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Junkware, Microsoft Signature and My Parent's Laptop

My parents needed a new computer. The PC I gave them that I build back in 1990's, just wasn't cutting it.

The budget was $600 - $700. I would have loved to buy them a new Mac Laptop but they start at $1000. So I decided on a Windows Laptop PC. I'd heard from Windows Weekely that Microsoft Signature PCs were a great experience. Microsoft approved and configured PCs with no junkware. Another option was to buy directly from the manufacture; reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. I hate junkware (it is one of the reason I buy Macs; no junkware; no kidding).

So I decided to buy the laptop from Microsoft Signature. The Junkware promise is a BIG FAT LIE. The moment the laptop booted up it started downloading junkware from Dell. One such "utility" prevented any user other than an admin access to the Internet. Another kept change my default search engine (Bouno) and popping up adds all over my search results (Highlight). Crap. Crap. Crap.

After uninstalling all the junkware and re-installing Chrome 4 or 5 times the PC was stable with no annoying junkware. It is running Windows 8.1 which I found surprising pleasant. I bet my parent will rarely leave the "Metro/Modern" interface. They will rarely go to the desktop. Combining the touch/mouse/keyboard interface into one is still a bad idea, IMHO. My arm got soar from touching the screen. But the live tile interface is a great way to see a lot of information all at once and once you get used to searching for everything you need to do it a decent experience.

So if you're thinking about buying a Windows PC and hate junkware as much as do, DO NOT buy your PC from Microsoft Signature Store. Buy it from the manufacture (save $100-$200), reformat the hardrive and reinstall the OS which will nuke any junkware.

I will still buy Macs for my personal and business uses (developing software) but for under $1000 a Windows PC is pretty good deal.

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Reader Comments (2)

Why not just buy them a Mac Mini? You could have put them into a decent screen and still stay under $1000.

I purchased a Mac Mini for both my wife and I. She still is resisting the Mac (Claiming she doesn't have time to learn it). She still has to have the Windows 7 PC for a couple of proprietary programs (windows only) that she needs for her hobby. As for me, the only reason why my Windows machine is running is because I just haven't had the time to break down and get a good Mac backup external drive.

I have been playing around with Virtual Box. When I setup Windows 7 on one instance, there was over 300 'updates'. Yep...... another reason to buy Mac (if you can afford it).

My iPad air is a dream. I did have an Android Tablet (Transformer Prime) but the Air just runs rings around it. Battery life is about twice as long too.

May 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCurt

Thanks for the comments, Curt. Sorry for the delay.

I would have much rather gotten them a Mac. We have three in our house (iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air). One of the requirements was mobility, so a laptop was needed.

Unfortunately, Apple does not have a sub-$800 laptop, even with the MacBook Air price drop.

Hopefully, there will be some announcements at WWDC ;)

Thanks again for your comment and have a great day.

May 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterBill Calkins

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