Perhaps the cleanest chain-store bought PCs you can get today.
There's nothing better than the snappy feeling of a freshly installed operating system – one that's free from the cobwebs collected and caused by constant use (and perhaps neglect). Sadly, many computer buyers these days don't get to experience that fresh feeling due to all the crapware that OEMs pre-install on new machines.
That's just one side effect, however, of the open platform that allows manufacturers to configure both the hardware and software however it sees fit. This also leads to bundling and subsidized deals that, in theory, helps to lower the price of PCs, but also the loading of trial software that clogs up a fresh install of Windows. Instead of getting a snappy, clean OS, new buyers get at bloated system from day one.
Some OEMs, such as Lenovo for its ThinkPad line, are more considerate of its users, but you still won't be getting a clean install of Windows with only truly useful and valuable applications.
Would you believe that it's Microsoft's own "Signature PCs" that are the ones most clean from the crapware? According to TechFlash, a certain line of PCs sold at the just-launched Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, AZ do away with the annoying pre-installed software and instead come with full versions of Windows Live services, Silverlight, Zune software and some of Adobe's popular online software. While some of that software could be debated as unwanted crapware, it's still a world of difference from the typical computer that one would buy from a large retailer.
Microsoft isn't making its own computers for this, however. Instead, it is taking the machines offered by Sony, HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo and loading on its own Windows 7 configuration to create a "Signature PC."
Unlike Apple, Microsoft does not control the user experience top to bottom, but the level of control Microsoft is taking with its Signature PCs could be a step towards stomping out crapware – which we're all in favour of.