No Bloatware, Please

Lots of chatter these days on why Dell pre-loads so much software on new systems.  Several of you have asked about how this software affects performance, some have commented about the sheer number of apps, and others have expressed confusion as to which apps they can remove.  

For many Dell customers, having pre-loaded software that allows them to play back digital music, edit digital photos, and protect their new systems from viruses and spyware is a positive thing.   Does that mean all of our customers like it?  No.  Over the past several months we have listened to feedback and taken action.  Here’s a couple of improvements:

  • Limited software install – We’ve been offering “Limited software install” on many of our XPS gaming systems and Small Business systems.  In both cases, only the operating system and antivirus/ spyware software is loaded.  For those that want no software installed, the XPS 700 BYO customers (from link, click the Design Tab, then  Build Your Own from the drop-down) can order the system without a hard drive.  All of these options are a direct result of conversations with our customers.  
  • Clean the Clutter –  We also made significant changes to the way software is organized and discovered on all desktops and notebook PCs.  If you have purchased a Dimension or Inspiron PC from Dell since April, you will notice a significant change to the desktop environment – instead of 21 icons we now have less than 10 (depending on your configuration at point of sale).  The software that is pre-installed is now grouped into useful buckets depending on what you want to do with your PC – internet access, education/support, entertainment, etc.   We also include a brief description of the value of the application – you no longer have to launch the software to figure it out.  Finally, if you would prefer to remove the pre-loaded software, you are directed to the “Uninstall Programs” section of your desktop for easy removal.  In this video, Jeremy Friedlander from the software team demonstrates the end result.

View Video
Format: wmv

We are also in the process of streamlining the system tray and quick launch sections of the desktop which will improve boot time and other performance metrics.  However, our performance tests in the lab have not found significant improvements by removing software trials and other executables—most of our software sits quietly on the desktop until you launch it.  The two culprits we have highlighted in our labs include the OS and security applications—both critical to using and maintaining the integrity of your PC.  However, we continue to streamline what we ship and provide more choice to our customers when they buy a new system.

Our goal is to provide useful pre-loaded software to our customers that want it, while giving intuitive options to customers that don’t.  We’ll stay focused on finding that balance.

About the Author: Michelle Pearcy