Microsoft Selling 'Signature PCs' Sans Crapware

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • jerreece
    Less bloatware is good. Period. I've seen my fair share of proprietary recovery programs pre-built in, Shockwave/Java based video games which are pre-installed that require payment to actually use, "Free" trial anti-virus programs, etc.

    Takes the fun out of a new PC/Laptop for lots of folks since you spend the first 30 minutes of your new PC's life uninstalling tons of garbage before you actually get to play with the new piece of equipment.

    But, that's why I build my own systems...
  • gbismack
    With laptops, where I can't build my own, first thing I do is re-install a clean OS.
  • ecnovaec
    why wouldn't we believe this? Microsoft has been everyone's punching bag for years when they rarely do anything wrong. Maybe this will make people realize that it's the third party programs causing all their problems!
  • hellwig
    Only makes sense to let Microsoft figure out to configure the OS to run more efficiently. How many people complain about how slowly Windows loads, but only because they have Google Desktop, AIM, MSN, Skype, 2 Virus scanners, iTunes, WinAmp, WinZip, Wireless utilities, etc.. etc.. all loading at startup?

    Of course, I still don't trust Microsoft over some OEM, but if it helps them clear their name (and prevent another stupid I'm a Mac commercial), I'm all for it. I'll still be deciding whats installed on my own machines, but for pre-built systems, this should be a plus.

    Although, pre-installing their own software is probably going to lead to anti-trust issues. Hopefully they aren't selling these PCs in Europe.
  • silky salamandr
    LOL When I saw the headline, I knew this was Mr yams work! Out of all the people that work there, he is the only one that does anti microsoft/windows 7 articles. And the main guy had the nerve to write that huge response to Mr yam being a fanboy.

    I had my chuckle for the day.
  • tester24
    Wow I hope this actually comes out. I remember when I first got my HP laptop from bestbuy I erased the hard drive and started fresh. I did this because it literally took 40 minutes for the computer to boot to windows after it finishes setting up the computer.

    Funny thing is people actually pay the "geek" sqauad hundreds of dollars to do this lol.
  • techguy378
    Microsoft built computers? This is a big surprise. As for the "popular" Adobe software, the author is probably right. This isn't crapware, it's likely what most would consider required software such as Flash (many sites don't offer non flash versions) and Acrobat Reader since unlike the Mac, Windows still doesn't have a built in PDF reader.
  • pbrigido
    It is a step in the right direction. After all, when you purchase a new car, you don't want 1,000 pounds of crap in the trunk of which you have no need for.
  • dman3k
    Marcus Yam and his pro-Apple lies again.

    I can argue Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, iAnything are crapware too.
  • rooket
    just so long as microsoft doesn't start shoveling live search and live care into prebuilt pcs is fine. seems dell has been putting that trash in laptops i have been configuring recently. although then again that could be the fault of the dumbass supplier we use rather than going direct through dell.