Beware the scourge of laptop bloatware

It is very easy to find a deal on a good laptop these days. With hard drives getting back into the supply chain, and prices dropping, it truly is a great time to consider upgrading that old clunky laptop you’ve been holding onto for ages, especially if you haven’t bought into the tablet fad. I say this as someone who even got a tablet for Christmas and gave one to my wife (she got an iPad, I got a Playbook, thoughts on both coming down the pipe).

When you get that new laptop however, there are many things you should consider after you first boot it up and let it run through its setup. First thing, should be creating the backup and restoration DVD’s that almost all laptops offer immediately on their first boot. You’ll find very few computers actually come with full reinstall DVD’s anymore (Dell being an exception to that rule), so creating those DVD’s is paramount for recovery from an emergency. The second thing you need to do is a bit more complex….seek out the bloatware!

Now what in the world is bloatware? It’s a term I freely admit I may have made up myself, but I use it to refer to all the software that comes preloaded on a laptop that you don’t actually want. Take a look at all the programs that are in your Start Menu, or on your brand new systems desktop and ask yourself, “how many of these am I really going to use?”

The Ebay App? The generic casual games link? How about that trial antivirus software? Or the online backup software from a competing company? The search toolbars that load up and slowdown your web browsing?

Last week, I started the simple setup of a new Acer laptop and transfer of data to it. The process took over an hour to do after the setup was complete, just removing all the garbage the client wouldn’t need. For some reason, in their strange wisdom, Acer had loaded up a trial of McAfee’s Antivirus, alongside a copy of Symantec’s Online Backup Trial program. Two programs from two major competitors on the same laptop. Brilliant.

One of the constant complaints we get about computers, is how slow they are running. It certainly doesn’t help when the manufacturers are loading up so much crap on a machine that it starts slow right out of the gate. Keep in mind there is a reason for this…it’s one way they keep the costs of those laptops so low. The trial software pays fees to get on there, offsetting some of the costs of development…unfortunately to the user’s detriment.

So the next time you get a new laptop, keep in mind there is more to do then just transfer your data onto it if you want it to work as advertised.

This entry was posted in Opinion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Beware the scourge of laptop bloatware

  1. akaljian says:

    Here is a perfect an unexaggerated example of what this article is talking about:

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