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Recent HP Laptops Shipped CPU-Choking Wi-Fi Driver

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the good-reason-to-put-on-some-linux dept.

Bug 243

An anonymous reader writes "Computer manufacturers have recently come under fire for the continued practice of shipping machines with excessive bloatware. Software preinstalled on some recent HP laptops was worse than normal though, consuming anywhere from 25-99% CPU by making incessant WMI queries, resulting in overheating laptops and reduced battery life. Users on a computer Q&A site did some sleuthing, and revealed that HP Wireless Assistant — software which does nothing but tell the user when their WiFi adapter is turned on or off — was causing the problem. According to an HP support forum, the problem is fixed in later versions, but thousands of laptops have the software installed, and the software does not get updated automatically."

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243 comments

HP is the worst (5, Informative)

Shakahs (1923482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197672)

As someone who fixes computers for a living, I can tell you that HP has the WORST bloatware, both preinstalled on new computers and included with their ridiculous, 200MB printer drivers.

Re:HP is the worst (4, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197692)

They're pretty bad. But I'm glad to have the officejets, they do work flawlessly with hplip in *nix. The printers themselves are quite good, but those windows drivers just ruin it -- if I were a windows user I'd avoid HP like the plague. Maybe HP should just start refining hplip instead of shipping that bloatware.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197696)

You know HP has like... 3.5MB printer drivers too right? There is usually a choice... at least, for my newest laserjet there's a choice. The 200MB driver works better though... significantly better. Especially over a network. [the 3.5MB driver kept getting jobs stuck in the printer queue, and I wasn't particularly a fan of that.]

Re:HP is the worst (2)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197722)

So to paraphrase, "If you don't like the bloatware there's always the option to sacrifice functionality"? I'll just use hplip, thanks. :)

Re:HP is the worst (3, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198170)

I'll stick with my samsung printer that works flawlessly with Windows 7, Mac OS, & Linux over a network. HP's quality with printers died with the LaserJet 4/5 series.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198208)

I absolutely agree. I chose the Brother MFC-9840CDW because it supports OS X and Windows equally well. I was a big HP fan until they chose to tie their fortunes to the Windows star. I think they may find that the Windows star might turn out to be a black hole.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198220)

If you liked the 4 and 5, the 8100 was a fantastic replacement workgroup printer. You could hammer it all day long, and when it eventually did fail you could strip it down and rebuild it in less than an hour. It's like they built it to make my job easier.

Ex HP printer engineer.

Re:HP is the worst (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197888)

Yep, just don't ever put the CD that comes with the printer in your PC and you'll be fine.

Not ever. Never. Don't even take it out of the envelope. Snap it in half as soon as you see it and may it burn in hell.

Go to the website and download the basic driver instead.

(...and the same goes for all other printer manufacturers, digital cameras, etc.)

Re:HP is the worst (2)

conares (1045290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198002)

What I usually do is connect the printer and wait for the MS hardware wizard then insert the disc and let the wizard do the rest. Has worked for me so far. Some manufacturers only ship the driver as .exe file which you usually can get around by letting it decompress and look for the .inf file there.

Re:HP is the worst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198222)

(...and the same goes for all other printer manufacturers, digital cameras, etc.)

I disagree in regards to digital cameras, there's too much variation to make a blanket statement.
If you're just using a small handheld, point-n-shoot type then you shouldn't need to install any of the software at all, it'll show up just like a USB drive to Windows and you can drag-n-drop files.
But if we're talking about the Pro or Semi-Pro models, then you will most likely have to have their software if you want to shoot in RAW image mode. This isn't always true, but for most brands the only other option is to manually copy the RAW format images from the memory card using a cardreader, as opposed to connecting the camera to the computer directly. RAW format is not standardized, so unless your editing software (or OS) supports it natively you're going to have to use their drivers and conversion software.
Some full-blown Professional models support things like writing the image data directly to your computer instead of using an internal memory card. Such fancy add-ons will almost certainly require the pre-bundled package, and the one on their web site will almost always be identical. But even here I'd still download the drivers from their site as opposed to trusting the ones that come on the disc.

For printers, I suggest you skip the USB connect and go with a network attached print station. Much less of a hassle all around, and many of them include scanner and fax capability as well these days. Sure, you'll pay more for them, but you're not just getting the network capability you're getting a higher quality product as well. The crappiest pieces of junk get marketed to home users, the top-quality versions of those product lines go to the small business market.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

thopkins (70408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198098)

No, they don't have the basic drivers for all printers anymore. I have a Deskjet 380 and yesterday was only able to find the 380 meg "driver" on their website.

Re:HP is the worst (2)

kulnor (856639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198256)

If you're not too young, remember when stuff used to work with about 1 Mb of RAM? I can understand a 3.5Mb printer driver, but 200Mb to make it work smoothly? Do you realize how much code and data that is? OK, maybe half of that is dedicate to windows bug workaround but many developers have sadly been pampered by speedy processors and too much memory. They have lost sense of what code efficiency is about (expect for games, hight performance computing, and some other exception).

Re:HP is the worst (1)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198280)

3.5 MB is still overkill. Any printer which is not bottom end or for any reason needs extensive work on the computer side of things (that is, most printers) could work with a driver which is no more than a few dozen kilobytes in size. Take a look at old LaserJet III PS drivers which date back to before the bloatware. I have been unable to find those on HP, but I found a Postscript driver for Windows XP for the LJ 4, 5 and 6 which is 0.9 MB in size. Didn't test it as I'm on Mac OS X, don't have a printer here, and I think its existence is enough to support my point.

Re:HP is the worst (2)

mvar (1386987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197770)

Removing all pre-installed software is the standard procedure for any new laptop that my clients buy. I wish the OEM's spared us of the trouble and gave the customer the option to install or not their bloatware on first boot.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197854)

I suspect and assume OEMs get cash-per-install for the third-party bloatware.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197874)

Given that i have seen equal hardware products become more expensive simply by going linux vs windows, i agree.

Re:HP is the worst (0)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197994)

your sig, try reading something on Perspectivism or Buddhism. (in Buddhism, to know nothing would to know detachment, taken literally you could say he knows not a thing or he knows of nothingness)

the truth is internal, and that is right. but do know equate knowledge with wisdom, theory for fact. When you do so, truth becomes a fuzzy concept.

If I/you take a tangent of the earth then it is indeed flat, maybe only for a moment.

it all depends on your perspective.

Right and Wrong are not the correct words to use.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197894)

Norton, etc., pay for the preinstalls, sure. OTOH I'm sure HP doesn't get a cent for all the HP crapware that comes with the machine. It's just some pointy-haired marker trying to justify his department's existence.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198116)

In major corporations business divisions bill each other all the time. The laptop devision may well be charging the other divisions for installing the shovelware.

This doesn't help the hp shareholders, but it does help the head of the laptop division.

Re:HP is the worst (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197964)

make it more like 600MB for the photosmart C6180 I have. I finally removed it, and downloaded a 30MB one from their support site. It works actually better than the CD one because it does not complain once a week with a false alarm about updating.
On the other hand, on my fedora laptop, installing the printer is plug and play (something like: add new printer / HP / Photosmart 6180 / DONE)
Linux 1 / HP 0

Re:HP is the worst (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198162)

So Linux is competing with hardware manufacturers now? Well, that explains a lot.

SCNR

And this is why... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197680)

... I make a DVD backup of the restore partition and wipe clean the HDD whenever I buy a new laptop.

Re:And this is why... (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197732)

Why? So you can automagically erase all your data and re-install the bloatware?

Re:And this is why... (3, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197750)

That's pretty funny, but I imagine the idea would be to be able to restore to original in case of needing support or warranty work. Probably a pretty good idea, actually.

Re:And this is why... (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198010)

exactly. If you send in a laptop with custom crap on it your warranty repair may be declined.

Re:And this is why... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198234)

Not a chance. Your custom crap will be replaced with a stock image and it'll be mailed back to you "fixed". When you tell them the problem is still present, they might look at it the second time around.

Imaging it to stock before sending it back just eliminates that first step.

Re:And this is why... (1)

Yaddoshi (997885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198292)

Wasn't there something posted on Slashdot a while back about the manufacturer claiming a system's warranty was voided by the installation of a LINUX OS?

Same issue with Dell Latitude E6510 (5, Informative)

acoustix (123925) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197682)

I recently had the same issue with a loaded Dell Latitude E6510. The supplied video driver for WinXP consumed an entire core on my 3.0GHz i7. I contacted Dell on the issue and told them what was happening. I ended up using the driver from nVidia. The CPU would get very hot and the fan would run at full speed.

I know, good story - right?

Re:Same issue with Dell Latitude E6510 (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197912)

I have a Dell Latitude (sorry, but I don't remember the model name).
I got the issue when I changed the OS from Windows XP to Windows 7, and I don't use the HP drivers.
Every minute, the CPU would be at 100% for a few seconds, since the system was trying to read a missing file on the disk, making the CPU fan run at full speed.

After searching everywhere, I found that it was an issue with the Wifi driver (I don't use HP's versions, but the standard ones with Windows 7).
The easiest solution I found is to disable LMHOSTS.
Funnily, the author of SysInternals had a similar problem.

This is a long known bug since Windows 2003: when you have several network cards, the OS tries to read LMHOSTS, even if it doesn't exist.

This problem seems not related to the drivers, since one of my colleagues has the same problem with his Dell computer.
I believe that's it's an issue with Windows.

Re:Same issue with Dell Latitude E6510 (2)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198246)

I have that same laptop from Dell. However, I solved the problem by booting off a Kubuntu 10.10 USB pen-drive and half an hour later the pre-installed Win7 OS was "upgraded" to something more useful.

HTH,
Matt

Re:Same issue with Dell Latitude E6510 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198326)

It would parse better if you made the last sentence the second.

HP and wireless have a special relationship anyway (5, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197686)

e.g. Did you know you cannot simply replace the HP buildin wireless with a pci-express card version because the wireless needs to be on a bios whitelist [hp.com] .

Re:HP and wireless have a special relationship any (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198264)

This is true of Lenovo as well, and I suspect of any notebook manufacturer who cares about FCC regulations.

Re:HP and wireless have a special relationship any (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198320)

Wow, just the other day I found out Lenovo was guilty of doing that too.

What? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197698)

Doesn't HP have something like Toshiba's "Tempro" utility to tell Joe Sixpack when to update his drivers and HP-related programs?

Re:What? (1)

rjch (544288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197710)

Doesn't HP have something like Toshiba's "Tempro" utility to tell Joe Sixpack when to update his drivers and HP-related programs?

Yes, but only for drivers and applicati

Re:What? (1)

rjch (544288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197724)

Doesn't HP have something like Toshiba's "Tempro" utility to tell Joe Sixpack when to update his drivers and HP-related programs?

Yes, but only for drivers and applications that don't need updating.

(damn this new posting procedure - so damned slow *and* it just cut the end off my last attempt at a comment!)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198350)

Ah, we thought you were using a HP Wi-Fi driver...

Don't give them any ideas (5, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197712)

...and the software does not get updated automatically."

Let's talk about CPU-choking check-for-update services. Ever tried to disable GoogleUpdater? I mean really disable it? Or the Adobe "Let's interrupt the boot process with our bullshit" updater? Or my favorite this week - was recently straightening out a friends machine and found an updater service from Intuit running - my friend had installed and used TurboTax to do his taxes last year, so naturally a system service had to be running to check for updates to tax software for FY2009.

I see the <i>italic</i> tags are still broken, damn this web 2.0 stuff is HARD, isn't it?

Re:Don't give them any ideas (3, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197810)

Italics work just fine, use em

Re:Don't give them any ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198240)

Can you explain what the trick is to get them working, then? I haven't been able to get them to work since the last /. update. I've had to resort to doing *this*, like some archaic plain-text system.

Re:Don't give them any ideas (1)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197828)

Microsoft should provide a mechanism for third-party software updates to be supplied through Windows Update, or provide a unified Software Update Mechanism for third-partys.
Apple recently added the feature for Application updates through the Mac App Store.
(Mac App Store incompatible software (such as system utilities) still have to either be updated manually or internally by the App).

Re:Don't give them any ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198192)

You mean like what that inferior open source software group has been doing all these decades? Automatic updating of the entire system from one universal application?

I'm SHOCKED!

Re:Don't give them any ideas (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197900)

Italics work just fine. Perhaps you should stop using the deprecated <i> tag, and start using the <em> tag that replaced it.

Re:Don't give them any ideas (3, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198044)

Italics work just fine. Perhaps you should stop using the deprecated <i> tag, and start using the <em> tag that replaced it.

So this <i>Homo sapiens</i> will have to use the wrong markup next time we're discussing zoology?

The i element in HTML5 [w3.org] .

Re:Don't give them any ideas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197906)

Oh the joys of Windows. I don't miss them. However Bestbuy needed my email address to send me shovelware activation codes and a geeksquad activation. I had no choice. So I gave them their own special email address. The activation notices appeared and lo and behold so did spam. THAT pisses me off more than bloated bullshit I can uninstall (or use a different OS) to get around. I can't take back an email address other than point their special address to my special mail spooler: /dev/null

Re:Don't give them any ideas (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198080)

(em) is the new (i). (replace parentheses with less than/greater signs than at your convenience)

It just works!

My GF always tells me that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197728)

And I let her know how much I appreciate her for saying that about my driver.

Secret Code Leak from HP Wi-Fi utility! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197742)


while(true)
{
      if(wifi_is_on())
            show_wifi_is_on()
      else
            show_wifi_is_off()
}

This is why... (3, Interesting)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197756)

This is why whenever I buy a computer or a laptop, the first thing that I do is to slick the damn thing and install the operating system as I see fit.

Whether this be Windows or some flavor of *nix, I just wipe out all the partitions and install from fresh.

I learned that lesson with an HP laptop I bought in 2005. No matter what I did, no matter what I uninstalled, I could not get more than 45% of my hard drive free.

I did a fresh load of XP and low and behold, I was only using 10% of the drive with Office, XP, my music files, a couple of games and my applications in my "Must Have" list.

Ever since, I do this on all of the ones at the hospital. I made a fresh load version for every configuration we have and I keep an image saved on our servers. Since we don't allow anything to be saved on the local computers that are on the hospital floors (our way of enforcing HIPPA on our electronically protected health information (EPHI)), this means that if someone sneaks online and lets slip in a virus, I can just wipe-restore from the network, run updates, and the computer is back in business in usually less than an hour. Less than 15 minutes in some cases.

For administration PC's, it's a bit longer. I have to backup their data first and then slick and reload. Then I have to put the data back. So that's more in the 30-90 minutes category.

Re:This is why... (2)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197762)

You know you don't have to go to the hospital to work on your computer, right? It's fine to do it at home.

Re:This is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198176)

Someone please upboat uglyduckling!

This post made me grin. :-)

Re:This is why... (2)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198224)

You know you don't have to go to the hospital to work on your computer, right? It's fine to do it at home.

Well, this IS Windows XP he's talking about.

Re:This is why... (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197816)

For administration PC's, it's a bit longer. I have to backup their data first and then slick and reload. Then I have to put the data back. So that's more in the 30-90 minutes category.

Uhhh... These are desktop PCs? You specified "laptop" in your first sentence, so I would have thought you'd specify it further down if that's what you meant. There's no reason to have user data stored on the local machine at all. All it does is needlessly choke up bandwidth when synchronising (you do sync it with the server, right? Or do you have some other backup mechanism in place?).

As for the rest? Well done, you've started taking system images instead of reloading all of the patches, drivers, and necessary software for every build. Save yourself a little time and do the same thing with your home PC with PING [windowsdream.com]

Re:This is why... (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198146)

Uhhh... These are desktop PCs? You specified "laptop" in your first sentence, so I would have thought you'd specify it further down if that's what you meant. There's no reason to have user data stored on the local machine at all. All it does is needlessly choke up bandwidth when synchronising (you do sync it with the server, right? Or do you have some other backup mechanism in place?).

My bad. At the hospital we use Desktop PC's except for the areas where we need mobility and we use laptops on rolling carts and more recently the Pellham Sloane PC's on Howard Medical mobility carts with built-in batteries.

For those machines, we're using an application called Cerner which is a web-accessible, citrix application with the hosting computers (and all the data and the backups, and everything) located at the remote facility. So there is no need for the nurses and the doctors to have anything saved on those machines be they the desktops at the observation areas and nursing stations, or on the mobile units.

The administrators on the other hand need things like Office and have non-EPHI data stored on their local machines. We encourage placing the data on the RAID where it'll be protected and backed up...but some just do not and thanks to the administration, this is not something we can force.

As for the rest? Well done, you've started taking system images instead of reloading all of the patches, drivers, and necessary software for every build. Save yourself a little time and do the same thing with your home PC with PING [windowsdream.com]

Already using it at home and on the servers at the hopsital. It works, it works well, and it's free. Can't beat that with a stick.

Re:This is why... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197840)

Well, I do that to my laptops

Except I install Linux on them

Oh and you probably wiped the recovery partition/data.

Problem with these software stuff is trying to make it easier and making it harder in the process. Brought to you by clueless engineers and even more clueless managers.

Re:This is why... (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198172)

Oh and you probably wiped the recovery partition/data.

Problem with these software stuff is trying to make it easier and making it harder in the process.

Don't care really. Since the recovery partition usually contains the data needed to recover the hard drive to its bloated, choked and drowning in useless crap state, I'm better off without it. In fact that's where I store a local copy of my PING backup so I can recover my kid's computers when (not if...WHEN) they download something and really shag it up good and proper. And if the hard drive itself goes tits-up I still have my PING recovery DVD's I made as a backup

Re:This is why... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198250)

I agree 100%

Problem with a fresh install is, you usually can't use the license your notebook came, since the 'serial number' only works with "Windows from HP" or something similar.

But I've seen cases where the recovery CD doesn't have all the bloatware it originally came with.

Re:This is why... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197886)

to bad that never sends any info to the beancounters that the customers (or these days, "consumers") disapproves. You payed money for the product and did not return it, ergo you liked what you got.

Easy Solution for Crapware (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197760)

Just format the damn thing over. I prefer to do it with Linux, personally, but if you prefer Windows, just buy a copy and wipe out your OEM's shitty version. They probably didn't install it the way you wanted it anyway.

This would be easier if you could find an OEM willing to ship you a blank machine to begin with. Well not easier, exactly, but you could at least be happier not paying for any extra crap you weren't going to use anyway. Microsoft should be happier too, to be getting full retail for any copies of Windows they sell, and you could be happier too charging your less technical friends $40 an hour (Friends and family get the special discount rate!) to drop a new OS on their system. It's not like they buy a new laptop every month!

All right yeah I realize this view is perhaps unrealistically optimistic, but hey, it works for me!

Re:Easy Solution for Crapware (4, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198168)

if you prefer Windows, just buy a copy and wipe out your OEM's shitty version.

Why pay again for what you already bought? Install Windows from a downloaded/borrowed disk with the license key that was attached to your system. Dunno about the US, but in the EU you are legally allowed to do that.

Re:Easy Solution for Crapware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198296)

No, you're not allowed to do that with retail or OEM licensed Windows in the EU. It's the same as downloading an MP3 of a song that you have on CD. Copyright law is weird, but them's the rules.

Re:Easy Solution for Crapware (1)

Cerium (948827) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198348)

I'm in the US and every Windows license I've ever received with a laptop or computer has been one or more of the following:

(a) A feature-limited version (home "premium").
(b) An OEM license (which means the key won't work for a retail copy).
(c) Invalidated by some shenanigans involving someone else using the key somehow (my best guess involves ninjas and/or pirates).

So while I'm not entirely sure on the legalities behind what you're suggesting, I can tell you that, in my experience, it's simply not worth the headache.

Bloatware Register (2)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197792)

There should be a list of Programs that can (or should be) removed from a Factory Install for safe operation.

Trackpad Drivers, Media Button Drivers and WiFi Drivers may be required to take full advantage of the hardware features, but most of the crap they put on is Third Party Crapware (on cheap machines) or Brand Enhancement software (on "Quality" machines). The worse stuff is the iLife wannabe software from a dozen Third-Party vendors that don't work together.

Maybe MS need to expand their restrictions on WM7 bloatware and customisation to Windows 7 OEMs. Buying a computer with third-party implementation of Native Windows features really dilutes the brand.

One of the reasons MacBooks and MacBook Pros work so well as Windows Laptops is because BootCamp only installs the drivers needed to keep the hardware functioning. Apple even look after their users who run Windows!

Re:Bloatware Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197842)

You're kidding right? Sure Apple doesn't install any bloatware, but their Windows drivers are terrible. You can't use the standard graphics drivers from the manufacturers, you HAVE to use ones supplied by Apple (which are slow and lack functionality), the trackpad drivers are... frankly aweful...

I'd much rather use windows on a similarly spec'd non-mac.. (of course after a fresh install, but given you have to install windows on a mac too, it's a fair comparison)

Re:Bloatware Register (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197856)

Have you tried uninstalling crapware from an HP laptop?

I have an HP laptop, and I uninstalled all the crapware on day 1. It took (no kidding) 1.5 hour to uninstall "HP Help Documentation". My 'fresh' new laptop spend well over 4 hours uninstalling stuff. In retrospect I should have done a wipe and reinstall.

CHOKE ON THIS JODY !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197796)

Microsoft got a huge boost by the deal it did with buying Nokia. This will ensure the platform has legs and will probably ensure the slow death of HP/Palm WebOS which announced three new products this week.

While the WebOS looks like sauted road kill, let's not forget the Nokia-Intel joint venture: the MeeGo OS, a Linux-based piece of shit initiative that seems stillborn. Nokia mentioned that it will continue to experiment with MeeGo, but the Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop, did not seem too inspired by any sort of possibility that it will go anywhere. He was just being nice.

In fact, you have to wonder what Intel needs to do to get some respect in the mobile arena. When you think of mobile chipmakers, the last name to come to mind is Intel.

Whatever the case, Microsoft pulled a rabbit out of a hat with the Nokia deal, and over the next few months, this will be over-analyzed until we're sick of it.

I personally have written about Nokia strategies and think this decision is the most risky one it could make. Windows Phone 7 isn't going anywhere. It has no buzz, and Microsoft seems jinxed on some level. After all, Microsoft essentially invented the smartphone over a decade ago, long before the iPhone. Where did it get them?

Microsoft was single-handedly responsible for perception that the smartphone was a dog of an idea. The smartphone languished under Microsoft tutelage. Then the iPhone came along, and Microsoft was dumbfounded and slow to react. Years had to go by before a kind of iPhone-like Windows Phone 7 appeared too little and too late.

The irony, of course, is that Windows Phone 7 is not a bad OS and modern. In fact, a lot of what Microsoft has done on the mobile platforms has been quite good. Which brings us back to the notion that the company is "jinxed." Years of bragging, bad marketing. and lazy PR has resulted in major perception problems that Microsoft seems unaware of.

This was all epitomized by the Vista fiasco.

I was amused by the Nokia roll-out of its partnership with Microsoft where CEO Elop kept telling the media how the company will now change modes and get things done faster. Faster? With Microsoft? How would that work?

Nokia said it will continue with MeeGo in the background. None of the media at the press event managed to ask if Nokia is completely ruling out Android. My guess is no. And my guess is no only because the sluggish pace it will find coming from Microsoft.

In the mobile segment, things are flying. I see no evidence that Microsoft can keep up the torrid pace of real innovation. The company has gum on its feet.

I actually recall talking to Steve Ballmer during the roll-out of Windows 98 and asked him if the company was thinking of bringing out a complete and new upgrade to the OS every year like car companies do with their vehicle models. There was Windows 95 and then 98. It seemed headed that way.

He said they were considering it.

Well, since the two year gap between 98 and 2000, the gap has widened as the company cannot keep up a faster pace. You can get away with slowing down progress with a desktop computer and a game console, but not with these phones. Hopefully, Nokia has a plan B when the Windows Phone platform falls behind the rest of the pack.

Uneeded to start with. (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197804)

There's really no reason wireless device and PC makers even need to have "assistant" type programs written for their hardware to start with. They only need a driver itself, as Windows since XP has had it's own configuration utility with a system tray icon telling you when you're connected or not.

OT: PS to Slashdot coders: I'd really like to be able to use Firefox's spellchecker in here again. It highlights misspelled words but I can't correct them with it ever since you forced this dumb new layout on us. Same with italic tags not working anymore. Have you ever heard the phrase "if it aint broken don't fix it"?

Re:Uneeded to start with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197826)

But but but but HOW would we push our crapware with our "buy Crapware Pro" then?

Re:Uneeded to start with. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198032)

"Wireless assistant" tray programs don't have Pro versions.

The only thing they do that the XP icons doesn't is change to reflect the signal strength you're getting (at least in XP, having not use Vista or Win7 maybe they've beefed up the notification icon since then).

Re:Uneeded to start with. (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35197940)

Same with italic tags not working anymore.

Just use <em>.

Re:Uneeded to start with. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198282)

So what's with <b>/</b> still working? Why didn't they deprecate that and force <strong> on us?

Consistency fail.

Re:Uneeded to start with. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197946)

...and a HOME link in the footer could be brought back too.

Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35197968)

Oh wow, a driver had a BUG. News at eleven.

And it didn't update automatically? Sheesh, HP, how dare you! You should know that the Slashdot crowd wants nothing more than software that automatically phones home, dowloads code, executes it and modifies your machine in the process without you even knowing!

Brought to us by people who buried the cooling fan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198000)

Jayme Guitierrez wrote a great song about his experience trying to clean the cooling fan on an HP Pavillion. http://tinyurl.com/6yeay5b Maybe he should write another about HP's wifi program. It must be easier to make software impossible than it was to make hardware impossible.

install windows 7, skip the hp tools (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198020)

last summer I was given(by work) a hp elitebook(15 incher, about).
recently I did the switch to using it, ssd'ing it as well. and damn, it's a nice machine, coupled with windows 7. with windows xp and the preinstalled stuff, not so much.

the reason why the hp wlan manager sucks is simple too, it's unnecessary to begin with, it's decored so that it doesn't follow the native look'n'feel, it's designed by a USER EXPERIENCE idiot committee, not by a committee that knew what it actually could be used for or who knew how the wlan bit actually worked(it would be useful tool if it had options for adjusting this offending wmi, transmit powers etc - the stuff you'd still have to adjust from driver properties if you were using it).

now, if finding working notebook gpu drivers wasn't that much of an adventure(the gpu in that elitebook is nvidia mvs 5100, in other words it's some recent gf but it's a hit and miss which drivers work).

but something about windows 7 surprised me: it automatically downloaded the software for the ms keyboard I have, which was released before vista but which vista lacked built in driver acquirement for, as it needs some special sw for the programmable keys. so after installing the os and installing winamp, I could control winamp with the keyboard play/pause/stop/next/prev buttons - without doing any configuration. THIS is how things should work, but very few companies seem to focus that their machines would work like that - instead they brand the shit out of everything from volume adjuster to power profile management.

Hence, the success of platforms that limit bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198072)

What? I thought Ling Ching Vee 2000 Plus Plus lite edition combo DVD silencer, video driver, all around document file re-associater/viewer with built-in auto-update and tray icon 'quick menu' plus customizable ring-tone notifier was what everybody wants?

Re:Hence, the success of platforms that limit bloa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198112)

I forgot to mention the free bing/yahoo/google combo volume control toolbar for Internet Explorer with bonus Windows Explorer context menu add-on [Is Not Responding]. Apple would have this too, along with malware and viruses, but its just not 'popular' enough.

Seo India (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198076)

Thanks for showing up such fabulous information. I like this post, keep writing and give informative post...!

Seo India [seobaba.com]

buy a CD ?? huh ? (1)

Randy_Leatherbelly (1983850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198084)

damn sure i wouldn't BUY another Windows OS as soon as i bought a new computer, i have a couple of clean OEM discs and just use the serial glued to the new toy, if you can get a couple of clean OEMs it certainly makes the whole affair a tidier one. Still think most folks would be more than happier with a Distro like Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS or Mepis, ones that come with codecs & flash .. then they can do their Farmville or whatever it is. my customers really like it :)

bloatware -- wit or wit'out? (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198110)

Bloatware is a major pita for any computer tech whose gotta remove it or for any average joe who actually notice that it's the reason their computer is slower than it can be. I argue that its a necessary evil for retail laptops though

Next time someone asks you to help them pick a laptop tell them they can get x model for a bargain at $899 or they can get x model - hassle of bloatware for $1199. Just about everyone i know would take the model with the bloatware cause its cheaper and deal with the problem later.

stand up to MS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198122)

HP ruleZ!
go webOS!

I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198142)

people could make their own laptops the way you can make a desktop. Cell phone too. Tablet also.

Re:I wish (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198400)

you can.

http://www.msimobile.com/ [msimobile.com]

Buy a barebones laptop with the features you want.

Buy the processor you want
buy the ram you want
buy the pci-express mini cards for the prephrials you want.
buy the OS you want.
start assembling and installing. I built one years ago this way and ended up with a great laptop that was 100% linux compatible. Problem is that nobody has a mobile video card slot so you are stuck with buying onboard

Those wireless assistant programs (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198148)

Are just plain evil to begin with. Broadcom, Intel, HP, Dell, whomever it comes from, I've yet to encounter one that didn't interfere with the normal function of the computer in some way.

Re:Those wireless assistant programs (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198286)

Worst is when people end up with multiple different ones; I had a guy with Dell laptop recently, he had wireless assistant type utilities from Dell, his ISP, and the wifi chip maker all trying to mess with his connection at the same time, which took ages to connect, and kept disconnecting and doing weird stuff. Uninstalled all of those utilities, fast and reliable connections ensued. Curses on those utilities.

HP Wireless Assistant isn't exactly useless (2)

Schreckgestalt (692027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198196)

Even though some might say that HP Wireless Assistant is bloatware, it isn't really.

It lets you switch on/off individual "wireless devices", like Bluetooth, WiFi or the newer WWAN adapters. Turning the ones off you don't need will definitely save battery life, and it might add some security.

And before anyone says "hey, that's what device manager is for", it's not. Device manager allows you to disable devices, but that would require administrator privileges, whereas the HP Wireless Assistant allows any user to do that.

I do agree, though, that much of the software on the machines you buy in the store is rubbish and is only there so you can buy your computer for less money than you could if the software wasn't there. Think about it.

Blame Consumers (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198272)

One must ask, "Why are the manufacturers pre-installing this bloat?". My guess is that it helps manufactures keep low prices on machines that otherwise would be out of reach for many consumers wrt to price. Consumers are hungry for slick deals and manufacturers need creative ways to re-coup money lost on razor thin profit margins. So, the manufacture reaches out to other companies and say "Hey, I will put a link to a 30-day trial of your software on our core image of all new laptops, just give us $10.00 per laptop." They do that 10 times and now they can sell the laptop for $10.00 over cost and still make $100 per laptop.

Ask yourself this, if you saw an option on the build-your-own-laptop build site that said "Clean O/S Install - No Advertising or Bloat" with a price tag of $99.95 would you check the box? What about the average Joe consumer looking for that great deal?

Re:Blame Consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35198294)

Yeah, and darn those consumers for creating the market for $25 ink cartridge that costs as much to produces as a package of ball point pens.

Vendor crapware is NOT NEEDED... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35198370)

Dell, HP, Toshiba all feel they need to install "helperware" that is nothing more than :Hinderware. Whenever I buy a new laptop the first thing I have to do is crack open the windows OS CD and reinstall the OS. IT's faster than stripping out all he crap that dell and the others shovel into these things. and that's only if I am keen enough to see the checkmark to include the recovery media when I buy it. HP tell you to go F***K yourself and will not give you any recovery media but make you waste 2 hours creating it from the laptop. (That and their retarded trackpad design makes HP top slot on my never buy list)

Why cant these laptop makers do the simple task of... Give me a clean OS install with drivers. NO OTHER CRAPWARE....

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