I’ve owned a lot of computers in my time, but only one of my own PCs. It was a heap-of-junk Acer laptop that I had to buy to work on PC mags, and, well, I hated it. It was bulky, badly made and had an annoying amount of pre-installed crap. Luckily, WSJ reports that pre-installed crap might soon be a thing of the past—if you live near a Microsoft Store and are willing to pay $99 to have it removed from your shiny new PC.

Coming from the Apple side of the PC fence, this article really is an eye-opener. It’s bonkers that Microsoft’s felt the need to offer a marketed ‘Signature’ line of PCs, which

retain the maker’s brand, but sport a special Signature desktop and configuration

—which essentially means ‘crap free’. That the vendors didn’t think “hey, maybe users don’t want loads of adverts and other junk on their desktops”—well…

Elsewhere, we see similar problems affecting smartphones and tablets. Android manufacturers are known for pre-installing garbage on devices, in order to differentiate their models from those offered by the competition. But while the occasional special offer might chime with some users, most don’t want demos and other rubbish clogging up their shiny new hardware, especially when such things are often hard or impossible to remove.

Crap-free in technology shouldn’t be an option—it should be the default. Apple comes close in this regard, but it isn’t perfect either. iOS has pre-installed apps from Apple but nothing from third-parties. However, Apple’s apps (Stocks, Compass, Voice Memos, and so on) can’t be removed from the Home screen—Apple should provide a Settings toggle for doing so. By contrast, OS X is at least essentially crap-free, and when Apple has preinstalled a demo in the past (such as with iWork), it’s just a question of dragging a folder to the trash if you don’t want it. This is a long way from, as mentioned in the WSJ article, a SOny EH37FX (snappy name!) that

included an app from Best Buy that launched every time the PC started


Via: Daring Fireball.