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Dell To Techs: Don't Help Customers Remove Spyware

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the thanks-mike-thanks-a-bunch dept.

Security 1013

Alien54 writes "Well, more exactly, be advised that if you are giving a Dell for Xmas, not only will it probably come preloaded with spyware, but their tech support lines will refuse to tell users how to remove it, and will not give people advice on where to find some good tools to remove it. As seen in the latest newsletter from SpyWareInfo, Dell sent an internal memo to its tech support minions which says in part: 'NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.' This means we do not take callers to download.com or doxdesk.com, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs. This includes using phrases "We don't support the removal of spyware, but I use..."'" (Read on below.Update: 12/03 06:36 GMT by T : And for an update, too.)"Now isn't that just nifty. Several folks in the antispyware/antivirus community have signed an open letter to Dell Inc. asking them to retract this possibly foolish and misguided policy. That letter is located at here." Update: 12/03 06:36 GMT Mike Healan, editor of spywareinfo.com, writes "The original posting is misleading. Dell is absolutely not installing or preinstalling spyware and the headline gives the impression that it is."

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OMG LUNIX ON TEH SPOKE!!!!111` (-1)

Greased_Yoda (724757) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615179)

It's the fristy ps0t for you fucking homos.

WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615213)

ON TEH SPOKE!!!!111`

What the hell does this mean? Is this some sort of a crap flood? Why do you trolls keep repeating this nonsensical "ON TEH SPOKE"?

Re:WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615238)

Why do you read at -1, dipshit?

Re:WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615271)

Why do you read at -1, dipshit?

Obviously, he is ON TEH SPOKE!!!!111

Re:WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615292)

Why do you read at -1, dipshit?

Obviously, he is ON TEH SPOKE!!!!111

Re:WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615357)

posts do not arrive at -1 so there is a chance that

he's ON TEH SPOKE!!!!11111

Re:WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN???? (-1, Troll)

Greased_Yoda (724757) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615322)

I'm gonna waste my other post for the next 24 hours to tell you.

It doesn't mean anything! TEH SPOKE only exists to make slashdot more interesting. The tRolls here are ON TEH SPOKE because they are the smartest and most entertaining posters. All the poeple that post serious comments are blowhards or idiots or just plain like to hear tehmselves talk.

I like to GET SOME SPOKE ON with some jelly! Oh wait, that's salad tossing I'm thinking of OMG LUNIX ON TEH SPOKE!!!!!

An important announcement: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615184)

NOONE SHOULD ATTEMPT VAGINAL OR ANAL INTERCOURSE WITH A STALLION unless they have are experienced in fist fucking or have taken a large dog in to the max ( IE knot and all). A horse has an enormus cock and could do serious damage to someone who is not prepared.

Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. I took a horse cock all the way up my ass and, well, things went awry. As always, here [yahoo.com] is a picture.

Nasty (5, Insightful)

Steve 'Rim' Jobs (728708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615189)

But an obvious solution, I guess, is simply to not recommend Dell to your friends and family. Not that I ever did in the first place.

Re:Nasty (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615274)

Dell is complete shit. They used to be THE shit, now they are just shit. I know way to many people who have had nothing but problems with the company itself and their support, which brings us to the "e" in Dell. It's crooked just like the employees.. beware.

Build one for them.... (2, Insightful)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615277)

This is what I always end up doing for family and friends. In the future I will end up working on their computer anyway they go (most of you probally have the same experience). When I work on it I would like to have the most knowledge of the software/hardware configuration.

Then... (1, Interesting)

setzman (541053) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615192)

What DO they recommend instead? Reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling to solve the spyware related problems?

Re:Then... (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615208)

come preloaded with spyware


Nope.

A mare will require something to stand on or "plat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615309)

A mare will require something to stand on or "platform shoes"...(IE mini stilts to raise you a foot off the ground) so that you can reach her pussy.

No luck for many... (3, Interesting)

Angram (517383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615228)

I don't think that will work for the average user. Dell provides special CDs to restore Dell programs (drivers, support software, and now spyware, it would seem). Since most people would not want to search for every driver individually on the internet, and many use the Dell programs, they'll probably just use the restore CD they reformat, which would just put the spyware back on.

alternative (3, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615303)

> Dell provides special CDs to restore Dell programs...

Debian provide some pretty special CDs too.

Re:No luck for many... (2, Informative)

jon787 (512497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615366)

Dell ships you a half dozen CDs. The first one is window reinstall. Then there is a drivers, utilities, and diagnostics one. And the a few application CDs. You don't have to reinstall everything, in fact IIRC the windows reinstall disc doesn't even remind you to go install drivers. Which could catch some people off guard.

This all assumes they didn't change it in the last year.

Go Free. (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615260)

What DO they recommend instead? Reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling to solve the spyware related problems?

If the spyware is on the computer when you buy it, the spyware is also on the "recovery" CD.

Dude, you're getting Debian [debian.org] , and you can try it out with Knoppix [knopper.net] , is the only answer that won't cost you $150 and still come with spyware. That's right, XP home comes with spyware all on it's own. Tools such as spybot and addaware, as nice as they are, can't really solve the problem. Closed source sucks that way, and it's getting worse every year.

...An Answer (5, Interesting)

Ironmaus (725832) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615285)

In the open letter [spywareinfo.com] from the anti-spyware community, they say a representative from Dell informed them the response would be: "Call your ISP."

If that's true, it's a travesty. That's like your car insurance provider telling you that dealing with damage to your vehicle from a collision should be dealt with by the Department of Transportation.

I don't understand why Dell doesn't grab the bull by the horns and partner up with somebody. Isn't that what all the pre-packaged computer companies do these days? They all have a buddy in the anti-virus industry. When digital music became the craze, they leapt to bundle MusicMatch and the like. Why not call up LavaSoft and say, "Want to get packed in with everything we sell?" Dell's choice seems like a step away from gaining customer confidence.

Yes, that's what they tell users to do (1)

smartfart (215944) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615337)

I had always heard they recommended just that... then 2 weeks ago I called Dell for a client, and was told to reformat and reinstall. In a very calculated manner, I basically blew up on the guy for not caring about my data.

Oh, and two transfers later, I finally had a hardware tech walk me through diagnostics which said my drive was bad, which they replaced.

Sorry, hang on (5, Informative)

kid-noodle (669957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615196)

That excerpt from the memo says no such thing.

What it says is Dell are for some reason now very aware that they're at risk of getting sued if they advise people to do thinks that violate somebody's EULA.

Re:Sorry, hang on (1)

Bored Huge Krill (687363) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615214)

I agree. This isn't saying that Dell endorses spyware, or that they think it's a good thing. The very fact that they call it "spyware" would seem to indicate they don't exactly have a positive view. This is just a legal liability thing; they don't want to get sued by a spyware provider which accuses Dell of assisting one of their customers in the violation of an EULA.

Krill

Re:Sorry, hang on (4, Insightful)

nexex (256614) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615256)

not only that, you could you argue that it was an endorsement from dell. if you end up frying your system from using some software the dell tech told you to use, dell might be found liable

The (-1, Offtopic)

TokyoBoy (217214) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615197)

stupid sumbiches....

well this means more returns! (1)

reptilian biotech (237193) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615198)

I would be happy to sell some dell user one of my machines instead.. seems a day of a noob installing spyware totally hoses any machine...

Dell says system restore CD everytime anyway, how is this different?

What on Earth are they thinking?! (4, Interesting)

That_Dan_Guy (589967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615199)

Who's lawyers called up theirs to tell them user license agreements would be violated if Dell techs told people how to remove Spyware and therefore make Dell liable and sueable?!

Well, no matter, we wipe all the Dells we get in at my company (thank god for RIS).

Jeesh...

Son of a... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615200)

Fuck those cock suckers and the horse they rode in on! What's next, e-mail preloaded with spam?

3.14 15 0N T3H SP043! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615202)

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Re:3.14 15 0N T3H SP043! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615249)

Wow! Nice job on getting that past the lameness filter. Or maybe it doesn't do numbers. Either way, this information is invaluable to the troll community. I salute you for your continuing efforts at improving not only yourself, but the community as a whole. As a token of my appreciation, I present to you a greased-up Yoda doll. Congratulations.

I'm not surprised. (0, Troll)

Spyro VII (666885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615203)

*sigh*

Yet another example of corporate arrogance and stupidity.

Dell is not your computer handyman (5, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615205)

If you buy a Dell, they support the hardware and software they sold you. They don't support random crap you decided to download from the Internet, nor will they be able to answer your cooking questions. Why does this surprise people?

Re:Dell is not your computer handyman (4, Insightful)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615252)

Well, the problem is that Dell can get a bad name for customer support, from idiots whose spyware-riddled computers don't work right. If Dell can't fix it for them, then Dell products must be crap, the idiot thinking goes.

Most people would be smart enough to realize that damage caused from sugar being poured into a car's gas tank is not the responsibility of the car manufacturer, but when it comes to computers, far fewer people are able to make similar parallels.

Re:Dell is not your computer handyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615336)

But fewer people are smart enough to realize the only thing you're going to ruin by pouring sugar into a gas tank is a $5 fuel filter that is (on most cars) easily replaced. ;-)

Re:Dell is not your computer handyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615270)

Because they are not denying that it may intefere with software preinstalled on the box.
Like they may be knowingly installing software on the system that includes spyware as part of the licensing.
If that is true, then it is complete crap to setup your users like this without telling them.

Re:Dell is not your computer handyman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615364)

Wrong....!

The SPYWARE come from Dell, its on the computers when you buy them.

Just got one of the HP deals at Walmart, spent 3 hours despying/adware'ing it.

can't blame `em (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615209)

Spyware is a pain in the neck to remove (regedit anyone?), and tech support for removing it probably costs them a fortune.

This just sounds like a semi-good excuse to me.

Re:can't blame `em (1, Troll)

Steve 'Rim' Jobs (728708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615268)

I sure can "blame" them. They seem to be the only computer company doing this, and who knows if they even install spyware on their computers at the factory. At the very least, they need to realize that spyware can seriously cripple computers, and is just as important an issue as hardware failures or driver problems.

Dude, (3, Funny)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615210)

I'm not getting a Dell!

Right!!!!! (0, Troll)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615211)

Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system.

Because i know when i buy a computer there is a contract I sign that says I want it fully loaded with spyware. Now granted when the computer boots up sometimes there are user agreements that needed to be clicked, but I just have one of my siblings that are under 18 click agree to those. So How did i violate a license agreement?

Re:Right!!!!! (1)

toast0 (63707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615287)

having your sibling do it, in no way resolves you of the legal obligations (if any) of the EULA.

your sibling was acting as your agent, and you are bound by his actions.

Sorry... (1)

Chodak (727106) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615215)

"Sorry, but we don't endorse or reccommend the use of Dell computers." ... "The use of Dell computers may violate your right to privacy." Yeah...

Hosts (1)

desenz (687520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615216)

What software comes pre-loaded on Dells that brings the spyware in? Did they start bundling KaZaa?

None (1)

Aero Leviathan (698882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615295)

No software comes pre-loaded on Dells that brings the spyware in. Note the creative use of the word 'probably'; as in 'not backed up by fact', 'completely invented on the spot', or 'rampant sensationalist speculation'.

The story submitter must be a Strong Bad fan!

don't blow this out of proportion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615217)

dell is just covering their asses from third party software that might break stuff.

well it doesn't matter too much (2, Interesting)

jr87 (653146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615220)

dozens upon dozens of help forums talk about it. Whole articles are dedicated the fighting spyware. If a customer is looking for an answer there is no possible way that he could miss many of these articles.
"we don't support it but I use Spybot Search and destroy" (on my dad's win2k box)
"We don't support it but I use linux"

Re:well it doesn't matter too much (2, Funny)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615289)

"We don't support it, but I use Apple"
"We don't support it, but yes the weather IS quite nice in Sri Lanka"

You know, that kind of response.

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615325)

Most people can't even use a search engine, the only thing they can figure out how to do is go to an unrelated forum and type in all caps "Help!!! my computer is broke!!!" without providing any further information.

Re:well it doesn't matter too much (4, Insightful)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615345)

dozens upon dozens of help forums talk about it. Whole articles are dedicated the fighting spyware. If a customer is looking for an answer there is no possible way that he could miss many of these articles.

1) How many average Joe Sixpack computer users are aware of the existance of forums or discussion groups.

2) A number of said spyware programs hijack search pages. Running a search through what appears to be Google may result in viagra ads and links to more spyware.

3) Some spyware physically interrupts the internet connection. How would average user find the online articles with no internet connection or a computer too slow to do anything with?

I work for a small computer repair shop, and 95% of the calls/service requests we get are directly related to spyware/junkware. I can't complain, because Dell refusing support would only increase our business. However, I can't help but feel a bit ashamed that the largest OEM in the industry shifted all consumer phone support overseas, and now refuses to support one of the biggest problems facing home users to date. Why aren't spyware apps considered viruses? Certainly the behavior of some programs borders on virus-like. Does Dell even support virus removal?

Alternatives (2, Funny)

Steve 'Rim' Jobs (728708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615221)

HP [hp.com]
IBM [ibm.com]
Compaq [compaq.com]
Alienware [alienware.com]
Gateway [gateway.com]
Build your own [http]

We have choices, after all.

You forgot ;) (5, Funny)

agent dero (680753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615313)

Apple [apple.com]

$20 says I get modded troll :'(

Re:Alternatives (1)

Cornhusker (729103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615343)

The working Build Your Own [pcmech.com] link. I have also found that DIT [ditcorp.com] to be fairly low priced, and it has local stores.

We remove spyware all day long (4, Informative)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615222)

At the small computer shop I run, we're making quite a bit of money these days cleaning off spyware from computers. Everyone has it, and now that it's getting more publicity, everyone wants to get rid of it. When people suddenly realize that their computer actually *is* slower than when they got it, they want it fixed, rather than buying a new one. Which is fine by us. Spyware removal is pure labor. Download AdAware and Spybot, hit it with a double whammy and it's amazing how much smoother older systems run. Viruses used to be the big money makers. Not anymore. So all you Dell customers out there....we'd be happy to help you clean off your system ;)

If they aren't allowed to tell... (2, Insightful)

Azadre (632442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615225)

Why don't they just refuse to put these software titles on their computers. I feel if a company thinks it can steal your data, it shouldn't be forced upon users and potential new users.

Shipping with spyware? (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615226)

Well, more exactly, be advised that if you are giving a Dell for Xmas, not only will it probably come preloaded with spyware

Where does either article say this? In fact, one of them says "Dell itself includes an antispyware product on all Dell PCs that ship with a built-in DVD player.

Dude, your getting... (3, Funny)

saderax (718814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615233)

... used for targeted mass marketing!

had to be said (1)

perotbot (632237) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615235)

Dude! you're getting tracked on your Dell!

Doesn't matter really. (1, Funny)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615242)

It doesn't really matter. Most of us know some techie-geek who, if they can't come over and fix our computers, can at least recommend a prog to fix it.

Unless its' some of that hard-core porn-ware that a guy at our office got. Nothing removed it so they just reinstalled his OS.

BTW, a friend of a friend of a friend's third, hand-me-down advice is still better than the service I've gotten from Dell in the past.

Horse cum has a nice flat taste to it...not at all (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615258)

Horse cum has a nice flat taste to it...not at all bitter like man's cum. You can easily drink cups of it with no discomfort.

tech support monkey reporting in... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615245)

so yeah, this is a terrible idea.

I work in an on-campus computer repair shop. We're the Dell certified repair center for the entire college.

We pretty much only sell Dells to incoming students, and we're always getting them back in with "my computer is slow." we boot it up and find out they have like 90 million spyware/adaware apps installed. SaveNow, Gator, PrecisionTime, New.Net, WhenUSave, MySearch, SearchNow, IE.Net Drivers, and the list goes on.

Usually we just remove all of them however we can and send them on their way, but apparently if we do this, we'll now be breaking Dells Warranty?

this is definitely not cool, since we can't do that and stay certified...

I don't see the big deal. (5, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615246)

After a quick RTFA, I see:

If you or a family member receive a Dell PC as a gift this Christmas, you may be in for a surprise, if it becomes infected with spyware.

Emphasis mine.

So there's no spyware known to be shipped on Dells. That's good at least. On to the memo.

NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.

What?? They won't support third party utilities that muck around in your registry and delete files in your system directory? Those bastards!

Seriously, nothing to see here folks. It's common sense.

Weaselmancer

Re:I don't see the big deal. (1)

fowlerserpent (690409) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615317)

I agree.
Its downright wrong to include in the summary that Dells probably ship with spyware.
Maybe slashdot should take the responsibility and delete factually incorrect stories or story summaries.

nf

Help needed complying with the licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615248)

Hello Mr Dell Phone Monkey, I'm having a little trouble determining from the user licences which applications include Spyware. Not wanting to breach any of the licences foisted on me by scum sucking bottom feeders, and by spyware vendors, I want to remove such applications entirely - surely you support uninstallation of unwanted bundled programs?

well, duh. (4, Insightful)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615250)

More often than not, the EULA's of software that install spyware contain a clause about it saying 'you agree to install this horse shit v1.0 blah blah blah'.

Now, of course, you can violate the EULA and get yourself some spyware removing tools and be ride of it.

Its a whole other story though, if Dell starts advising people to break these agreements. Granted, they are legally gray, but thats the point entirely of not wanting to get into the fray and being a potential party to breaking a contractual agreement.

A lawsuit avoided entirely is better than a lawsuit won.

Ha Ha (1)

doubleadesign (638752) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615251)

Alright, the subject is a bit mean coming from a Mac user. But, I can't help but think it's funny. Being a Mac user seems to sort of feel like being a Republican. They are always put down, but the grass does look a whole lot greener on this side of the fence. If i was a new Dell owner I'd feel pretty taken. Sucker printed right on my forehead. While your shopping dell why not pick up their iPod wannabe.

Obviously.... (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615253)

Dell puts some applications that contain spyware as part of the standard deal you get from them. Removing it might make those programs not work, and thus the customers would be mad.

Or, they want the average user's computer to become so fucked up by spyware that it FORCES them to upgrade.

A full grown stallion can ejaculate about one cup (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615275)

A full grown stallion can ejaculate about one cup ( 8 ounces ) of semen. It will take quite a few spurts to accomplish this. Each time his tail will raise and lower in a brief flick.

Let me take a crack at this... (0, Offtopic)

LordK3nn3th (715352) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615255)

"Dude, you're getting... "

Uhm.

Uh...

Hmm... pell... nell... tell... no, no...

Well, crap. Anyone else wanna take a shot at this?

okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615259)

if any family members or friends ask for advise for a computer i will volunteer to build it myself, or let them use my computer to go to walmart.com to order one without a Windoze OS and i will give them a FREE copy of Linux and free technical info when they need help...

Dell only loses with ignorant policys such as this...

Don't read too much into this (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615261)

All Dell is saying that they can't endorse any spyware removal software. They are not endorsing any spyware. Most likely this is only to save Dell from any legal entanglements. Legally they might be liable to spyware companies if they intervene on user's behalf. If you read the last line, they are telling their reps that they can give personal testimonials but cannot do so for the company. While this is not an ideal solution, we do live in a litigious society.

a few thoughts. (1)

qcubed (655212) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615262)

1. it's suhbitches. that's the way it's pronounced. 2. people who don't know how to remove spyware after asking friends probably don't know they have it, and so won't call dell. 3. people who do know about spyware will generally know the tools to get rid of it. 4. people who actually are vigilant about their privacy and security will reformat and install their own os on their computer anyway, making this a moot point.

some reasons why (4, Informative)

rritterson (588983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615265)

This is a week old news item. The discussion on the security forum of Dslreports [dslreports.com] brought up some good points. (See this [dslreports.com] post.)

What happens if the user hoses a system using one of the tools? HijackThis will allow you to 'fix' items that shouldn't be fixed. Spybot can do the same. In my opinion, a spyware killer in a novice's hands can be as damaging as some spyware.

Dell is also covering themselves against lawsuits, as the article pointed out. This should ultimately keep the prices down anyway. Come on folks- Dell support has ceased to be good. You buy a dell for a good price on a great computer, and then you hit up your neighborhood geek if you mess something up.

On a different topic, I wonder just what preinstalled spyware the article was talking about?

Nah... don't clean off the spyware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615266)

The new spyware removal script:

User: My computer is trying to sell me video cameras in 27 different popup windows.

Tech: Your system is broken. Buy a new one. We have a new special for ....

Next step: Dell ships spyware (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615269)

Sounds like the perfect setup. Don't allow your tech support to mention spyware removal tools at all and give them the green-light to say "once you've used that program I can't support you" and now Dell's ready to ship spyware pre-installed to their customers. Or should I say victims.

Get ready for the next, most insidious round of spyware yet, kids. Your PC calling back to the mothership reporting to the manufacturer everything you're doing, giving them the ammunition to call you up and say "now you've done it your warrany is void." Then some pot-smoking, commercial-acting intern will crack into the master database and get all your favorite pr0n URLs.

Mares can be quite satisfactory for the average we (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615294)

Mares can be quite satisfactory for the average well endowed male. If you are somewhat less developed you might find better pleasure with a pony or Miniature Horse.

Confused (5, Insightful)

Mr. No Skills (591753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615273)

Well, I was starting to type a message about how disappointed I was with Dell, given all the money I've thrown them. Then, I RTFA for a change and this may not be as bad as it seems.

Dell may just be concerned about legal issues with helping Joe User de-install some software where the EULA requires the Spyware to be running -- Dell would be the ones with the deep pockets after all. And, some spyware removal that involves registry changes might destablize things in some way (I don't know). Probably more corporate lawyer nonsense than a misguided attempt to support spyware in its various forms.

Some program installs come with spyware, and the license agreement does require leaving it alone (since that's the compensation they get for the free software). So, Dell may just not want to step into the middle of this.

Maybe the finger should stay focused on the spyware creaters and bundlers for the time being...

3.14 15 0N T3H SP043! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615276)

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Looks like more bad press for dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615278)

Considering that they pissed off a whole lot of people with a bait and switch deal (slickdeals.net) a few days ago, I think they are doing a great job of making people buy hardware elsewere this holiday season,

they're trying to play it safe (2, Insightful)

kraada (300650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615281)

and i think they're reasonably justified. What I gather from the memo is that they're saying "spyware removal stuff might break EULAs and we don't support that, so we don't want to get involved". Furthermore, you'll note that they can use phrases like "we don't support spyware removal but I use . . ." (em added). So officially, they don't want to get sued into the ground by Gator or CometCursor or whoever else wants to install spyware . . . but unoffically, they'll probably still go on recommending it to users as "I've personally found this program to help, go to google and type in 'adaware'".

It sucks that they have to do this, but I can't say I'm surprised. Having worked in tech support for years, there are always crazy rules about things you "can't do" -- and every good tech I've ever worked with breaks them on a routine basis, when they think it will make the customer happy.

Corperate America (1)

Obscenity (661594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615282)

This is just another example how profit and money is always put before the customer satisfaction, and customer in general. In Soviet russia, You spy on the spyware.

Another idol falls (1)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615284)

The unrelenting inevitability with which companies that are initially taken to have a social conscience, eventually transform into soul-less behemoths never ceases to amaze me.

Time to dig up Michael Dell's autobiography. And recycle/compost it.

Dude! (0)

IANAL(BIAILS) (726712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615290)

You're getting spied on!

UANALSTALLIONS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615338)

Fucking any horse will depend on the horse.
Some will be ready right away...
some will take coaxing. Pet the animal, talk to it softly, spend time with it gaining it's trust.

Shows us what trusted computing will bring (4, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615293)

These days we buy the hardware and, sure the preloaded software probably sucks, so you reconfigure what you want or possibly even reinstall your OS. No problem!

But what happens when the hardware is in cahoots with the operating system, as will be the case with trusted computing [wikipedia.org] ? Well it may be a lot more difficult to get your computer to do what you want, because certain software components carrying the right keys will easily slide into operating system hooks, while un-"trusted" software (the stuff you want to run) is more difficult to install and run freely.

I can imagine what a spyware-sporting vendor can accomplish with a trusted computing system. Their spyware, "trusted" software, may be automatically installed and automatically re-installed beyond your control. 3rd party efforts to keep this unwanted software out of the system will fail, because that 3rd party software (no matter what you want) is untrusted... hell, the BIOS itself [phoenix.com] will help police usage of the system. You're in luck, your hardware is going to protect you ;)

Actually, this isn't news at all... (2, Interesting)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615296)

I worked for one of the outsource tech groups that handed customer support for Dell. Their global policy is (or at least was as of a year ago) that they do not support any third party software that didn't ship with the box, period. The Dell techs weren't even technically allowed to help customers remove viruses, although many found loopholes around that. ("I'm not removing a virus, that's against our policies. I'm merely cleaning items out of your startup group and registry which don't need to be there to help the Operating System run better.")

So it's definately a lousy policy, but this would be a clarification, nothing more.

3.14 15 0N T3H SP043 1 M0R3 T1M3! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615299)

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Sounds awful, but... (2, Interesting)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615305)

The memo only says not to recommend a third party spyware removal program. It does not say they can't assist the users in uninstalling spyware.

A lot of companies have policies of not recommending third party products they're not prepared to support if something goes wrong.

We got this memo at work... (4, Interesting)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615308)

I work for an ISP, and we received advance warning of this about two days ago. The reason we're concerned is because our policy generally states that if it's not a problem with the cable modem, then it's a problem with the computer and thus the customer needs to call the manufacturer. Spyware falls into the category of "problem with the computer". I've been recommending the use of SpybotS&D for about four months now and haven't been blasted by the managers, but other techs are undoubtedly going to get the "but Dell said spyware was something you guys could fix since it uses the internet" song and dance from customers.

Not that Dell or my company has the right answer either way, but I just wish the weaselly fucks who write spyware would just stop.

Comcast, too (5, Informative)

FractusMan (711004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615311)

Comcast does the same thing. Their software comes preloaded with spyware. Broadjump, I think it's called. It's been a while, but when I worked for them, we were not allowed to say anything regarding spyware or spyware removing, either. I find it quite amusing.

Why Dell is doing this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615318)

Actually, this makes sense.. Some dipshit called up Dell, and said something like "Hey, my computer runs like crap, help me out.." The tech on the other end told him to get Spybot Search and Destroy (which rocks, and has a license that allows you to use it on company boxes without paying a fee!) and it totally fscked up dipshit's copy of Kazaa... Dipshit compains to tech's boss, then to tech's bosses boss.

Dell is just covering their asses.

This isn't really surprising to me (4, Insightful)

Steve 'Rim' Jobs (728708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615321)

OK, this spyware thing is just one example. The fact is that Dell has just lost touch with their home user customer base. One thing I've learned from working with Dell for the past few years is that they don't give a flip about the home users... But then again, why should they? They make money off corporate/government contracts, not supporting grannies who don't know where the any key is.

After having such good experiences with Dell in the Office, we started recommending people buy Dell for their home, too. Oh boy BIG mistake. The hardware is substandard, just about every default installation is munged somehow or another, and the things generally stop working within a year. *NO ONE* I know has gotten a good Dell home PC recently. Meanwhile we noticed a definite decrease in quality of customer support in the past year...

Me: Here's an article from Adobe that says there's a known issue between this motherboard and Adobe Acrobate 5.5, what's the solution?
Faceless E-mail Tech: Here's an article on how to troubleshoot Windows 2000 startup problems.
Me: Argh!

Ad infinitum.

On that note, is there any big name manufacturer that still makes/supports good home machines? People always ask me recommendations but I'm out of them, other than "Just buy a Mac".

I bought a Dell... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615327)

I'm a Mac/Linux guy, but my wife has a number of Windows-only programs she uses. So we ended up buying a Dell about six months ago. It came with a LOT of crap - maybe it wasn't technically spy-ware, but it seemed there were a number of items that weren't there for our benefit.

First thing I did was reformat the disk; then I reinstalled the OS and put on only the software we wanted. Oh, and I did leave a little room on the disk for dual-booting to Linux... ;-)

Linux to the rescue (-1, Flamebait)

darkgumby (647085) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615330)

Got a new Dell desktop box at work yesterday. Whizzy 2.2 gigahertz CPU and 512MB RAM.

Today I booted up XP to make sure the hardware worked. First time I ever used XP. Almost got sick.

Case opened without removing any screws. Removed cables from HD but left drive in place. Inserted HD that I brought from home. Dell even supplied extra rails inside the case to make it easy to install the drive.

Installed Mandrake 9.2. No more spyware or nasty XP.

If the suits insist on XP I just have to move the cables back to the original HD.

Ya, I know that I can multiboot, but this way I don't risk frying the XP drive if I'm never gonna touch it. Better to keep it safely unplugged.

Horse semen is extremely viscous, STALLIONANUS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615356)

Horse semen is extremely viscous,
if you touch your finger to a pool of it you can draw

a thin string of it five to six feet long!

Please explain (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615331)

The following statement:
be advised that if you are giving a Dell for Xmas, not only will it probably come preloaded with spyware>

What makes the author assume that Dell will deliberately install spyware on consumers' machines ???
Just because I won't help my neighbour quit smoking, that means I'll buy him cigarettes?
ok bad example, but I'm sure you get the point.

Gateway's Policy (2, Interesting)

EvilFrog (559066) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615342)

While I typically don't care much for Gateway, I have noticed whenever I need to take my laptop in for repairs (whenever meaning frequently- the hardware is junk) they have fliers all over the place warning their customers about spyware and telling them how to get rid of it. I've never liked Dell, and I like them even less now. While most of us on Slashdot are just as happy (if not happier) using custom built machines, I know a lot of less savvy users who like having one company they can go to for support. Unfortunately for them, there just don't seem to be many deservedly reputable manufacturers out there anymore.

Buy from us so we can spy on you! (1)

thinkliberty (593776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615348)

The crazy thing is that DELL is adding this spyware on your computer!

They want you to PAY them to spy on you!

I am not ever going to buy a dell, unless they stop shipping ALL spyware with their systems.

I am also going to make sure we stop buying dell at work and go with HP or IBM instead.

Internal letter?? (5, Insightful)

kajoob (62237) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615349)

I think it's good to be a little bit skeptical first before telling everyone not to buy a Dell. That being said, I have some issues:

1. The validity of supposed 'email' that Dell sent out. According to this site, this refers to Dell's own preloaded applications. OK, but since when would Dell EVER refer to their own applications as "spyware" as they have done in this email. Spyware is now quite a volatile topic, and I would imagine that if Dell did infact have some sort of spyware preloaded on their machines, they'd at least be good enough to lie to us (via their techs) about what it is.

2.3rd Party Applications - As mentioned in (1), I don't think Dell would refer to their own applications as spyware, and if for arguments sake believe the email is geniune, then it refers only to 3rd party applications. So then we have a policy that is in line with Dell's general policy of not supporting 3rd party apps.

Most of us work in an environment where we have to deal with Dell's. I personally think the machines are pretty good and the service isn't bad. I've even gotten the techs help find a conflict with a 3rd party app before on a couple of occasions, but I recognize this is above and beyond the call of duty. Does Dell owe us a duty if we install 3rd party spyware to tell us to use a 3rd party spyware removal tool? What if that spyware removal tool removes an important dll and hoses the system? Then the tech support lines become even more efficient.

I just wanted to play devil's advocate here. I have no idea if that email is real or not, but I think we shouldn't immediately jump all over Dell until we can find out the truth. As it stands now, someone has posted a few sentences on a website somewhere - hardly damning evidence.

3.14 15 0N T3H SP043 4N0TH3R T1M3! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7615353)

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Now here THIS! (2, Interesting)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615355)

To those of you who say "Blah blah blah, of course they're not going to support some random crap you download off the Internet, blah blah blah":

Ok, so basically any and all tech-support contracts that came with someone's new Dell, that they paid for, is now void because they installed a PROGRAM? Right. So now what, are we only allowed to install "Dell Approved" software on our own computers? I think I hear the sound of a hood being welded shut.

It all comes down to money, every damn time. It's about the pre-installed software that contains spyware. Dell has contracts with these 3rd party software companies ($$$), and these 3rd party software companies will profit from the use of their spyware. It's a win-win for Dell and the 3rd parties. Guess who doesn't win? The customer who paid $700 for their new computer... But who cares about the customer, anyway? We'll just put them on the line with some $7.00/hr 1st tier call-center techie in India (No offense at all to Indians, but that's where most tech support calls get fielded) that's reading off a script, and has no actual verbal resemblance to a human with feelings or compassion for the poor user who just wants to send their mom a picture of their new baby.

I always used to tell people that if they were going to buy a name-brand computer, to buy a Dell. At least their hardware isn't complete crap.

I guess that recommendation goes in the garbage now.

Move on people... (2, Insightful)

rune.w (720113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615365)

Even though it's not very nice to hear that from a computer manufacturer, it is no surprise that Dell won't give out advise on how to break somebody's EULA, even if it protects something as nasty as spyware. Endless lawsuits would loom in Dell's horizons if they chose to do so. The thing I'm a bit more concerned is the timing: if they were so concerned, why not to issue this statement before?

Anyway, my 0.02

R.
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