Dell is allowing its customers to decline the unwanted software applications loaded on new PCs, after hundreds of users complained about such "bloatware" on a company blog.
Many software companies pay PC vendors to install their applications on new computers, hoping to gain new customers or persuade users to upgrade to a new version. But customers say it can take a savvy user hours to remove unwanted programs, and those who are less sophisticated may never be able to reclaim the wasted memory.
On Monday, Dell agreed to give buyers of certain models the option to avoid what the company calls "preinstalled software." Buyers of Dimension desktops, Inspiron notebooks, and XPS PCs can now click a field in Dell's online order form that will block the installation of software for productivity, ISPs, and photo and music.
"Since we launched IdeaStorm, there has never been a shortage of conversation about 'bloatware' here! Well we've recently taken action on your feedback on this topic, and we're working toward giving customers more choice in the amount and type of software that is preinstalled on their systems at the time of purchase," Dell said on the blog.
The company has also loaded an extra "uninstall utility" program on Dimension and Inspiron computers sold in the United States, making it easier for new computer users to remove software they don't want.
However, Dell will continue to install three applications on its new computers, including trial versions of anti-virus software, Adobe Systems's Acrobat Reader, and Google's Google Toolbar, said Michelle Pearcy, Dell's worldwide client software manager in another posting.
The company includes anti-virus software because many customers expect their PCs to be protected at first boot, Acrobat because it is required to read electronic copies of system documentation, and Google Toolbar because it aids Web surfing by suggesting likely alternatives to mistyped URLs, she said.
"The end result is that customers can tailor the amount and type of software that is preinstalled on their systems to meet their specific needs at time of purchase," Pearcy said.