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Dell Ships Gaming Systems Sans Bloat

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-a-terrible-move dept.

94

An anonymous reader writes "Dell has followed up and put their money where their mouth is after HardOCP panned them last year for selling 'gaming systems' that you could not even install some popular 3D games on due to the bloatware on the system. You can now get clean installs on some XPS Dell systems. Dell is running a 'You Spoke, We Listened,' header on their site." From the article: "It seems that Dell has taken our criticism (and our readers as well) to heart and has made the much sought after move to offer select XPS systems with "limited" pre-installed software. We phoned a Dell sales representative late Monday, and he confirmed that the installation is completely clean, except for the included anti-virus program. As explained to us by Dell, There is no AOL installation, no "media jukebox", and no ISP offers to weigh the supplied operating system down."

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About Time (1)

unheard02 (949368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220785)

There bloatware is one of the reasons I hate to recommend dell to people.

Re:About Time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220966)

You mean "their", moron. Not "there".

you people are forgetting... (2, Insightful)

podRZA (907929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221534)

Most people need the bloat. Gamers tend to also be computer nerds, and therefor can handle setting up their machine themselves. But average folks don't want to and most likely can't get their machine set up with all the software they need. How many computer users would know they even had a DVD burner unless the software was waiting for them on their desktop when they turned it on for the first time? How would people buying their first computer get online if ISPs weren't preinstalled? This is obviously a good move by Dell, but only as an option. Most people would be too confused if there was no bloat.

They're confused enough.. (1)

trazom28 (134909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221677)

You give someone a choice between 5 ISPs and they then ask their current ISP, "What do I do now?" Where I live, AOL and the other major national ISPs don't provide local access numbers - so local ISPs like where I work, foot all the questions on a daily basis. Same goes for offering more than one media player, or whatever on a PC. Offer one - any more than that confuses the man on the street too much. Trust me on that one.

Re:They're confused enough.. (1)

corrosive_nf (744601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222198)

are you one of the people who would say dell sucks for all that, then get all indignant when people say linux distros shouldnt have 50 media players and broswers and text editors etc.. ? The ones who call it bloatware when its dell and windows, but CHOICE when its linux?

Re:They're confused enough.. (1)

trazom28 (134909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222598)

No, I am not. I like linux, but haven't had the free time to play around with it in nearly 10 years. I'm an equal opportunity technician

Re:They're confused enough.. (1)

corrosive_nf (744601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223493)

okay, just wondering.

Re:you people are forgetting... (1)

jyoull (512280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221739)

I've really got to disagree with this. I can't imagine anything more confusing than the typical out-of-box experience with a new Dell. The last machine I installed for someone spent about half an hour trying to sell me stuff on the way to "starting up." This is crazy and confusing. There's nothing wrong with including CD/DVD burning software on a machine - in fact it should be there. But there is something wrong when that software insists I need to go online and pay more money for some sort of upgrade, or when someone else has decided that software (e.g. AOL) should launch and run itself even if there's no indication that I want it.

This is about selling stuff to people by cramming it down their throats. It's not about helping novices.

How much more? (3, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220807)

And how much more do the systems cost to get Dell to not include that crapware?

Re:How much more? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221095)

At the point where it's more profitable for Dell to not include the crapware (either because of higher prices or increased volume) and forgo the revenue from including it -- that's what it'll cost.

Re:How much more? (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221137)

Actually, looking at Dell's page they indicate that it's for "select XPS systems." Without going through and custom-configuring a few machines, I'm going to guess that they only offer this option on their higher end (and hence higher revenue) models.

Re:How much more? (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221666)

I did a little poking around on Dell's site and I noticed a couple things. First, all the XPS systems come with Media center. Only the top 2 models say "with re-installation CD." That in itself is a little strange.
Then I went through customizing a system and the only thing I saw as options that related to pre installed software were the options for which "security suite" (I hate that term), which photo crap software selection, and which CD burning software. The last 2 were defaulted to none. So, all I can seem to find is options to not get the USEFUL software but nothing about the crippleware.

Parent is not flamebait - windows subsidy is real (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221119)

You're not paying the Windows tax - the spyware & adware & crippleware companies that Dell bundles are subsidizing the Dell to a far greater extent than Microsoft taxes it. I should know - I worked for a crippleware vendor who kicked back 20 - 50% of our upgrade revenue (depedning on the OEM) to the OEMs who let us install our crap.


With these gamer systems, Dell's margin's are high enough tha they don't need this subsidy; but for the most part, noone in their right mind (even Dell) would be paying Redmond taxes if someone else weren't paying them to do so.


That's the real reason Windows can never get serious about combatting spyware -- OEM support for windows depends entirely on the ability to hide deceptive spyware on the systems.

Re:Parent is not flamebait - windows subsidy is re (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15222671)

I should know - I worked for a crippleware vendor...

Just out of curiosity: where do you live?

Re:Parent is not flamebait - windows subsidy is re (3, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225025)

OEM support for windows depends entirely on the ability to hide deceptive spyware on the systems

Clearly this is an area where Linux to match or exceed Windows in order to capture the desktop.

The scary part is that I am not quite sure if I was kidding or not.

-

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221148)

I don't see why he's being moderated as a flamebait. The bloatware is one of the reasons Dell can offer PCs at the prices they do! Without the bloatware, how much does the price go up? It's similar to the business model for those "free" PCs that displayed ads while you used it: the cost of the system is offset by the money paid to the PC distributor to load the software onto the system. Mod parent Insightful or Interesting, but not Flamebait.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15221818)

This may be an intentional troll, but you have half a valid point. Low-end Dell systems would be more expensive without the bloatware, it's true.

Something like Dell's XPS line, though... the markup on those systems more than makes up for the bloatware kickbacks. They're not bad computers, but you pay a huge premium to have "Dell XPS" stamped on the box (and to have the convenience of someone else building the system for you).

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221900)

the markup on those systems more than makes up for the bloatware kickbacks.

Dell makes money on volume, so a small per-machine bloatware kickback still adds up to big numbers for them. Large manufacturers count every penny on their items.

Re:How much more? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221187)

One would imagine it would add a similar amount to how much those companies paid Dell to put the 'crapware' on the system. What, did you think someone would do your research for you?

I'm still happy building my own machines, seeing as they seem to invariably outperform any similar specification Dell for a significant amount less cash. It doesn't take a degree in computer science seeing as everything is practically colour-coded nowadays.

Re:How much more? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221331)

Hmmm. I've been modded "flamebait" twice now for asking a perfectly valid question. It seems that some people don't like facing the reality of the situation (not that that comes as any surprise).

Re:How much more? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222268)

A buddy of mine recently got a Dell XPS system via QVC (around $1400), and, speaking as someone who builds his own systems, I'm fairly impressed. The system was snappy as hell, played (and loaded) games very fast, and was not loaded down with a ton of junk.

Granted, I could build a similar system for less, but for that kind of cash, it's awful tempting...

That changes everyting. (0, Troll)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220818)

I'll definately buy a pre-built machine from Dell from now on instead of building my own systems from parts I individualy select and with only the exact software I want on them.

No, wait. No.

Re:That changes everyting. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220889)

Ok seriously if you building a high end system I agree. But if your building a system for your mom you simply can't beat some of their deals. I've given up building and selling low end systems to family and coworkers. Its just not possible to compete.

Re:That changes everyting. (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221061)

The thing I hate about Dell is that if you want something with a non-integrated video card, then you have to pay over $1000 CDN. I find that this is unacceptable. I can get a $500 machine from my local computer retailer with a not-too-bad AGP video card. Why can't Dell provide this?

Re:That changes everyting. (1)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221185)

Agreed. I'd happily buy my mom or other relative a Dell. It's like "fire and forget."

But, these are gaming machines. Now, I could have a slanted opinion of computer gamers: Namely, most of my friends and I are gamers and we build our own... of course we're almost all Engineers (EEs, CEs and SEs). However, when I think of a gamer obtaining a new system, I think of them piecing the thing together off of newegg or mwave or (for the brave) pricewatch. Why do we do this? We're finicky. Some of us want supreme sound cards. Most want extremely high-end video cards. Also, we're performance junkies. Most in my group aren't over-clockers but I've seen plenty of gamers that are. I know a decent amount of people that before starting up [current game that's being obsessed over] will at least bring up the task manager (games implies windows) and close all non-needed processes before continuing.

Also, as a whole, most of my friends are pretty damn cheap. We want the most bang for our buck... and that's never going to be Dell.

Re:That changes everyting. (2, Insightful)

Jurph (16396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221509)

That's weird - I just specced a mid-range system for a friend (lowest of the low-end 64-bit system) and squeezed in under Dell's discounted price for a comparable system by almost $150. If he had bought a Dell and refused the 24-month internet subscription and other gotchas, he would have paid $250 or more over the price of the NewEgg system I specced. Just for reference, it was almost identical to the Ultimate Budget Box [arstechnica.com] that Ars Technica publishes regularly.

My friend added a few bells and whistles where he wanted more power (a little more RAM, a better CPU) and managed to beat a comparable Dell system in price. Because he's switching from Win2K to WinXP, he had to buy the OS, but it was still cheaper overall.

Re:That changes everyting. (3, Insightful)

valintin (30311) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222004)

That's not so weird. He has you to pick, purchase, assemble the system and provide support. You should account for your billable hours and when the system is done and your friend is happy with his new computer only then can you calculate the cost to "him".

I think you will find that by the time he's playing games you probably sucked up the difference in price, and then some, with your labor.

Re:That changes everyting. (2, Informative)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222186)

Exactly, labor and the price of XP makes the difference here moot. Of course as I stated this is especially true for low end systems. You can get a decent low end system WITH 17 flat panel for 350 now. $100 labor (what I charge minimum to build a system (meaning a prebuild barebones and a few extras) and install an OS) plus XP home $81 would be half your cost. Leaving you $169 to buy the parts..

Don't believe me on $350 quote. Check out
the newest deal on slickdeals.net

Still I ask (2, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220829)

Can I buy a system without paying the $100 XP tax, considering I already own a legitimate copy of windows?

Re:Still I ask (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220908)

No, because the expectation is that the copy of windows you had went out with your old whitebox computer.

When you get a computer with windows on it, that version is tied to that computer. Technically you are supposed to destroy your copy(s) of that Windows along with the key. Or transfer it if you are giving it to someone.

How many idiots do you think would take windows off to save extra money, and get pissed when their brand new computer won't boot? Then they find out they need windows and go to a store, only to pay > $200 for it. ~ $400 if you want Pro.

Re:Still I ask (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222138)

Actualy, according to the EULA, if you uninstall windows from the old machine and/or the old machine is no longer functional, it's perfectly valid and legal to install the copy of window from the old machine onto the new one.

No one would say all machines should come without a pre-installed OS, but it should be an option. Then again it may not be worth it, as most people who would be in a position to transfer Windows in the manner described above would be perfectly capable of building their own machine anyway.

Re:Still I ask (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222517)

Actually, according to the EULA...

My understanding is an OEM copy of Windows is not transferrable to another machine. Nor are you eliglble for the upgrade price of a newer version of Windows.

Although not straight from the horses mouth per se, this article has some interesting Q and A's on this...
www.michaelstevenstech.com/oemeula.htm [michaelstevenstech.com]

If you buy the full retail version then I believe you are correct, the license is transferrable, if limited to one machine.

My favorite work around is to get these guys [ubuntu.com] to send me as many copies of their OS as I need. By post. For free (as in beer:-)

Re:Still I ask (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222571)

It depends on the version you get. If it's a retail box, yes, you can move it. If it is an OEM copy, it is tied to the hardware. If you read through the OEM EULA, you will notice that you are supposed to affix the license key sticker to the computer which that copy is tied to. Most people end up getting an OEM copy, this is what you get with a Dell PC. Also, the OEM version is cheaper, ostensibly because it is tied to the hardware, still a lot of people will buy an OEM copy from a web site retailer (which is valid as long as you purchase hardware at the same time) and never afix the label, and will move it between machines. This is, technically, a violation of the EULA.
Note this is all from memory, and you should read your EULA rather than blindly trusting some pseduo-anonymous person on a website.

Re:Still I ask (1)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15240004)

It appears I was mistaken about moving an OEM copy. But this does raise an interesting side issue: So what if I have a machine with an OEM copy installed, and the sticker on the case. I then replace every component of said machine, except the case to which the sticker is attached. Is this the same machine as far as the EULA is concerned?

If not, what is the critical component? Surely I could replace any single component and not have to rebuy Windows.

Re:Still I ask (2, Informative)

WasteOfAmmo (526018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222240)

When you get a computer with windows on it, that version is tied to that computer. Technically you are supposed to destroy your copy(s) of that Windows along with the key. Or transfer it if you are giving it to someone.

Sorry but not quite. When you purchase a copy of windows, whether with a new computer or separately, the activation process ties that copy to the hardware it is installed on. This does not [microsoft.com] stop that copy of windows from being moved to another machine.

If you significantly change your hardware or move your copy of windows to another machine you will be required to reactivate. This may involve calling Microsoft and explaining to them what changed. In the case of moving the installation to another computer (imaging, or fresh installation) the old installation will be deactivated.

All this means is that you may definitely install your legal copy of windows on each new computer that you buy and remove it from the old computer. I believe you may also transfer ownership of your copy to someone else but I do not have the EULA in front of me to verify this.

With regard to newly purchased machines: some OEMs use a Volume Licenses Keyed (VLK) version of windows. Also the EULAs on some verisions provided by OEMs state that the install is a "single-use" license. These types of installs may not be able to be transferred to another computer. Check out the FAQ [microsoft.com] for more information.

Merlin.

Re:Still I ask (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225422)

I stand corrected

Re:Still I ask (2, Interesting)

crerwin (971247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220965)

Where I work we purchase about 500 Dells every year, and the first thing we do is image them with our software. These computers all come with XP pre-installed. We could get them without XP, but there would be no price difference (we did ask). It's easier for Dell to just push them all through with XP than to worry about what gets what.

On a slightly related note, the USPS pays EXTRA to get vehicles without air conditioning and radios. I guess this improves gas mileage.

Re:Still I ask (1)

technos (73414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221225)

On a slightly related note, the USPS pays EXTRA to get vehicles without air conditioning and radios. I guess this improves gas mileage.

Removing the AC sure does. 10% better mileage on the outside.

Removing the radio, well. That supposedly cuts down on accidents. Don't want a PS employee running over some schoolkid because he had Pantera at '11'. At least that's the excuse I've heard from every company I've worked for that ran delivery or job-site vehicles, and I'm inclined to believe it.

Re:Still I ask (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221705)

Removing the AC sure does. 10% better mileage on the outside.

You'll piss away that 10% a savings when the employees drive with the windows open on that AC-less car. Rolling down the windows at highway speeds can easily increase gas usage by 20% or more.

Re:Still I ask (4, Funny)

jpmkm (160526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221762)

If the USPS is delivering mail at highway speeds then I think a 20% increase in fuel usage is the least of their problems.

Re:Still I ask (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224970)

If the USPS is delivering mail at highway speeds then I think a 20% increase in fuel usage is the least of their problems.

Funny, but USPS does have 18-wheeler trucks that go between cities on the interstate, and rural deliveries often involve driving on highways to get to the destination - at highway speeds.

Depending on the vehicle, it's usually more efficient to use the AC at 45 mph and over rather than rolling down windows.

Re:Still I ask (3, Informative)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222638)

At my office we get a set of 15-20 Dell laptops twice a year (we're a school). I open one box, uninstall all of the crapware, install all of the software the students will need, including putting our own anti-virus on them. Run sysprep, and then image that laptop. The rest of the laptops are then hooked up to a dedicated switch and the image multicasted out to them. Each laptop is then powered up, given a unique name and put in the domain.
One thing to look into if you are pushing that many systems through, Dell offers a service where they will load a custom image on new systems for you. They will only do it if your volume is high enough, and your's probably is. You simply setup an image, send it to them and all new systems come pre-loaded to your configuration.

Re:Still I ask (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221027)

If you search for "n-series" on Dell's site, you can indeed buy systems without Windows. However, they usually aren't $100 cheaper ... It's highly unlikely that Dell pays $100 for Windows, and all that crapware represents revenue for Dell.

Re:Still I ask (1)

Lord Kestrel (91395) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223791)

I'm using a Dell 670n here right now. Great machine. Shitty as hell case though.

I gotta say. (4, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220853)

My number one grip with buying a prebuilt system versus building my own (cost aside) is that they come with so much crap on them. When i bought my gateway laptop, it took in between 3 and 5 minutes to boot up when it was new. After i cleaned all the misc crap off of it that i'll never use, it took about 45 seconds or less. I vote that pc manufacturers give you the very basic installation and then give you a DVD that has everything else on it. You stick it in and it gives you a nice menued list of things you may want to install.

A person who just spent 1500 bucks on a new laptop isn't going to be wowed when their new laptop is taking longer to boot than their old one...

Re:I gotta say. (2, Insightful)

crerwin (971247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221031)

I have the feeling that AOL or NetZero or whoever has pre-installed software on the computer is paying Gateway money per unit for the 'advertising.' If the software was on a DVD that everyone will just ignore, the cost of the computer may be more.

Re:I gotta say. (2, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221196)

Yeah, but the flip side of that is that if all those ISPs and bloatware companies hadn't paid to have their stuff on there (which they would not if it came on a DVD instead of pre-installed), that $1500 would have cost you $1600 or more.

Re:I gotta say. (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221296)

I certainly won't argue that the "bloat" is a good thing, but seriously, how hard is it to uninstall a few unwanted programs? We're not talking about malicious spyware or anything - Add/Remove Programs should do the trick. Also, reinstalling the OS and drivers can be done in 15 minutes on any new PC - especially those with SATA 3 Gb/S hard drives and DDR2-667 Dual Channel SDRAM. The fact is that buying a Dell nets HUGE savings versus putting together a PC yourself. While Dell's proprietary parts often leave much to be desired in terms of quality, as long as you buy a PC in one of their higher-tiered Dimension or XPS lines, you generally will be in good shape. So what if you have to remove a few programs? You're saving hundreds of dollars - its a pretty damn worthwhile tradeoff.

Re:I gotta say. (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221355)

It took me four hours of work to uninstall everything from my aforementioned gateway laptop.... Yes...there was that much crap...

Someone want to explain to me why they bundle three different antivirus trials with an OS? Give me a break people...

Re:I gotta say. (1)

clodney (778910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222090)

I don't have recent experiences with Dell, but last time I had one the only data you had for reinstallation was an image of the drive as it shipped to you in the first place. So the average consumer has no way to start with a clean install of Windows without the bloat, since the only image they have includes the bloat.

Re:I gotta say. (1)

daenris (892027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222627)

Woah... wait... savings versus putting it together yourself? Not last time I checked. Especially not if you're going with a higher end system. When they run some "free upgrade" deals with more memory or free LCD monitors with some of their lowest end systems, yeah it's cheaper to get a Dell. But in general, without a random special offer for a free monitor or something, I can buy parts and put together a similar computer to a Dell for less. I've done it. About two years ago I put together a Celeron D 2.4ghz system, with 512MB RAM, a 160GB SATA hard drive, DVD-RW drive a 64mb geforce mx4000 and a firewire card for my DV camcorder. No monitor because I already had one. Total was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350. Now, today, almost two years later there's a Dimension B110 desktop on Dell for $359 that's a Celeron D 2.53ghz, 512 RAM, 160GB hard drive, DVD-RW, no clue what video card, so probably integrated, and a 17inch CRT monitor. Pretty much the same, with the exception that it comes with a CRT, which isn't really worth much in my opinion. And I did it 2 years ago, so prices have certainly come down.

Re:I gotta say. (1)

PyroPunk (545300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221874)

When I bought my Gateway laptop from a Gateway store a few years back I told the sales guy I only wanted Window 2000 Professional on it, and all the drivers for the hardware, nothing else installed, and that's what I got. It also only came with a restoration CD and a CD with the drivers. I'm sure if you ask then they won't preload all that stuff, but it's different buying a laptop from somewhere like Best Buy or CompUSA where the laptop is sitting in a box in the back and not being built at the time you order it.

Worthless summary (0, Troll)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220881)

How hard would it have been to make a link of the phrase You Spoke, We Listened [dell.com] ?

Or did Zonk remove it because the vocal morons would call it an ad?

Re:Worthless summary (1)

crerwin (971247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221078)

The link is in the article. Also, it doesn't work.

believe it or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220885)

but i think it may finally be time for me to purchase a laptop from dell. EEK!

i just want something that can play half-life 2 at > 60 FPS. any thoughts?

Re:believe it or not (1)

smaerd (954708) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221303)

The College I attend (which I'm graduating from in 29 days! WOOT!), forces us to lease HP laptops from them. Now, some of the previous models they had us use were complete crap, but I'm actually really enjoying this HP Compaq nw8240. If you buy the exact model I have (with the very nice (and, unfortunately, ATI) Video Card along with the other niceties like built-in bluetooth, 802.11bg, and a suprisingly decent sound card it'll cost you (like US$3000). But, if you've got the pennies... it's a nice machine.

I say this because I've had two dell laptops, and well, they sucked.. even after I added very expensive options to them on Dell.com.

Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220888)

Now if they could do that for ALL of their systems, I would consider buying from them!

Sign of the times? (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220948)

A clean preinstall system is now a selling point? It should be a freaking quality issue! If anything this reinforces my Dell' status as a prostitute.

Am I wrong to assume that computer sale hasn't been like this since the start in the 90s?

Re:Sign of the times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15220976)

haha, dell love you long time

Re:Sign of the times? (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221183)

Since windows 95, crapware has become standard.

Heck, windows 95 comes with some "trial offers". Not as invasive as Dell's stuff, but it's still there.

Re:Sign of the times? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221394)

I bought a Packard Bell in early 1993 and it came full of crap. Of course, it was easier to clean the crap off it back then, but that's hardly the point. Whenever friends and family buy a new PC, they usually have me wipe it clean for them before they start using it.

"Select XPS Systems"? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220967)

Why would _anyone_ want all the crap preinstalled? I really wish they would offer all their machines without the bloated rubbish that no-one wants. I had to spend ages getting rid of it all for my in-laws.

Re:"Select XPS Systems"? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221034)

Most people don't want it. However, Dell gets paid by the various companies to include that crapware on the machines. Oftentimes, they actually pass some of these savings onto you. You pay a lower price in exchange for the extra advertising that AOL et al get.

Alienware (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15220972)

Of course they are going to say they listened to the public, but it probably came from Mr dell having a grey alien over his shoulder now whispering things about customer satisfaction and doing the right thing.

Remember, they were shoving this crap down our necks for years then all of a sudden just mere weeks after buying Alienware we see this...

Re:Alienware (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223382)

My old alienware laptop came with its' share of bloatware, too. Not as bad as my brother's dell, but still a good amount.

Not that big of a deal. (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221064)

Considering that the Symantec (specifically Norton) products preinstalled on my E1705 were the worst behaving (and most difficult to remove - in fact I couldn't completely and cleanly remove them) components of Dell's preinstall, the fact that they are leaving an antivirus in their preinstall doesn't really help much. Antivirus programs are notorious for causing performance problems.

Wonderful how Dell is charging you more to offer less. The hardware in the XPS M1710 isn't nearly good enough to justify the 1.5-2x price difference between a similar E1705 configuration (with the only difference being an Nvidia 7800GT vs. 7900GTX).

A clean E1705 would've been WONDERFUL.

Re:Not that big of a deal. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221200)

Also, when was the last time the Antivirus software on your computer caught _anything_? The only thing I've had since I moved away from booting the OS off of a floppy disk in 1994 (we were behinde the times) is a false positive on a traffic generator I was using to test some network code.

The tradeoff is a lot of bloat and money wasted on a product that doesn't seem to be useful at all. The only thing I have that's worse behaved is ZoneAlarm, which has to be the most bloated firewall of all time.

Re:Not that big of a deal. (1)

Synic (14430) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221488)

Now if they switched from the standard Norton Antivirus to the Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition, we'd really be making some progress. :P

Re:Not that big of a deal. (2, Interesting)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221600)

Considering that the Symantec (specifically Norton) products preinstalled on my E1705 were the worst behaving (and most difficult to remove - in fact I couldn't completely and cleanly remove them) components of Dell's preinstall, the fact that they are leaving an antivirus in their preinstall doesn't really help much. Antivirus programs are notorious for causing performance problems.

This is no joke. I just ran into a perfect example of this last weekend on my parents' computer. Here's the story:

1) Father buys 2-year subscription to Norton Internet Security and installs it.
2) At some point, LiveUpdate stops updating, saying "try again later....or just reinstall LiveUpdate"
3) A short chat with Symantec tech support reveals that it will require a full uninstall and reinstall of NIS
4) Opening the "add/remove programs" window reveals that NIS is occupying over 1GB on the hard drive
5) The uninstall encounters a fatal error and won't complete.

So now this computer has an install of NIS that won't update, and won't uninstall.

Crapware at its best.

Re:Not that big of a deal. (1)

Anonymous Slacker (607727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223129)

I ran into almost the exact same problem with my dad's last computer a few years ago (we didn't try to uninstall/reinstall, but Norton corrupted itself somehow and refused to update or allow a repair reinstall)
Not too much later I switched him over to AVG Free edition, which worked fine until we replaced the comp with an iMac just over a year ago (his choice, and I wasn't going to discourage him on it -- I gutted the old box and turned it into a fileserver for myself, Norton-free of course).

A good start (1)

Rendo (918276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221088)

It's nice to see a big computer vendor finally listening to it's customers. It really peeves me and a lot of others when companies sit back, take in all your money and just sit idly by in their boardrooms crunching numbers on how to make even more profits. Excellent move by Dell, and hopefully this sparks other companies to follow suit. :)

Re:A good start (1)

IntricateEnigma (148093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15223720)

I wish I could agree, but this is far from being a good start. A good start would be to offer this feature on some of their best selling systems. I don't know the numbers, but my guess is that the XPS systems are not their top product lines.

To be a good start they would need to do something to indicate that they will offer this for all of their systems. They haven't done anything to convince me that they are starting on a path to go all the way. Instead they've chosen a product line where they hold a smaller percentage of the market share and are simply trying to make it more marketable to their target customer.

With that said, I'm glad their doing something, even if it's minimal and their motives are not directly derived from the concept of providing the best product possible for the customer.

Something bad this way comes (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221094)

From TFA: We at [H] are very impressed by this operating system option. It is truly a feature that many gamers and power users will welcome with open arms.

Something is really getting messed up in the computer market last few years when the lack of software is the hottest and most welcomed feature from the majority of computer users (adware, spyware, rootkits, bloatware, offers, crap on top of crap on top of crap...).

Oh and you gotta love when they screw up and start running "you spoke, we listened" ads. Sort of "we're your best darling from now on"...
I've seen too many "you spoke, we listened" ads from various hardware and software companies the last 2 years. Sometimes they gotta run the campaign several times in case they screw up after their screw up.

In the good old times it didn't take one or two public releases of a product, mass outcry, very poor sales, or an avalanche of lawsuits to make a company "listen". Apparently times have changed.

Dell Recommendation (1)

onedobb (868860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221096)

I have just purchased a laptop from Dell (Inspiron 1300) and I like the feel of the laptop, expecially since it's my first laptop I've ever purchased. It took me about 3 hours to remove the bloatware off of the system. My friends mom also bought the same model because she liked the looks and feel of my laptop, also 3 hours for bloatware. I don't mind Dell because you can customize what you wantin a PC. For price to quality comparison I believe it's a good combination. Now if they leave the bloatware off of all of their systems it would probably be the best thing they could ever do.

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221675)

Why not just format and reinstall the damn thing? It'd take less time than manually removing all that shit, and there's no risk of any of that crap being left behind by broken uninstallers.

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

tech_guru5182 (577981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221824)

You just have to worry about borked installers for the drivers. I put up with the bloatware for a couple weeks, BT worked flawlessly. Re-install windows, install the drivers, and now BT drops out every two minutes, like clockwork. I've given up on the built in wireless, and actually removed the card. Now, I just use a USB dongle I got for $10 at the local online computer store.

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222209)

Let's say you want to put Windows on it, and that the computer comes with Windows pre-installed. Many times, you'd have to buy another copy in order to get a reinstall without all the crap. Or is there an easy way to extract only the windows installation from the disc?

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222384)

I'm pretty sure Dell ships standard Windows discs now, rather than those lame restore discs they used to have.

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222503)

You may have to pay $10 for it, but you certainly can get the windows install disc from Dell. Bonus - there's no activiation. Downside - it will only run on a Dell machine. Second bonus - it will run on any Dell machine.

I wipe and reinstall all the machines we get at my office. We have our suite of stuff, we don't need or want Dell's. I usually keep the drivers on a CD, and burn a new one with each model we get. Reinstalls are done from the most recent Windows CD from Dell, regardless of machine, as the CDs usually come with all the service packs and fixes pre-installed.

Re:Dell Recommendation (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15222512)

I've heard that for an extra $10 or so they'll include a real Windows install disk. Normally all you get is a hidden partition on the hard drive that you can restore from if you completely break things (which isn't much help if your hard drive dies, which happened to a friend of mine).

Bring it on, just keep it cheap! (3, Interesting)

skryche (26871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221150)

Isn't all that pre-installed crap the reason that computers are as cheap as they are? I say they should go ahead and shovel it on; I'm going to do a fresh install anyway.

Catching up? (1)

scronline (829910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221205)

So does that mean Dell is catching up with the Whitebox (blackbox) makers? Considering most of us making custom systems don't do that for obvious reasons. I know that personally, if you buy a system you should be able to do what you want with it without hinderance of any kind. You don't buy a computer from me so I can advertise to you.

But then how else do you think Dell (or every other OEM) makes computers cheaper? I could build you a $300 computer too if I got paid $200 to put advertising all over it. But then I don't put a 100% markup on almost all "upgrades" either.

Why this is no big deal.. (1)

trazom28 (134909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221238)

The customer that buys an XPS is usually knowledgable enough to remove that crap on their own. The average person on the street buys the major cheap price point - the Dimension desktop. Now.. if you tell me Dell is offering a Dimension series with no extra installs on it - you'd have my attention.

Re:Why this is no big deal.. (1)

Pasajero (164368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225473)

The customer that buys an XPS is usually knowledgable enough to build the system themselves, at a far lower cost.

DIY Cleaning (1)

9mm Censor (705379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221273)

I got a Dell. Took it out of the box, popped in my copy of windows. Booted to the disk, formated, installed Windows and linux, and was done.

La Di Da (1)

punkr0x (945364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221321)

Just include the original XP cd so we can do a fresh install. Thank you!

business laptop clean, but customer service sucked (1)

mikem170 (698970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221330)

I recently bought a latitude 510 laptop and the Windows XP installation on it was fairly clean - no AOL, etc.

However it took me TWO HOURS to place my order. Their web order page had a problem, the web-chat service tech wanted to run me in circles, the first voice sales guy tried selling me a different laptop, and the second sales guy seemed great but stiffed me on an email address to complain to and an external battery he promised me for my troubles.

I got the specific laptop I want but won't be recommending Dell any time soon to any of my clients. They don't seem to have their act together.

Economics (3, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221663)

That stuff comes pre-installed because they make more money by having it there. Until they believe that they will make more money by NOT having there, it stays. That's how a free market works. Clearly, Dell has reached a point after acquiring AlienWare where a major portion of their customers will not get a Dell that they might otherwise purchase or at least consider, specifically because of the pre-installed phatware that comes on the system. Whatever AOL et al are paying for this trash, it's going to be trumped by additional sales to customers who would otherwise not buy a Dell. Further, it's quite likely Dell's business partners who push for having their shit pre-installed on Dell systems have some kind of contract, and unless Dell can lawyerweasel out of it or just wait for it to expire and not renew it, that crap has to stay on there. This is why companies sometimes appear sluggish regarding responses to the market.

"Why don't they just ..... blah ....?" we ask ourselves constantly. In some cases, there are contracts with hardware suppliers, advertisers, marketing teams, delivery and supply chains, retail outlets, and other behind-the-scenes business partners that must be, at the very least, scanned carefully by Dell's legal staff. More often than not, a renegotiation is necessary to change business practices that may impact those contracted partners. This takes time. And when the negotiations stall, there's no option but to wait it out.

So Dell is going the right thing, and the response here is almost universally negative. Not about the fact that they're doing the right thing by their customers, but that they even had to because they did the wrong thing first. Well I'll tell you what. It's rare that a business "has it right" out of the gate and never looks back. Google is one of those rare companies that has mostly pulled this off. Few businesses do it. They must learn from the market, and shape and mold their business model to maximize profit. Profits are maximized by providing the most people with what they want to buy at a price they'll pay. When the sentiments or demographic composition of that group changes, the company must adjust. Dell has become very successful while bundling garbage on their machines. Clearly the lost revenue from boycotting Slashdotters was made up for by whatever business arrangements they had with AOL and what not. As much as it may pain you to hear it, Slashdot readers make up a tiny minority of the nation's consumer population, and the portion we do make up is a weird niche that is largely disliked by mainstream retailers and traditional businesses.

So, frankly, there's been no reason to pander to the nitpicky anal retentive whims of a bunch of dorks. Until now.

You What??? (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221714)

'You Spoke, We Listened,'

Okay, where's my AMD X2 Processor? .
.
.
.
I'm waiting...

Re:You What??? (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225010)

You Spoke, We Listened, and Intel Bribed Us To Ignore You

-

Anti-* (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#15221809)

Anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-root-kit, anti-adware, anti-**AA-ware...

So where's my automatic anti-bloatware remover?

true enough (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15223052)

I recently purchased a pretty decent Dell XPS. It didn't have much on it. I needed to unintall a couple of things that I didn't like, but it was otherwise clean; soundcard software, dvd software, the usual MS crap you find on an xp machine (outlook, messenger...), but nothing much else. I was surprised.

Listening but not Reading (2, Informative)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224666)

They may have listened to customers, but they apparently did not read HardOCP's article about gaming on a dual core system: http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTAwMiwxLC xobmV3cw== [hardocp.com]

Changed my mind completely about a new system I was planning to buy. No dual cores for me, thank you. I'll either grab an FX-57 when AM2 comes out and drops the DDR1 systems' prices, or I'll wait until the end of the year, see if Conroe lives up to the hype and how Vista affects either system.

Dell Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15225259)

I recently bought a Dell XPS140 and I was having problems with it (turned out to be my fault actually). The funny thing is that the first thing that Dell support did when I called them was to take control of the system over the network and download a program called C-Cleaner (guess what C stands for). This program then went and delete most of the programs that came preinstalled. I wonder if it is policy at all or just a support techie who got sick of dealing with it all the time.
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