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Sony Offers Bloatware Removal Service — For a Fee [Updated]

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the scams-and-other-marketing-ideas dept.

Sony 231

linuxwrangler writes "First Sony packed its laptops with Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office trial version, Corel Paint Shop Pro trial version, WinDVD and more. Now it is offering to remove the bloatware. Of course marketing changed the name from 'removing the crap we stuck you with' to 'Fresh Start' software optimization. And they want you to pay $149.99 to clean up their mess — $49.99 for 'Fresh Start' on top of the required $100.00 Vista Business upgrade. You can get about $25.00 of that cost back if you select all available 'no-software' options which are only available after selecting the $149.99 'upgrade'. Wonder what they would charge to remove Windows completely." Update 11:57 GMT by SM: It seems that massive outrage at Sony's "Fresh Start" program has encouraged them to drop the fee for scrubbing your laptop of bloatware before shipping it your way.

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PC Decrapifyer will not work? (5, Informative)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823822)

I was assuming that PC Decrapifyer cleaned the plethora of extraneous Sony-specific applications, the list does not list one Sony item: http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/apps [pcdecrapifier.com]
Still, is it is a very FREE and very Useful tool for new PCs.

Another link OTFA:
http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/21/sony-hates-you-offers-50-fresh-start-option-to-build-your-la/ [engadget.com]

I wish, I wish (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823830)

I was a fish. And that we could buy computers without an OS if we chose to.

Re:I wish, I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22823936)

"And that we could buy computers without an OS if we chose to."
You can.

Oh, you mean -any- PC on offer... but then without the OS. And not the specialty OS-less computers that you're not interested in buying because of the usual excuses (not sold in my area, not powerful enough, I don't like the face of the CEO, blablabla).

Re:I wish, I wish (1)

robzon (981455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824728)

The truth is only the cheapest computers can be bought without an OS. I really tried hard to find a decent PC without Microsoft Tax all over it. Ended up buying a MacBook. OS X is not that bad (although I'd prefer not to buy it) and Ubuntu runs pretty smoothly.

Re:I wish, I wish (4, Informative)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824326)

I wish, I wish I was a fish. And that we could buy computers without an OS if we chose to.
Sure you can. You can buy Dell n Series computers without an OS installed, but with an obligatory copy of FreeDOS (not preinstalled). You're not really expected to install FreeDOS, but for some reason (maybe legal or contractual) Dell doesn't want to sell PCs without a bundled OS, so they bundle (but don't install) an OS that you're not expected to install. I wouldn't be surprised if other PC makers sold some computers (most likely business models) without an OS.

Re:I wish, I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824462)

If my understanding is correct, they can't sell PCs without an OS due to a contract with MS. They'll lose their benefits.

Re:PC Decrapifyer will not work? (1)

alta (1263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824232)

It's funny, I saw a similar service on Dell's site, except they were removing Microsoft's crap. $2 to remove the games, $2 to remove the communications accessories, there were about 10 things they'd do ranging from $2-$10.

Crazy

Re:PC Decrapifyer will not work? (2, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824424)

PC Decrapifier isn't very good. I tried it on a computer with a dozen programs that I would consider fit the bill... it only found two, and could only remove one IIRC. The other one was easily removed using the program's own uninstaller, so it's obvious PCD doesn't even try very hard.

Re:PC Decrapifyer will not work? (0)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824758)

WHY WOULD YOU REMOVE IRC????

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

non-caps non non non

Re:PC Decrapifyer will not work? (1)

flipfone (992837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824428)

the only sure way to remove the crap is reformat, get rid of windows and install Ubuntu. problem solved. No more crap....

Doesn't work (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824702)

Trust me it doesn't work.

I bought a Sony laptop 6 years ago and it was badly bloated. Immediately upon booting up the cheap pc-cillen virus protection would take up all of the available processing time and have to be killed.

Mind you that was on a factory install with no modifications of anysort. And if I needed to reinstall the OS, the program would be back on and locking things up.

Eventually I decided to upgrade to freebsd which solved that problem handily, but the only way of decrapifying the laptop was to either pay for a non-OEM copy of windows or pirate it.

A shame really, because the laptop was great in pretty much every other way. It does make me wonder how pathetic their QA department is if they ship a system that locks up immediately after having the OS clean installed though.

Re:PC Decrapifyer will not work? (5, Insightful)

strange dynamics (1219074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824536)

1. Thanks for the link. It's ironic that the link in the summary leads to an ad page. Any time a site shows a full page ad before the article I am trying to read, I immediately go back to try and send the message that I will not read their site if they insist on advertising that way.

2. On topic: Although I completely disagree with sony's actions here, it makes sense that a computer without all the crap would cost more. A crap filled PC is subsidized by revenue from the crap vendors, a clean PC is not.

How about a Vista rebate instead? (4, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823824)

Why stop at removing "Works" when you could use Ubuntu? Wouldn't Sony then have to give you a rebate for the OS you did not use?

You would be better off even if you wasted $149 on XP and used your old software. This option does not rule out a nice free software partition. I can't believe anyone will use the "fresh start" service.

Geez. forget it. (3, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823826)

Almost seems easier to just buy the Windows OEM version and install from scratch. Can you get a rebate on a Vista license bundled with your laptop that you aren't using like you could on previous versions of Windows?

Re:Geez. forget it. (0, Troll)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823886)

Not really, have you ever tried installing Windows from a CD that wasn't OEM? It is an absolute pain, you thought Debian's text installer was bad or Gentoo's install took forever, this is worse. Not only do you have to track down every single last driver but the install itself takes ages. I haven't tried installing Vista and I don't expect it to be much better.

Forget it. That's a good idea. (5, Informative)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823980)

This is why it's a good idea to avoid brand new hardware from unfriendly companies like Sony. If it won't work with PCLinuxOS, Mepis or one of the Ubuntu live CDs, you don't want it. XP won't work either, which leaves you with Vista and hunting for the dozens of programs needed to make Windows useful. You might as well give up. Hardware that's just a year or two older or that's "low power" will perform better under free software than new hardware under Vista and software that does not break XP is going to get harder and harder to find.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824024)

I thought most manufacturers give you a list of all the drivers you need on their website when you select the model.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824050)

Most do, but you still have to download the drivers put them on disk, then install them on XP, reboot a couple hundred times to have a working system as Windows install CDs give you almost no drivers by default comparatively to Linux where most everything is supported out-of-the-box.

Re:Geez. forget it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824660)

Is it worse to hunt for win drivers or install debian potato from boot floppies and upgrade it all the way to etch on a dac960 raid controller of an alpha?

I did both and vote for the first.

Re:Geez. forget it. (4, Funny)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824792)

Yes, but it's not much use if you don't have a driver for your network card!

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824074)

It's not that hard (at least with Dell's). The XP disk installs most of the drivers and the one or two you need are easy enough to download from the Dell website. You're actually better off using the standard version of XP/Vista as the OEM version may have a fair amount of bloatware/customization/value-add built-in.

Re:Geez. forget it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824468)

It's not that hard (at least with Dell's). The XP disk installs most of the drivers and the one or two you need are easy enough to download from the Dell website. You're actually better off using the standard version of XP/Vista as the OEM version may have a fair amount of bloatware/customization/value-add built-in.
Yeah, but the vendor oem ones likely SLP-enabled [wikipedia.org] . Ie, no activation required if installed on matching hardware. If you go with a retail or standard oem, you have to call M$ and ask permission to use the software you paid for.

Dell's cds, at least, work that way. As far as I can tell they don't install anything extra but by using them you don't have to deal with activation. You can change as much hardware in the system as you want to (except motherboard) and still not have to deal with activation.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824238)

The drivers are easy to add to the xp disk driverpacks.net and after that going to the Nvidia / ATI / INTEL web site and install the full drivers for your hardware should get most of them.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824352)

Well, the nice thing about Vista is that there aren't any drivers to fail to get... they just aren't there. Honestly, Vista isn't as bad to install. The hardest part I had was video card drivers and a few internal components. The length of time wasn't too bad either. It's longer than XP but nothing you can't handle.

-1 troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824380)

Not really, have you ever tried installing Windows from a CD that wasn't OEM?

i have installed every major version of Windows from non-OEM disks (even floppy disks for win95 if you want to talk about suckage).

i have also installed metric fucktonnes of linux distros.

guess what? there is some variation with different advantages and problems - but linux, windows - pretty much equally easy or pain in the ass depending on your point of view.

+4 Insightful? (2, Informative)

linumax (910946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824648)

Is this the result of collective wisdom of /. moderators?!!

I'm writing this from Leopard, and my other two machines run Ubuntu but I have installed Windows (98 - XP) on several hundred different configurations, same goes for various Linux distros but that ignorant comment of yours, both about the time it takes to install Windows and how you'll have to track down "every single last driver" is nothing but trolling.

I haven't installed Vista, so I won't comment on that.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824798)

When I bought my Toshiba laptop, there was a folder on the C: drive which contained installers for all the drivers/Toshiba software which had been pre-installed. I made a backup of this folder, wiped all partitions, installed my own copy of Vista and installed the missing drivers from the backup. Presumably a good manufacturer would also be bundling the necessary drivers somewhere on a new laptop.

Took a while, but the end result was a somewhat faster system with far less orphaned files which would have remained after uninstalling the bloatware myself.

Re:Geez. forget it. (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824396)

You don't even need to. Sony Vaios come with the Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD. You can use that to do a clean install.

It should be (2, Funny)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823828)

From the charging-you-for-our-mistakes dept.

Re:It should be (5, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823876)

How much does the option of not killing the family dog cost? I don't think I can afford the please-don't-rape-me option bundled with these products. I'm waiting for the version of a product with viruses loaded onto it to be $50 cheaper, that way you can undercut competitors in advertisements and with customers that buy purely on pricetag. Even though I suspect most customers try to roughly compare pricetag with features to come up with some squish concept of value when they make a purchase decision.

Not shocking (3, Interesting)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823836)

Consider that best buy, circuit city, and every small time PC repair shop on earth offers this exact same service. People already pay hand over fist to have someone else run some basic software, or in Sony's case... run that software once, update the image, and image that option onto your PC instead of the bloated one.

Don't let them charge you (5, Interesting)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823838)

Instead of allowing them to charge you for removing Windows, simply don't accept the EULA and call Sony to get your money back. Research it online--there's been a lot of people who have been refunded the Microsoft tax for just a few hours of work.

As usual... (5, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823932)

Slashdot's late to the party.

Gizmodo is reporting that Sony have already stated that starting tomorrow the service will be free.

Re:As usual... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824028)

So wait, Sony will still be putting crapware on your new computer, but you can send it back and wait another 6-8 weeks and you can have a non-crapified computer? How does that work!?!

along with sibling poster... (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823960)

...this isn't about removing windows. It's about removing add-on software. Know how most PCs come with anti-virus, anti-spyware, google earth, google toolbar, etc. pre-installed? That's the type of thing it might remove (I don't know the exact list of what it does remove). It's got nothing to do with removing the O/S.

On top of that - why not go the easy route and get a machine that doesn't run Windows in the first place - either O/S-less or with a Linux or BSD distribution pre-installed instead?

Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Features - (3, Informative)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823882)

"To uninstall a program, select it from the list and click "Uninstall""

Not really that big a deal... I guess for $150 VS a few clicks and reboots, I'd rather keep the cash. (I have a new Vaio and already did this) Yes, I know it is only $50 but I have no need for Vista Business either.

And if you are in a business buying a large volume of laptops (presumably the intended market?), wouldn't it still be more efficient to pay your IT guy to do the same?

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823910)

If you have a large volume of identical PCs, it would be easier just to reimage the entire thing. Or create a script to do the same.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824172)

If you want a large number of PC's Sony is NOT who you choose. Many of their laptops have drivers installed in the OEM setup disk that flat out aren't available any other way. Most shops that have large numbers of machines use some sort of imaging setup and that doesn't work with an OEM edition of Windows, only with volume licensed editions.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

uhlume (597871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824274)

Either your "IT guys" aren't getting paid enough, or you can't do basic math. Or you have a very different definition of "a large volume" than most IT shops do.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824294)

"To uninstall a program, select it from the list and click "Uninstall""
Not really that big a deal...


That's a bit like saying "people who receive spam can just click Delete".

It doesn't work very well when there are loads of things to uninstall, and it doesn't address the fact that it shouldn't be necessary in the first place.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824360)

That's a bit like saying "people who receive spam can just click Delete".
No, it's not. Spam is ongoing. I'm talking about a few program uninstalls that never come back. Agreed it should never be there in the first place... but then wouldn't my laptop cost more? Everything is a trade off. I personally would rather spend a half hour uninstalling things and spend $150 less. More money for beer.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824682)

"but then wouldn't my laptop cost more?"

It might cost exactly the same, but with the money paid
to the PC Mfgr going straight to it's "bottom line".

Heck, they might charge you more with the crud on there,
because the "value has been enhanced", right?

What happened to prices before and after the crudware
installs started?

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (4, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824328)

To uninstall a program, select it from the list and click "Uninstall"
I would like to make two points:
1) Sony's own load images are to blame for much of the pre-installed adware and unnecessary bloat, why should there even be a fee in the first place to NOT install software?
2) Often uninstall in Windows isn't as easy as clicking "uninstall" as you suggest. Because of the nifty Windows inventions such as the registry and protected system folders, uninstall is no longer what it used to be. Many times, programs leave traces in the registry which never come out and can still slow the computer, and even cause crashes down the road. If you never load undesired programs in the first place, you avoid this added risk altogether.

I know not all programs take a merciless rampage through the registry and some uninstallers may be programmed without error, but lets face it, if any one programmer on a project left one registry entry undocumented, one system folder modification unchecked, one startup program off the uninstaller, you have a risk...
now multiply that by the number of programmers on the projects...
now by the amount of bloat you have on your system before it's removed...
It may not be worth $50 to you or me even after all of that because we can easily reinstall, but to the average consumer it can be a lot more cumbersome.

Re:Control Panel - Programs - Programs and Feature (1)

nku (982751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824466)

That may be true for geek crowd at /. But what about a older couple who purchased a computer to communicate with their kids/grandkids?

Headline INCORRECT (4, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823892)

Sony will NOT be charging a fee.

Sony Drops $50 Fee to Remove Useless Bloatware [wired.com]

Oops.

Next time, do your research to make sure you have the latest info, mmmkay?

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824008)

Anyone want to bet linuxwrangler is one or more of the following three things:

1) Bitter Dreamcast owner

2) Bitter Xbox owner

3) Bitter Xbox 360 owner

4) Bitter HD-DVD owner

Why pay for expensive therapy sessions when you can use Slashdot to dump all that built up Sony hate. Just think of how much money Zonk has saved over the past couple years...

Re:Headline INCORRECT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824166)

Four things, not three...

There does appear to be a group of people almost entirely in the US who have spent a decade getting beat by Sony in the marketplace and have turned into fanatical zealots who feed off these types of bogus stories. With HD-DVD rotting in its grave and the 360 dead in almost every market outside the US and fading rapidly in the US, it has been like watching a five year old go through a nasty tantrum with lots of kicking and screaming over the past couple of months here on Slashdot.

People will get tired of the antics after a while and life will go on with BluRay, the PS3, and the Wii. And no one will want to hear bitter fanboy tears over HD-DVD and the 360 anymore than people did when the Dreamcast took a dirtnap years ago.

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1, Troll)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824448)

Anyone want to bet linuxwrangler is one or more of the following three things:

1) Bitter Dreamcast owner

2) Bitter Xbox owner

3) Bitter Xbox 360 owner

4) Bitter HD-DVD owner

Why pay for expensive therapy sessions when you can use Slashdot to dump all that built up Sony hate. Just think of how much money Zonk has saved over the past couple years...
Wow! I've heard of people missing every answer but being wrong four times out of three is impressive. And if you consider the fact that I like the Sony products I own, your error rate increases to five out of three.

With talent like that, I'm shocked that you choose to remain anonymous.

Re:Headline INCORRECT (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824516)

LOL! So you don't even have the excuse of being a fanboy? It was plain stupidity that you scampered off to post a story that was shown to be false ON THE VERY SAME SITE?

What an idiot...

Re:Headline INCORRECT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824640)

1) Bitter Dreamcast owner
Screw you, man! Nothing wrong with having ever bought a Dreamcast! No one who bought one is bittter, we all LOVE them!

Fresh Start free with business edition upgrade! (2, Informative)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824048)

From the Wired article you provided:

Fresh Start will now be a no-cost option on Sony's slick subnotebooks, but only for those who opt for Windows Vista Business Edition, a $100 upgrade.

Perhaps they should still offer it for regular edition, then market the business edition upgrade as "Upgrade to Business Edition and get Fresh Start free, a fifty dollar value!"

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824064)

Slashdot was just slow to post the story. But on the Firehose 59 minutes before it went up, that link was in this link: Wired: Sony Drops $50 Fee to Remove Useless Bloatware [slashdot.org] .

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

spintriae (958955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824250)

/. was planning on running that story tomorrow. You spoiled the surprise!

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824344)

I guess you must mean research into time-travel. Wired lists that as a "breaking" story at March 21, 2008 11:13:07 AM which is after I had submitted the story to Slashdot. If you are desperate to blame - try blaming latency in the Slashdot story posting process.

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824666)

That's where the blame is supposed to be placed. It's not as if Slashdot doesn't constantly get screamed at for the same thing, after all ... but as is usual they failed to get off their lazy asses and verify their postings to make sure the information in them is still correct. This shouldn't have been posted. It's not your fault, but it still shouldn't have been approved/posted.

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824374)

"Next time, do your research to make sure you have the latest info, mmmkay?"

Look at the time difference from the wired article and the slashdot summary post. You sound like that asshole on irc that always says "thats old news" when someone posts an interesting URL. Not everyone lives on IRC/WWW 24/7

Re:Headline INCORRECT (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824644)

That Wired article was up before I saw the Slashdot post on the front page. If Slashdot tries to smear someone, even if it's Sony, with outdated and incorrect information, I am going to say something about it. If it makes me an asshole to call out "news" sources on failing to do basic research like bothering to verify their stories, that's your problem and not mine.

Unfortunate... (1)

ohxten (1248800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823902)

The unfortunate thing is that the overwhelming majority of people who purchase a Sony PC will pay for this "service", because they know no better.

Yet another lawsuit (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823904)

is in order.

Just keep pounding on these people until they submit and start acting responsible.

not to be a fan boy, but... (5, Interesting)

bwy (726112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823914)

This is one of the most refreshing things about a Mac- you don't have to reload the OS as soon as you buy the machine. I would NEVER use a preload version of XP or Vista. Never, ever, ever.

I haven't seen what Ubuntu preloads look like from the likes of Dell. Hopefully, it is nice and clean and about what I would do if I installed it myself and got all the drivers working.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (5, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824018)

if you were a fan boy, you'd pretty much be a fan of "not that I have much choice in the matter".

Yes, it's wonderful that Apple doesn't bloat up the default installations of Mac OS. Then again, it's not Microsoft that's bloating up the default installations either - it's the computer manufacturers. Apple is in the sweet position to be both the OS developer and the manufacturer + distributor of their computers.

On the other hand, you -can- get a 'Windows PC' that doesn't have any bloat. You can get one that has internet-specific bloat. You can get one that has games-specific bloat (popular games server management stuff pre-installed), etc. You get a choice.
Yes, I know, by far the majority of those choices will have -some- manner of bloat. But, again, you do get a choice.

Personally I don't see why anybody would actively -choose- any sort of bloat, but maybe that's just because the appropriate bloat hasn't been presented to me yet. Let's say there was a 3D graphics computer that with pre-installed Blender, The Gimp / Cinepaint, InkScape, etc. I wouldn't particularly complain about that 'bloat'.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824224)

It's worse. Some OEMs complained to the DoJ about Vista trying to stop them from 'customizing' the user experience on first boot. Read here. [arstechnica.com]

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (1)

zalas (682627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824054)

When I bought my 12" Powerbook G4 a while back, it came with various random stuff, like trial versions of Office, loaded onto it. Granted, it's not as bad as some of the Windows preloads get, but it's still far from a "clean" system. On the other hand, the Mac Pro I just bought came very clean, and I only reinstalled Leopard because I wanted it on a different hard drive.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824158)

Hate to rain on your party as a fellow Mac user... But that's not quite true. Macs come out of the box with a junkload of pre-load software. Granted, the quality of them far exceed the kind of apps you see bundled on Dells and Sonys, but nonetheless, MacOS X isn't quite so clean out of the box.

Oh, and a clean install of OS X takes FAR less room than what you would see on a Mac out of the box. I've done it before. Things like Garage Band take up a huge amount of space, and while I do like the app, most users will probably never run it.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824254)

While it's true that Mac do sometimes come with extras, not all of it timebombware or crippleware, it's also true that that stuff doesn't load at boot and drag the system down. Uninstalling is generally as easy as putting the app in the trash and emptying the trash. Much/most of the stuff you get on Windows systems hooks into the boot process and does slow you down -- and isn't that easy to get rid of.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824302)

True. I find the bundled software on Macs to be in general far superior to their PC counterparts. Nothing loads at boot, nothing alters your UI, or adds floating buttons to your desktop, etc. That being said, if MS had a say on bundled software I'm pretty sure won't see half the useless stuff guys like Sony and Gateway pack in with their machines.

In fact, the only thing I really don't like about the bundled software on OS X is MS Office. The other bundled apps tend to be reduced-functionality apps that have no expiry - you can use it as much as you want, and purchase it to unlock its full potential. MS Office on the other hand will expire, and IMHO that's not in fitting with the spirit of bundling.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824174)

I think office 2004 trial came preinstalled when I bought my macbook.

Re:not to be a fan boy, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824350)

Dell install a DVD player [intervideo.com] , but nothing else that I've noticed.

(Typing from a Dell M1330 laptop with preinstalled Ubuntu).

Dell has this option (3, Informative)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823964)

I saw that Dell has a small business line of PC's that they claim to ship free of all that bloatware. I dont remember the name of that product line. But I liked the fact that you didnt have to select it as an option, it was a standard feature.

The first thing I do to every new computer I get (or my family) is to reformat and reinstall windows.

Re:Dell has this option (3, Informative)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824168)

I saw that Dell has a small business line of PC's that they claim to ship free of all that bloatware. I dont remember the name of that product line. But I liked the fact that you didnt have to select it as an option, it was a standard feature.
It's their super-cheap Vostro line of desktops and laptops for small business, which were introduced Summer 2007. Vostro hardware is nearly identical to the new Inspiron desktops and laptops introduced at the same time, but are "business black" instead of silver.

The press release for the Vostro introduction [dell.com] described the "no trialware" feature:

  • "The Vostro branded products feature no trialware and simple to use tools that address top-of-mind problems such as data back-up, PC performance and health, and specialized networking support for customers without dedicated IT staff."
Of course, some buyers probably think Dell's "support tools" is "bloatware," but I guess that's what you have to accept when you buy a PC with support and warranty.

Re:Dell has this option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824184)

Vostro

Re:Dell has this option (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824296)

You are thinking of the Vostro line of desktops/laptops... You can get them with either XP or (shudder) Vista.. Alas, they are not one of the systems that Dell preloads Ubuntu.. I recently bought one of their Vostro 1400 laptops thru the Dell Outlet, for $623 out the door ($549+$20ship+$44tax), and its a great machine.. Core2Duo/T5270,2GB,160GB/NvidiaGF8400M video/webcam/Wifi/Bluetooth...A quick PartitionMagic resize of the drive, and its now dualbooted with XP and Ubuntu 7.10...

This is great and all.... (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22823998)

....but I'm holding out for the pay-to-throw-out option.

We can do better!

One of life's little axioms (4, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824002)

"If the answer involves giving money to Sony, you must have asked a really silly question."

games (1)

ImTheDarkcyde (759406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824036)

For a while now gamers have been complaining that in-game ads don't offset the cost of the game

So I don't get it, ad's have offset sony PC prices, and we're complaining about it?

Re:games (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824252)

For a while now gamers have been complaining that in-game ads don't offset the cost of the game

So I don't get it, ad's have offset sony PC prices, and we're complaining about it?


Objectively its the same, but its the semantics.

There is a semantic difference between 'we'll offer you a discount to sell you a PC with bloat' vs 'we profit more by selling you a bloated pc and we'll only remove it if you compensate us to make up that extra profit. ie... you are basically bidding against the bloatware providers over the state of your desktop.'

If Sony offered the PC clean for X, and then as an option offered to reduce its price by $70 dollars to ALLOW them to install a bunch of cruft their affiliates will pay them to install... people would be a lot less pissed I think. Even though its just changing the semantics.

As for gamers, game prices haven't gone down, so the presumption is that the publishers are just pocketing extra ad profit and not passing any of the savings to gamers. You -could- argue that game prices would have gone up (or up more) if it weren't for the ads... but I think the gamers are justifiably skeptical.

Partially honest. & how much is bloatware wort (4, Interesting)

klubar (591384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824100)

In some ways, Sony is at least being (partially) honest in that they explicitly price the removal. Other vendors hide the cost by wrapping bloatware free versions into specific models (for example, Dell's Vostos and Optiplex) don't have much bloatware, but are not exactly identical to an equivalent model.

Does anyone know how much the vendors actually get for installing various trial versions?

Also, there is some danger of one man's bloatware being another's convenience. For example is pre-installing Adobe Acrobat and Flash bloatware or value? How about Google toolbar? Firefox? And on down the line... iTunes?

And, Macs aren't exactly bloatware free. Quicktime is a trial version with a nag screen to upgrade. Macs come with trial versions of Office (how much does Microsoft pay for that) and Omni outliner.

Re:Partially honest. & how much is bloatware w (1)

solitas (916005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824316)

And, Macs aren't exactly bloatware free. Quicktime is a trial version with a nag screen to upgrade. Macs come with trial versions of Office (how much does Microsoft pay for that) and Omni outliner.

But isn't the Quicktime a full-feature reader (kinda like Acrobat - all the 'read' works while the 'create' doesn't)?

Crap Cleaner (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824104)

Why pay Sony when you can get Crap Cleaner [ccleaner.com] for free? Uninstall the junk you don't want via add/remove programs and then use Crap Cleaner to clean up anything that the uninstallers leave behind.

I have a vaio and about this crap they install.. (2, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824126)

I have a Sony Vaio subnotebook with all kinds of crap installed on top of WinXP Pro. But here's the deal. You can make a CD version of their restore kit, though. And when you restore that way, they let you choose to ignore the little "restore partition" that wastes a lot of space so that's awesome.

But the best part is, the "crapware" doesn't go on until the OS is all restored. It's clean until you finally boot back up and it starts asking for CD's again. At least in the version I have, you can cancel the process there. You'll have to get your own drivers from the download site, which isn't hard, they have a nice streamline downloader that produces a report and everything.

So at least with my Vaio T-340P I had no troubles working around the (realistically minor compared to some machines) bloatware.

Re:I have a vaio and about this crap they install. (1)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824510)

That is not the case with their Vista ones that I have seen. May be different with their subnotebooks, since they target a more businessy crowd. Their CR series, for example (I have witnessed this with cr120 and cr220), has a recovery system which not only installs all this crap at the same time as the important stuff, but outputs countless error messages in so doing. For example, the Norton trial actually refuses to install because the clock is not yet set (and the trial has an expiry date for some reason).
We had to click through many failed installers, cancel others and wait for literally hours after Windows was installed before we could finally boot into a working system. As mentioned, we had to babysit the installer every step of the way.
Granted, it was hardly working by the time the recovery disk had finished its job of smearing bloat everywhere it could find. Oddly enough, even though we thought it refused to install due to Sony's incompetent lack of basic product testing, a Norton 360 trial was still present. Do they put two Norton trials on these now?!

On another rambly complaint, why do they insist on packaging CD burning and photo management tools - even free ones? Windows itself provides those just fine now, and its included systems do a far better job than what Sony and HP keep pulling out of their asses. When I learned of all that extra software coming with Vista, the first thing that came to mind was "good, less vendor-supplied junk!". Somehow, that is the exact opposite of reality.

On a similar note, I had an interesting experience with my Asus F8SV's recovery system recently. It asks me to put in the driver CD (+ Norton trial and other junk) about halfway through the installation. I did this the first two times, expecting it to work (after all, why wouldn't it?). Unlike Sony, no errors occurred and the Norton trial made it on. However, Windows would not boot; it went into an infinite loop of restarting itself and trying to configure without throwing any usable error messages. Poked around on the web, and I quite quickly found the official answer from Asus: 'Do not insert the driver & software CD, instead press the power button and start into Windows. Install the drivers yourself.'
Good of them to find a solution, and it's nice to start into fresh Windows with an off the shelf machine, but that is simply absurd. I swear, manufacturers do not test their recovery systems!

Another good reason to avoid the box stores (2, Interesting)

Kahless2k (799262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824132)

When my shop sells any new system, my techs go over the machine before it leaves the building - the first thing I have them do is remove the crapware (including the Norton trial most come with), load Avast if they dont have their own AV, install Spybot, windows updates. The idea is that the user can take full advantage of the system from the moment it leaves the store.

Re:Another good reason to avoid the box stores (3, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824688)

When my shop sells any new system, my techs go over the machine before it leaves the building - the first thing I have them do is remove the crapware (including the Norton trial most come with), load Avast if they dont have their own AV, install Spybot, windows updates. The idea is that the user can take full advantage of the system from the moment it leaves the store.


Y'know, some users would consider your choice of software to be little difference. Your choice in software is perhaps a little more benevolent, but you're still making software choices for your user, and installing stuff they didn't ask for. Plus... from your wording, I'm assuming that you're a reseller, and that systems from Lenovo/HP/Dell/Whatever are leaving your building? What happens when your customers call up Dell tech. support and expect help with Avast? After all, it came with their computer....

You may also want to check on the EULA conditions for Avast, because I *think* what you're doing is against the license. It's certainly against the AVG license.

Even some white box stores do this now (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824138)

Some local stores will bundle software on their white box PCs.

Fortunately it's usually something relatively useful, such as the free version of AVG AV or a DVD burner/media package.

The brand names use these loads of bloatware to reduce the price of their systems, in addition to their larger purchasing power, so they can compete with the local white box stores who otherwise would be cheaper in many cases.

After all the problems removing the bloatware - try uninstalling McAfee and having it hose your network connection for example - you're better off buying a white box from a local store without the crap. Plus instead of some "recovery partition" - which is useless when the hard drive crashes - you get a real OEM install CD that you can definitely recover XP with - if you don't lose it, which most people do unfortunately.

Of course, for laptops, you're still screwed. For laptops you kinda need to buy from a brand because they're the only companies big enough to buy large enough quantities to reduce the cost of developing and supporting a decent laptop. Even so, the more I see and work on laptops, the less I like them. Too proprietary, too fragile, too expensive, to hard to expand, to hard to work on. Companies who use laptops for corporate desktop replacements are shooting themselves in the foot. Their support costs will triple for laptops.

PCs are commodities. Buy them that way.

Wonder... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824152)

>>"Wonder what they would charge to remove Windows completely."

Eleventy-BILLION-dollars. MWAHAHAHAHH!!!!

People buy Sony for Business?! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824180)

I'm a bit shocked. Well, not shocked exactly... more like generally disappointed.

I have run into problem after problem with Sony computers, PDAs and just about everything except for their TVs and video cameras. When I took on my current employment, there were Sony laptops littered everywhere and they were all dying horrible deaths of one sort or another. (Most of them had a problem with the video panel flaking out) Meanwhile, the Dells and IBM/Lenovo units were running strong in spite of their age and the cause for pulling them out of action was because they were simply too old and slow.

I will never buy Sony when there is a choice. Never. They have crappy warranty service. They have crappy policies. The company is demonstrably anti-consumer. I simply will not trust Sony for far too many reasons. The very idea of trusting business functions to a Sony computer is simply frightening.

May I just say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824190)

What a crock of bullshit.

An easier way (1)

snehoej (1162671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824240)

Just don't fork out the extra bucks a Sony or IBM laptop costs, when you can get cheaper non-brand stuff with the same hardware that doesn't come bundled with horrible, horrible apps.

Just bought a CR31 (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824258)

I just bought a CR31 (no not the pink one) and there it is selectable whether you want the Office trial and some other stuff or not. Also Vista home premium has this wonderful feature build in which allows you to shrink the Vista partition size so you can make space for Ubuntu. I wonder whether Microsoft had to get beaten up by someone to make this happen.

I have to say that I bought it in Europe maybe they do things different here. I find it interesting that Sony lets this kind of thing happen on its upscale laptops though (the TZs seem to be expensive).

Also I haven't used Vista since shrinking its partition so who knows what else lurks there.

Not installing Windows (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824266)

Wonder what they would charge to remove Windows completely
Oh, the Marx Brothers answered that question decades ago:

Spaulding: What do you fellas get an hour?
Ravelli: For playing, we get-a ten dollars an hour.
Spaulding: I see. What do you get for not playing?
Ravelli: Twelve dollars an hour.
Spaulding: Well, clip me off a piece of that.
Ravelli: Now for rehearsing, we make special rate. That's-a fifteen dollars an hour...That's-a for rehearsing.
Spaulding: And what do you get for not rehearsing?
Ravelli: You couldn't afford it. You see, if we don't rehearse, we a-don't play, and if we don't play (he snaps his finger) - that runs into money.

Just replace playing and rehearsing with installing bloatware and installing Windows.

Sony just wants to get paid (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824372)

How much would you bet that the vendors of crapware pay Sony to add their trial software? Sony knows perfectly well that their customers hate this stuff but rather than forgo the revenue they wanted to try to pass the paying on to you, the customer.

Sony's offer to make this service "free, with upgrade to business version" still allows them to get paid. I suspect the spread between the OEM OS cost of the consumer edition vs. the business one is still less than they'll charge for the upgrade. In other words, this is a better way to hide the fact that they just want to get paid.

No bloatware=loss of money for Sony (0, Flamebait)

west (39918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824420)

To be honest, it's completely reasonable that Sony charge for the bloatware-removal service, given that it costs them money. It's quite possible that for the el-cheapo machines (if Sony has any), that the only way they make money is from the fees that they charge the vendors to put the trial versions on the hard disk.

You want a computer without ads? Then expect to personally replace the lost income. Just like you would with TV.

(Or you can do the work yourself. If your time is worth $50/hr, it's pretty much a wash.)

Re:No bloatware=loss of money for Sony (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824602)

To be honest, it's completely reasonable that Sony charge for the bloatware-removal service, given that it costs them money.

A missed opportunity is not a cost.

Insightful and Informative (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824532)

This is a good article because now we have some idea about what all of that bloatware is worth to PC manufacturers. $150.

I wonder how much they charge (1)

LividBlivet (898817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824586)

to remove their rootkit.

well luckily, you don't have to buy a Windows PC (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824588)

There are alternatives, but it's only quite recently that customers have begun to value the different possibilities.

Arsonist Fireperson (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824636)

Gee, if I didn't know any better this is one of those "Create the problem so I can save you from that that problem" thing. I forgot the psychological term for this but this is exactly what this is.
Create a bunch rootkits and other malware and then ask Sony to "solve" it. They have have the nerve to ask money for this.
I call this ransom ware, pay company to get the malware on your system and pay to get the same company to remove it.

$ony (1)

Ertik (1244540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824650)

The number one question..Why buy from $ony in the first place.A company with a known history of utter disregard for customers.and customer service that is a nightmare.
  This sounds so much like them.What surprises me is that they decided to drop the charge.Pity the poor people that buy from them

Strange... You can already pay $150 for that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824720)

Just go into a Best Buy and say "yes" to having their technicians do a "setup".
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