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Crapware

The Crapware Con

Posted on 29 Oct 2009 at 14:38

Mike Jennings reveals how PC makers hobble your laptop with preinstalled software

You wouldn’t buy a new car that took five minutes to get out of first gear or a new hard disk that was already half-full of files – but plenty of people are unwittingly buying a laptop that’s been hobbled before it’s even left the factory.

That’s because crapware – the common term for “free” software that’s piled on to new PCs – can have a catastrophic effect on boot times, performance and hard disk space.

To find out which PC companies are the worst offenders, we put nine machines from the major manufacturers through a battery of tests designed to highlight where they’re being run ragged by unwanted software.

Our 2D benchmarks hunt down areas where performance is hampered; our boot-time tests discover how long you’ll have to wait for your PC to churn through unnecessary applications; and our memory footprint figures show how much RAM is being wasted to keep these programs ticking over.

We also test a trio of software packages that claim to be the antidote to this avalanche of unwanted software to see if they can help clean up your PC.

So, if you’ve ever suffered with a laptop blighted by crapware, want to know how to get rid of it, or need to know which firms won’t cripple your computer, read on for our definitive verdict.

(Illustrations by Lee Hasler)

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

HP

I had a HP laptop issued to me from work where the pre-installed HP Tools (for the fingerprint logon) stopped VMWare Player from working properly. Took me a while to figure out why it was so slow!

By mhawkshaw on 29 Oct 2009

I had Windows Vista installed on my Lovely fantastic new laptop this year - What a load of crap it was, Linux runs a dream on it and XP blazes through work like never before. Though now its the RC of Win 7 (and I hate to admit - but it is noticeably slower than Linux&XP)

By nicomo on 29 Oct 2009

Windows 7 not slow

I have my PC multi boot setup, so I can boot the PC with:-

XP 32bit
Vista 64bit
Windows 7 64Bit

Without any crapware, Windows 7 is lots faster than XP. Even Vista once I had spent an hour speed tweeking the OS was only a little slower than XP.
Linux federal etc was the fastest as it does not need any anti-virus progrms.

By Tibbs on 30 Oct 2009

Toshiba Satellite's are the WORST crapware infested laptops.

When I bought my new Toshiba Satellite L300D (AMDTurionX2) a few months ago, it did a first-boot-up procedure that was customized by Toshiba to install the crapware while I wait, instead of doing it at the factory. To add insult to injury there is no way to cancel or abort this process. You have to wait about 2 hours to use your new laptop. I wish I could send Toshiba a bill for that.

What cheek.

Warren
[canada]

By wp_canada on 30 Oct 2009

Sony VAIO

Very recently, I've bought VAIO P 2GHz/64GB/Vista version. Without doing any tasks the CPU usage was constantly at 100%

It was unbearable to work with, until I removed most of crapware and McAfee AV. No wonder you PCPro guys gave such a bad verdict about VAIO P back then.

By stasi47 on 30 Oct 2009

RE: Sony: The Crapware Con

PCPRO:
“The Me & My VAIO suite is designed as a one-stop shop for organising, editing and viewing your pictures, movies and music, but in practice it’s more form over function.”

I would also like to add, that Sony picture viewing software creates a separate, hidden Thumbnail-folder for each and every picture it finds.

By stasi47 on 30 Oct 2009

This is clearly a factor to take into account in future reviews and benchmarking, inc possibly how much better they become after uninstalling the offending software. Maybe even do a fresh instal of just the OS/drivers and then benchmark again - its the first thing a lot of your readers will do. Of course maybe you don't have a week to test each machine you are sent!
Perhaps these companies will one day offer a crap-free option (*at extra cost!* to make up for lost 'bribes') when configuring your purchase.

By davidsoap on 31 Oct 2009

RE: Craplications

C-Cleaner is one of the very few clean-up utilities of which I approve. Generally I have found that most applications cause as much trouble as they solve. Although I would encourage use of the general clean-up section, I would discourage use of the registry cleaner. I advise the RE-active use of registry cleaners as a tool of last resort; Never PRO-actively clean the registry of a functional system.

By Mark_Lawrence on 1 Nov 2009

my laptop

I had a HP laptop since 2007 that had lots of crapware installed on it, and seeing as Vista is slow enough as it is, the first boot process took almost half an hour and I was dismayed to see the desktop after logging on for the first time covered in desktop icons for programs I don't even want or need. Now that I have done a fresh install of Windows 7 RTM, everything runs like I want it to, and I feel I can install what I choose without it conflicting with the HP crap.

By formula_86 on 1 Nov 2009

Crapware could be Win7's downfall.

Half of the perceived problems with Vista were due to crapware, and not actually the fault of the OS.

Which makes me wonder if Seven will suffer the same fate. The RTM may be slick and fast, but what about the OEM releases?

The worst aspect is that most OEM computers come with a 'recovery disk' which reinstalls the crapware as well as the OS. Thus, the user can NEVER achieve a clean install unless they buy a genuine Windows disc separately.

IMHO this is an area that Trading Standards should look-at. If it is not possible to perform a clean install of Windows with the media provided, then the customer is being cheated.

By Anteaus on 12 Nov 2009

Crapware could be Win7's downfall.

Half of the perceived problems with Vista were due to crapware, and not actually the fault of the OS.

Which makes me wonder if Seven will suffer the same fate. The RTM may be slick and fast, but what about the OEM releases?

The worst aspect is that most OEM computers come with a 'recovery disk' which reinstalls the crapware as well as the OS. Thus, the user can NEVER achieve a clean install unless they buy a genuine Windows disc separately.

IMHO this is an area that Trading Standards should look-at. If it is not possible to perform a clean install of Windows with the media provided, then the customer is being cheated.

By Anteaus on 12 Nov 2009

Software bug!

There is a bug in this website, BTW.

If you post a message, click a link to another page, and then press the browser Back button, the previous message posts a second time without any Submit having been clicked.

By Anteaus on 12 Nov 2009

Software bug!

There is a bug in this website, BTW.

If you post a message, click a link to another page, and then press the browser Back button, the previous message posts a second time without any Submit having been clicked.

By Anteaus on 12 Nov 2009

easy solution?

To all u peeps moaning about the crapware, go to Control Panel, click Uninstall a Program' and get rid - or am i being stupid?

By scamped on 12 Nov 2009

Scamped - it's often not as easy as that. Some applications are very persistent, taking ages to uninstall, and others leave plenty of mess in the registry.

By Mikey_Jennings on 13 Nov 2009

Alternative cleaners

If you really want to run tune-up-utilities there is a new version 2010 that does run in Win7.
But my favorites used together are C cleaner and Advance System care from IObit.

By curiousclive on 14 Nov 2009

Always re-install Windows on new laptops

The first thing you should always do when you buy a new laptop is to re-install Windows, and try and use a standard disc not one of the manufacturers messed up discs that comes with even more crapware installed. By far the worst piece of crapware I've found on all PC's has to be Norton as it just wont uninstall without the help of the Norton removal tool.

By TheKLF99 on 10 Dec 2009

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For more details about purchasing this feature and/or images for editorial usage, please contact Jasmine Samra on pictures@dennis.co.uk

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