back to article Dell cleans up crapware

Dell's tradition of shoveling bloatware into newborn PCs may be coming to a close. All it took was a few years of outrage. Previously, only Dell XPS systems had the privilege of shipping with a "no software preinstalled" option. But vigilant e-coniptions on Dell's IdeaStorm feedback site has prompted Dimension desktops and …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Joel Osborn

    Third party solution

    The best solution I've found is the PC-Decrapifier.

    You can find it at

    No, I am not making this up.

  2. Andrew Gratton

    Start afresh

    The first thing I do with any PC is reformat and reinstall, that'll only stop when they don't load any additional software.

  3. Gareth Pye

    still a long way from good

    I assume they still require you to pay a Microsoft Tax though.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft" Tax

    Well, cheapest way to go...

    I remember buying my suse for $349.99, and windows for workgroups was $199.99....

    Seems to be a smart move to me 10 years ago...

  5. foxyshadis

    AV protection?

    Be nice if they'd preinstall an antivirus that actually protected you, then, instead of just giving you that feel-good Symantec badge. Hey, even if it won't help against an actual virus or malware, at least it'll slow your system down enough that the virus can't do anything useful with it. =D

    I suppose the cheap-but-topnotch ones like Avira just can't spare the kind of money that symantec and mcafee can throw at OEMs.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Joel!

    Thanks for the recommendation, I shall try this on my Dell desktop when I get home this evening. I'd removed a few applications manually via Add/Remove Programs but this should make things easier.


    Mike, Nottingham

  7. GettinSadda


    I recently bought three HP Laptops and each one came with Symantec Internet Security.

    I have a quite number of years experience of spending ages trying to sort strangely behaving PCs only to discover that it was Symantec or Norton "security" software that was fudging up the machine.

    Each new laptop went through a careful process of removing Symantec, installing working firewall and AV, _then_ connecting to the 'net (via a hardware-firewall) and downloading all the latest Windows updates.

    Oh, and the laptops were carefully selected to be models that came with XP because my experience of Vista still causes me to wake up screaming in the early hours! Sure, it may be a great OS - when it's finished, and when you don't need a high-end PC just to run the OS!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reinstall every time

    I've had a number of systems off DELL and the first thing i do it format the drive and reinstall the OS. It's a damned sight quicker than trying to uninstall the stuff, and then locate and delete anthing that is left over.

    If I wanted any of this I can always find it on magazine cover disks or the internet. And as for Anti-virus, i have a provider of choice and object to having one forced on me when i buy a machine. You can configure the laptop when you buy it, why can't they give you an option to select from a list of providers, or put a simple "I do not want your bundled crap" on the selector?


    maybe new PCs NEED some bloat

    It's easy for the more techincal readers like us who visit El Reg to deride bloatware. But some (just some!) of this crap makes sense for unsophisticated users.

    If Microsoft could make a genuinely secure system, or if Windows included decent security software - but it doesn't and if it did it would increase Microsoft's monopoly and destroy the industry that has grown to address the problem.

    I thing a Windows PC SHOULD come with AV installed, and should make your life unpleasant (NOT impossible) if you try to connect to another PC or the Internet without it. What is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL though, is a proper, complete, working uninstall routine. My company used to buy a lot of NEC computers. The first 2 I got my hands on had to be factory-reset after unsuccessful attempts to remove Symantec. Eventually, 2 hours on the phone to Symantec pointed me to the un-documented and hidden uninstaller program, that still didn't remove LiveUpdate.

    I think something similar can be said for add-ons like the Google Pack. Yes, you or I might install one or two of these programs when we choose and when we're ready. A "normal" user wants to start NOW. He/she doesn't want to download programs and wouldn't know which ones anyway. Again, an essential for any "bloatware" program is a GOOD uninstaller.

    My current HP laptop NEARLY has it right. There is a SWSETUP folder containing all the drivers and software, and there is a menu-driven program in the start menu that let's you tick what you want to install/re-install. If I uninstall Sonic RecordNow, then decide I don't like Nero (why!?), a few clicks and I've got Sonic back without fuss. The only place HP went wrong was that most the software was on the "Recommended" list and pre-installed. However, Symantec was "Optional", so I never had the pain of trying to remove it!

    One thing I completely agree with - NO TRIALWARE! If the manufacturer wants to give you some software, they should GIVE it. If you're only going to have a chance to try something out, then it expires, that should be the user's choice as to whether they try it in the first place. (Except AV/Security - you have to have that in some form or another).

  10. John Bayly

    Re: decrapifier

    "No, I am not making this up."

    Joel, surely it should be "I shit you not"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happens to the uninstaller?

    Does the Dell uninstaller remove all the bloatware then go on to uninstall itself. Would be good if it did. All you need to do then is remove the Dell logos from the outside of the box.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Format the bloody thing

    A friend of mine bought a Dell years ago, and boy, what a nightmare to remove all the BSware inside!

    I tried to format the bloody thing, and it crapped all over itself trying to recognize all the hardware inside. No driver CD, only preinstalled Win 98 CD (back then...). It turned out to be impossible to install a clean Windows, without the original CD. Up to this day, that machine needs the original Dell-Win98 CD to be formatted, even if you plan to install something on top of it.

    Back then, I had no idea that I could search inside CAB files for drivers, not to mention compression software was not compatible to CABs yet (zip...)

    And worse, those tailor-made motherboards won´t let you install any standard PCI device without a few dozen BIOS conflicts.

    Now both of us swore never to buy a Dell again, only DIY PCs, even if we saw a clean preinstalled Dell. I guess that´s enough reason, up to this day crapware remains the rule.

    The Aptiva series from IBM had the same crapware illness, years before. IBM never sold a PC again, I wonder why won´t anybody learn from their own or other people´s mistakes. I hope Dell suffers the same fate as IBM home PC department.

  13. James Pickett

    Non sequitur

    So, the uninstall program is currently not available for download, "because it is tailored to the software on the system."

    But, "today this does not remove all Dell-installed software on the system".

    So, is it tailored not to remove all DIS, or not tailored at all? I think we should be told...

  14. Nick

    No Pre-installed Option?

    If Dell are offering a no-preinstalled option, does this include a preinstalled O/S? Since I got my second PC way back in the early Pentium days, I've gone with the format/reload option straight out of the box, to remove the turds that OEM's seem to spray their machines with. This then allows you to get a decent partition setup, A Windows O/S with the most appropriatly installed programs and settings for your needs, drivers which you know the build of and no strange software 'plugin's' that you can't tell if its spyware or actual use.

  15. Dave

    Reinstall, the best option

    I accidentally discovered what has been mentioned already, that a complete reinstall puts the basic operating system on and omits the crap. However, my ultimate solution was to put Linux on the machine, which solved all the problems.

  16. Ash

    You own a license for xp...

    Download a CD Image from a bittorrent / filesharing site (If you have the knowledge to not download zOMGDABESTXPINSTALL.exe [254kb]) and use the key on your case.

    Bin the Dell recovery disks; drivers can be downloaded and put on writable CD / USB drive in case of the worst.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Tools - the reason

    "Google Tools...Well, they don't seem to have a good excuse for that one."

    It may be a wild stab in the dark, but I'm prepared to bet that it's something to do with a big bag of money winging its way from Mountain View to Austin.

  18. thomasthetanker

    Its a no Win situation

    Setup a XP Pro machine yesterday

    83 Updates!!!!

    So to get this machine even remotely useable takes an hour of clicking yes, yes, yes, several restarts and then I have to uninstall bloatware?!!!

  19. John

    About time but still short

    It's about time Dell is cleaning all that useless software off of their PC's however when setting a dell up for someone the first thing I do is still a clean install of Windows due to their choice of AV. Norton Internet Security is terrible and sometimes even after full removal and reg clean up you can still have trouble installing a real AV like Kaspersky. I still think the consumer should have a choice for all software.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait for the Ubuntu computers

    Welcome to a new World. I have been using Ubuntu for a year now. No AV or firewall needed, no spyware or adware. Old favourites like Firefox and Open Office come on the CD (just one CD for everything). If you want extra applications, they are a free download and automatically installed (equally easy to uninstall). No EULA to click or magic numbers to type. You can connect to a 'Windows' network. I do not play games but my son plays World of Warcraft on his Ubuntu system using 'wine' (stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator - but we won't go into that). 'wine' also enables you to run lots of other 'Windows' programs. Ubuntu treats you as an equal and does not talk down to you.

  21. Mark Land

    XP to iMac

    I agree with most all posts. I install XP, then Avira and Zone Alarm. Avira is just what you want compared with bloaty Norton et al. But in the long run, I got so fed up with the cycle: clean -> install -> lock down -> firewall & AV -> update , that I got an iMac. Just turn on and use it :)

  22. Chad H.

    Norton AV

    I've been tempted for years to learn Virus programming, just to make one virus, the Anti-Norton Virus. So my dream goes, when people download it, they see a nortonish box that says "The Anti-Norton Virus has detected dangerous software on your computer, would you like to remove it?", they hit OK, and bang, Norton is gone for good.

    You can always tell in Internet Tech Support when Norton do an Update... a Million customers call wondering why nothing works anymore.

  23. David Eddleman

    Better than third-party

    Build your own.

    Or, if you need to mass-order, it doesn't really matter what crapware they come with, because you'll be re-imaging the machines en masse anyways.

    Ubuntu computers? Don't make me retch, please. Ubuntu is a glorified *nix distro that destroys all of the good commandline work.

    And don't get me started on the pretentious Mac users...

  24. Michael Martin

    re: Better than third-party

    Face it, David... Any time you get gripes about Windows or anything Windows-related, you'll get Linux and Mac fanboys saying 'LOL just use a Mac' or 'Linux is a real OS too, honest'. As for Ubuntu being a glorified *nix distro... How can it be glorified? That's what it IS. And it doesn't actually destroy good commandline work, the terminal is still right there and perfectly usable. The GUI stuff all accesses the commandline programs anyways - just invisibly.

  25. e633


    It is deeply unprofessional to fill people's PC with such USELESS and IRRITATING crap...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like