I read several technology columns every week (day, month) and one guru that I have followed for 12 to 14 years is Bob Rankin. I read his posts and newsletters not only for technical knowledge but also for his style and his penchant for saying the truth. This week he nails another techie pet peeve with a newsletter about “Crapware”. His definition: “Crapware” is a crude but apt term for unnecessary software loaded onto computers by hardware vendors. It may include trial versions of software that have limited functionality, demos that are nothing more than advertisements, and shareware utilities that duplicate functions already built into Windows. Vendors get paid a little bit for including each piece of crapware on their computers, and a bit more every time a customer upgrades one of those trial versions to a paid version.”
One of the things I do for clients when setting up a new computer (in addition to making it secure) is remove much of the crapware. Much of the crapware is either trial offers or advertising directed to some particular website. It’s more than annoying because it does slow down your startups and the popups keep you from doing what you want to do. I use a free program called The PC Decrapifier which you can download from MajorGeeks.com. The program itself is very small and intuitive to use. You simply install and check the programs that you want to remove and it will uninstall each in its turn without much input from you. If you are impressed with what the software does, you can send them $5 (CNET did a review of this program in September of 2011).
Microsoft has been direct selling PCs without the annoying crapware from their online store and their own retail stores and they claim that the streamlined versions start about 40% faster. They call these units Signature Edition PCs. Recently they have announced a new Signature service which will strip the third party crapware off your PC for only $99. Let’s see how this works. Microsoft sells Windows to the hardware guy. Third party software guy pays the hardware guy to install the crapware. Then Microsoft offers to take the crapware off for $99. Perfectly legal advertising scheme I guess, but sounds a little circuitous. I just don’t think it’s a business model that inspires confidence.
Hence my suggestion; buy your new PC from whoever has the best price for all the bells and whistles you want, then remove the crapware yourself. If you are not sure which software to take off, just Google “top applications removed by PC Decrapifier” and see what others are removing. One caveat, the hardware manufacturer also puts what I consider crapware on and you may have to remove some of that separately.
Till next week, send your questions to:
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