Dell computer fury

I setup a new Dell computer for my sister today and was driven so mad that I felt I had to write something here. On the face of it its a nice little machine, good spec, came fairly cheap, is well built and has a nice sharp 17″ flat screen. My gripe isn’t with the hardware at all though, its with what I was presented with on the hard drive.

The system came pre-loaded with Windows XP, which is fine and what my sister needs, but on top of that was a SHOCKING (and I mean shocking) number of needless programs. There were about 6 trial programs all setup to pop up registration/purchase reminders on start-up and on top of that there was an ugly set of internet trial programs loaded on as well. To get a “bare bones” windows install with just the dell drivers and a few other items my sister needed before putting her own programs on I had to remove about 18 applications and restart the machine 7 or so times in the process.

Then I found something that made my blood boil. A standard install leaves you with a C drive with all your data on it. You can then use an application of your choice to reduce the size of C and repartition the remaining space as you wish or leave it as is of course. This system however, because it came with a Norton Ghost trial was setup to have a “backup” partition, which as only a trial program was provided was completely useless and a rubbish size for anything other than taking a C drive image, which my sister wasn’t going to do. I had to use a 3rd party (paid for) application to fix this partitioning issue because Ghost wouldn’t do it either before or on uninstall. Given the number of trial programs I had already found I was shocked the machine wasn’t programmed to try and sell me a copy of partition magic as it sat smugly and watched my predicament.

Last but certainly not least on my list of gripes was the number of Windows updates that needed to be downloaded. I had to gobble up well over 250Mb of bandwidth just to bring the machine up to scratch, yet the machine had only been built a week earlier, and boasted it was SP2 ready. While it did have SP2, it didn’t have updates realeased at the same time as SP2. Go figure.

All in all I’m angry with Dell. Not because their hardware has gone downhill, it hasn’t – its still as good as it ever was, but for selling out to as many software companies as possible and serving their customers effectively ad infested machines rather than something that can be used out of the box. I used to recommend Dell as perfect for the novice to just get out of the box and use, but now you need a phd level education just to remove the trial pop-ups that insist on interrupting your work. Needless to say I shant be making such recommendations in the future.

I guess the small mercy is that automatic updates and the firewall came enabled by default. At least the newbies won’t be hacked while they enjoy their ads then.


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  1. paul Said,

    September 8, 2006 @ 11:53 pm

    Welcome to the new Dell eh Kieran. I totally agree with you. I’ve had my dell computer for just over a year, installing everything was a nightmare and I have this annoying fan, that just wont stop whirring. It gets (there it goes, I start typing and it goes from a medium hum, to a massive whirr!) louder and louder the longer I’m on it.

    Whoops back to the thread sorry. Then my mum gets a dell, her first computer and the flat screen is smashed beyond belief. We get that changed and again, like you I spend ages taking programmes off, updates take for ever and every single time, switch off blah blah. All’s OK then Gaynors mum say’s, Paul I’ve just ordered a computer & broadband, can you set it up for me. I say sure what computer did you buy…..Oh I ordered a Dell!!!

    aaaarrgghhhhh I scream. So again, take stuff off, update windows etc, plus she’s bought McAfee Security Suite….that takes even longer to get up to date!

    I really do think Dell should update the pre-loaded software on a regular basis, yes the hardware is fine (except this damn fan)

    One question: If you won’t recommend Dell, what would you recommend. Maybe a good debating point for your blog?

  2. Matt Said,

    September 9, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    Unfortunately, this bundling craze is common among most big suppliers these days. My Compaq laptop was the same, although it didn’t take too long to remove all the extra software.

    At least with Dell you get an OEM install of Windows on CD. From the sounds of things you guys would’ve been better off just nuking the system from scratch. This is what I did with a friends Dell last week which was displaying some very odd networking problems that I just could not rectify. Only took twenty minutes, during which I was able to enjoy a cup of tea and biscuits 🙂

    I’m dreading having to re-install Windows on my Compaq as the re-install is a ghost image with all the crappy applications installed already 🙁

  3. Kieran Said,

    September 10, 2006 @ 7:56 pm

    Now why didn’t I think of doing something to it that while making progress towards the objective also allowed me to partake in the consumption of tea and biscuits? Clearly I have much to learn in the field of hardware setup 😛

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