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Lenovo Software Update Stealthily Installs Adware

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the if-goodwill-means-absolutely-nothing-to-you dept.

Privacy 186

An anonymous reader writes "A recent Lenovo automatic software update has the great feature of displaying annoying pop-up ads for Lenovo products. What's worse, it appears that many users are unable to turn the advertisement 'feature' off, subjecting them to pop-ups every couple of hours. Gee guys, a note about your 20% off sale in my e-mail wouldn't have bothered me that much, but you really had to pop up over top of my PowerPoint slides? I'm sure that all of my office colleagues will be running to order ThinkPads ..."

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186 comments

Wait... (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469793)

It hid some guy's PowerPoint presentation? I'd consider that a feature not a bug.

Re:Wait... (5, Insightful)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469883)

Funny, but this is a serious credibility whack as their products are considered top notch for business. They'll find out when they interfere with business being done, it's a long fall down...
Somehow I think someone in management is busy whacking the undo button as furiously as possible as the media exposure rises.

Re:Wait... (4, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470599)

I will preface this by saying that until today, I was an IBM / Lenovo shop with over 150 PCs in production.

This does not take a serious whack at Lenovo's credibility, this completely destroys it. I was willing to overlook crappy drivers and twenty hotfixes to make their garbage laptops work. But this is the straw that broke the camel's back. If I need a new laptop for my users, I will be getting Toshiba. I will be looking for a new desktop manufacturer as well.

Re:Wait... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470665)

Toshiba can't give you the same SKU globally. Of course, we're a lot bigger organization - 90,000 machines, half of them notebooks - all of the notebooks Lenovo. No large company allows the Lenovo software (if it is even installed; it isn't on ours) to auto-update. So we will never notice this. It wouldn't update anyway even if it was loaded since our users are not administrators. If it wasn't for seeing this on Slashdot I'd never see it. BTW, these notebooks seem to be pretty darn good. Their docking solutions seem about the best available.

Since you are looking for business desktops, take a look at the dc7900 and later from HP - they are pretty nice machines (we've been using HP for our desktops).

Re:Wait... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470699)

Unless Toshiba's build quality has improved markedly in the past couple of years, I'd urgently advise not going down that road. We had 30-odd Toshiba tablets in service here, and they were hell. Shoddy build quality, horrendous shovelware, near-worthless driver download site. Our experience with both Dell and HP has been markedly better.

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471269)

Talking from the other side, Dell laptops are not as good as they used to be. I know people in college (mid-size state college), and of the computers with connection problems, ALL of them were Dell computers. No, not the odd Macintosh, or the no-name. Dell.

I'd like to hear from other people's experience about Dell laptops; are they as bad as the college kids report? Or is it something that the college is doing that whacks out the Dells?

Re:Wait... (2, Informative)

hmar (1203398) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471461)

My own experience with Dell laptops has been pretty positive. We use elusively Dell for Laptop and Desktops. I find that if you stick with the Latitude or Precision series, they tend to hold up pretty well. I am less impressed with what I have seen of the Ispiron series.

Re:Wait... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470059)

That's gotta be a marketing suicide!

Another example of Chinese self-destruction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470181)

Another example of Chinese self-destruction.

Re:Another example of Chinese self-destruction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470709)

Someone stop the yellow-on-yellow crime.

How is adware formed? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28469803)

How Lenovo get repugnent?

Not too surprising since Lenovo is a Linux whore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28469959)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:How is adware formed? (2, Informative)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470225)

They need to do way instain adware>
who annoy thier user. becuse these user cant fright back?

it was on slasdot this mroing a user in ofice who had kill her three popups. they are taking the laptop back to the shop too get repalcement my pary are with the colleges who didnt see the persentration; i am truley sorry for your lots.

Re:How is adware formed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470397)

Nice, I wish I had mod points.

Re:How is adware formed? (0, Offtopic)

davidsinn (1438403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470523)

Is that even English?

Re:How is adware formed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470703)

badly emulated chinglish..

Re:How is adware formed? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470963)

google how is babby formed; there's a flash that's hilarious. But the real thing is 3 links down in the yahoo answers.

Re:How is adware formed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470949)

You misspelled your handle too, Mr. "iPhoneFreak". You really needs a clicky keyboard.

-Anymonus Coward

Stealthilly install your willy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28469813)

Imagine your willy being smacked until it bleeds.

J.delanoy.

No kidding! (5, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469831)

I ran into this problem the other day. It ask you if you do not want to show the ads anymore, but it doesn't accept your answer and shows them over and over. I finally figured out what app was causing it and disabled it in msconfig. I can't remember what it was right now, but when I get home I will reply to this with the name of the app to disable.

btw, I got the adware when I installed the Thinkpad Wireless software.

Re:No kidding! (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470001)

Please do elaborate on your remedy.

I, too, have seen the pop-up, and checked "don't show again", and haven't seen it since, but I should go and disable the offender properly.

Thanks.

Re:No kidding! (1)

dburkland (1526971) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470155)

If all you did was install the Wireless software (I'm guessing they just don't allow you to download just the driver) then this is ridiculous and they will never get a dime from me. Even though I have wiped every laptop I have purchased and installed Linux doesn't mean that this is ok.

Re:No kidding! (4, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470419)

I finally figured out what app was causing it and disabled it in msconfig. I can't remember what it was right now, but when I get home I will reply to this with the name of the app to disable.

According to the article its called Message Center Plus. Here's uninstall instructions from the linked thread:

Just go to control panel and uninstall [Message Center] in add/remove programs.
Next time you use System Update when it tries to reinstall Message Center Plus, click on the plus sign and instead of selecting it in the enlarged menu choose hide the update. Then you won't see it next time you run System Update. Of course if Lenovo brings out new releases of Message Center Plus you will have to hide them too.

And here, also from the thread, instructions to disable it without uninstalling:

start-->runs-->type msconfig--->go to menue tab --> startup ---> in the list of startup items--->
unhook
[ ] MCPLaunch
&
[ ] Scheduler_proxy
-->apply--> ok then a restart is required--> system
after restart
-->set in the upcoming message a hook , so that it next time didnt comes up..

this is dumb (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469833)

This is the reason that I build my own computers whenever possible - the manufacturers install crap upon crap on your box. This is just taking it to the next level.

I wonder what it would cost to build computers without the annoying shit installed. Is that all that's making them profitable?

Re:this is dumb (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469933)

Where do you buy an empty or barebones laptop case and the components for it?

Re:this is dumb (3, Informative)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470029)

newegg.com [newegg.com] , where any serious builder does his shopping.

Re:this is dumb (3, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470095)

Wow, look at that. No TrackPoint? Check. Build aesthetics that make my phat NintendoDS look slim and elegant? Check. Right.

Re:this is dumb (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470683)

No TrackPoint?

Laptops still have those?

Build aesthetics that make my phat NintendoDS look slim and elegant?

Not all of us care how our machine actually looks.

Re:this is dumb (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470483)

I definitely advocate newegg. Their prices are very reasonable (just picked up a new wireless router last week for $20) and the product reviews are very helpful. A good deal of the reviews are from people who know about hardware so generally speaking pretty reliable. I usually order from them once a month for close to 2 years now and haven't had any problems with them.

Re:this is dumb (3, Funny)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470823)

Yes, newegg users are paragons of intellect and their reviews are universally useful.

Pros: Why is everyone so hung up on overclocking??The truth is that the performance of your P/C depends on the combination of a lot of things. Although this MB's awardbios software is awesome, to much emphasize is placed on overclocking. I had some bottleneck issues that were solved by buying this motherboard and a 550w power supply with 25a on 12v rail. I have a dual core athlon 175 opteron! and a 10,000rpm Western Digital SATA drive to boot. Why in the world would I need to overclock that??

Cons: None! I hear a lot of people complaing about instructions. Well, I think that most mother boards are pretty much the same installation wise. A first timer would have issues with any mb, not just this one. The only issue is that the board is kinda picky about what slots you put the ram in. I used matching ram sticks and placed each one in a yellow slot. The mb booted up just fine after that.

Other Thoughts: Don't believe the hype about Overclocking! Its overrated and frankly doesnt do much for the performance of you PC.

Another:

Quote: Pros: Works like a tank and has full integration.

Cons: After removal of computer clock speed jumpers the system would not boot. The 80mm fan & heatsync we purchased did not fit & snap onto the processor & motherboard.

Other Thoughts: We now are looking into refund of the heatsync & fan for another future purchase from newegg.com

Wait, there's more (this one can't be serious):

Pros: This thing is great! Before I could only play Solitare and Minesweeper on their lowest settings but now I can play as many as 4 games of Solitare at the same time.

Cons: I can't figure out where to install the second core.

One more, then, just to prove that a CPU is more important than your internet connection:

Pros: MY GOSH WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT OVER MY HYPER THREAD 2.8..I GOT THIS STRICLY FOR GAMING (BF2). I HAVE BEEN FIRST IN THE SERVER EVERY TIME..I DOWNLOADED 3 MAPS AND A PATCH (9 GIGS) IN UNDER 15MINS.

Cons: THIS THING NEEDS TO COME WITH A GIRLFRIEND ....

Other Thoughts: PAIR IT WITH SOME KICKBUTT RAM, AND YOULL BE KILLIN EVERYONE IN NO TIME

There's one more I really like that I can't seem to find now. It was regarding a new processor and went something like:

The installation was a little tough, I needed to use a hammer to get it installed, but I think most new CPUs are a little tough to install nowadays.

Of course, if someone makes a mistake, there's always someone willing to help you out:

Pros: Great Cards, howeevr witht he R600 series coming out shrotly, I would save your money for those.

Cons: Not DX10 as CpuLouie said

Other Thoughts: CpuLouie while DX10 is software, the ability to run DX10 is in the hardware. Why do you think the 8800 series are so big? Your 7950 will not run DX10 either. sorry

The point of this is just to use a little common sense with the reviews. Most of them are fine.

Also, I just realized that this has run on pretty long. It this EVER shows up as one of those stupid email chains in my inbox, I'm personally going to hunt down and destroy everyone who forwarded it.

Re:this is dumb (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470601)

Looks like it is not where the serious barebone laptop builder does their shopping.

Not a single one of the three "barebones" notebooks Newegg offers is something I would base a system on. All have either Intel integrated graphics or ATI graphics, no NVidia-based options. Every time I've dealt with ATI's drivers (last was on my ex's Dell Inspiron 600M) it's been a nightmare.

Re:this is dumb (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470833)

Looks like it is not where the serious barebone laptop builder does their shopping.

Not a single one of the three "barebones" notebooks Newegg offers is something I would base a system on. All have either Intel integrated graphics or ATI graphics, no NVidia-based options. Every time I've dealt with ATI's drivers (last was on my ex's Dell Inspiron 600M) it's been a nightmare.

Search for "Clevo" laptop shells. They have graphics from integrated to a 280M, meaning they span the entire range. Sager sells a lot of systems based on Clevo, for instance. Some places will prebuild for you at oddly good prices with a lot of customizability, like choosing which heatsink and thermal paste to use. The same places will give you the prebuilt system with no OS, if you'd like a clean start. Or you can just buy Clevo barebones laptops and put them together yourself.

Re:this is dumb (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471009)

If only the site operators were as serious..

Other Slots: 1 x Express Card 34 / 54 Slot
Wide Screen Support: Yes
Screen Revolution: 1900 x 1200

sigh...

Re:this is dumb (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470309)

System76 [system76.com] has some nice laptops with Ubuntu preinstalled.

Of course, Ubuntu-haters will probably argue that the original poster wanted "no annoying shit installed" but I'll say that Canonical's OS is my current choice.

Re:this is dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28471217)

No idea, but I got a kick out of your nick.

Re:this is dumb (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469985)

I wonder what it would cost to build computers without the annoying shit installed.

Apparently, thirty bucks [chron.com]

Re:this is dumb (2, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470231)

It is frequently speculated that the OEMS get paid more for the adware than the Windows license costs them. So they can actually offer the PC with crapware cheaper.

For those with decent computer skills this means buying the PC as it is and reformatting the disk. Of course, when we are talking desktops some of us have very specific ideas of which components they want. In that case, build from components. :-)

Re:this is dumb (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Showered (1443719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470245)

What I did with my Dell 700m back in the day was buy it, unwrap it, boot it up and format with a XP Home OEM disc I downloaded off the web. I just used the same license key and didn't experience any WGA notification issues. I then downloaded the drivers for the graphic, chipset, etc. and had a fresh new installation without the bloat.

Re:this is dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470277)

Lets see, a new dell costs about 3 grand I can build a computer like it for 1 grand. They do have lots of over head however but with 2 grand left over, I would say more as their hardware is crap, I would say no. Always build your own computer never buy from big business as they are ripping you off.

Re:this is dumb (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470299)

So, I'm wondering - when this computer breaks (and it will - multiply chance of failure by the number of machines built), who's supporting it? You? I'm not sure I want to depend on some guy who may or may not have the time (sorry busy this week, wife just had a death in the family, sorry my kid is sick, my car broke so can't visit your office til next week, I got hit by a car yesterday and can't help you, or any of a thousand other [legitimate] excuses.)

Re:this is dumb (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470533)

There's more than one person in the world who can fix your computer... and you won't have to mail it in to anyone. There's probably a mom&pop computer repair shop down the road from you too, if you want professional tech support. Not only that but each individual part has a factory warranty as well.

A home built machine doesn't mean some guy glued a bunch of old TVs together, it's a controlled assembly of components from (most likely) well known companies. It's not like building a Car from parts and more like setting up your bedroom, you have to buy each piece of furnature and arrange it in a logical way.

Re:this is dumb (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470359)

I just bought my brother a little lenovo and was shocked at the amount and general crapiness of the lenovo apps it came with. One of them was crashing at bootup. Its amazing how bad the situation is with OEM crapware nowadays.

I spent 30 minutes doing uninstalls. Err no thanks Lenovo, I dont need your unstable wireless manager when the MS one is just fine.

Once I cleared it all it ran like a top. I wish MS would step in and stop them from ruining otherwise decent laptops.

Re:this is dumb (2, Informative)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470885)

How new is it? If it's very new and nothing is on it yet, then reinstall the OS without the installed software. This doesn't work on all systems, but most lenovo systems have this option.

It's different depending on Type. If it's Thinkpad, it's the blue Thinkvantage button at startup. On Ideapads it's usually F11 or enter. anyway, You want to boot into Thinkvantage rescue and recovery.

Once your in there, switch to advanced mode, select "Restore your system", from there, select if you want to back up files and such, but you want to do the factory install.

after that, click through the popup window and click through the eulas, after that you should see a menu or radio button that says custom install or advanced install (I don't remember offhand) from there, select that and a list should show up. select what you want (such as AV scanner, diagnostic, or remove everything) and proceed. It should then install the OS without all of the Thinkvantage stuff installed.

Again I want to stress that not all lenovo's have this feature. All the desktops I ran into have it. the S10e, R60 and R61 laptops have it, but I also know the newer T500 series does not have this custom install as an option. And there's no real way to tell if it's an option for you without doing a factory reinstall of the OS. If you're going to format the OS anyway, it's not going to hurt to give this a shot first.

Also consider looking into getting a factory restore disk set. You can get just about any windows version as well as a factory supported set of Suse available for just about every thinkpad out there. The Suse build is a very good distro oriented towards business installs and is fully supported by Lenovo's support staff. You'll have to zero out your entire drive to install the recovery partition, but if you want to Upgrade your OS or completely remove windows from the equasion it's a great way to go.

Good Luck.

I've run into this on my S10 (0, Offtopic)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469837)

I have an S10 ideapad - and yeah the "don't show this ad again" checkbox doesn't work. Whats worse is this app has never actually worked for the S10.

Probably last Lenovo laptop I buy (and I've had several all the way back when they were badged IBM machines).

Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (5, Informative)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469849)

The last thing Lenovo wanted to happen is to dilute the Thinkpad brand and screw up a good thing, when they purchased thinkpad from IBM. Knowing this, I bought a Thinkpad, and the thing totally blows, their customer service is bad and they install way too much crapware on the PC by default (even more than the average manufacturer). Way to go guys...

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (2, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469891)

The thing is, they had the easy restore that made it easy to do a fresh install with all crapware removed.

I was a big supporter, as it was way better than running PC Decrappifier, now this is totally the suck.

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471735)

Interesting, the system restore disk doesn't come with the crapware? That is very unusual in OEM world from what I've seen.

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (2, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469989)

I realize it shouldn't be required, but it's not difficult to go through the Add/Remove list and get it all out. They're nice enough to have similar-looking icons for all the crap that does nothing except hang. One of their helpful applications refused to close, so every time I shut down my computer and walked away I came back to be greeted by a box asking if I really wanted to end this one process that refused to die. That's what triggered the mass uninstall.

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470259)

We use a standard image on our Lenovo laptops so we don't see this problem. I have a few Lenovos at my desk for testing but the first thing I do is uninstall all of the Lenovo specific software with a few exception. The Lenovo XP load on my last T61 had 89 processes running at idle.

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (1)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470347)

The Thinkpad SL series ist your average walmart consumer notebook, theres almost nothing left of the original thinkpad glory in that one.

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470487)

Whilst we're doing anecdotes, my Lenovo X301 running Kubuntu 9.10 is the best laptop ever, period. Even better, when 4GB and 8GB DDR3 SODIMMs become available, I can have 8 or 16GB of RAM in this thing. Running Virtualbox I can sync with my iPod etc and it is like I'm using a native Windows machine.

Of course, I blew away the default Windows Vista Business install and all the crappy apps that came with it..

Re:Lenovo has officially jumped the shark (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471207)

Yes, i too remember when having a thinkpad was a status symbol due to their quality. now its a stigma " look at the loser "

Two problems, hard to say which more serious (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469901)

From reading the discussion forums, there are two problems:

1) System is not obeying checkbox to not show specific message again.

2) System is presenting ads through software installed by the vendor, not by email or browser.

At first #1 seems to be the bigger problem, as if you could check a box not to see the message again you'll only be bothered once... until you read the bit about "specific" again. Checking that box by design is supposed to only block that EXACT ad, not others that may come later...

That was indeed an insane choice to include by a vendor. As noted, these could pop up at the most inconvenient time. Even if you dismiss one and it worked, you never know when you may get another.

I'm sure they'll get rid of this soon, but it has to go down in history as one of the bigger WTF moments in vendor specific software installs.

Obligatory Snark (3, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469907)

This issue only affects Windows users.

Re:Obligatory Snark (3, Funny)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470053)

...or, really, just the people who leave on the vendor-installed operating system and actually use the Lenovo software updates.

Re:Obligatory Snark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470271)

... with the exception of those that bought their thinkpad preloaded with SuSE. I realize this isn't an option anymore, but I fall into that category.

Re:Obligatory Snark (2, Funny)

fandingo (1541045) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470105)

I remember installing something that was supposed to stop crap like this. Oh yeah, it was Ubuntu... Never had any problems, although the cable tech was horrified.

Re:Obligatory Snark (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470383)

Totally off topic, but were you on Spinnwebe back in the DFC days? Good times, good times...

Re:Obligatory Snark (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470459)

Which means it affects all users with paying jobs...

So you guys living in your parents' basement are safe...

Its over (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469935)

Thats it folks, thinkpads are officially dethroned as the king of business laptops.

Re:Its over (3, Informative)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470253)

My T61 will probably be my last. I waited about 2 months for repair to be done on plastic pieces that wouldn't latch close properly. One location was never fixed, even though I clearly labeled it.

Recently extended my warranty only to look it up the other day and see that it shows as expired.

My model doesn't show up on their support site when trying to download drivers/software, but does when I enter the serial.

Plus the aluminum cage made it thicker, heavier, and less elegant. And now that they're in the hands of Lenovo, I wouldn't be expecting any improvements.

If anything, they'll ruin the line by adding their own touches. When will purple backlighting on buttons make its appearance? The T400s is sporting lights on volume buttons and the caps lock key. The thing must look like a Christmas tree in the dark. And don't get me started on the Esc key that's TWO ROWS HIGH. Walk away, folks.

Re:Its over (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470375)

They were already on their way out the moment they were purchased by a foreign company with some degree of state control.

(Yeah, even the "domestic" companies foreign-source most of their parts but at least the system design is domestically controlled.)

I work for a defense contractor, the moment the Lenovo buyout happened we stopped buying Thinkpads and went to Dell. It was pretty much mandated by the customer. (If I recall correctly, there were a lot of news articles about the government banning further Thinkpad purchases post-Lenovo across the board around that time.)

Now, Lenovo has effectively done just what the US government feared they might do - try to sneak stuff onto customers' machines for their own gain.

Who knows what else in addition to this adware is getting slipped to customers?

compatibility (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28469981)

I wonder if it's compatible with the rootkit that Sony so kindly installed for me?

i bet i can uninstall it (-1, Redundant)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#28469983)

with a Slackware Linux CD or DVD

Re:i bet i can uninstall it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470093)

Kind of like vampires, doesn't matter what the holy symbol is as long as it does the job. I personally prefer my ubuntu CD but what ever banishes the evil is good enough.

Just wait, it'll get even better (2, Interesting)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470007)

Just think how wonderful it will be once the red chinese government puts their own stealthy spyware right into the microcode!

Are you having paranoid thought now?

Re:Just wait, it'll get even better (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470137)

Do you have any idea where your HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, or Sony laptop was actually built?

Re:Just wait, it'll get even better (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470399)

Hear, Hear

EVERYTHING is made in China nowadays, so whenever this is good or bad for your paranoia I leave it up to you

Re:Just wait, it'll get even better (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470215)

Good thing you have a choice where you can buy a laptop (or a desktop) from...

I guess my Dell was made in Malaysia now that I look at it.

Chinese Economic Warfare (2, Funny)

shankarunni (1002529) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470165)

You do realize that this is just another salvo in the Chinese effort to cripple American business productivity and efficiency, don't you? What little there is left of it, that is?

Re:Chinese Economic Warfare (1)

stei7766 (1359091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470821)

It's actually a stimulus plan:
1) It blocks powerpoint.
2) US business sees an unprecedented increase in output.
3) So then our economy goes up and we can buy more stuff from them!

and uhhh

4) ??
5) Profit!!

Really pretty devious if you ask me.

I was considering buying a ThinkPad... (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470191)

I was considering buying a ThinkPad for my next laptop purchase. Not that I was going to keep Windows on it anyway, but I won't buy one on principle now.

What the hell were they thinking? (4, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470257)

What idiot in marketing (marketing majors have no souls) convinced an even bigger idiot in management that this would be a good idea?

People LOVE popups, right, everyone knows this, right?

A stunt like this isn't going to increase sales, it's going to DECREASE them. And, this is yet another example why I DO NOT run any sort of automatic update. I update software/drivers, etc, when I feel a NEED to do so, if it's working, leave it alone. Updates only usually end up in adding more bloat to a system anyway, look at how Acrobat reader is 10 times the size it was a couple years ago yet doesn't do anything significantly different.

Re:What the hell were they thinking? (4, Insightful)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470591)

The worst virus/malware cleanup I've done in the last year installed itself via an Acrobat reader security vulnerability. "Don't update Acrobat" isn't really a viable solution to their bloat problem because of that class of issue. More useful ones are "Install Foxit Reader" and "Use Evince on Linux".

Re:What the hell were they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28471551)

Someone who admits to using Acrobat Reader gets a +5 Interesting on /. ?

What the hell... I can't feel my legs! I feel dizzy and the room is tumbl... who turned out the lights?!

Re:What the hell were they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28471653)

1.) Losing 1 to 2 hours due to a bad update that escaped through internal and external QA: 200 dollars
2.) Getting compromised because the vendor included fixes for unlisted publicly exploited problems: priceless

Change of Plans (5, Interesting)

Deton8 (522248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470319)

Wow, that's an incredibly stupid thing for Lenovo to do. I was about to order a Lenovo for my next laptop and if it worked out I was going to ask our IT department to change from the current incumbents (Dell and Sony) to Lenovo for our sales and executive staff. I'm going to wait to see that this issue is fully resolved before making a move, and if they don't fix it, they can forget about 20 to 30 laptop orders a year from my company. I don't think my emotion would be unique -- I'm sure 90% of IT managers would disqualify Lenovo if they knew about this spam pop-up problem and didn't have an easy way to disable it enterprise-wide. Billions of dollars are at risk for something that probably only brings them a few hundred K$ per year. Bone-headed.

Re:Change of Plans (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471195)

I have to agree. I have an aging Lenovo laptop that I will be replacing this year. It was a nice (but expensive) computer. Now I need to put Lenovo at the next to the bottom of my purchase list (just above Sony). I just can't risk having pop-up adds in the middle of a presentation (and embedding adds annoys me). Why on earth would they cheapen their brand name that way???????? BTW: It doesn't matter if there is an easy way to turn it off. I don't want their F'in adds, not even once.

What would make it even better... (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470455)

The only thing that would make this better is if Lenovo sold ad space. Imagine explaining the pr0n popups during your next big presentation. This seems so inevitable that I'm astonished that they haven't already done it.

LENOVO!! (3, Insightful)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470475)

What are you doing?! You are ruining BigBlue's legacy.
You should be the best of the best for business.
Stop adding all this extra Adware, crap software on new systems
I am ashamed to be a IBM fan right now.. Ashamed.

it got me too (2, Insightful)

chasmosis (522680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470681)

I had this exact thing start happening earlier this week. I googled it and used the instructions to disable the Lenovo Message Center Plus. This is my work Laptop. I openned a ticket and tried to explain to them what it was but no they had to treat my like a newbie and scan my harddrive for malware (like I hadn't already thought of that), I know its SOP but I already told them what it was. The biggest reason for openning a Ticket was so they would know about it when somebody else here (all laptops are lenovo) gets the same thing.

Its convenient enough for me that it made Slashdot's front page so I can send this link to them.

SEE!!!

A good hack (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470719)

At the time they were all sitting around thinking of how to renew ad ventures, this idea came up...
At the next presentation, they will be sure NOT to use a Lenovo thinkpad to present the new ads,
in case the old ads pop up over top of the the new ones! : P

The genius minds of one culture might be leagues behind the genius minds of another...

This is why you should use a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470773)

Obligatory "Doesn't happen on a Mac" comment!

I have a great idea (3, Informative)

Akita24 (1080779) | more than 4 years ago | (#28470863)

How about all you HARDWARE manufacturers sell me HARDWARE and stay the fuck out of the SOFTWARE business. Unlike Windows which I've only "rented" from Microsoft, I BOUGHT your damned hardware. It's now MINE. When I update a BIOS or install a driver, what I want is a BIOS or a driver, not you shill for some lame-assed POS software. Fuck off already. Assholes.

Why not spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28470941)

I would not be surprised if they install spyware that way given the Chinese love for breaking into foreign networks

Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28471379)

And I thought it was bad when Sun started bundling default checked Yahoo toolbar with Java.

It's The Timing...Stupid! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471417)

It's not just that the ads pop up every 2 hours, but when they pop up in the middle of an important presentation to your most critical customers that this really bites.

A thinkpad owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28471695)

As a Thinkpad owner, I can say with certainty that this is not as big of a deal as it is being made out to be. For starters, the "Message Center" is an optional, separate component that you are under no obligation to download when you do a software update. The updater walks you through the "critical" and "optional" updates, much like the Windows update does. A description of the software is provided so that you know what you are downloading.

Anyone with half a brain would choose not to install the Message Center since it is obviously there to SEND MESSAGES from Lenovo to you. The pop-ups pretty much fit in with the exact purpose of the Message Center, so Lenovo isn't exactly hiding anything!

If it comes pre-loaded, just uninstall it.

Personally Deploying Lenovo Hardware (2, Informative)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#28471719)

I personally deploy Lenovo hardware for clients and I do so from a custom made Windows image that I created by first formatting a computer and installing Windows from scratch, then adding necessary drivers. There is NO NEED for any of the Lenovo software.

The Lenovo brand hardware is actually pretty nice. We roll out T400 ThinkPad systems and so far they seem to be very rugged and perform quite well. You just have to get the Think(disad)Vantage shit off the system first.

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