Friday, June 22, 2012

Trialware - Bloatware

This is why equipment is as cheap as it is.

The vendors of computers and those of software programs team up to pre-load "free" trial versions of their wares on to their hardware in the hope that you will eventually buy.

Symantec, the makers of Norton AV and their Security suite are the biggest participators in this practise. All the major computer vendors are also guilty of this some are worse than others!

When you purchase a new computer a lot of the set-up time is taken with the activation and configuration of such software - just to keep you safe when you connect to the Internet.

Often the completion of the installation of the operating system is interfered with by the constant "nagging" of Norton to activate your "free trial". Quite often processes hang (dialogs have popped up in the background wanting you to click 'ok' for instance) or the program is so busy updating itself the computer seems really slow - not a good thing when you are trying out a new piece of hardware and possibly a new operating system which has been reported to be slow!

When you configure a new pc for the first time, and it comes with a "free trial" of a Norton product, you will findthat there is a "race" (one that Norton often wins!)  between Norton trying to update itself and do a full system scan and Windows downloading and installing the latest updates to the OS.

As the computer is brand new - one would hope that there are no viruses on the hard drive, the necessity for a full disc scan is not required - you are far better off with letting the operating system update itself - Don't allow Norton to reboot your computer until the system updates are complete and installed. You will have to reboot then anyway!

Other Examples of bloatware

Apart from games (which some would not consider unwanted) the main contenders are:
  • Anti Virus and Security suites including Norton and McAfee
  • Norton Online Backup
Update: Removing "trialware" from my latest Acer

This was done for the second time after the computer was returned from repair after the HDD and memory had been replaced under warranty. This time, on first boot, I didn't have to go through the "Preparing your computer for fisrt use" crap. The Acer service dept had already done that for me. However, my desktop was festooned with icons from everything from games to McAfee Antivirus Suite.

In fact, it was not long before McAfee was telling me that my computer was at risk and that I should click on their dialog, presumably so that they could guide me through the resistration and update the virus defintiions. This is all very well but I had no intention of using McAfee as my virus protection in anycase. Some people may be of the view that it was free and came as a free subscription with the new computer. But, as nothijng is free in this life (when you are told that fact - you have to search out the free stuff for yourself). I intended to use Microsoft Security Essecials as my malware protection.

The first thing that I did was to uninstall McAfee using the Windows "Programs and Features" utility.

As you can see Bing Bar, Microsoft Office and eBay are still on the computer. I have no intention of using them and I am not short of disk space so I decided this time to leave them. The same with the games.

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