Monday, May 22, 2006

Dells smell

I found this article an interesting read. Turns out Dell is preinstalling some questionable software on their laptops and desktops when you order them. I’ve known about some of the crap Dell puts on its computer for a while now and recently had a first hand experience with it with the laptop Bebe bought from them.

Bebe and I have the same desktop computer. Best Buy had a really good sale on a Compaq a few years ago and Bebe bought one. I needed a new desktop since I was still running a 90mhz Pentium 1 and Windows 95 (any this was in like 2002). So, I went up to Best Buy, got me a Best Buy card, and got me the same computer. I already had a monitor and printer, so I got it for a lot less than Bebe did.

At any rate, Bebe teaches online classes for University of Phoenix, so she spends a lot of time on the PC at night working. Sitting in a cheap office chair in the guest bedroom was getting to be too much. We decided to get her a laptop to use, so she can sit on the bed, or on the couch, or up in the loft with me while working on her stuff. After a week or so of looking we found a good Dell.

It arrived and booted up the first time, asking for her information to set it up like all new Windows PCs do. Then it restarted, so the new settings could take effect. Seven minutes later Bebe was using her laptop and happy as can be. I, on the other hand, wasn’t.

A new laptop should not take seven minutes to boot up. I’ve got an Athalon 1700 (1.47 mhz) with 512 MB of SDRAM on my desktop, and it takes about twenty seconds to boot. Bebe’s Dell is almost twice the speed, and dual core to boot, with near a gig of DDR RAM. Seven minutes is just unacceptable.

After Bebe started to complain about the long boot times, I cracked it open and took a look. My oh my was I surprised. There was crap everywhere. I took off AOL, took off Compuserve, took of some sort of toolkit, took off some Web Browser Express thing, and three of four other “programs” installed by Dell to make your computing experience “more pleasurable.” I turned off everything in her launch bar, ended all but the most necessary tasks, and did a defrag. The thing booted up in under a minute this time, mission accomplished.

Here’s my view on the whole thing. First, I bought it, I own it, there should be nothing on it that I didn’t explicitly ask for. Imagine buying a car and getting a family of six to go along with you on every drive. Sure, it may be convenient on long drives to have someone to talk to, but all in all it’s going to just add annoyance to the drive. Same thing applies here. Bebe didn’t buy those programs, she bought a Dell with XP installed, that’s it.

Out Compaqs had some preinstalled software on them too. However, I’m able to toss off the preinstall and do a straight XP install with my recovery CDs. Sure it’s a pain and takes a bit longer, but then again I probably spent the same amount of extra time removing all the crap that comes preloaded.

My next computer will be a laptop, I’m over the desktop thing and since I don’t do gaming or big time processing of stuff, I don’t need a desktop anymore. It’s things like this, and boot camp, that make me lean more and more toward getting a Mac.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an easy solution to the 'Dell problem':

When you get the machine, look on the harddrive for folders that contain the drivers for the hardware in there, or, go to Dell's site and download them.

Then nuke the whole machine: reformat it and install everything yourself.

I have and will continue to do this on any machine I buy -- since I generally don't like the 'general install' most programs use in the first place.

Did that with the last Dell laptop I had, and the thing runs fast, clean, and without a hitch.

And dude, if you buy a Mac, I will permanently and irrevocably title you as 'Fag'. Not to mention the fact that you'll pay out the ass for hardware that is made "magically better by paying more money for it because it's through Apple". Fuck that.

11:38 AM  

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