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Best Buy $39.95 "Optimization" At Best a Waste of Money

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the hooray-for-corporate-scams dept.

Businesses 504

DCFC writes "The Consumerist deconstructs the appalling 'optimization service' that Best Buy has been pushing on consumers in recent weeks. The retailer charges 40 bucks to give you a slower PC, and make bizarre claims that it makes it go 200% faster. 'We ran the 3DMark 2003 graphics benchmark on each laptop, comparing optimized and non-optimized settings. For two of our samples, the Gateway and Toshiba, performance changes were negligible. On the Asus laptop, however, optimized tests actually scored about 32% worse than the non-optimized setup. We have been unable to isolate the source of this performance change. On none of the three tested laptops did the optimized settings give a performance boost in our test.'"

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Friends (5, Insightful)

Khris (1010709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646578)

Friends don't let friends take their computers to Best Buy!

Re:Friends (3, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646614)

More basic than that: Friends don't let friends -buy- computers from Best Buy.

Re:Friends (-1, Troll)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646664)

why not?

Re:Friends (0)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646694)

Nevermind, I RTFA'd, and I see why. Holy moly!

My favourite bit.. (4, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646864)

When she asked if she could install anti-virus software herself instead of paying Geek Squad to do it, she was told installing software yourself, "negates the vendor's warranty."

Heh. I *love* that part!

Now, whenever someone tells me that Linux can't work on the desktop because "off-the-shelf" Windows software doesn't work on it, I can tell them that you can't do it on Windows without voiding the warranty!

Re:Friends (5, Insightful)

twentynine (984768) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646990)

Be fair. You can get a pretty decent deal sometimes. Just don't get any add-on services.

Re:Friends (1, Informative)

malkir (1031750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647312)

I worked there for 4 months, the place sucks.

Re:Friends (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647000)

There's one word you could remove from that sentence and have it remain grammatically, orthographically and factually correct...

Re:Friends (2, Insightful)

Nitar (261628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647110)

I'd make it even more generic: Friends don't let friends GO to Best Buy.

Re:Friends (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647306)

Don't they have some really good sales especially on movies and what not?

Re:Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647210)

Well, it depends on what you mean by that. I guess you wouldn't want people who are not technically inclined to do so. But if you know what you're doing and you're just looking for a half-decent computer and want it now then Best Buy (or any other retail store, for that matter) is a decent choice. Obviously you wouldn't go for any "value-added" services and you would reformat the drive when you got home, but for the price and time it is usually a decent package.

Re:Friends (3, Insightful)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646678)

If I had mod points left, I would mod you up like crazy. That is one of the most true statements I have ever seen.

I used to take tech support phone calls for a major internet company. I can not tell you how many times somebody would call in right after taking their pc to best buy and nothing would work correctly.

They actually talked my friend's mom into getting a wireless router, Geek Squad charged her to set it up, but they did not put the wep key into her computer, and the wep key they wrote down on the post it note was wrong. Yes, they charged for setup. That was fun fixing that one that Geek Squad did.

Re:Friends (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646946)

wep key

That alone should be considered criminal negligance.

Re:Friends (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647240)

Certain major companies like Nintendo only figured out the whole "WPA" thing less than a year ago, so WEP is sadly still the default for compatibility reasons.

Re:Friends (3, Insightful)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646974)

Friends most certainly do let friends take their computers to Best Buy...especially if they don't want to be tech support for the rest of the friendship ;)

Re:Friends (4, Funny)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647092)

...especially if they don't want to be tech support for the rest of the friendship ;)

Which certainly won't last long with friendly advice like that!

System tuning... (4, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646598)

Can you remember when system tuning was part of the sysadmin's job? A big part of it? Then you'll remember how often we got it wrong, before we rediscovered the science of minimum change + measurement of results. I guess good system tuners are so rare now that people pounce on anyone who claims the skill, and pushes an old trick of the trade out wrapped as high tech. Fail.

Re:System tuning... (3, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646638)

"System tuning" would require actual tuning to the system.

The Goon Squad is probably just running some automated crapware to defrag, "fix" the registry, and other such nonsense. Of course, being crapware, it can often do more harm than good.

Re:System tuning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646786)

actually they have a cd that runs a bunch of tweaks and then they go into the msconfig and disable a bunch of stuff. Granted there is a bit more but that's the bulk of it.

Re:System tuning... (2, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646962)

Deleting the (probably highly fragmented) pagefile.sys, defragging, then creating a static-sized pagefile can do wonders for a system with a low amount of RAM (1GB or less for Vista). That said, I doubt they even do that. They probably just defrag twice and call it done.

Re:System tuning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646900)

The easy way. uninstall AV..Check. Turn off FW..Check. regedit the registery so puter don't bitch about lack of AV & FW turned off. Hand the dipshit his puter back and pocket $40.00.

Re:System tuning... (4, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647024)

Can you remember when system tuning was part of the sysadmin's job?

Yeah, back when computers were so slow that they really needed tuning.

Now? Let's be honest, your computer will probably run best if you just don't screw around with it. You want your Windows system "tuned"? Reformat the drive, reinstall Windows, install the latest version of all appropriate drivers, run Windows update, and then install *only* the applications that you're going to use. That's about as "tuned" as most people need.

If you want to tune it further, try changing your performance settings to "Optimize for best performance" or whatever the equivalent is in Windows 7. It'll look a bit worse, but it may improve performance a little. Yes, you might also be able to disable some services and squeeze out a couple extra cycles, but how much does it matter these days? You're much more likely to break something than to effect significant performance improvements.

Re:System tuning... (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647116)

A complete reinstall will clean out a kiloton of junk and make a computer much faster. Especially if it's reinstalled with a standard version of the OS and not some vendor crippled, bogged-down version with a lot of software packages you don't need or want.

Re:System tuning... (2, Insightful)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647248)

While I can't really argue with anything you're saying-- you're missing that most computers come off the shelf with Windows and all the other crapware pre-installed. Reinstalling windows is something you and I can do in our sleep (and I'm sure we both have done just that), but many users can't. This certainly doesn't make "optimization" services worthwhile, it's still just a means of separating people from their money. I worked in a big box tech shop and know how useless a *lot* of these add ons are.

Is it surprising? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646632)

Really, all these services designed to do what, exactly? You've just added two more processes to my current roster of whatever is installed and allowed to boot on startup.

I've been saying that since BB acquired the Geek Squad, it has become a sham, a scam, and I'm quite sure a violation of many privacy laws.

Sadly, they have my laptop (or actually, it has them) and I'm waiting for it to get totally replaced. Enough hardware failed enough times that it should warrant them just giving me a new machine.

Re:Is it surprising? (1)

jornak (1377831) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646666)

I've been saying that since BB acquired the Geek Squad, it has become a sham, a scam, and I'm quite sure a violation of many privacy laws.

Yeah, but who else is going to spread nudes of the underage daughters of the people who are stupid enough to bring their computer in?

Preinstall deals are probably to blame (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646940)

I have never been to a Best Buy (their first stores in my home country open later this year) but if we assume they are like PCWorld, they probably sell PCs with stuff preinstalled and auto-running (IE, the updater for Realplayer which runs at boot)

their agreements with the software companies would prevent the tune-up techies from removing the autostarts like most of us geeks would, so all they can do is delete temp files, update programs to the latest release (therefore, often, bigger files being autostarted) and defrag

PC Sellers have major conflicts of interest between what the support guys would do given free reign, and what marketing and legal require, contractually.

To be fair... (2, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646636)

...of course this is probably a junk "service," but it's unlikely that the reference PCs were bloated with the sort of crap that they MIGHT be removing in the service.

Sure, they probably update drivers and "set aside" obvious bloatware, but other than that, they can't do anything -- and your reference PCs are probably least likely to get benefit from that, ahem, service.

Read the article (0, Troll)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646702)

All they do is delete the shortcuts on the desktop and run windows update.

And they don't even do that reliably.

Re:Read the article (2, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646958)

An oversimplification. Again, I'm not suggesting the job is worth it FOR ME, but $40 to pre-install all updates, clean up the bloat-ware (at least visually), and perform a few tweaks (status bars enabled, automatic updates enabled, etc.) isn't out of line for a big-box company to charge. The problem isn't that they offer the service and that you get marginal value for it -- the problem that Consumerist has is that you can't seem to avoid paying for it. "Sorry, they're all pre-optimized."

Re:Read the article (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647090)

It's no worse than their obscene markup on peripherals, and their insistence on pushing their crappy store warranties.

I once bought a fricking SATA cable there (9 bucks), and they tried to sell me a warranty. I loudly pointed out that the cable they were selling was marked up 400% over an equivalent cable bought online, or at the Radio Shack 5 miles up the road, and that the odds of there being any failure in the cable in the time covered by the warranty. The guy behind me in line actually put his stuff down, and walked out.

I still bought the cable. Good old corporate card.

BCA + Oblig. "Fargo" reference (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647242)

the problem that Consumerist has is that you can't seem to avoid paying for it. "Sorry, they're all pre-optimized."

I don't want undercoating on my car!

It's going to be fun when consumers start walking on them like the customer at the car lot in Fargo. Karma's a bitch.

--
Toro

As an advanced user, this does not bother me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646650)

It is no secret that part of the reasons machines are so cheap these days is because of all of the crapware that comes pre-loaded on them. Sure, Joe and Jane don't know how to get rid of the stuff (and thus have to pay someone to do it). I, however, can do it myself. This means I get to buy a cheaper machine at their expense. :)

It is hard to be upset about that.

Re:As an advanced user, this does not bother me! (1)

wbav (223901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646680)

Actually, you should be upset. They are removing the shortcuts from the desktop, not removing the crapware. The thing I don't like is why they didn't compare bit for bit the differences between the optimized and unoptimized versions. The "optimized" version running 32% slower suggests someone doing something very very wrong.

Re:As an advanced user, this does not bother me! (2, Insightful)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646802)

This is not about "you". This is about the consumer which gets scammed into a worse than neutral purchase and someone else gets to clean it up. That someone is frequently an IT type person doing work for their employers, families, and friends. So continue to business with an organization known for it's perpetual fraud and know that you're only creating a more problems for youself and your peers, as it's your choice, but after considering to choice to do so maybe you'll understand it's not harmless, nor a net gain for yourself.

Re:As an advanced user, this does not bother me! (2, Insightful)

benro03 (153441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646894)

No, but as an advanced user (I design SAN and NAS stuff) it insults me when they try and talk past me. When I buy a piece of electronics I've usually researched it to death and just want the salesman to get the box and ring it up for me; that's all. I've lost count of how many times these bogus "PC experts" have tried to blow smoke up my butt and impress me. Usually all it takes is telling them, "Fine. I'm on my way to Microcenter / Fry's," and they suddenly are able to sell me what I want.

The worst thing you can do to them is walk out, buy someplace else, and TELL THEM.

Anonymouse Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646672)

I agree, my girlfriends mom took her computer to best buy because it was failing to POST. They debugged it and deemed it unfixable, and turned around and sold her a new computer. She brought the new computer home and set it up, and I took the broken one. I took a look at it, reseated the memory, and poof everything was fine.

This was 5 years ago, that computer still works fine to this day. Best Buy/Geek squad takes advantage of customers that do any better.

Re:Anonymouse Coward (4, Insightful)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646908)

Never attribute to malice what could be ascribed to incompetence.

Re:Anonymouse Coward (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647168)

Malice is to employ incompetent people to do crappy work.

So the management is malicious and the employees are crap.

Re:Anonymouse Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647150)

I have a random personal question :

Are you with the same girlfriend after all those years (17% percent of my life seems long) ?

Best Buy (3, Informative)

Frizbie (1549673) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646698)

Ha!... they charge 40 bucks to clean up the startup, great... This might actual put Best Buy in the running for the most corrupt company in existence. Best Buy is going to have a hard time passing up Jiffy Lube for most corrupt company in 2010. Perhaps they should also tack on another 100 dollar charge to help carry it out to your car, they could totally market it as a "zero shock pc transport service"... that's sure to screw with the general public... throw in some more big words and act like they are doing us a service. Jiffy Lube look out!! your not the only ones that are screwing people mercilessly. "No,... just the cheapest oil change you got... No.. sir... sir... no.. I already have wiper blades... sir... SIR, no... sir listen.. I don't want the manufacturer's suggested monthly screwing, just the oil change."

Jiffy Lube? (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646930)

What are you even talking about? I just got my oil changed at a Jiffy Lube last month and they didn't try to push anything else on me. It was $20 out the door with a $12 rebate that I just received last week.

Re:Jiffy Lube? (1)

soundhack (179543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647108)

It will obviously depend on the individual store, but perhaps also the region. In SoCal I went to two different stores and got pushed similar recommendations.

Re:Jiffy Lube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647208)

I agree. I've been to a number of Jiffy Lube stores many times and only once did anybody ever try to push something; it was synthetic oil, and I said no thanks and that was the end of it. GP must have a really shitty manager at his Jiffy Lube.

BestBuy will never be allowed to "optimize" (1)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646710)

True "optimization" on most newer machines is simply removing the bloatware that infests almost every machine out there. Technically abilities aside, software vendors will freak if they find out BestBuy is ripping out all the software they paid to have pre-loaded. I "fixed" three new laptops for family and friends over the holidays and in each case it was faster just to nuke it from orbit and install Windows 7 fresh (and not from the restore partition, which invariably puts all the crap back on there).

Re:BestBuy will never be allowed to "optimize" (3, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646998)

    Half (or more) of that bloat comes from the default installs. On new machines, I find it easier to blow away everything they have and start fresh. A nice clean OS install is always wonderful. :)

    I haven't bought a new machine from BestBuy in years, but even then it was a machine to install Linux on. They tried a variety of upsells on me, and couldn't quite grasp my answer. "No, I'm wiping out everything and putting Linux on".

    At another store, they were very insistent on selling me an antivirus suite. I asked "So, does it run under Linux". Their answer was "Oh, I'm sure it does." I had them spinning for about 10 minutes and finally broke the bad news to them. Come on, you're selling computers. You should have a clue what Linux is, even if it's just enough to know, a Linux person wouldn't want anything packaged for Windows.

    A friend of mine called me the other day about antiviruses for Win7. A friend of hers just bought a new computer for Christmas, and they upsold him on an antivirus suite. Unfortunately, it wouldn't install on Win7. They were going to return it for a refund, and I warned them that since the box had been opened, that'll probably be next to impossible. I haven't heard what finally happened with that.

    If they could, they'd upsell a karma suite. "You'll have good computer karma, you won't get any viruses, and not much will break anytime soon." :)

Re:BestBuy will never be allowed to "optimize" (1, Funny)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647106)

I haven't bought a new machine from BestBuy in years, but even then it was a machine to install Linux on. They tried a variety of upsells on me, and couldn't quite grasp my answer. "No, I'm wiping out everything and putting Linux on".

At another store, they were very insistent on selling me an antivirus suite. I asked "So, does it run under Linux". Their answer was "Oh, I'm sure it does." I had them spinning for about 10 minutes and finally broke the bad news to them. Come on, you're selling computers. You should have a clue what Linux is, even if it's just enough to know, a Linux person wouldn't want anything packaged for Windows.

Okay, so basically youre a smug linux user that feels a constant need to rub your level of competence in computers in the face of other people?

Oh no, the fat bearded guy REALLY told them!

Re:BestBuy will never be allowed to "optimize" (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647174)

Please, I'm a windows guy and i still like making fools idiot sales guys.

I think you should be permanitly banned from the BOFH hall of fame.

Re:BestBuy will never be allowed to "optimize" (2, Interesting)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647104)

(and not from the restore partition, which invariably puts all the crap back on there).

Pray tell who or what is this store or manufacturer that will include actual Windows install discs on a new PC purchase? That has become a deciding factor for me personally on a future laptop purchase.

Must be a Mistake (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646718)

Best Buy selling snake oil? No , it must be a mistake. A misunderstanding.
I mean they got a Geek Squad in farfergnugen cop cars. These are professionals.
I guess they gotta have A+ certification and everything. You must be missing out on the subtle but brilliant improvement.
It may start slow but in that last second everything goes 200% faster. Just like those Geek buggies.

I'll optimize your new PC for free. (4, Informative)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646734)

1) Download: http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/ [pcdecrapifier.com]
2) Install
3) Run program.

Hell, I'll even give you free PC optimization months down the road after your PC looses it's new PC smell!

1) Download: http://www.ccleaner.com/ [ccleaner.com]
2) Install
3) Run program.

You're welcome.

Re:I'll optimize your new PC for free. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646988)

I'll give an optimization, but not free (due to time). I'll take the new PC and:

1: Image off the original partitions so I make sure I have all drivers. These go on two copies of burned media, as well as a USB flash drive.

2: Pull a live CD, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda (or whatever the disk is.) This makes sure that any defects on outer tracks get reassigned if they might be a bit faulty.

3: Install the included version of Windows clean.

4: Install Microsoft Security Essentialls from a USB flash drive.

5: Activate the machine if needed. Then image the activated machine so it can be restored to a known good imaged state that is activated.

6: Update everything via Windows Update and add service packs if needed.

7: Install ccleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Firefox/Adblock or Chrome/Adblock, and SpywareBlaster.

8: Install user software that is licensed (Office, Acrobat, etc.)

9: Make an image of the complete system.

Now the machine is ready to be handed over to a customer with high recommendations of doing backups to an external drive or Mozy. The advantage of this system is that the customer, should he or she trash the HDD, a complete image restore is just a boot of a recovery CD away.

Re:I'll optimize your new PC for free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647044)

%s/looses/loses/

Re:I'll optimize your new PC for free. (0, Troll)

tpwch (748980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647186)

You can also try this tool [goodbye-microsoft.com] which works even better.

Re:I'll optimize your new PC for free. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647200)

I'll give you my Direct Hard Disk Optimization technique (patent pending):
  1. Download an Ubuntu Live CD: http://www.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com]
  2. Boot from it and open a terminal
  3. Run: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M
  4. Enjoy optimization

Re:I'll optimize your new PC for free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647296)

Surprise! TFA mentioned those.

And they seemed so honest. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646738)

Wow. I don't know how I can possibly reconcile this anomalous data point with all of the other things I've heard about them.

Who buys a computer from best buy? (0, Flamebait)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646748)

Anybody who buys a computer from Best Buy instead of going to Newegg or TigerDirect probably deserves exactly what they get.

Re:Who buys a computer from best buy? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646776)

Anybody who buys anything from Best Buy deserves what they get. If you really need it right then and there go to Wal-Mart or so, they have the same stuff at least 50% cheaper and you can actually return your shit if it doesn't work as advertised. They also don't have Tweek trying to sell you gold connector USB cables because 'they go faster'.

Re:Who buys a computer from best buy? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647154)

Anybody who buys a computer from Best Buy instead of going to Newegg or TigerDirect probably deserves exactly what they get.

Is TigerDirect that good? I would trust Newegg with my newborn (if I had one), but I always got a shady vibe from TigerDirect...

As someone who worked at Best Buy/Geek Squad... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646756)

I can confirm that the optimization consists of:

1) Running some registry tweaks/fixes
2) Get the latest Windows updates (unless we were backlogged with a lot of work, in which case we'd skip it)
3) Uninstall unnecessary programs (usually only at the customer's request)

All of this was automated through an in-house "Customizer" program. So the optimization consisted of turning the computer on, hooking it up to the network, and running the program.

Oh, well then... (1)

xirusmom (815129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646874)

it is automatic... What could go wrong?

Re:As someone who worked at Best Buy/Geek Squad... (-1, Redundant)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646944)

Buying ANYTHING at Best Buy these days is a chore.

"No I don't want your optimaization plan."
"No I don't want an extended warranty."
"No I don't want any accessories."
"No I don't want the super awesome $50 Monster Cables with gold tips."
"No I don't want your PlatinumShield super-dupper service plan."

What's bad is when you get a salesman who wants to argue with you. "But you need our service plan!!" Sometimes I just want to throttle these guys. If there was another place I could get computer parts and electronics locally (for times when waiting three or four days for Newegg isn't an option) I would never set foot inside their doors. A few weeks ago I had pushy BB salesmen try to sell me a warranty plans on a $20 card reader, for crying out loud.

Re:As someone who worked at Best Buy/Geek Squad... (2, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646992)

Let's be fair. Best Buy tried selling me an $80 monster HDMI cable that I absolutely needed to get a good picture, even though HDMI is digital and not analog. I don't know how I get by with my $6 HDMI cable.

Re:As someone who worked at Best Buy/Geek Squad... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647198)

They tried selling us an extended warranty on a Wii Nunchuck accessory. It's just getting ridiculous.

Re:As someone who worked at Best Buy/Geek Squad... (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646978)

In other words, you were replaceable by software.

Seriously, though, I make $40 in about 20 minutes. It would take me N times that long to DL and run any of the bigger Windows updates. On a new machine that was imaged with a base rev of the OS, there are several of those, interspersed with dozens if not hundreds of smaller ones.

It'd be worth it to me to get that all done by someone else, and I'd have someone to yell at if it isn't done.

NB: I did buy a computer at BB last year. One of the reasons I got it was that it had already gone through the process (and that particular model was marked down and was relatively cheap for the specs). They were stocking some units that way as a policy. I didn't even have to wait for it to be done. 2-GHz dual-core Dell lappy with all the mod cons (except a bulky optical drive) for $650? Sold. Out the door and at home cruising the intarwebs in 20 minutes, with no DIY sysadmin hassles at all.

Stock Windows? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646768)

How much do you have to pay for stock OEM windows? Because whenever I optimize a computer, it mostly involves removing the shoddy always-on software installed by the manufacturer / Best Buy.

Re:Stock Windows? (2, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646912)

How much do you have to pay for stock OEM windows? Because whenever I optimize a computer, it mostly involves removing the shoddy always-on software installed by the manufacturer / Best Buy.

Hell, don't even pay for it. Borrow a disk from someone and use the already-bought-and-paid-for OEM license key on the side of the case. Usually works.

Re:Stock Windows? (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646964)

Students can get Retail Windows 7 (not just upgrade) for $30 for the ISO or I think $35 if you want them to ship you the box.

Computers don't come with stock OEM windows anymore, the only way to get that is to buy the software and install it yourself.

Re:Stock Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647118)

From everything I saw, the Student $30 Windows 7 was for an upgrade (Upgrade from Vista or clean install from XP, requires original media and invalidates XP / Vista key so you cannot roll-back to the previous OS if you dont like 7)

Thats the main reason I didnt take them up on that offer, I didnt like the idea of it nuking my existing offers if I didnt like the OS.

Optimize my system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646794)

CFLAGS="-O9"; emerge -eD world

Waste of money, may make computer slower... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646800)

Waste of money, may make computer slower...

In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet, and obnoxious body sprays will not get you laid...

sigh

Optimized...for.... (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646808)

Ahhh but did they say it was to be optimized for speed? Could it be that they are optimizing your machine for replacement? Optimized for reporting marketing data to best buy? Optimized for suck? Optimized to make other peoples PCs look better?

I have to wonder, if surveyed, what percentage of users would report that their PC was faster :)

Salesmen are kinda scumbags everywhere. NPR has been doing some great programs on it recently. This morning there was talk of car buying and all the tricks. They talk about "monthly payments" and other abstract notions, because it makes it much easier for them to hide fees into a fully broken up payment than if they were actually talking "out the door" price. Also they even make "math errors" to the point that the person telling the story claimed to have bought cars 4 times and EVERY TIME caught a "math error" that would have had him paying more.

"Error" indeed.

I like to keep the salesman's tricks in mind while talking to them. It takes away a lot of their power if your going over the tricks and intended effects in your head "Oh he is looking for a yes here so he can foster agreement" "oh, hes repeating his question again looking to see if I am faltering" "oh, there we go, mentioning value again, must mean its way overpriced"

then again, I question even this. As it seems some salesmen are extremely vulnerable to their own pitches. I have a friend who briefly sold Kirby vaccuumes. From what I hear their best customers end up being their own salesmen sometimes, and judging from him.... he seemed so sold you almost thought he would end up buying one if he stayed with it. (you may see one demo on how much dirt it picks up, he sees several demos a week...)

-Steve

Re:Optimized...for.... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647172)

I have a friend who briefly sold Kirby vaccuumes. From what I hear their best customers end up being their own salesmen sometimes, and judging from him.... he seemed so sold you almost thought he would end up buying one if he stayed with it.

To be fair, Kirby's are bitchin vacuums. If you've never owned one, you're missing out. They last practically forever too. My parents had one that they got used and kept it for about 10 years before the hose finally wore out. They then bought another used Kirby and have been using it for the past 5 or 6 years.

I just wish they weren't so expensive, I have a cheapo $60 vacuum and man does it suck, and not in the good way. I think when it finally dies I'm going to get a Kirby. They are similar in quality to an Orreck, but Orreck takes the path of making the vacuum as light as possible, while Kirbies just throw in power-assist and keep the things monstrous. That makes them solid and very durable.

Some good comes of this (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646824)

First thing I do with a retail computer is delete all the crud. Trials, stuff that runs at startup unnecessarily, etc. Sometimes you can just reinstall the OS from the restore disk and start from there. Then there is the icon cleanup, which can take forever.

"Bob's Software Company\Tax Pro\Tax Pro.lnk" becomes "Tax Pro"
"Adobe\Adobe Acrobate Reader.lnk" becomes "Junk\Acrobat Reader.lnk"

The article says that Best Buy did cleanup the desktop. Hopefully, this will create an awareness of just how much manufacturers are screwing over their customers. They include all this junk, then the end-user pays someone to clean it off. There's many times I thought about actually writing a program that does this.

If Best Buy offered a service to do this without screwing up the laptops or lying to customers, then it might actually be a good thing.

Re:Some good comes of this (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646994)

The restore disk most often has plenty of crap ware on it. Given the option its better to just reformat and install a clean OS and add any hardware specific drivers needed.

Re:Some good comes of this (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647018)

They cleaned up the desktop icons, but they didn't remove any of the programs that created those desktop icons in the first place. The junk is still there, but now the user doesn't see it. How is that good?

"sold out" of the "worse" computer (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646844)

My first question would be if "optimized" pc's are better, why is everyone buying the non-optimized ones?

Shouldn't it be harder to get the "better" ones?

I'm always amazed at the shift in their sales ploy after you look like you're going to buy something. It goes from "This is the best on the market" to "this thing is a piece of crap. You better get an extended warranty." Uhm, didn't you just tell me how great this thing was?

Re:"sold out" of the "worse" computer (1)

Werthless5 (1116649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647050)

None of the computers are optimized until you bring them to Geek Squad.

Inconceivable!! (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646866)

I just don't believe it. That sounds like something CompUSA would do!

In fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646880)

In fairness, note that most users handing over a laptop to bestbuy for optimization has it loaded down with crapware and a billion start up items, so just deleting all startup items would prolly give the user a 200% speed boost on startup. Nothing any goof with Google couldn't do though I'm sure. What do they say- ignorance is expensive?

You can't trick me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646882)

Haha... someone bought a computer from Best Buy. hahaha.
You can't trick me, I buy all of my computers from the Apple Store.

The crapware wars continue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30646890)

So let me get this straight: the vendors install shitloads of garbage "trial" software, then Best Buy charges EXTRA to remove it? Howsabout just skipping the crap entirely?

I'll save you $40 (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646928)

Remove programs:
Norton
McAfee
ANYTHING made by Symantec

Replace with any decent free antivirus. Easily increases performance by a metric fuckton.

or just uninstall Vista.

Re:I'll save you $40 (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647020)

I used to recommend AVG or ClamWin, but honestly, these days Microsoft Security Essentials is the way to go.

I know, I know. I'm recommending Microsoft. But it has a great detection engine, it doesn't nag or get in your way too much, and it has a very small footprint.

It is free so long as Windows can pass validation.

3dMark??? (4, Informative)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646952)

WTF? That test determines 3d gaming performance. While I do not doubt that the best buy "service" is junk, 3dmark would by no means be a valid metric.

Re:3dMark??? (3, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647040)

It is possible their "optimization" is Windows update, updated drivers, and maybe removing some built-in bloatware. And that by swapping the video driver for another one, it can negatively affect 3D performance a great deal.

Re:3dMark??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30647128)

Thank you!
Not a valid metric in the least! The 'optimization' that geek squad does is a bunch of registry edits aimed at the operating system, with probably little to none aimed at the operating system's interface w/ the hardware.

Re:3dMark??? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647134)

It's not that bad. Processor and memory utilization effect your score in a measurable way, and enough people use it that the basis for comparison is broad.

Re:3dMark??? (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647178)

They were using it as a metric because BestBuy claimed that the processor would be 200% faster. So that should mean gaming is 200% faster too right?

Best Buy salesmen (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30646986)

Buying ANYTHING at Best Buy these days is a chore.

"No I don't want your optimization plan."
"No I don't want an extended warranty."
"No I don't want any accessories."
"No I don't want the super awesome $50 Monster Cables with gold tips."
"No I don't want your PlatinumShield super-dupper service plan."

What's bad is when you get a salesman who wants to argue with you. "But you need our service plan!!" Sometimes I just want to throttle these guys. If there was another place I could get computer parts and electronics locally (for times when waiting three or four days for Newegg isn't an option) I would never set foot inside their doors. A few weeks ago I had pushy BB salesmen try to sell me a warranty plan on a $20 card reader, for crying out loud.

Thanks to the broken US justice system (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647006)

Some lawyer will file a class action suit against Best Buy for this practice.

Best Buy will ignore it until the moment it looks like they will really go to court, then Best Buy will settle.

The settlement will be for $48 million. The lawyers will get $45 million, and the other $3 million will be in the form of "certificates" awarded to the plaintiffs good for 1 free "optimization" on a computer purchase at Best Buy within the next 12 months.

That's how it works.

THIS JUST IN!!! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647012)

Best Buy a waste of money!

G-Spot hard to find!

Something else you already knew!

it seems like setup charge (0)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647038)

Note to defend the practice, but the $40 sounds like a set up fee, which might be practical for some people. I suspect that many consumers expect the computer to just work when they get it home, and not have to go through installation of software, setting up accounts, trying to figure our which programs are useful and which are advertisement or useless free trials. While a reputable store might provide these things with purchase, we all know Best Buy is not such a store, and one goes there because one wants the cheapest price. As such, one should expect a bit of upselling.

The part of this that is that they advertise one product and them sell the same product at a higher price with mythical work done. If the work had been done, then one would be given an open box item, which is commonly sold cheaper than a NIB item. This was not listed, but even if had 'optimization' done I would want to see the factory sealed item first. Maybe other people are more trusting.

This may be a case where it may be worth a bit of cash for a consumer to walk out with a working computer, rather than just bits the the consumer may or may not be able to figure out. Sure phone support is free, but that is not good for everything. Sure one could go to a reputable store and get service, but these people are going to Best Buy.

Just to mention it, the Apple Store will set everything up before you leave with your computer. I am sure that there are stores that sell PC that will do the same thing. I double that they have the lowest advertised pice.

Staples (5, Informative)

deathtopaulw (1032050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647066)

I am a Staples easytech idiot and we basically have the same service for $10 cheaper called a pc tune-up. We run a norton toolkit scan, meaning "find out if we can push a virus removal service (129.99)," and nothing more than a basic "windows cleanup." This is usually a 29.99 service although it just so happens to be free right now. All the big box stores are a scam, preying on the lack of basic public knowledge like any local car mechanic.

Sadly I happen to be preaching to the choir. We will continue to have customers pouring in with the most mind-numbingly simple problems that we charge $150 to fix in the end. It's this fact that actually makes it a difficult job for me.

Sounds like their similar service for the 360 (1)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647138)

They have a similar service for the 360 where for $40-ish they will install all the XBox Live updates for you. When they tried to push it on me the salesman insisted that if I didn't get it, it would take about 5 hours for my XBox to update and be able to play games. Which obviously is complete bullshit unless you could only download at like 1KB/sec or something.

When I got home it took at most 5 minutes for it to download and apply the updates.

The best part of TFA: (1)

Phyridean (1122061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647218)

"The operative word here is 'owned,'" Dunn told Fortune.

Consumerist (0, Troll)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647222)

While I have no doubt the conclusion is sound, it'd be nice if it came from somewhere else than the Consumerist. I've never seen a more rabid, one-sided, whiny user base outside of Free Republic.

Yes, I know they're owned by Consumer Reports. No, that doesn't make it reputable.

Yeah it's crap (1)

foobs (1713180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647230)

I worked at Best Buy as a computer tech years ago before they changed to Geek Squad. Yes, the system optimization was a total joke. I just found a backup of my old "sysop" thumb drive. I imagine they're using something different now, but the descriptions in the program give a general rundown:

- Registry tweaks: Performs special tweaks to Window's Registry that speed up menu delays, limit size of the recycle bin, tweak virtual memory, and others.
- Service tweaks: Turns services to "Manual" that are not needed upon boot-up to ensure faster boot times and decrease service memory usage.
- Limit started applications on Boot-up: Turns off applications that HP, Compaq, Sony, and other manufacturers are notorious for allowing to run at start-up.
- Security Patches: Installs the latest patches from Microsoft to increase the stability and security of a Windows XP system.
- BootVis: A tool from Microsoft that increases boot performance.


Again, I'm sure this is outdated, but you get the idea.

Smart Money says... (1)

bmwEnthusiast (1384289) | more than 4 years ago | (#30647246)

Everyone who has read this article already knew that it was scammy.
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