Within minutes of starting the otherwise excellent Dell XPS there was a reminder of one of the worst aspects of new Windows computers: Crapware.
The review machine came with a copy of MacAfee Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware. These programs aren’t necessarily crap.
But when shovelled on otherwise pristine systems they qualify as grade A crapware.
Because I wasn’t the first reviewer to borrow this machine, the free trial period for the software had expired. That’s fair enough.
What happened next was a non-stop cavalcade of reminders and warnings bullying me into buying the software. It’s horrible and it is hard to stop when you’re using someone else’s machine.
If I had paid for the computer I’d be angry. I’d be swearing I’d never buy from Dell again and I’d be fiddling with crapware removal tools. That’s not good etiquette with review hardware so I fumed in silence.
While getting rid of trashy, unwanted software isn’t difficult. Asking paying customers to endure this intrusive, heavy-handed marketing shows Dell hasn’t grasped that the few pennies it might earn from selling its soul to the crapware merchants need to be weighed against the hundreds of dollars it stands to lose from customers looking elsewhere for their next purchase.
Microsoft doesn’t feel the need to inflict this kind of rubbish software on Surface customers. Nor does Apple allow crapware on Macs. Both companies are too aware of the importance of that out-of-the-box experience to spoil their ships for a ha’penneth of tar.