back to article Feeling heat from Macs, Microsoft sells PCs sans crapware

With Apple Macs in its sights, Microsoft has been quietly reselling PCs that offer customized, slimmed-down installations of Windows designed to run faster and to be easier to set up and maintain. The software company has been selling computers preloaded with the custom Windows image since at least October 2009 under the a …

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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    HP

    I'm sure we used to get PCs at a previous job from HP (DC5100-7600s)) that just had a bare XP install on them.

    Mind you, that might have been a Computacenter image.

    Quite surprised it's taken MS/OEMs so long to take the corporate cock from their mouth and realise that there's actually a pretty large market for 'slimmed down' installs though.

    Christ knows, having dealt with Acer towers, and their hour long, non-skippable 'value added' installation routines, I've seriously considered going back to my black art of making my own proper Sysprepped images and just ghosting the bastards straight out of the box...it'd probably have allowed me to earn more chargeable hours doing actual, real work over the last six months rather than charging for watching progress bars. Thankfully, the latest Acers seem much better for this, meaning I can do more work for more clients.

    Thank christ....

    Anon, as my bosses read this..

    1. Danny 14
      Thumb Up

      yeah

      it often depends on the range purchased. Dell vostros came loaded to the hilt with shovelware whereas optiplexes came with the bare minimum.

    2. David Hicks

      The thing it's a subsidy

      Corporate genitalia aside, the crapware subsidises the OS cost, or the full machine cost. It's one of the reasons the likes of Dell can sell windows machines cheaper than they can linux machines (volume and support costs being the other reasons of course).

      Either PC makers will 'get' this and PCs go up in price but come comparatively crapware-free, or 'signature' just becomes a premium windows PC branding and almost nobody buys it because it's more expensive.

      OTOH, is it that hard to run "PC Decrapifier" or similar on a new box?

      It's what I've always done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @David Hicks

        >OTOH, is it that hard to run "PC Decrapifier" or similar on a new box?

        Depends how many times you have to do it I suppose - though in practice I guess most folk are re-imaging anyway.

        >It's what I've always done.

        I see it as an opportunity, since we just send them back if they don't meet the agreed spec - and when an anguished droid rings back, we're going with the second supplier unless there's a substantive discount for all the hassle and late delivery. For them there's nothing worse than losing a sale they've already boxed off and in a buyers market it usually pays to take the piss.

      2. Lewis Mettler
        Stop

        just can't remove IE

        Just can't remove IE.

        And remember if you have a copy of IE your opinion just does not count.

        And if you buy anything from Microsoft you must also purchase IE.

        1. Lewis Mettler
          Stop

          Microsoft employees posting here?

          I note that IE still can not be removed and it gets downvoted?

          Since when is a customer choice a bad thing?

          Did not Microsoft say in this article that choice it good, better or best?

          Clealy being able to remove IE is a choice all consumers should have. And they do have for all other browsers.

          So it must be true, if you have a copy of IE, your opinion does not count. Not one bit. Microsoft makes sure of that.

          1. Alan 6 Bronze badge
            Jobs Horns

            Safari

            Same goes for a Mac and Safari

            You get a choice of Browser with Windows, when you run it first time you get a pop-up box and can choose your browser. Personally I always go from Chrome, it's the fastest and least bloated.

            I've yet to see a news story saying that the EU or whatever have made Apple offer a similar choice to all the iSheep who buy their shiny toys...

            1. John Stalberg

              Concurrence, not footprint made EU drive MS to multi browser choice!

              "I've yet to see a news story saying that the EU or whatever have made Apple offer a similar choice to all the iSheep who buy their shiny toys..."

              I believe you've missed the point why EU interfered with MS practice in the first place. It was due to the 90% - 95% market share - of both the operating system and the web browser market. It was never done to get a slimmer system. It was done to get the extreme situation with WinZilla not hurt the other browser makers. And to the benefit of the users.

              In Mac OS X you can chose a web browser. It is essential in any case to have an internet connection if the browser issue arises. With the very same internet connection you would get your favorite browser. You can't get rid of Safari, or perhaps you can by throwing it away, I don't know? The amount of saved disk space would be insignificant so there is very little reason. Today a modern desktop system is typically crammed with software out of which some stuff you never going to use. Consider Safari as belonging to that group and you won't suffer any more than what the apache web server for instance do to you if that was something you wouldn't use.

              OS X is already factory trimmed, that was the major thing with the last major release 10.6, and every OS X version from 10.0 to the latest has been not smaller as in GB (except for 10.6 that is) but of better performance. Like the Vista to 7 upgrade, performance wise, 6 times in a row. The bloat issue isn't really an issue on OS X for most users and there are certainly not hurting any browser makers particularly much.

              While they are at it, couldn't Microsoft beat the OEM's crap with an attractive price? Or by actively promote the early adopter by some article about how cool them trimmed PC's really are?

              I take the opportunity to give Google credit for voluntarily give the Chrome users the initial choice of search engines when during first launch. The know they aren't that far away from being as big on search as Microsoft are on the desktop. How long if ever will it take until Microsoft act in such a way as to demonstrate the same amount of courage and show the users as well as its competitor that kind of respect?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Yes you got downvoted

            Becasue you have no idea what you are talking about. Every time you post you come out with the same tired shit. Let me explain it to you in simple terms:

            You CAN uninstall internet explorer - that would be the browser

            You CANNOT uninstall the mshtml rendering engine that IE uses as many other things including non-microsoft software depend on it. The two things are seperate

            Just like on OSX - Safari is the browser, webkit is the engine

            You can uninstall Safari but try removing webkit and see just how many things break

            Now that you have been enlightened please stfu

    3. Alan 6 Bronze badge

      Custom images

      If you buy more than a few PCs Dell will prepare a custom image for you with just the OS, and any other software you like.

      Our PCs come installed with SAP, Office 2007 and McAfee

  3. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Firts of April

    Is not yet.

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Perhaps

    >all of the appropriate drivers for the hardware type in question

    Amazing - imagine including drivers for a machine WITH the machine. I bet some consultants worked hard to come up with that one!

    > a suite of useful Microsoft applications and services, optimized versions of certain applications

    So replacing the third party crapware and trialware with proper Redmond crapware and trialware

    1. Pawel 1

      Re:perhaps

      The last part probably means Windows Live et al. + a trial of office, which actually might be useful to some people; more importantly, these things don't run in the background so with current capacities of hard drives shouldn't matter too much for the user.

    2. Ryan 7

      I'm sure some people

      would be worried that it's a generic image, and need the reassurance that they have indeed added the correct drivers.

  5. P. Lee Silver badge
    Linux

    saw the title

    Wanted a bundled iscsi server, even if it doesn't have many features...

  6. dssf

    Comparing?

    Yeh, but I'll bet NOT faster than a Mac with 10 apps in RAM and 2 GB of files in RAM, hahaha. I'm awed by how fast macs start up or resume. ms claims would have more merit if they are comparing umm, err... apples to apples, lol

    1. phoenix
      FAIL

      You shouldn't be

      as GNU/Linux on the same set up will do that and more. Enough said

    2. dssf

      Let me just add...

      Those Macs i saw resuming resume faster than either my Gateway (with 2 GB of RAM) or my HP Pavillion DV7 (with 4 GB of RAM) with either Mandriva or PCLinux OS running with VirtualBox hosting win vista on the GW and win7 on the HP).

      It is funny how people will jump on and thumbs-down someone as if their emotions trump my personal experience and observation.

      Granted, there are times when my laptops would suspend or hibernate in under 4 seconds and resume in under 10, but I've had plenty of random times where MD/PCLOS woudl refuse to hibernat or suspend or hibernate, but usually when RAM was soaked up by winv and win7 and sometimes even after shutting them down, presumably freeing up a GB or two.

      I have not bothered other than once or twice (around Jan 10) hibernating/suspending win7 because i refuse to run it natively other than for a 5 or 10 minutes baseline comparison of other things. So, that is my experience. Thumb it down if you want. Ingraciate yourself if you want, but you won't deny my experience.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Dino
    Gates Horns

    Only Microsoft...

    Must have been part of Billy Gates original master plan right from the start..."Right no drm controls and let everyone copy windows ... we'll start gradually bringing in copy controls from 2000 onwards... xp activation... also add crapware as we go .. then we can come with a new version that is better as it won't have any!!"...

    Actually this reminds me of Ken Livingstone and traffic lights / Congestion Charge of rephasing to silly timings prior CC then setting them back.. did MS have any involvement?? heh..

    I've always had original discs for OEM installs or volume license discs and never use any media bundled with the machine as it's crapware/out of date... It's hilarious though.... heh..

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Downloadable utility?

    Maybe it would be grand were an OEM stripper utility made available?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge
      Pirate

      There is.

      It's called "nuke and pave".

    2. Piro
      Pint

      There is!

      PC Decrapifier, although I've never had to use it myself.

      1. The BigYin

        Also...

        ...any recent Linux install CD.

  9. Zephyrus Spacebat
    Thumb Up

    I (slightly warily) await our glorious platform unification overlords

    I personally cannot wait until things like WP and Windows proper are 'unified' - I'd like to see a 'minimum specification' for Windows PCs (like WinPho7 phones have - eg. 1GHz CPU, this res screen, this size camera), that each OEM has to meet. Might stop the godawful flood of cheap Acers which can barely run the Windows 7 Home Premium that is installed on it, and save us "extended-family tech support" types a bit of a headache.

    A downside is that such a unification of Windows may bring along with it some of the lock-in and lock-downs of most phone OSs. But no matter, that's why we have Linux/BSD/Haiku/etc. :)

    This just seems like a logical first step.

    On topic of the article, I hope they roll this out to other countries (cough Australia cough) soon.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crapware

    Here I thought Windows WAS Crapware.

  11. jim 45
    Thumb Up

    WOW

    WOW. I mean WOW. And it only took them - what - 5 years to figure this out. That's how long I've been telling friends and relatives to buy Apple, so I didn't have to come to their house and spend an hour uninstalling cr@p. Microsoft is indeed listening! But they're listening from somewhere about 5 light-years away.

    1. Andrew Cooper

      Re: WOW

      > But they're listening from somewhere about 5 light-years away

      Sound-years, surely.

      1. lawndart
        Alien

        Sound-years

        So they are roughly fifty-four million kilometres away, assuming sound at sea-level and STP. Oddly enough, that is about the same distance as Mars to Earth at closest approach.

  12. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Dead Vulture

    <rolls eyes>

    "run faster and to be easier to set up and maintain."

    "average boot 40 percent faster than the same piece of hardware"

    "With Apple Macs in its sights"

    Yeah, right. Apple, right. Because MacOS is well-known for being ressource-frugal, right.

    I think someone in ElReg Towers fails to see the white penguin(s) in the room (hint: one of them is dressed as a 800-pounds Goooooooorilla).

    Fast boot on shitty hardware: check

    Fast operation on shitty hardware: check

    Head in the clouds, so no user-serviceable parts inside: check

    MacOS fails on *at least* 2 of these 3 points (not an attack against Apple, just not the same core target), so I find doubtful that MS has "Apple Macs in its sights" with this...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Life is too hard, sometimes it's just worth paying a little extra for an easier life!

      Selling an all-in-one device with O/S: check

      Selling an O/S that needs no silly license checks or keys: check

      Selling a user device, not a turbo-charged, geek wank-fest: check

      Selling a device suitable for the tasks it is designed for: check

      ( Hint: It's not sold as a gaming rig! )

      Selling quality hardware and O/S that will still be perfectly usable in 5 years: check

      Selling a properly designed secure O/S base ( ie. unix ): check

      Selling something that makes life easier, not harder: check

      I am an Oracle DBA, Solaris and Linux sysadmin, I like my Mac as it means when I have had a gutful of shitty Sun and Oracle problems I know I can go home and the machine I have at home will just work so I can switch off Mr IT and be Mr User. My friends and family bug Mr IT at weekends enough, it's nice to have a simple machine that just works and doesn't try to hard to be complicated.

      We have a team of 6 Windows admins where I am, 3 of them have Macs at home. 2 of the 4 network admins at my shop are Mac users. It's not just Joe Public's with no IT skills who use Macs, so take the blinkers off and see what is really going on.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        ...not even for extra light gaming.

        > Hint: It's not sold as a gaming rig! )

        >

        > Selling quality hardware and O/S that will still be perfectly usable in 5 years: check

        So you're not planning on ever playing a modern strategy or RTS game, eh?

        That's the problem with certain types of "trailing edge" hardware. It's not that you have to worry about not being able to play Crysis or the other high horsepower flavor of the month. With a moderately out of date Mac you have to worry about being able to play ANYTHING that comes from a major studio.

        With that in mind, any sh*tbox tower has a remarkable edge.

        ...and "turbo charged" means that I don't have to wait forever for iTunes or Handbrake to downscale something.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Some of us just play retro games, pre 2000 stuff!

          I like playing retro games, you don't need a lot of horsepower to play Syndicate(PC) in DOSBOX and Rebelstar on a ZX Spectrum emulator! I find most of today's games are little bit samey, linear run'n'gun games with very little required from the player ( "All mouth and no trousers!" as my old Granny used to say! ) . Although I did buy Fallout 3 for my second hand XBOX360 console, as I liked the original Fallout games but that's about as up to date as I have gone.

    2. BingBong

      @I find doubtful that MS has "Apple Macs in its sights" with this...

      Where can granda joe or yummy mummy sal by a PC with Linux pre-installed? Sorry? Can't quite hear you there? Now compare to what joe random-user can buy on the high-street / Amazon / eBuyer .. see the difference is clear .. its a basic choice of Windows XP/7 + crapware or OSX ... and with the Apple iPod/Phone/Pad/Stores halo effect it is driving more people in to the hands of Apple as a one-stop "it just works"(tm) solution for THE GENERAL PUBLIC ... not the Linux Geeks (or BSD if you are a purist) that lurk around here or even the Enterprise Freaks that roll their own Windows SOE.

      So as Microsoft has always secretly envied the Apple consumer lock-in this is yet another "photocopying" event naturally following on from their Microsoft Stores presence (or in strict timeline it might have come just before the stores were ready) that they are trying. So it does seem obvious that this is again about de-tarnishing the MS 'Winblows' brand which suffered badly under Windows ME and Vista.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        @BingBong and anon fanboi

        >Where can granda joe or yummy mummy sal by a PC with Linux pre-installed?

        You can but it's hard to come by (Google OS, android and all the "instant boot" secondary OS that are installed on more and more machines ARE Linux). That's exactly my point, and this is an effort from MS to ensure that things stay that way.

        @ AC fanboi: I don't diss MacOS, I'm only saying that low-end machines running a streamlined OS is NOT going to nibble at Apple's market share. It's just an entirely different market. A market particularly Linux-friendly.

  13. gratou
    Gates Horns

    own medecine

    >They also come with “just the software you need,” which is code for saying the machines don't contain crapware such as promotional versions of antivirus software that can drastically hamper performance.

    No trial version of MS office then?

  14. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Competition Good

    "With Apple Macs in its sights..."

    Good to see competition is alive and well in the home computer arena, and working in the consumers interests. Long may it live.

  15. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Gates Horns

    Fast boot.

    So... they tweak a windows for a specifically known hardware set and get fast boot. Naturally that's easily done with a linux install.

    Tell you what M$, you give us:

    1) source code. enough rights to use it (at least rebuild our own systems).

    2) build tools.

    3) documentation.

    And we'll look after our fast boot ourselves.

    Hell, I'm not even looking for a free handout. I'll pay for it. You're in it for the money, I understand, you have to eat. I'll pay US$500 for say a basic windows, $700-1000 for professional. I understand a server version will cost more.

    IMHO, those prices aren't too unreasonable, but that's just my opinion. I would pay, I suspect so would quite a few people out there.

    Actually, I already (probably, depending on what you are hiding) have all your build tools legally. So All I need are (1) and (3). Sounds reasonable?

    But you won't will you?

    1. Rebajas
      WTF?

      Interesting...

      Really?

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        Yeah..

        I would pay $500 - $700 for fully documented buildable windows source.

        Wouldn't you?

        In fairness some of the compilers I have bought in the past cost this much. Of course, I actually want to see the innards of windows. I expect it will be very ugly. I can understand you may not.

        YMMV.

  16. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit
    Troll

    I smell a troll

    So Dan, where does the 'feeling the heat from Macs' come from? Of all the items you link only one mentions Apple and not as the motivation for Signature. You ignore totally the motivation laid out in the Paul Thurrott article* which looked at from an MS perspective is plausible. There's so much in signature you could criticise** yet instead you try to ignite another PC/MAC fanboi war. Do try to move on.

    * The article does smell a bit ripe though.

    **Signature is touted as 'just the software you need'*** but includes Zune? They *have* to be having a larf.

    ***Rip out Zune, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Flash and silvershite; Upgrade W7 to XP Pro; Rip crappybat reader as Pro will go on; Install Terd, Excel and Visio (all 2003 natch); Install FF AdBlock & NoScript. Still a way short of just the software I need but a good baseline.

    1. Rebajas
      WTF?

      Seriously..?

      I don't think it needs to be spelt out that MS is feeling pressure from Apple as well as other service providers. MS has weak leadership (IMO), a confusing product line, and offers functionality that merely equals much of what is available elsewhere.

      As for your comments about what should be sold as baseline? They make you sound like an 12 year old.

      1. Doug Glass
        Go

        The Nature of Free Enterprise

        Every company worth its salt feels pressure from EVERY other company worth its salt. The real test is not what you feel (which is 100% pervasive) but what you DO with what you feel. Failing to act has killed more corporations than acting poorly ever did.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a travesty

    It is basically impossible for the average user to control what's installed and running on his Windows computer. It shouldn't be a big deal if the manufacturers want to fill their computers with crapware, as long as it's easy to control/remove. Which it isn't. Most computer *experts* aren't even aware of the umpteen different lists of startup programs that are in Windows. Good job at failing, Microsoft. No wonder most people are switching to iPhones and iPads, where apps are shiny little buttons that are easy to rearrange and delete.

    1. David Cantrell
      Stop

      Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

      " Most computer *experts* aren't even aware of the umpteen different lists of startup programs that are in Windows. "

      IME most computer experts don't use Windows. Go to any techie conference that isn't specifically about Microsoft these days and it's wall to wall Macs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        Really?

        And where do you live? San Francisco?

        Pretty much every techie conference I attend is filled with a wide variety of Laptops, but very few of them are Apple and most are running Windows, a linux distro or more usually both. Most people I speak to would rather change career than give any money to the nanny state evil empire of Apple and see MS as the lesser of 2 evils

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Unhappy

          Bigotted Nonsense

          I am a real, paid "expert" (Windows, Linux and OS X among others, at system, application and programming level, command line and GUI, longer experience in more countries than I care to think about) and know several other "experts" who use all sorts of kit at work and home. Increasingly, OS X wins for private use and for business use where the user can. This is true of non-IT users of computers-as-a-tool too. Just walk up and down any train full of commuters, airport .... Take a quick shufty at what the (large number of) Mac users are doing: you may be taken aback by how many are writing serious documents, making work diagrams, spreadsheets etc., as well as those who use them for entertainment. I used to work with a colleague who, on his 17" Mac Pro, spent his commuting time designing those vast, biochemical pathway posters so beloved (and astonishingly expensive) at biochemistry conferences and in universities and research laboratories. Never saw anyone doing that under Linux nor even Windows (and I administered and developed the Linux [Slackware and SUSE, with secure stuff on BSD]) infrastructure at that firm).

          Fantasise and hope all you wish; but MS is much more worried about OS X than N dozen varieties of a UNIX emulator in the hands of a specialised few, most of whom would not recognise the command line or shell if it bit them in the arse. Note that many serious, secure open source sites actually use BSD derivatives (apart from OS X).

          And just what is wrong with good kit looking good too? You can always cover it in ugly, geeky stickers if ugliness turns you on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Well I've got a Macbook Pro...

            Well I've got a Macbook Pro and it's running Ubuntu :D

            Don't fall into that PC/Mac vs Windows/OSX trap

            PC users don't all run Windows, and Mac users don't all run OS/X.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        sorry you are

        confusing IS directors and mangers as experts LOL. Ohh shiny Apple kit syndrome.

  18. Mickey Finn
    Boffin

    Signature PC's

    I have only ever built PC's and installed vanilla copies of Windows (whatever version) and so I am used to running these "super fast" Windows boxes...

    Didn't stop me replacing PC's with Mac's though!

    It is impossible to remove the crapware from Windows and have it install and run, it's built in... out of the box!

    1. Pawel 1

      Title

      Have a look at windows embedded standard. They have all the tools, they just won't make them available to the "general public".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      re: It is impossible to remove the crapware from Windows

      The LitePC tools make W2000/XP run like it should, Vista wasn't worth saving, I've heard that W7 isn't at all bad out of the box. Too late for me though. :-)

  19. Neil 38

    Keys

    If they care about clean install performance so much why don't they allow you to use an OEM key on a retail DVD?

    It took me 2 hours to remove all the sodding bloatware from my last new Sony Vaio.

  20. shadowphiar
    FAIL

    The Gerald Ratner School of Marketing

    "more storage space for important things like that two-hour video that your buddies made of you trying to reach the top of the climbing wall."

    I checked, and yes that's a genuine quote from the site.

    Where do these people get the idea that mocking your potential customer is a good business plan?

    1. phoenix
      Joke

      Worked famously up till now

      so why change a habit of a lifetime.

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Joke

        i'd still

        rather be mocked by redmond than fucked by jobs :D

    2. bobbles31

      Apple

      Thats not a title, that's a comment!

  21. Danny 5
    Thumb Down

    are you serious?

    Microsoft feeling heat from MAC's? really? are you sure? aren't M$ fanbois (like me), not extremely anti-anything apple?

    does a MAC provide an alternative to windows, if you're a gamer? has anything changed between MS and apple over the past 15 years?

    either i'm completely missing the point, or this article is just plain stupid.

    1. Rebajas
      Badgers

      If you're a gamer...?

      Seriously, I think some gamers are living in the cloud. PC gaming is a niche*, and the Mac has been pushing steadfastly into that niche in recent years. With Steam's release on Mac last year that situation took an huge step forward (even if not all the games came with it).

      As for the last 15 years; Apple was pretty much on it's knees 15 years ago yet today it dominates many of the markets MS has been targeting for what seems like forever; mobiles, music, tablets, mobile computing. And it's doing it with pricey hardware that should by all means make entry to market more difficult for them.

      * I'm a a PC gamer and I recognise that the field we're playing on is changing (Been into GAME recently?). But I also recognise that my niche is being threatened by consoles far more than Macs. Ironically, MS's own console...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ironically, MS's own console...

        Who'd a thunk it!

        Place foot at end of shotgun and PULL!

        MS has been slowly attempting to kill off the PC for years sometimes I think even they are sick of windoze... they are totally obsessed not with inovation, but with doing what other people do.. just look at bing, google already does it, MS are the catchup new-comers they lost the lead when they decided that inovation was not for them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been doing this for years......

    As I always build my own computers this is not a problem for me. However lots of friends and family also ask me to build computers for them, which typically I refuse unless they want something out of the ordinary. So they end up with a Dell or HP or whatever. I then either strip out all the crap or do a fresh install of of whatever flavour OS they want, these days typically W7.

    I have always thought that the various OEM's should offer this as an option when ordering, just a simple tickbox - 'No freeware, No Trial Software' on the order page.

    Hope this catches on! It will save me the trouble..........................

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Eh hmm

      at the danger of sounding trite those OEMs are the very same that put the crap on there in the first place and there is a good reason - kickbacks from the software houses.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Optimised by default

    > a suite of useful Microsoft applications and services, optimized versions of certain applications

    ...surely these should be optimised by default anyway? And if they consider 'Live' to be a suite of useful apps, then I'll have some of what they're smoking.

    >all of the appropriate drivers for the hardware type in question

    Dunno about you, but I ignore all of these, and go straight for the latest versions direct from the manufacturers directly after the main install. It would be much cooler if MS would provide enough drivers to get basic internet connectivity during the build (perhaps by running as a virtual drive, ala UBUNTU, and installing a proper image in the background), so all the latest drivers for everything else (and security patches maybe?) can be downloaded during the build process. That would definitely cut down on 'driver bloat' (mainly on the install media it has to be said), and give you the best drivers available.

  24. The Original Ash
    Joke

    "Selling PCs without crapware"

    They're shipping Linux?

    [/tongueincheek]

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Dear Dell and other partners...

    We have made it so that you must install all this crapware to compete selling our product. Now in our usual knife in the back of our partners, we are going to use that against you and sell our 'better' machines and you lot are so deep into your marketing and promotion contracts there is nothing you can do about it.... mwah ha ha!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that

    This would be why all the 'small' PC OEMs (including myself) use the OEM Windows disk, latest version of the drivers, then the specific list of customer-specified software - and don't install anything else AT ALL.

    And why I wanted to throttle the idiot in Marketing who bought a stack of Acer laptops.

    Not only were they unsuitable for the intended usage, but they were absolutely *full* of crapware that we had to spend several hours removing before they'd even start the application they'd been bought for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Should have told the idiot

      After getting your boss on-side of course, that they were an unsupported product and need to be sent back.

      They will just do it again otherwise.

  27. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "Optimized version of an experience"?

    “Also, less trialware and sampleware means more storage space for important things like that two-hour video that your buddies made of you trying to reach the top of the climbing wall.”

    Insulting the customer again, I see. Jerks.

    Any price differential? I would not expect a deviation from the trusted

    "more usability by removing crud == it will cost ya"

    And will you get an install DVD? I doubt it.

  28. Tom 7 Silver badge

    preloaded with the custom Window

    so it is preloaded and not sans crapware and then there will be an update.....

  29. Geoff Mackenzie

    "Just the software you need"

    So, finally I can have Windows without MSIE and Windows Media Player?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      I read this as...

      So, finally I can have Windows without Windows, MSIE and Windows Media Player?

      DOS/command prompts FTW!

  30. David Cantrell
    FAIL

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    Surely the first thing to get rid of if you want a fast machine is the *animated wallpaper*.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Tweaking the basic install...

      > Surely the first thing to get rid of if you want

      > a fast machine is the *animated wallpaper*.

      Pretty much.

      When I got another ION to replace my nv9400 Mini that appears to be on

      death's door, I had to turn off all of the desktop effects in Win7 before XBMC

      would start with anything but a "blank screen of death". It was one of those

      "bare" machines. So I was already using an OEM version of Win7 to begin

      with.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    WTF

    I don't get it, bloat has been a core component of windoze for as long as the marketing man has been accepting the cash... wtf is going on?

    did the world just go all topsy turvy.. what day is it...

    I'm confuuseed...

    not enough WTF icons...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    About time

    Credit to MS (at least a bit) for doing something sensible for their customers. Only a bit, though : if they were to publish a full set of instructions, covering what they've done to slick the OS up, then I'd give them a bit more.

    Oh, and "take the corporate cock from their mouth" (AC - 00:57) - very good.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US only

    "Signature PCs, which are available only to people in the US..."

    Well thank you Microsoft. The rest of the world has to just deal with crapware infested machines.

    I'll just have to 'make do' with Ubuntu / OS X and pirated versions of Win7 until they can be bothered to step across the pond.

  34. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down

    Funny.....

    The headline is "Microsoft sells PCs sans crapware." Yet further on in the article it mentions IE is still there. Which is it?

  35. Andy Jones

    Microsoft selling PCs

    So, Microsoft are selling PCs now are they? That will please the OEMs.

    The OEMs now need to start offering Linux across ALL their line and ignore Microsofts threats of upping their Windows price because now Microsoft are a competitor to them. If Microsoft threaten to up the price the OEMs can just regard it as anti-competitive and complain to the authorities!

    Microsoft has just painted themselves into a corner!

    1. Rebajas
      WTF?

      Yes...

      Heaven forbid you should follow any of the links to actually do your own research, as opposed to expecting all the detail to be spoon fed to you.

      Okay, here comes the airplare zooooom...

      MS are offering laptops from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony & Toshiba... happy now, or do you need your diaper changed from all that spoon feeding?

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Journalism: Perhaps you've heard of it.

        > Heaven forbid you should follow any of the

        > links to actually do your own research, as

        > opposed to expecting all the detail to be

        > spoon fed to you.

        Of course that's what we expect.

        Journalism: Perhaps you've heard of it. This is exactly what it is for... what you call "spoon feeding".

        1. Rebajas
          WTF?

          Oh right...

          Journalism, yes I heard of that. That is generally where a view-point is given and relevant facts are laid out in a concise and well written manner to back up that view.

          If it's good journalism then sources are cited to enable readers to continue reading about various aspects that can't be included in detail in the original article; like listing what manufacturers are being sold from the Microsoft store in an article about Microsoft operating systems without crapware.

          Now please, don't become a journalist.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    If only they had done it Right the first time...

    Half of all pre installed bloat never gets used and is not wanted. I suspect this will still be the case with a narrow selection of apps... afterall people uses pcs for different purposes..

    What MS should have done was just include a shortcut (only a shortcut!) to a webpage where the user can 'click to download' the packages they want.. amazing concept isn't it...

    if only microsoft would have sorted out web search a long time ago then they might have found cnet.

    1. Rebajas
      FAIL

      What?

      Because you think it's Microsoft putting all that freeware and trial software on your new computer?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        @Rebajas

        In an article about microsoft releasing 'Signature' you question if it's microsofts choice?

        Well done! that takes todays biscuit.

        Put it this way if microsoft said NO it would not happen. If the oem recieves income from a third party that is sanctioned by microsoft then as far as i am concerned MS put it thier and are using the income from the third party to the OEM as an inducement for the OEM to put MS on the box...

        1. Rebajas
          Thumb Down

          Pardon...?

          No, I am saying it isn't Microsoft's fault that your new Dell or HP has a ton of free or trialware on. I can't imagine Microsoft cares what HP, Dell etc do after they've agreed to ship PCs with Windows on.

          As long as they *have* Windows on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Of course they care.. because it encourages windows...

            It's part of the 'use microsoft' incentive, the OEM gets paid by the Crapware provider, so the OEM is likely to use MS over A.N. other.

            Microsoft sanction and support the deals, and do not pay the OEM at all, cos that's just wrong. (see intel)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Pah.....

    Took MS to tell the world and his dog this!!!

    msconfig, services.msc and decrapifier will deal with most of the bloatware installed.

    Me? I use a fresh install. The default OS doesnt even get to boot up before its wiped with a fresh clean verified version of Windows....

  38. Piro
    Pint

    Another thing...

    I'm a fan of crap/bloatware since it reduces the cost of the PC.

    Anyone with a brain cell to their name nukes the thing when they get it anyway.

  39. Richard Wharram
    Gates Halo

    I have no problem with crapware

    If companies are willing to subsidise my hardware for stuff that I will never see due to decrapping or fresh Linux installs then I'm happy to let them.

    1. Rebajas
      Go

      Something I can agree on...

      Something I can certainly agree on, though I doubt there'd be much difference?

      All I know is it is like breathing fresh country air once usplash disappears and I log into a nice clean Ubuntu environment; ready for me to clunk up with proper productivity applications :)

  40. h4rm0ny
    Gates Halo

    Bah! Microsoft! Bah!

    Wow! Did the entire Apple marketing department just login at once? MS release a more slimmed down install of Windows, tweaked to boot fast and lacking all the McAffee and other crap that vendors cram in for a few extra pennies, and we get a wall of bile and hatred.

    Bias much?

  41. Herbert Meyer
    Thumb Up

    DIY

    Do It Yerself: Get a new disk and an OEM retail copy of Win7, back up your data (if you can figure out where it lives). New disks are cheap, OEM Win7 cost about $110.

    This option comes without useless MS tech support. You already know more than they do, guaranteed.

  42. John Herz
    WTF?

    Boot faster, at least a first

    Does it come with no anti virus and hence faster boot times?

    Not clear to me.

    And of course, it will boot slower once you start expanding the registry with your own stuff.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microshaft still don't get it.

    It is user experience that Apple have over them. That is something which goes waaaayyyy beyond simple boot times and is something which Microsoft have consistently failed to move forward on.

    MS are too big and too dumb to change direction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      re: Microshaft still don't get it

      Downvoted for adolescent title.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well...

        ...at least I had the guts to put my name by my feelings!

        1. dssf

          You... You...

          You go girl!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Microshaft?

      I think you'll find Apple are waaaaaay in the lead where it comes to shafting their customers.

      Enjoy paying for the next service pack, errrm completely brand new version of OSX

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To be honest...

        I wouldn't know. I'm a Linux nut.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not much point.

    In my experience most mac users still believe the problems windows had over 10 years ago still exist; just like apple haters still think they only have one mouse button.

    1. CD001

      But ...

      They DO only have one mouse button - oki, the "button" is more like a touchpad on a laptop embedded into the top of the mouse and allows you to scroll, flip backwards and forwards and all kinds of other things but it IS only one button! ;)

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Integration of a deviant device.

      > In my experience most mac users still

      > believe the problems windows had

      > over 10 years ago still exist; just like

      > apple haters still think they only have

      > one mouse button.

      In an environment that is crushingly oppressive, just what use are you going to get out of a deviant pointing device? Just what is that extra button going to get you? It's not really standard and not part of the standard system dogma.

      It's like any other bolt-on change.

      1. Rebajas
        Thumb Up

        Psst...

        You know Macs have contextual menu's too, don't you? ;)

  45. Avatar of They
    Thumb Down

    Sigh... M$ cotton onto the reality of the market ten years late.

    Sounds good, but still won't make me ignore the process of going in and removing all the crap it installs anyway. Like IE and media player, for something that isn't 150MB of sh*te.

    And security essentials never expires, it also never works. I used it for 2 days. It took me on average 37 minutes after boot to update and then told me it had a newer version and had to not only reboot but also reinstall itself.

    Needless to say I was not impressed with it and it was uninstalled in favour of something else. They (the trained monkeys in the cellar under M$ HQ) do not understand speed and the requirement for resources by software the user wants, NOT the OS and AV systems.

    Signature has a glimmer of a posibiltiy of a hope of an idea for an understanding into what people actually want with their PC's in the 21st century, but I won't be holding my breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      re: security essentials ... never works

      Sounds like there was something seriously amiss with your system (and I don't mean that you were running Windows).

  46. Chris King
    Boffin

    Clean install of OEM Windows

    This guy came up with a tool that can extract activation info from OEM copies of Vista, and he's working on a beta for Win 7:

    http://www.directedge.us/content/abr-activation-backup-and-restore

    It's dead simple:

    (1) Run the ABR backup tool to extract the OEM info, and save it to a USB stick ;

    (2) Install a fresh copy of Windows using an Anytime Upgrade DVD - don't enter a key, but it must be the same version as was installed previously ;

    (3) Run the ABR restore tool with the files from the USB stick. Job done !

    This doesn't work with retail copies, or OEM copies that have been upgraded to a different version, but it's just the ticket for systems with cruddy OEM pre-installs.

  47. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    OEM = sold with a PC. However...

    Apparently, if you re-install Windows from your new PC's recovery partition, you get it without most of the maker's additions to Windows. (At least on my HP TouchSmart TM2-1010.)

    I've kept most of mine, however, although I didn't want Norton security, and I was appalled that some of the GAMES (Mahjong) have a licence that allows the publisher to change the terms at any time AND NOT EVEN TELL YOU, which is utterly out. Bad enough what you -knowingly- agree to let be done to the computer by Microsoft.

  48. TRT Silver badge

    Awww!

    I got all excited, then you hit me with "only US customers'...

    It takes me around a day to remove all the crap before I can release a new machine to anyone here.

  49. Doug Glass
    Go

    Custom Images

    If you're a Dell corporate customer, they'll supply a custom image to your specifications. Well. they were in 2008 and I'd think they not kill that off.

    As to "off-the-shelf" machines, autoruns and the ability know what to uninstall can get you a much quicker machine in about thirty minutes. But when I have people complain about the Intel and Windows stickers being peeled off, I know they don't really care to have their computer optimized. Hell, just buy a faster one and ditch the old one is their usual response.

    Then there's nLite and RT7 Lite. Roll your own with no crap and only the services and features you want. Too bad the average user is just fine with the OEM install just the way it is. I mean don't the boobs have any idea of what they need and want? Can you imagine that, buy the computer and just use it. Sheese ... what a bunch of, well, normal users.

  50. Mark .

    Macs?

    I don't see what Apple PCs have got to do with this, it ought to be obvious that Microsoft might be concerned about a bad image of its products as a result with installed software from retailers. To be honest, I'm surprised that they put up with it at all (given all the terms they've dictated to PC sellers in the past...)

    As for boot times, my Amiga booted in 5 seconds - and that was with a tiny fraction of the power that OS X needs to run. Complaining about Windows being bloated is about 15 years out of date - OS X requires high requirements these days too.

    "Where can granda joe or yummy mummy sal by a PC with Linux pre-installed? Sorry? Can't quite hear you there?"

    That's how it used to be for MacOS and OS X - I don't recall Apple fans having a problem recommending them, however.

    "and with the Apple iPod/Phone/Pad/Stores halo effect it is driving more people in to the hands of Apple as a one-stop "it just works"(tm) "

    These products don't just work any better than any other product. My Sandisk Sansa just works - I just plug and play, unlike an Ipod, which requires installing of special Apple software, and can't be used on another computer because all the filenames are scrambled. (Maybe there's a way, but I expect it to Just Work.)

    "Take a quick shufty at what the (large number of) Mac users are doing"

    What's so special about that? They're just another brand of PCs these days - no different to Dell or Asus. I would hope that you can do things like writing a document on a Mac.

    Herbert Meyer: "New disks are cheap, OEM Win7 cost about $110."

    Actually, if you have a valid licence (e.g., you've but a PC with the crapware and want to have a fresh install), you can download the ISOs (somewhere on MS's website). I did this for my netbook, as I wanted to have the installer DVD for backup.

    "It is user experience that Apple have over them."

    Give me an example of a better use experience? Because I have yet to see a single example. I can however cite plenty of examples of bad UI experiences (e.g., see above with the Ipod).

  51. David 155
    Go

    its about time

    Inexperienced users cant be expected to have to deal with all this crapware that comes with the average windows pc. Ideally its got to just work and have everything you need already installed. Why dont Microsoft release a pc that is tamper proof and locked down, just like their Xbox? This is a step in the right direction.

  52. Prag Fest
    Jobs Halo

    Optimised Windows

    Shit dipped in chocolate doesn't taste any sweeter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Shit dipped in chocolate doesn't taste any sweeter."

      ... yes it does

      1. dssf
        Joke

        Yes, it DOES, it DOES, butt... umm, but,

        It most ASSuredly tastes BITTERSWEET.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Errr...

    "optimized versions of certain applications and experiences"

    So does that mean that by default Windows ships with specifically un-optimized versions of some applications? Sounds a bit sodding odd - unless it was a deal done with hardware companies to sell us machines with more RAM and faster CPUs....

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    nLite

    Nuff said.

    http://www.nliteos.com/nlite.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not recommended.

      I removed a bunch of languages from an XP installation disc, thinking I'd never need them. Well turns out I did need them later, and there is no way (that I could find) to install them separately. My choice was an OS reinstall from a different disc or nothing, what a crock.

      Maybe they've fixed it with Windows 7, but somehow I doubt it.

      Okay it was dumb of me to save half a meg of space by removing something that really doesn't hurt to be installed anyway. But you need to be careful with these things. Especially when removing some of the arcane "services" that from the description sound like you will never need them in a lifetime, but in reality are a subtle dependency for some apparently unrelated software.

      I suppose you can nuke all the drivers and add your own, especially with XP where the bundled drivers are all shite, but Windows 7 mostly just downloads drivers from Windows Update anyway.

  55. dssf

    With JUST the software you need?

    "They also come with “just the software you need,” which is code for saying the machines don't contain crapware such as promotional versions of antivirus software that can drastically hamper performance."

    MS should also once and for all STRIP out that "class division" demarcation of video chip limitations/aero/glass crippling.

    My cheap Gateway laptop back in 2008 could -- with the right video drivers and compiz base -- run 3D desktop graphics a whole lot tantalizingly better than a baseline or win vista home native install on the same hardware. Shimmer, wobble, fire, rain drops, cube, sphere, translucency and more. Even my later HP Pavillion dv7 could do it with Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, and Sabayon (when I could GET Sabayon to actually RUN without demanding 2.7 GB of updates).

    Even with VirtualBox and Win Vista/Win 7 running, I could suspend and resume and return to the same snazzy grapics. The ONLY advantage to running vista and 7 natively is that my CAD apps would open drawings marginally faster and present them marginally crisper. But, since the app stepped down to a reduced functionality in 7 and vista, there was really not true advantage to running vista and 7 natively.

    ms, you uninspiring aero doesn't compare to Compiz (when Compiz is not broken). You don't give users anything to be PROUD of in windows. Accept it: you OS really is a tool - a platform for the real workhorse apps -- the users' chosen apps. The OS is supposed to stay out of the way, or to facilitate housecleaning. But, between monstrous patches and constant threat of virii, trojans, worms, and other malware, some users must operate in trepidation. Don't get me wrong: I DO use windows, but it is just a TOOL (and, as such, it is sequestered LIKE a tool: inside an emulator/VM). It does mostly what it is supposed to, but Linux, despite its major flaw of not being to natively run windows word apps, provides power AND bells and whistles, not just power. Some users really DO want built-in bells and whistles, and, while you DO unofficially provide eye candy in the Power Tools, how many users can use it when the cheapest of "designed for windows" hardware barely hucks and bucks like Frankenstein short of watts and voltage?

    Why, ms, WHY must you INSIST on dividing users that way? Activate the eyecandy on ALL windows hardware, and stop letting vendors crank out crappy vid chips with your name on it. You might curry favor with end users who occasionally "defect" to or concurrently run Mac.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    I'm sure

    That pretty much sums up why I would rather buy a blank PC and install everything on my own, or even better, build one up from scratch. Nothing's better than being able to dictate your own preferences.

  57. Michael C

    ...and they you'll put flash on it...

    Face it, the "crapware" isn't what it used to be. Its not tons of toolbars and helper apps anymore, itl;s just a bunch of generic apps that nag at you to pay for them later if you use them. The real bloatware is flash, java, Acrobat, and all the otehr crap most peolpe are going to install anyway. great, you get a system that in a few days will be just as slow as the one with the crapware, and you could have just uninstalled the crapware anyway and saved the money...

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Flash and toolbars

      It's quite annoying when installing and upgrading Flash for ActiveX / Internet Explorer to have to un-select whichever toolbar they want to push at you at the same time - Google? Especially when any respectable browser has Google access built-in anyway. For instance Opera just guesses when you type something in the address bar that evidently isn't a URL. Efficient. (If what you want to Google -is- a URL, there are ways.)

      More annoying still when you're working in a browser window sized so that the "Please put some more unnecessary garbage on my computer" tickbox isn't visible. Either they or someone else one time put it way over to the right.

      And they aren't the only ones who bundle someone else's stuff with theirs that way.

      And why do you have to update two separate copies of Flash for Internet Explorer and Firefox/Opera/etc. anyway?

  58. dssf

    Acrobat... and cruft....

    Like, REALLY, WHY in the HELL must Acrobat Reader be something on the order of 80 to 150 MEGABYTES? Lotus SmartSuite came in under 180 MB. Open Office takes less than around 200 MB, IIRC. Hell, even MS Office, depending on what you select during install of it, might weigh in under 300 MB. but look at what you get.

    When I use Adobe Reader, I see a canvas presenting a document. I don't see a SUITE of various apps. Yeh, it's FREE as in beer to download, but out of contempt, i sometimes eviscerate/expunge it from my in wrath that it is so effing large.

    And flash and java script? I generally disable it and block it. As for javascript, I grudgingly use it because some sites admins taint the code in such a way the site runs shitty or NOT AT ALL if js is not running on my phone or laptop.

    I wish wesite content creators just delivered content and left the frackin eyecandy out of the web page. And, no, don't offload it to my CPU. It in-effing-FURIATES me to go to a web site and suddenly hear my hard drive churning its ASS OFF. I doubt it is page swapping. It's something in flash and java and javascript and other stuff crammed into web pages.

    1. Chris 69

      Acrobat Bloat

      Personally I use Foxit instead of Acrobat and it works just fine.

      BTW I hate the way every acrobat update shoves another bloody shortcut onto the desktop!

  59. Remy Redert

    re: OEM = sold with a PC. However...

    I don't know about the laws in the UK, however I suspect that like here, they do not allow such clauses and if the software providers changes the license without informing, the new license does not apply.

    Depending on the judge and his interpretation of the original license and the new license, it may even get the contract considered unenforceable entirely.

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