Feeds

Feeling heat from Macs, Microsoft sells PCs sans crapware

Putting Signature on speed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

With Apple Macs in its sights, Microsoft has been quietly reselling PCs that offer customized, slimmed-down installations of Windows designed to run faster and to be easier to set up and maintain.

The software company has been selling computers preloaded with the custom Windows image since at least October 2009 under the a program called Signature, according to this article from CNET News. But over the past few weeks, Microsoft has reinvigorated its marketing of the program with stats designed to show the benefits of buying PCs that come with a Signature image compared with the default image supplied by the Dell or one of the other PC makers.

To wit: Machines running a Signature version of Windows 7 on average boot 40 percent faster than the same piece of hardware running the manufacturer's version, goes to sleep 23 percent faster and resumes 51 percent faster, Microsoft says here. They also come with “just the software you need,” which is code for saying the machines don't contain crapware such as promotional versions of antivirus software that can drastically hamper performance.

“A PC with Signature has less software running in the background, allowing your PC to focus on running smoothly or creating video files,” Microsoft says. “Also, less trialware and sampleware means more storage space for important things like that two-hour video that your buddies made of you trying to reach the top of the climbing wall.”

Desktops on machines running a Signature image look identical, no matter which PC maker they come from. Each contains a Bing animated wallpaper image and a single icon for the trash bin. Compare that to a desktop from the typical manufacturer, which contains its corporate logo and literally dozens of different icons, most for programs the user will never run.

What's more, each Signature PC ships with “all of the appropriate drivers for the hardware type in question, very real performance tuning, a suite of useful Microsoft applications and services, optimized versions of certain applications and experiences (like Internet Explorer), and more,” according to a review penned by Paul Thurrott that Microsoft conspicuously links to on the promo page.

Signature PCs can be purchased online through the Microsoft Store, or at any one of the eight store locations. “There will be quite a few more in the future,” Thurrott quotes Microsoft's Kevin Eagan as saying.

Signature PCs, which are available only to people in the US, also come with 90 days of technical support from Microsoft. They also come preloaded with a version of Microsoft Security Essentials, which the company promotes as security software that will never expire. ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Man buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE
Yarrrgh! 'Tis Antipodean insanity, ye crazy swab
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.