You get a new computer for Christmas. As your nimble fingers tear the box to free your prize, visions of the newest software and games run rampant through your mind. The excitement and anticipation are overwhelming.
Finally, it's plugged in and the magic moment is at hand. You hit the power button and you're greeted by the familiar "Welcome to Windows" and the obligatory welcome from the computer manufacturer, followed by five minutes of setup screens. The desktop is finally loaded, but a glance at the tray icons reveals a lot of unfamiliar symbols.
“What are all these programs?” you ask inquisitively. Why, they are manufacturers' add-ons to the already enormous operating system: HP assistant, Dell's wireless manager, remote support connections, and registration prompts. Your new computer already is using 30% of your system's resources just looking at you. How are you supposed to run your apps? The answer is not very well—at least the way your new toy was shipped to you.
Computer manufacturers have been overloading computers since the day they went "viral." They want to "know you" and your buying habits. Data is King. The more data these companies get, the richer they become.
Reality comes crashing down on what was supposed to be a joyous moment when you realize Captain Kill-Joy and the buzz-killers have created two hours of unexpected work just to get your new PC to the point of loading your software. Somewhere along the way, computer manufacturers decided to package every unit that leaves the factory with redundant resource-hogging software, a.k.a. Bloatware.
This unwanted intrusion of manufacturers’ software has been dubbed Bloatware by my company’s employees. It includes software and drivers that are 384 MB of everything plus the kitchen sink, when all you wanted to do was install your printer. I don't know about the rest of you, but I just want the driver! It's not like I'm going to choose HP's photo editor over Adobe Photoshop. Most PC users have established workflows that we are not about to change because some company tries to force us. The real disturbance with this practice is we are not given the choice. Often these programs silently install themselves when you're loading the driver for that particular device. If you’re like most users, you just click through the install screens without reading the options, and voilá! You have seven new programs and you have no clue what they are or what they do.Continued on the next page