Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Computers

Santa asked me to install WinPatrol on a new computer so yesterday I opened up a brand new Dell B130 laptop right out of the box. You may be surprised at all the garbage Dell is pre-installing on their system. I guess this stuff helps keep down the price of the computer. Dell wants your sale so badly they even offer an option to split your purchase over two credit cards.Click to see full image

Click to see full image

I think it's fine that AOL includes a special deal icon on the desktop. They fought hard to get this right. What I don't understand is that the AOLTray is pre-installed and and AOL security file (GW SEH Intercept) is embedded deep in the registry as a "ShellExecuteHook" file. SEH is short for "Structured encryption handling.

Does Trend Micro, MusicMatch, Installshield and Intel all need two or more program running at Startup. One just in case you want to run their full program quicker and one which constantly checks for new updates of your software. I'm pretty sure you'll gain some CPU cycles by doing without many of these.

I'm also at a loss to why Corel and DVDLauncher need to include detection programs in the Startup list. Microsoft has built-in file type associations and CD autorun methods so these programs should not be interfering with your default Windows setting. But the biggest gripe is that Dell is installing the MyWay Search Bar by default as a Browser Helper Object. I'm not a big fan of the MyWay Search bar which is owned by Ask Jeeves. They've used some very sneaky tactics in the past to get installed so I just don't trust them. Dell users are not given any opportunity to choose MyWay or have an understanding of what it may do.
For more information check what Alex Eckelberry says in his SunbeltBLOG

Many of you may be giving or receiving computers from Santa this holiday season. I highly recommend you install WinPatrol program or your own favorite program that can manage startups. You could even just click on the Start button, select Run and type in "msconfig" and click OK. Chances are you'll be able to speed your computer up by as much as 40% by removing unneeded crap.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your story about "Christmas Computers". I recently purchased an HP for my daughter. It has very nice stats: AMD64, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, Etc. and the price was very good from a major "Box" type store.
What really angered me was that in spite of the advertised "Included Software", there were absolutly no disks included with the computer! Not even a Windows OS CD.
What they had done was they created a small partition on the hard drive and installed an image of all their "Included Software" on it. Then during boot you can select an option presented by the BIOS to do a "system Restore" which will totally screw up the way you've configured your computer.
Finally I just got tired of trying to fix everything, especially when the automatic update broke and there would be an error message every few minutes.
So, I decided to get a copy of WinXP Pro and upgrade it from the Home edition. Fortunatly the system was new and there wasn't much to back-up, after that I just formatted during install and started from scratch.
Interestingly enough though that while the version of XP I installed included SP2, once I finished installing it there were no less than 78 updates waiting to be applied.

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEH = Structured Exception Handling. Nothing to do with encryption.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for the correction!

4:44 PM  

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