systems with cruddy OEM pre-installs.

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Silver badge

OEM = sold with a PC. However...

Apparently, if you re-install Windows from your new PC's recovery partition, you get it without most of the maker's additions to Windows. (At least on my HP TouchSmart TM2-1010.)

I've kept most of mine, however, although I didn't want Norton security, and I was appalled that some of the GAMES (Mahjong) have a licence that allows the publisher to change the terms at any time AND NOT EVEN TELL YOU, which is utterly out. Bad enough what you -knowingly- agree to let be done to the computer by Microsoft.

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TRT
Silver badge

Awww!

I got all excited, then you hit me with "only US customers'...

It takes me around a day to remove all the crap before I can release a new machine to anyone here.

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Go

Custom Images

If you're a Dell corporate customer, they'll supply a custom image to your specifications. Well. they were in 2008 and I'd think they not kill that off.

As to "off-the-shelf" machines, autoruns and the ability know what to uninstall can get you a much quicker machine in about thirty minutes. But when I have people complain about the Intel and Windows stickers being peeled off, I know they don't really care to have their computer optimized. Hell, just buy a faster one and ditch the old one is their usual response.

Then there's nLite and RT7 Lite. Roll your own with no crap and only the services and features you want. Too bad the average user is just fine with the OEM install just the way it is. I mean don't the boobs have any idea of what they need and want? Can you imagine that, buy the computer and just use it. Sheese ... what a bunch of, well, normal users.

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Macs?

I don't see what Apple PCs have got to do with this, it ought to be obvious that Microsoft might be concerned about a bad image of its products as a result with installed software from retailers. To be honest, I'm surprised that they put up with it at all (given all the terms they've dictated to PC sellers in the past...)

As for boot times, my Amiga booted in 5 seconds - and that was with a tiny fraction of the power that OS X needs to run. Complaining about Windows being bloated is about 15 years out of date - OS X requires high requirements these days too.

"Where can granda joe or yummy mummy sal by a PC with Linux pre-installed? Sorry? Can't quite hear you there?"

That's how it used to be for MacOS and OS X - I don't recall Apple fans having a problem recommending them, however.

"and with the Apple iPod/Phone/Pad/Stores halo effect it is driving more people in to the hands of Apple as a one-stop "it just works"(tm) "

These products don't just work any better than any other product. My Sandisk Sansa just works - I just plug and play, unlike an Ipod, which requires installing of special Apple software, and can't be used on another computer because all the filenames are scrambled. (Maybe there's a way, but I expect it to Just Work.)

"Take a quick shufty at what the (large number of) Mac users are doing"

What's so special about that? They're just another brand of PCs these days - no different to Dell or Asus. I would hope that you can do things like writing a document on a Mac.

Herbert Meyer: "New disks are cheap, OEM Win7 cost about $110."

Actually, if you have a valid licence (e.g., you've but a PC with the crapware and want to have a fresh install), you can download the ISOs (somewhere on MS's website). I did this for my netbook, as I wanted to have the installer DVD for backup.

"It is user experience that Apple have over them."

Give me an example of a better use experience? Because I have yet to see a single example. I can however cite plenty of examples of bad UI experiences (e.g., see above with the Ipod).

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Go

its about time

Inexperienced users cant be expected to have to deal with all this crapware that comes with the average windows pc. Ideally its got to just work and have everything you need already installed. Why dont Microsoft release a pc that is tamper proof and locked down, just like their Xbox? This is a step in the right direction.

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Jobs Halo

Optimised Windows

Shit dipped in chocolate doesn't taste any sweeter.

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Anonymous Coward

"Shit dipped in chocolate doesn't taste any sweeter."

... yes it does

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Joke

Yes, it DOES, it DOES, butt... umm, but,

It most ASSuredly tastes BITTERSWEET.

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WTF?

Errr...

"optimized versions of certain applications and experiences"

So does that mean that by default Windows ships with specifically un-optimized versions of some applications? Sounds a bit sodding odd - unless it was a deal done with hardware companies to sell us machines with more RAM and faster CPUs....

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Gates Horns

nLite

Nuff said.

http://www.nliteos.com/nlite.html

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Anonymous Coward

not recommended.

I removed a bunch of languages from an XP installation disc, thinking I'd never need them. Well turns out I did need them later, and there is no way (that I could find) to install them separately. My choice was an OS reinstall from a different disc or nothing, what a crock.

Maybe they've fixed it with Windows 7, but somehow I doubt it.

Okay it was dumb of me to save half a meg of space by removing something that really doesn't hurt to be installed anyway. But you need to be careful with these things. Especially when removing some of the arcane "services" that from the description sound like you will never need them in a lifetime, but in reality are a subtle dependency for some apparently unrelated software.

I suppose you can nuke all the drivers and add your own, especially with XP where the bundled drivers are all shite, but Windows 7 mostly just downloads drivers from Windows Update anyway.

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With JUST the software you need?

"They also come with “just the software you need,” which is code for saying the machines don't contain crapware such as promotional versions of antivirus software that can drastically hamper performance."

MS should also once and for all STRIP out that "class division" demarcation of video chip limitations/aero/glass crippling.

My cheap Gateway laptop back in 2008 could -- with the right video drivers and compiz base -- run 3D desktop graphics a whole lot tantalizingly better than a baseline or win vista home native install on the same hardware. Shimmer, wobble, fire, rain drops, cube, sphere, translucency and more. Even my later HP Pavillion dv7 could do it with Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, and Sabayon (when I could GET Sabayon to actually RUN without demanding 2.7 GB of updates).

Even with VirtualBox and Win Vista/Win 7 running, I could suspend and resume and return to the same snazzy grapics. The ONLY advantage to running vista and 7 natively is that my CAD apps would open drawings marginally faster and present them marginally crisper. But, since the app stepped down to a reduced functionality in 7 and vista, there was really not true advantage to running vista and 7 natively.

ms, you uninspiring aero doesn't compare to Compiz (when Compiz is not broken). You don't give users anything to be PROUD of in windows. Accept it: you OS really is a tool - a platform for the real workhorse apps -- the users' chosen apps. The OS is supposed to stay out of the way, or to facilitate housecleaning. But, between monstrous patches and constant threat of virii, trojans, worms, and other malware, some users must operate in trepidation. Don't get me wrong: I DO use windows, but it is just a TOOL (and, as such, it is sequestered LIKE a tool: inside an emulator/VM). It does mostly what it is supposed to, but Linux, despite its major flaw of not being to natively run windows word apps, provides power AND bells and whistles, not just power. Some users really DO want built-in bells and whistles, and, while you DO unofficially provide eye candy in the Power Tools, how many users can use it when the cheapest of "designed for windows" hardware barely hucks and bucks like Frankenstein short of watts and voltage?

Why, ms, WHY must you INSIST on dividing users that way? Activate the eyecandy on ALL windows hardware, and stop letting vendors crank out crappy vid chips with your name on it. You might curry favor with end users who occasionally "defect" to or concurrently run Mac.

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Boffin

I'm sure

That pretty much sums up why I would rather buy a blank PC and install everything on my own, or even better, build one up from scratch. Nothing's better than being able to dictate your own preferences.

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...and they you'll put flash on it...

Face it, the "crapware" isn't what it used to be. Its not tons of toolbars and helper apps anymore, itl;s just a bunch of generic apps that nag at you to pay for them later if you use them. The real bloatware is flash, java, Acrobat, and all the otehr crap most peolpe are going to install anyway. great, you get a system that in a few days will be just as slow as the one with the crapware, and you could have just uninstalled the crapware anyway and saved the money...

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Silver badge

Flash and toolbars

It's quite annoying when installing and upgrading Flash for ActiveX / Internet Explorer to have to un-select whichever toolbar they want to push at you at the same time - Google? Especially when any respectable browser has Google access built-in anyway. For instance Opera just guesses when you type something in the address bar that evidently isn't a URL. Efficient. (If what you want to Google -is- a URL, there are ways.)

More annoying still when you're working in a browser window sized so that the "Please put some more unnecessary garbage on my computer" tickbox isn't visible. Either they or someone else one time put it way over to the right.

And they aren't the only ones who bundle someone else's stuff with theirs that way.

And why do you have to update two separate copies of Flash for Internet Explorer and Firefox/Opera/etc. anyway?

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Acrobat... and cruft....

Like, REALLY, WHY in the HELL must Acrobat Reader be something on the order of 80 to 150 MEGABYTES? Lotus SmartSuite came in under 180 MB. Open Office takes less than around 200 MB, IIRC. Hell, even MS Office, depending on what you select during install of it, might weigh in under 300 MB. but look at what you get.

When I use Adobe Reader, I see a canvas presenting a document. I don't see a SUITE of various apps. Yeh, it's FREE as in beer to download, but out of contempt, i sometimes eviscerate/expunge it from my in wrath that it is so effing large.

And flash and java script? I generally disable it and block it. As for javascript, I grudgingly use it because some sites admins taint the code in such a way the site runs shitty or NOT AT ALL if js is not running on my phone or laptop.

I wish wesite content creators just delivered content and left the frackin eyecandy out of the web page. And, no, don't offload it to my CPU. It in-effing-FURIATES me to go to a web site and suddenly hear my hard drive churning its ASS OFF. I doubt it is page swapping. It's something in flash and java and javascript and other stuff crammed into web pages.

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Acrobat Bloat

Personally I use Foxit instead of Acrobat and it works just fine.

BTW I hate the way every acrobat update shoves another bloody shortcut onto the desktop!

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re: OEM = sold with a PC. However...

I don't know about the laws in the UK, however I suspect that like here, they do not allow such clauses and if the software providers changes the license without informing, the new license does not apply.

Depending on the judge and his interpretation of the original license and the new license, it may even get the contract considered unenforceable entirely.

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