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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Please don't give me that free stuff anymore

If you have purchased a new PC in the last few years you will probably have noticed some extra 'free stuff' that the PC manufacturer has kindly dumped on your brand new system.  This trend seems, to me, to be increasing now.  It goes by several names.  Bloatware may be the most socially acceptable of them.

The free trials used to be limited to things like virus protection software, or MS Office and one or two more applications, and of course the semi-useless suite of products that each manufacturer creates itself to make it stand out from the crowd.  Now though, some of these manufacturers are really pulling out all stops and adding portals for games (of dubious quality and safety), and additional applications that are likely to be of no value, or limited value at best.

Why do they do this?  
Well the answer isn't that they think you will really benefit from games portals with dubious names like Pokki, SuperFish and Wild Tangent.  What happens is that these 'application' providers actually pay a lot of money to the manufacturer to get their stuff pre-loaded on your computer.

Well, it doesn't do any harm does it?  
Well, yes it can.  For a start your brand new system will take longer to boot and will be slower to run because of these useless programs.  They will also add to your network traffic as they busily update themselves and do who knows what else.  The classic example is Lenovo - arguably the largest PC supplier - who, until recently, were pre-loading something called SuperFish on many consumer PCs.  SuperFish injected additional ads into websites that you viewed, and provided a mechanism for your system to be taken over by Hackers.  There are many articles out there describing this - here is one.

How do I prevent this from happening? 
Unfortunately most of the manufacturers appear to be doing this to some extent.  Maybe this is a chance for one of them to market a clean PC?  Until that happens you will either have to live with the bloat (not a sensible option in my opinion), or spend time (and /or money) getting this stuff removed.  By the way - be careful out there as there are some tools that advertise their ability to clean up your new PC.  At least one that I have come across actually adds it's own stuff into your PC while 'cleaning' it, others make it difficult to download their software without also downloading other Bloatware.  The only solution is to laboriously go through each item and research it first and then manually remove it.  Believe me, this is not as easy as it sounds.

If anyone finds a manufacturer that is not doing this then please let me know.  I often get asked for recommendations - currently I don't have any.

#Bloatware #PC #Freestuff