[AI] REMOVE THE JUNK FROM YOUR NEW COMPUTER
ilovecold at gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 04:59:15 EDT 2010
WE REVEAL THE NUISANCE PROGRAMS INSTALLED ON YOUR NEW COMPUTER AND TELL YOU HOW
TO DUMP THE JUNK
Buy a new computer and you'd think it would be free from the clutter that
built up on your old PC. The reality, however, is that most new computers are
pre-loaded with a range of software which manufacturers, who are often paid by
software companies to package the programs, call trialware.
Often the software is a trial version that expires after a few weeks. Alongside
a trial of Microsoft Office you might find file management software that mimics
functions already performed by Windows. 'Typically,a software provider wants
to be on there so they can show what they can deliver,' says technology
marketing consultant Terry Forsey. 'It may be limited in terms of
functionality or only last a short time.'
This pre-loaded software has a reputation for slowing down performance but
what's the reality? To find out, Which? Computing ran a series of new
laptops through our performance tests. We tested the laptops three times; once
with the pre-loaded software, once withthe software removed and finally with
only the raw operating system and essential drivers installed.
Some machines did start up faster without trialware. Toshiba's Satellite
U500-1EX, for example, took 67 seconds to start out of the box, 60 seconds
oncewe'd removed the trialware and 50 seconds when ithad been stripped back to
just the Windows operating system and essential drivers. Yet the effects of
trialware are unpredictable. Another Toshiba - the Satellite Pro S500-11C -
started four seconds slower having had the trialware removed. Similarly, a
Packard Bell machine ran quicker with the pre-installed software still in place.
Start-up times can vary each time you turn on.
The fact that this trialware slowdown is diminishing is good news, but if you
activate all the software thatis offered, evidence suggests boot times can be
Startup and performance problems are however, only two of the issues raised by
critics. Consumers are also infuriated at how difficult it can be to delete
unwanted software and how easy it is to damage your new computer by accidentally
binning essential files.
We mirrored this in our tests by removing some essential Visual C++ files from
the Dell Inspiron 1764. When we tried to restart the computer after removing
these, and the trialware, it took 119 seconds to start - more than double the
original start-up time. Once we reinstalled the Visual C++ files the laptop
started in just 52 seconds.
'This is one of the things we see a lot,' said Nabil Shabka, CEO of
Zuumedia, which runs computer maintenance company Computer Repair UK. 'The
average person faces a dilemma because they don't know what is what. Some of
it [pre-installed software] is useful and important, but some of it isn't.
The companies shipping the machines offer no information about what the software
'There might be an unknown application in there that is actually the driver
for the mouse pad set up for that particular laptop - if people delete that
then they can't move the cursor. What is a bona fide piece of software can
look like trialware because it isn't associated with Microsoft Windows,' he
There is also the feeling that programs are being foisted on the end user solely
to benefit the manufacturers' revenues, possibly leading them to pay more for
software than absolutely necessary.
Many computer manufacturers install security bundles such as McAfee or
Symantec's Norton tooffer protection, but often the software lasts between 30
and 90 days and after that consumers are nagged to pay for continuing the
'The companies argue that it makes life simpler for the consumer, but often it
actually works out cheaperto go to a shop and buy a brand new version of the
software than it is to sign-up for the preloaded software once the trial period
has finished,' said technology consultant Steve Nimmons.
By supplying a commercial product, the manufacturers also reduce the likelihood
that consumers will explore free, or cheaper, alternatives.
'Supplied software is not always the best of breed. Many people will just use
the software that is provided. They are not going to go and do a comparison of
allthe anti-virus software,' said Simmonds.
MONEY FOR NOTHING
Equally frustrating is that many programs are simply a rehash of other programs
that are already installed. HP machines, for example, routinely come with the
company's MediaSmart Suite for managing music, photos and DVDs. This is in
addition to Windows Media Player, which performs the same job. 'It's the
same with software like picture viewers, that are often bundled with
computers,' said Shabka. 'There's already a picture viewer in Windows and
these other packages end up fighting to be the default picture viewer.'
To avoid criticism some are making installation optional. 'On Advent
machines, we regard software for installation as two categories,' said a
spokesperson for electronics retailer DSGi. 'The first are programs or
updates that could be considered utilities (such as Flash and Silverlight for
web sites that require them), popular electronic document readers like Adobe
Reader and software to create a backup of your system to DVD.
'The second category would be trial-related software. In the past, we
provided trial software on our machines, but have come to realise that customers
don't appreciate the machine being filled with software they won't use.
'Since Windows 7, we have provided a menu that allows the customer to choose
which additional software is installed onto their computer.'
Two years ago, Sony offered a service where buyers could pay extra not to have
the bundled software, but it faced enormous flak for charging for nothing. The
initiative was dropped and today consumers no longer have the choice to opt out
of Sony's pre-installed suite.
Acer says it offers a suite of software designed to target as many customers as
possible, but accepts some technically savvy customers might find the package
frustrating. 'Technical people understand the benefit of a clean machine, but
other people will want some of the software we bundle,' said Elif Nurjiz,
Acer's channel marketing manager.
While the overall trend is towards less intrusive trialware, with more choice
about what is installed, there is little chance of it actually going away
because provides a revenue stream for vendors. 'It's a balance for them
between earning revenue and upsetting customers,' said Con Mallon, product
marketing manager for Symantec.
Acer Aspire 5738PG-664G32Mn - 9 secs FASTER
Toshiba Satellite Pro S500-11C - 4 secs SLOWER
Packard-Bell EasyNote LJ71-RB-025UK - 7 secs SLOWER
STEP BY STEP - REMOVE UNWANTED TRIALWARE
1. Take control
The simplest way to remove unwanted programs is to use Windows. To do this
click Windows Vista's Start button, select Control Panel and then Programs and
Features. This will bring up a list of all the programs you have installed.
2. Windows uninstall
Click on the program that you want to remove and then click Uninstall. In the
User Account Control message that pops-up, click Continue and then click
Uninstall. You have now removed the program from your computer.
3. Alternative options
While in most cases this will do the trick, some programs are harder to
uninstall than others. If the Windows option doesn't work, there are
alternatives such as the Windows Uninstaller Cleanup utility
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