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Lionel - Thanks for commenting on this again, but I have to digress.. I have purchased approx 5 Dell PCs in the past 6 months (All Dimensions). Each and Every one of them came w/ the following programs which I immediately un-installed:
-MusicMatch Jukebox: The most bloated, slow loading, and annoying program-Earthlink/AOL/Juno/HighSpeed Internet Access: While it probably does not load during system startup, nonetheless, its unneeded and takes up space (even if its only a few megs)-Game Pack and other Random Games: I saw this starting earlier this year, just free trial games which do nothing but take up hard drive space-ESPN: Once again, it doesnt load up, but nonetheless takes up space and is unneeded-60 Day Trial of MS Office & MS Outlook w/ Business Contact Manager: I would NEVER pay full price for MS Office, go to costco, you can buy the Student & Teacher edition for $149, plus it can be used for up to three machines! Plus, the activation wizard is verry annoying.-GoogleDesktop: I take personal pride in removing this software, because from what I've heard, Google pays Dell a few bucks for every system its installed on - too bad Google wasted their money on my systems! But nonetheless, GDesktop slows down the computer and its indexing features really really scare me, I cant tell you how many times it's found things that people never wanted to come out in regular search results, and I really see no benefits to the sidebar.
I'm very glad that Dell does put on Acrobat - although I'm wondering why it took them almost a year to begin installing the latest version, but they are quick to install the latest version of all the google software!!! Ironic isnt it??
I'm not mentioning the free subscriptions to either McAfee, PCCillin, or Symantec (they are immediately removed as well, Windows One Care does everything those programs do, EXCEPT slow the computer to a crawl!), because I understand the importance of those programs, even though I dont like those particular choices.
The thing that irks me about these bloat programs is, #1 There is no choice to not install it (At least for the typical consumer), so a savvy customer will spend about 30 minutes uninstalling it, whereas a not-so-savvy customer will keep it on their computer for eternity and live with its bloat.#2 I'm an advanced computer user, so I understand the benefits and the negatives of all these programs, particularly if they slow down the system - your average customer will have no idea! #3 Yes, these programs are not "Bad", they are not adware, they are not spyware, but they still are annoyances which are unneeded.
Although I do have to admit - Dell is MUCH better than Sony, HP, and Toshiba - the last brand spaking new HP computer I saw took 10 minutes to load, and I ended up removing 40 - FORTY - unnneded programs, when those programs were un-installed, the computer loaded up in under a minute. I think its absurd that a brand new computer has so much junk on it, it runs like the computer in my basement that's 10 years old. Dell isnt that bad (and hopefully never will be) - and even though their technical support has NOT gotten any better over the last six months (trust me, I've been on the phone, and repeated "I'm sorry, I cannot understand you" to know), I'm still a LOYAL Dell Customer.. I don't know why, and i dont know how - but I'll never by anything but Dell.
Lastly - Lionel - thanks for the effort in this post, but look at any of the systems that you are pushing out, (especially the Dimensions - the biggest seller to your home user), and you'll see that the first part of this post is very very incorrect. Please do your homework next time.
We once purchased about 10 Dimension 5150/E510. On first boot, the very first thing that happened was the preinstalled McAffee suite crashed.
While I understand the option to eliminate excess media, $10 is far too much for ONE CD. In fact, the computers we bought came with an AOL CD. Which was also preinstalled along with the other junk. Dell no longer offers the option of burning a recovery CD, and when it did, you could burn one. IBM and Sony let you burn an unlimited number of CDs you want, and in fact as patches are applied, you can recreate the recovery media on an IBM to update the image.
I agree with Andrew in that I don't think that this blog post was very constructive. It simply listed the policy of Dell again, which clearly has been unpopular.
Regarding the performance reducing shareware and pestware, I'd prefer to see a single application that is simply a graphical installation manager. It should provide useful descriptions of what each shareware application does, its related costs after trial period and other related information.
This way, if a customer wants to take advantage of Dells partner offerings they can. With one exception, I believe a single antivirus/anti-spyware should come preinstalled for the majority of inexperienced users. However, that too should be an option when purchasing.
Finally, upon initial installation, NO app should require immediate registration, which when our E1505's were first booted up, became a headache, as the Ghost, McAffee and some other apps immediate registration requests were conflicting and causing problems, especially when there was no internet connection established yet, so they couldn't contact their remote servers to update or register and so they hung. This is something Dell needs to work on with their partners.
And while I'm at it.. I just went to download updated drivers for a clean install for one of our E1505's. While the drivers are laid out nicely on the web with descriptions for the files, once downloaded there is only a cryptic filename, leaving the inexperienced customer a bit confused, and the experienced customer with the time wasting task of having to organize the files locally.
A better solution would be to provide a compilation of the drivers in addition to the individual downloads. A single .zip, .rar or .iso with a snapshot of the drivers on it for that model product, having the same descriptive and heirarchal structure that is available to users on the web. Updating this "snapshot" download monthly in case of updates for individual components would also be appreciated. It's understandable that updating every time any a single driver changes is too much work for the volume of products Dell offers, but an automated once a month solution should be feasible.
Anyway, these are issues that would make Dell products more attractive to me, and reduce the time I have to spend (waste) when working with Dell computers.
I have recently received 3 new Optiplex GX745's. I noticed on all of them that Google Desktop is installed. Normally this wouldn't bother me too much since I can remove it rather quickly, but it appears that image that was used on these desktops contained an error. If you tried to un-install Google Desktop, the window that comes up to ask you why maximizes to cover the entire screen. There isn't anything you can do to get access to the desktop, and I mean anything....I have tried ctrl+alt+del; alt+f4; alt+tab, etc. I have no doubt the menus are coming up, but this stupid Google page covers them all. To finally get rid of it I have to reboot and get to Add/Remove programs and click through everything as fast as I can to try to beat the stupid window that pops up.
As a side note on that I agree with Steven D, Google desktop can be a huge security problem for companies, due to the fact that it can find its way around some security rights, thus enabling user access to things they shouldn't be seeing (ie., payrol info).
I like the fact that you include Adobe Reader with each desktop, and for those of us who choose to get Office 2003 SMB from you get Acrobat Standard bundled. I would like to know why you are still shipping Acrobat 6.0 when Acrobat 8.0 is getting ready to be released?
I don't particularly care what you do with the Dimension line since we don't use those at our business, but please, please, please don't put non-business related, or potentially risky software on your business line of desktops, and laptops.
Lionel, great to see some new postings, thank you. It's terrific that you respond to each comment, this way all of us can learn from your answers. Andrew (first post) hits it right on. I wish Dell shipped no bloatware and certainly no Google desktop. I would like to be given the option (at time of purchase) as to which additional free software I want installed.
Please keep your posts coming, thank you.
Steven: Thanks for the catch. You are correct. I've updated my original post based on your feedback. I don't know the answer to your question about the status of the PC Restore utility. I'll check with the team and will let you know.
Update: Good news—just confirmed with software folks that the PC Restore utility will remain intact. All Dimension and Inspiron systems will now come with the OS disc and the PC Restore utility.
Lionel...In regards to your post that Dell installs the "PC Restore Utility" on computers, I believe this is incorrect for home dividion ordered Dimensions & Inspirons. The configurator on Dell home, does not have the option any longer to have the PC restore utility (which it used to have several months back). I posted a thread on Dell's support website, and others had confirmed that it is no longer installed either. It seems the only way to restore the PC is by purchasing the OS disks, and even that isn't as easy as the "PC restore utility" and definately nowhere near as fast. Hopefully it is just an oversight on part of Dell home and can be added back into the confgurator, since it shows up fine on Dell Small Business' configurator for Dimensions & Inspirons (and is installed just fine).
This is a helpful follow-up post to Michelle's previous post on the installed software on new Dell computers. A couple months ago I went through the same process of uninstalling unneeded software on a new B130 laptop for my parents, and it was frustrating.
I'm glad to hear that the option for limited software installs is now available on XPS systems and some of the small business systems. Is there a plan to roll out this option for all new Dell systems?