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MS Will Remove OEM 'Crapware' For $99

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the i-thought-that-was-called-ubuntu dept.

Businesses 474

walterbyrd writes about a program from Microsoft to clean up bloated base installs, for a price. From the article: "Microsoft even offers up numbers to show how detrimental this OEM-installed crapware is to your system. Microsoft claims that Signature systems start up 39 percent faster, go into sleep mode 23 percent faster, and resume from sleep a whopping 51 percent faster compared to their crapware-ladened counterparts. (A 'Signature' system is one without crapware). But now, Microsoft will offer customers the opportunity to give their Windows 7 PC the Signature treatment by bringing it to a Microsoft Store and paying $99, according to the Wall Street Journal."

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We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (4, Informative)

vwpau227 (462957) | about a year ago | (#40053355)

I'm sure we are not alone, along with other computer stores in the area, we do a "wipe and reload" of the OEM Windows (XP, Vista, or 7) for $65 plus the applicable taxes, and we'll even load the latest service pack for Windows on the computer. It can make the computer run faster, but frankly I don't think it is really necessary for most new computer systems. The Acer TravelMate and Acer Veriton (business class) systems that we sell comes with very little in terms of additional OEM bundled software.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (5, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#40053375)

I did it to my Dell at home for free.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (0)

vwpau227 (462957) | about a year ago | (#40053415)

Sure, you can do it yourself, but my point is that I think their price is a little steep compared to the standard market price for this sort of work. Plus, many business-class computers like the Acer TravelMate and Acer Veriton computers don't have much bundled with the system in terms of OEM software in any case.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#40053615)

Steep? Not so sure about that. We're talking about a process which takes a considerable amount of time. Of course, when I do it, I pay particular attention to verious details such as reloading the applications software as well as device drivers. I'm not saying it's "hard" but it is time consuming.

My first reaction was "Do they uninstall HP printer drivers?" I swear, I used to love HP printers. But lately I haven't seen a "driver only' install in place. It's always dozens of programs monitoring and reporting on printer things... paper, ink/toner and all that. Still not as bad as a Xerox program which consistently prevented a machine from shutting down normally, but it's kind of ridiculous.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (4, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | about a year ago | (#40053737)

I got the driver package labeled "IT professionals only", that didn't include the crapware and was 1/10th the size to download.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#40053655)

Ah, but what they're selling is that it's done by "trusted" Microsoft people and what you get is a Certified Microsoft Windows Enter-Buzzword-Here. You always pay more for a name brand, even if you're getting the same thing. Or in this case, the same name brand.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year ago | (#40053515)

Well, the "Full install CD" was 5€ or so. I don't remember exactly, but that's fully worth it if you want a non-crapified Windows. That said, I have to admit that I bought that Quad i7 laptop, installed 7 fresh and then I didn't touch it ever since. Bought it June last year or so.

My Linux nettop just seems to do all I ask from it. Coulda saved me the money of the new laptop, but it was such a steal at 525€. Oh, well, I'll surely find a use for it one of these days.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (-1, Troll)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#40053579)

I did it to my Dell at home for free.

Hopefully, that means you installed a decent Linux-based OS instead.

Re-installing Windows 7 without the crapware is still crapware in my opinion, since your DRM'd computer is still going to ask you to prove that your copy of Windows is genuine every couple of weeks (with yet another newer version of its genuine validation tool every time).

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#40053633)

I could do that, but then it wouldn't be as compatible with some of the crapware I do want to run.

No, and I don't bother to reinstall Windows either. I just uninstall the Dell junk I don't want to use. There are also couple of items that are somewhat useful and already included in the (cheap) price I paid so I left those alone.

IMO, uninstalling Windows and installing Linux is just trading one set of headaches for another. Not worth the trouble in my case, though it is for some.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (2)

DAldredge (2353) | about a year ago | (#40053749)

None of the systems I manage nor any of my systems at home exhibit the behavior you describe. Perhaps you are embellishing just a bit?

I do it for free... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053391)

I have a CD labelled "Ubuntu"

Re:I do it for free... (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#40053469)

I've notice that Ubuntu is beginning to see the crapware creep in also. Fortunately when I decided to move I found that Mepis worked better and without the bloat.

Re:I do it for free... (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#40053497)

What 3rd party software did you find preinstalled?

I'm curious, I'm running 12.04 and haven't noticed anything like that.

Re:I do it for free... (2, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#40053597)

Likely video drivers and other "non-free" stuff.

However, it can be argued that almost ALL Linux software is 3rd party.... as well as being first party. That's the whole point.

Re:I do it for free... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053721)

Non-free, in this context, means it's not free software or open source but, rather, proprietary. This has nothing to do with price, and it's most certainly not crapware. These are drivers whose source isn't open, so Canonical made sure to let you know when your hardware requires non-free drivers to run it, rather than installing it automatically without telling you. One could argue that it should not be there in the first place, or that it should just be installed automatically and that's it, but no one who knows what these things are would call this crapware. These are just drivers.

You know what is crapware, though? The “drivers” that you install on Windows, where you download a 500 MB package just to get your printer working, and you suddenly have a whole new print dialogue, a bunch of printer-related utilities you don't need, a bunch of services running all the time, and even a new default image viewer. You don't see this with Ubuntu. I don't know how you could. It comes preinstalled in very few places. And, generally, when you plug in these printers with Ubuntu, they just work immediately.

Re:I do it for free... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053641)

Smug arrogance from a Linux user - what a surprise /s

Re:I do it for free... (0)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#40053785)

A stupid remark from a "crapware loaded windows" user - what a surprise!

Re:I do it for free... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053857)

Perhaps I'm a Linux user who doesn't like the smug arrogance that I see often. Or perhaps I'm a Mac User who dislikes smug arrogance from anyone, or perhaps your comment is wrong. Your assumption is not a fact.

try $30 no tax cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053397)


Re:try $30 no tax cash (1)

DeeEff (2370332) | about a year ago | (#40053457)

Gen-Ki Karate and Kung Fu Club?

They do computer repairs now?

Re:try $30 no tax cash (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053537)

I guess their new motto is "We kick the crap outta crapware!"

Re:try $30 no tax cash (1)

vwpau227 (462957) | about a year ago | (#40053559)

There are a number of people on Craigslist and Kijiji around here that will do that sort of work for that sort of price, but I am unclear if most consumers are willing to give their computer to someone from an online advertisement. Obviously there isn't as much overhead as with a computer store for those who are doing this.

The company I work for has been in business since 1995. I figure we target much the same consumer as Microsoft in this case: a reputable place to send the computer for service for those who are unable to do the sort of work themselves, or really don't have the time or inclination to do so.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#40053715)

For all the crap Sony does, they get some things right. When I bought a Sony laptop for a client, I had to make system restore DVDs (it had a SSD and the restore partition was eating up too much space). During the process, I noticed a "minimal" restore option in addition to the complete restore. I did some reading and found that it's just the OS and necessary drivers. None of the crapware that normally comes preinstalled.

So I wiped the drive, did the minimal restore, and it was exactly as advertised. Clean system, all drivers preinstalled, no crapware. Hats off to the Sony engineer or manager who insisted on that feature.

Re:We do it at our store for $65 plus tax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053819)

That's changed? I bought a Vaio laptop a decade ago and it was so loaded down with crapware that I could barely open up the task manager to kill the antivirus program that was using 99% of the processing time. And that was immediately upon booting the first time.

I've never bought a computer that was that heavily loaded down with crap in my entire life.

PC Decrapifier: Free (4, Informative)

Sarusa (104047) | about a year ago | (#40053371)

http://pcdecrapifier.com/ [pcdecrapifier.com]

I tell everyone who gets a pre-installed PC to run this.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053437)

Which is itself full of crap. The irony.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#40053447)

I tell everyone to use a far better decrapifier [distrowatch.org]. Those who have listened always thank me profusely every time the subject comes up. BTW - Where is the source code for the one you mentioned, so I can verify that it really does what is promised, and doesn't add malware in the process?

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year ago | (#40053499)

Not that it makes a difference. The people that have crapware can't read code.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#40053527)

I openly concede to being completely anti-Microsoft, and proud of it, but even I wouldn't claim that people who buy computers loaded with additional crapware can't read and understand code.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053501)

And yet the vast majority of people I know who if asked to try Linux would....not be thanking about, and if they did anything, they'd beat you profusely for putting them through it.

I honestly wonder how many people with Linux-mania really understand how most people react.

It ain't positive.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#40053617)

Which part of "Those who have listened always thank me profusely every time the subject comes up." didn't you understand?

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053827)

Which is just what I expected you to do, try to qualify it by excluding those people who didn't listen to you.

If they had, well, then they'd be enlightened and thank you. If they don't, obviously it's their fault.

Typical. Anybody that doesn't swoon over it, they're the ones with the problem.

And yes, as the other person said below, your advocacy is your own worst enemy.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#40053847)

"Which is just what I expected you to do, try to qualify it by excluding those people who didn't listen to you."

You are assuming that the people who didn't try Linux didn't have a favorable experience with Linux. How did you jump to that conclusion?

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053843)

They are thanking you profusely so you won't break their computer again when they complain about something Windows does.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (4, Funny)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#40053517)

I looked through that site. Didn't see anything useful there, just a bunch of linux distributions.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053541)

Still want to play games. Prefer Fedora myself. Linux has not come out of the stable yet on games. When they do, it is game over for MS on an at home PC.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053573)

I too install this on people's computer when they don't actually want to run software. You can change the wallpaper so it's sweet.

Preaching To The Choir (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#40053723)

I tell everyone to use a far better decrapifier. Those who have listened always thank me profusely every time the subject comes up.

The probability that a geek will post a oh-so-cleverly disguised link to a Linux distribution as the all-purpose solution to any problem with Windows approaches 100% on any online forum ---

but the trend line for Linux adoption remains as flat as the Kansas prairies.

Top 5 Operating Systems From Apr 2011 to Apr 2012 [statcounter.com]
OS Platform Stats 2003-2012 [w3schools.com]

The good folks who post to Ars Technica have grown rather weary of the business --- and quite sharp with those who continue to waste their time.

Thanks for the laugh, buddy (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#40053775)

Oh My Godz!!! I cantz Believez It, but it must be Twue! I saw it on the Interwebz! Also, there are a lot more Fords on the road than Mercedes Benz' so obviously Ford is the better car!

Re:Preaching To The Choir (0)

mcneely.mike (927221) | about a year ago | (#40053829)

Yes, we know... the world is full of stupid people. We smart ones know exactly who you are... and we're watching you be stupid there in the Kansas prairies and the rest of the U.S. Enjoy your windows and your massive debt.... someday you'll pretend you are smart like us and you'll begin to use linux as well. But we'll know... we'll know.

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053453)

I tell everyone to simply install Ubuntu...

Re:PC Decrapifier: Free (2)

Sarusa (104047) | about a year ago | (#40053491)

I guess I need to tediously make the point that the one I mention is usable for people who I don't want to play tech support for, don't care about free/oss, and have no interest in leaving Windows (and if they did would go to OS X).

It's the guy who went to CostCo (or gawd forbid Best Buy) and 'bought a new laptop' and can't tell me exactly which one. I tell him 'go here, run this', and he's happy.

Anyone who would wipe it and install Linux already knows what to do (as I did with my last server).

Synonymous Saturday (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053373)

Sounds like something asymptotically approaching extortion.

What comes around ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053439)

I like the crapware.

You see, will all that crapware I can say that Windows is slower than shit compared to Linux or Mac. And when people say, "Oh, that's not Windows that all the other software on it.

I say, "it came with my new system. My Windows system. A system that requires that software to be on there for it to be sold. Can I buy it without that software? No. Therefore, it is a Windows problem."

Then I smugly walkaway after my completely brilliant asinine argument.

$99 !!!!!! (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year ago | (#40053377)

Oh my... Is this just like going to an MS store and buying an brand new Windows 7?

Looks like MS wants to double dip here. They force feed Windows licenses to constructors that don't know any better than to crappify it, and then you have to go to MS again to de-crappify it?


Re:$99 !!!!!! (4, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#40053429)

MS does not force anything on OEMs.

OEMs are the ones making deals with other crapware supplies to put their SW on the computers for money.

Dell or whoever buys the bulk license from MS, Dell then goes and gets paid to put the crapware on their computers when they are sold. I fail to see how you can fault MS for any of that.

Don't want crapware, well MS sells a clean version of their OS, and now they are also offering a removal service.

Most likely, people pay. They do research. (1)

h00manist (800926) | about a year ago | (#40053507)

I would assume they did lots of research and concluded that people will pay that value for that service.

Re:$99 !!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053529)

So $99 to remove the crapware and $80 to upgrade from Win7 Starter (so you can change your wallpaper). I'll stick to Linux. I'm not going to pay as much to get windows usable as I did for the machine in the first place!

What a rip off (1)

mysqlbytes (908737) | about a year ago | (#40053383)

One simple solution to most crapware: msconfig Stop all the unnecessary from loading at startup! Teach a man to fish... doesn't stop him installing crap.

the internet does it for free (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053393)


remove all the crapware? (2, Funny)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year ago | (#40053405)

Then you won't have a Windows OS. Is it worth $99 to have your OS removed? I dunno. But inquiring minds want to know!

Re:remove all the crapware? (2, Funny)

aklinux (1318095) | about a year ago | (#40053535)

The last Dell laptop I got, by the time I removed all the crapware, it wouldn't boot. Kept complaining about "no operating system found" or some-such. I installed Linux, and all was well :)

Latest from your local dealer! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053427)

Bring your brand-new car back to the dealer, and for only $1000 we'll put air in your tires so you can accelerate to highway speeds!

Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053445)

Wish you could do this with Android smartphones. Most of the time, their crapware isn't even user-removable.

The worst crap in a Windows PC is Windows itself. (-1, Flamebait)

lvxferre (2470098) | about a year ago | (#40053471)

Does this "MS Decrap" removes their crap OS too? I bet it doesn't.
(Sorry guys, not flamebait. But this was inevitable to say...)

I thought they were going to charge this way: (1)

ibic00 (2534408) | about a year ago | (#40053487)

Windows 7 Home Premium: $99.99
Windows 7 Professional: $149.99
Windows 7 Ultimate: $199.99

Re:I thought they were going to charge this way: (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year ago | (#40053555)

Seriously. This would save everyone a whole lot of trouble. Whenever my parents's computer inevitably gets a malware infection, I tell them I'm done rooting through their registry cleaning the crap out. I'm just going to format and reinstall Windows. Copy the shit you want to keep somewhere safe and I'll move it back when I'm done. It's instantly fixed and much faster.

Not that bad... (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about a year ago | (#40053503)

I mean, I charge $50 for that service-- $100 if it's bad enough to consider in a repair (= reinstall), & considering how much microsoft overcharges the general population ($120 for home premium!? Frys has OEM copies for $90!) it's actually not THAT bad...

If you can't fix it feature it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053583)

If you can't fix it feature it.

Wouldn't it be easier (0)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year ago | (#40053587)

Wouldn't it be easier to just eliminate all crapware including Windows?

Re:Wouldn't it be easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053613)

Of course it's easier to not include it in the first place. What people don't realize is that the PC builders like Dell get kickbacks from the crapware vendors for installing their junk on your PC. Eliminate that source of revenue and expect to pay more for your PC. That's the reality and I think people are too cheap to pay the extra few dollars to eliminate the headaches.

When I buy Dell machines, I usually get them from the Business division which has little or no crapware. Sure it's a few more dollars but its cheap in the long run when I don't have to waste my time cleaning it up.

50% cpu gain on one system just by disabling one a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053589)

I had one low end system that just by disabling one piece of OEM crapware that was installed on the system just to make they system more friendly for home usage and intended for use in multimedia systems I doubled it's performance. Thjis was from a top tier mfg.

I suspect the app was originally developed on more powerful systems and nobody thought of the load when they decided it would be perfect on such a low end systems.

Do it yourself for free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053591)

Load Linux, repartition your primary HDD, install Linux. Crapware (including MS WinCrap) GONE for good! No cost. Yay!

Sit back, smile. Be Free. Linux.

In related news (4, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#40053593)

GM announced that all new cars would be sold with holes in the tires and a low fuel mileage ECM program until you purchase GM select service.

Just do a fresh install (3, Informative)

SirBitBucket (1292924) | about a year ago | (#40053609)

First off, I build my own machines. So they are crap free. But all you gotta do is get a real windows install disc, not the one from the OEM which usually just reinstalls all the crapware, and reinstall windows from scratch. Sure you may need a few drivers, but Windows 7 usually handles that mainly automatically. It should take our windows key from the bottom of the machine... That and never runs 32 bit OS...

Re:Just do a fresh install (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053825)

I'm sad to say that most people can't reinstall their operating system. Even just inserting the CD, turning on the computer and pressing Next is too taxing for a lot of people, and often you have to make decisions (like format the drive? add partitions? what is your network setup?) that seem simple to us but are impenetrable to most people.
Looking at it from that angle, and taking in mind that from what I've seen (mostly laptops) the crapware consumes 30% CPU when the machine is idle, a hundred is pretty good value for money. It's only slightly more expensive than the hobbyist-run shops, and probably more thorough and you have better recourse when you aren't satisfied.

Surreal (4, Insightful)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#40053623)

[I know I'm gonna be modded troll, but whatever...]

People pay for a computer with an OS, then pay again to remove all the crap that come bundled. Yet it will still interrupt them in the middle of their presentations with annoying antivirus/upgrade/whatever messages, or keep them from using their computer for more than ten minutes when they had to restart, and the system becomes non-interactive updating itself*.

Then these same people come and ask me: why do you use a free OS? It must be crap! [insert facepalm image here]

[*true story, happened to my teacher during class. I guess it was deserved, for he had installed Windows in his MacBook.]

Re:Surreal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053747)

wow - you're f**** intelligent - wow - i bet you're fat

The thing I like most about Windows (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053669)

When you use it, you get exactly what you deserve.

Task manager, registry, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053683)

For a user that doesn't know anything about Windows, I guess paying might be worth it. I just go through and check my processes to find out what they are. Anything that isn't needed, find it and kill it. Sometimes you might think it's crapware but it's not. Example: laptop daemon that checks for shocks and retracts the head of your hard drive. I would hate to have some dumb "remove it if it's not OEM" procedure uninstall that.

If you're comfortable with regedit, it's worth it to take the time yourself. You usually have to run through and change settings anyway because of stupid MS defaults (hide extensions is the most annoying, are they still doing that?).

Order without crapware (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#40053693)

The last time I ordered a desktop PC, it was from Central Computers [centralcomputers.com], a computer chain with a clue. I ordered it without crapware, and the invoice actually said "no crapware". Very nice.

Central Computers, though, is a local SF bay area chain, based in Silicon Valley. They do mail order, but they assume you know what you want. The order menu starts with "select AMD or Intel", and the operating system menu has "No operating system" as an option, which reduces the price by $109.95,

Where have I seen this business model before.... (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | about a year ago | (#40053697)

I should do this with crack. First rock is $99, and I'll remove the rat poison for another $49. Your call.

Do it for free, legally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053717)

This method works a treat


f*** y** s**** d** (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053729)

Always about shitting on MS - leave it alone, go run linux and stop with the anti-MS stuff.

Re:f*** y** s**** d** (1)

Surt (22457) | about a year ago | (#40053805)

It's hard to imagine how this article could be worded much more neutrally.

The Double-Dip is Real Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40053767)

True, MS doesn't install crapware on new PCs, but their OEM vendors do; practical upshot is: when you bought that vended Dell, Dell had a deal with MS to ensure that Windows would be on it.

What this means is, your Dell came with a discounted Windows. That was a part of the price you paid.

Now pay the difference between the full price and the discounted price by paying Microsoft to remove the code that Dell added.

Yeah, I call "bullshit."

arms dealer (2)

Surt (22457) | about a year ago | (#40053791)

The best way to make money is to sell to both sides. MS sells info on how to make your crapware difficult to remove to the crapware authors, then sells removal service. Next up will be selling removal exemptions to the crapware authors.

Why don't OEMs offer this? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year ago | (#40053831)

Somehow I seriously doubt that any OEM is making $99 per machine in crapware profits, so what's stopping OEMs from offering a "clean" image install for $30 less than a crapware-laden one as a competitive offering?

Sorry MS, but I fail to see the real advantage here in paying you when one SHOULD be able to eliminate the crapware step in the first place.

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