Since Michelle’s post on bloatware, I still get e-mails and comments from users about software. These comments generally fall into a three main categories: limited software install, operating system CDs, and Dell’s software support policies.
We offer limited software installs on XPS gaming systems and select client systems in the Small Business division (OptiPlex, Latitude and Dell Workstations). That said, all gaming systems come with a 1-year subscription to PC security software, and all systems ship with Google Toolbar and Google Desktop. All systems also ship with the Adobe Acrobat Reader, since some of our electronic system manuals are in PDF format.
Other users have expressed concern about not having the operating system reinstallation CD when they need it.
When ordering a new machine, all consumers and corporate customers can opt for the Windows CD for around $10. Additionally, since July 2004, most new PCs (Dell gaming systems all ship with the OS CD) come pre-loaded with a disk partition that contains PC Restore, an applcation that allows users to reinstall system software quickly. See these instructions for how to use PC Restore to reinstall the operating system and Dell factory-installed applications in about 10 minutes.
Update: Thanks to Direct2Dell reader Steven and a couple of Dell employees for pointing out a mistake I made in my original post. When I wrote this, the OS media was listed as an option in the configurator for $0. I mis-read the number, and for that mistake, I apologize. Also, though this been in the works for some time before now, it’s now official. For U.S. consumer and small business customers, all systems will now ship with an operating system disc. This change will take effect in Europe by later next month. In Asia, things are unchanged—we’ve always shipped OS discs with systems there.
Lastly, wanted to try to clarify some confusion around software support. Our basic hardware limited warranties (sorry for the link to a legal document) cover the hardware you purchase from Dell. In the United States, we offer optional fee-based software support through our Dell On Call service. What software support is fee-based? Things like spyware/virus removal, general how-to questions, e-mail and Internet configuration, and wireless/home networking setup.
One kind of software support that we don’t offer is data migration service. What’s that mean? If your hard drive fails, Dell does not support transferring personal data from your old hard drive to the new one. Please see section 9 in this document for more details. For this reason, we encourage all users to back up their personal files on a regular basis. If you purchase a new Dell machine, we sell several third-party software packages designed to help you transfer personal files from your old system to your new one.