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Dell cleans up crapware

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Dell's tradition of shoveling bloatware into newborn PCs may be coming to a close. All it took was a few years of outrage.

Previously, only Dell XPS systems had the privilege of shipping with a "no software preinstalled" option. But vigilant e-coniptions on Dell's IdeaStorm feedback site has prompted Dimension desktops and Inspiron notebooks to join the party.

Customers who configure either system on Dell.com can now choose to forgo unhappy hours of removing unwanted "productivity," ISP, media software such as QuickBooks Trial, NetZero Installers, Earthlink Setup, Wanadoo Europe Installer, Norton Ghost 10.0, MS Plus Photo Story 2LE, MS Plus Digital Media Installer, AOL US, AOL UK, MusicMatch Music Services, Corel Snapfire Plus SE, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, Roxio RecordNow, Sonic RecordNow Audio, Dell Search Assistant — and the rest of the gang.

But not all software gets cut by Occam's pre-configuration razor. Dimension and Inspiron systems will still ship with trial version of anti-virus software, Acrobat Reader and Google tools.

Dell says the reason for this is that customers expect to be protected by anti-virus from the get-go and tend to "pro-actively" select a subscription to security services. Acrobat reader is required to read electronic copies of system documentation and Google Tools...Well, they don't seem to have a good excuse for that one.

The company has also recently launched a software uninstall utility in the US for Inspiron and Dimension systems. Dell's Software Uninstall Utility comes pre-installed with computers to uninstall pre-installed software. Got that? Good.

Oddly, not even Dell's own program has the gumption to get it all. Dell's blog admits, "While today this does not remove all Dell-installed software on the system, we will continue to improve its functionality to ensure it meets customer's needs."

The uninstall program is currently not available for download, "because it is tailored to the software on the system." The rest of you will have remove unwanted software by hand — just like primitive man did. ®

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