Preston Gralla

Expect Windows 8 PCs to be pre-loaded with bloatware

May 17, 2012 2:42 PM EDT
When you buy that shiny, brand-new Windows 8 PC, expect that it may well be riddled with bloatware, the extraneous junk, trialware, and assorted crud that seems to bedevil any PC you purchase. There's a chance that there may be less of it than in previous version of Windows, but as with earlier Windows versions, if you want it cleaned of junk, you can pay $99 for a bloatware-cleaning service from Microsoft.

Micrsoft recently launched its "Signature Upgrade" service that will clean PCs of all the offending junk that computer makers often put on them. You'll have to pay $99 for the service, and bring your computer into one of Microsoft's 21 retail stores that have already launched or are being launched. Microsoft will then clean it of bloatware (also called crapware).

Those who don't want to have to pay what essentially amounts to a crapware tax can perform a similar task themselves for free with the free PC Decrapifier software.

Those who hoped that Microsoft would put an end to crapware on PCs because the company wanted to protect the pristine-looking Metro interface will be disappointed that crapware will make its way into Windows 8. Computerworld reports that a Microsoft spokesperson said that the Signature Upgrade service will be offered for Windows 8 PC -- which naturally means that Windows 8 PCs will have crapware on them.

Microsoft doesn't put the crapware on PCs. That's something that computer manufacturers do, and they do it because they typically are paid by software makers and others to do it.

There's a chance that Windows 8 PCs will have less crapware than their predecessors. Microsoft has told device manufacturers that they can only install one Metro app per external device such as a printer. Why does that matter? Device manufacturers in the past have been able to install multiple pieces of software per device, meaning that they can slip crapware in, not just software to control the device. This limit may cut down on some crapware, but not most of it.

Microsoft should dramatically curb the junk software PC makers are allowed to put onto PCs. When you spend serious money on a computer, you shouldn't have to deal with performance issues, long startup times, potential crashes, and other annoyances.

There are several ways it could solve the problem. The simplest would be have as part of the licensing deal a no-crapware clause. Falling short of that, building a tool into Windows 8 that would clean a machine of crapware would be a help as well.

I don't expect either of those things to happen. So I hope that Decrapifier has a Windows 8 version in the works.