That’s a screenshot of the toolbar on a brand new Vista Home Premium laptop that my mother-in-law ordered (an Insprion 6400 to be exact). Look at all that stuff! Many of them are Windows icons, but I resent the fact that Dell pre-loaded the machine with an entire suite of Google software. Vista already has an excellent built-in search function. Why pre-install Google Desktop Search and have two indexing engines running on the laptop at the same time? The Google toolbar was also installed, along with who knows what else. The typical Norton “free trial” was there as well, along with a couple of other icons that I don’t recognize. It took me about 90 minutes last night to wipe the drive, re-install Vista, and get all the drivers off the CD installed. Dell definitely makes this process as easy as they can, though I’d really prefer not to have to do it at all. Why not have a perfectly clean install of Vista then, upon first boot, give the customer the option to install the suggested programs? Leave the power of the decision in the hands of the person who paid for the product. Yeah, I know Dell operates on thin business margins and they make some money from the companies whose software is on the machine, but that’s no excuse.
Can you imagine buying a brand new car and having bumper stickers from Subway, Coke, Cialis, and Jenny Craig on the back of it? “Oh, we put bumper stickers on there to subsidise the cost of the car” says the salesman. “You can just scrape those off”. We’d never accept that from a car dealership, yet it’s exactly what we get from the major OEMs like Dell and HP. I’d happily pay an extra $10 to Dell just to get a machine that had no software installed on it beyond their basic Dell support applications.