Craplets backlash rising

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Frequent readers of CBC's technology news section (or tech news in general) may recall the craplets story I broke in January. After an initial storm of activity, things seemed to settle down. Now it appears that a recent column in the Wall Street Journal has reignited interest in craplets, and the predominantly paid-placement programs typically pre-installed on new computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system are apparently starting to fall out of favour.

Given Microsoft's hand-wringing over craplets ahead of the consumer launch of the Vista version of Windows, it's not surprising that the software giant's user experience evangelist, Chris Bernard, has weighed in on the matter, in a post to his Design Thinking Digest blog simply titled On Craplets.

Bernard recounts what he says was a flawless experience installing Vista and application software on his new Sony VAIO laptop computer that "reminded me of other experiences with other operating systems that I won't mention," (after confessing "if Apple put out a MacBook Pro with similar specs in a 13 [inch screen] I'd look at that too as I could run OS X, Vista and Ubuntu and that is some serious tech geek Nirvana").

My Sony is a beautiful machine, I love the way it looks and the way it travels, but there is so much junk software that came with it that it disrupts what should be a much better computing experience. Sadly, this is probably true of a lot of computer manufacturers.

He goes on to echo comments that surfaced online after craplets entered the popular vocabulary in January, suggesting that PC makers could offer machines without the programs for an additional fee.

Doing this would show that they realize people aren't buying a box but that they are engaging in an experience with their products that will allow them to create emotional connections with their customers. This is what makes the world go around these days…. In this world craplets have got to go.

PC makers may be nearing that point, according to a feature about craplets by CNet News service (which graciously links back to our CBC story). Ina Fried reports that PC makers are growing increasingly wary of their customers' ire when it comes to the programs they're piling onto hard drives pre-purchase.

The practice has also alienated some consumers who say all such "crapware" is clogging their hard drives and bogging down their systems.

For the moment, computer makers appear to be trying to walk a fine line, tweaking their approaches slightly but hoping not to have to slay a cash cow. Gateway, for example, offers only one program in each category, while Dell has added an option for some models that allow a user to configure a system with no trial software.

"We've seen the evolution," IDC analyst Richard Shim said. "The desktop became kind of a billboard for Internet service providers and software. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way."

As Fried notes, the Wall Street Journal's personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg tackled craplets (alas, without mentioning the CBC) in a recent column about PC Decrapifier software that aims to scrub PCs clean of craplets (as previously mentioned on the Gizmodo blog).

Inevitably, Fried also mentions Apple's latest Get a Mac commercial that takes potshots at Windows machines: Stuffed had us chuckling sadly at the (shaded) truth of its message as PC Guy John Hodgman explained his pain.

"It's all this trial software, they pack my hard drive full of it – all these programs that don't do very much unless you buy the whole thing are just plain useless. It really slows me down."

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.


Kirk H.

A pox on Craplets! Ban the darn things. There is nothing like getting a new computer and then having to dump all the advertising, free trials, gimmicks and gee-gaws. It's bad enough getting a PC configured and removing/supressing all the stuff piled in by the OS manufacturer. What's the use of dual core processing and gigabites of RAM if its plugged full of adverts and "helpful" software. Linnux is looking better and better!

Posted April 27, 2007 01:38 PM

Kris M

Nothing quite like formatting a fresh hard drive and doing a clean OS installation, only to have to spend a good half hour removing all the trial software, ISP adverts, and such that came inconveniently bundled in the software CDs of my laptop.

Personally, I'm thinking buying a full box version of Windows would be better than these cheaper ad-filled OEM versions. Too bad I don't have hundreds of dollars to cough up. Maybe I should convert entirely to console gaming and just buy a Mac for World of Warcraft.

Posted April 27, 2007 06:27 PM

K. W.


I too despise the practice of inserting unneeded software on new computers. Craplets is a good term, but it was always clear to me that they're nothing but a collection of adware, spyware, and in some instances, annoying viruses.

I hate that I always have to install and run all the security programs I need to get rid of them (firewall, virus program, adware/spyware removal) on a new computer that is already compromised in both performance and hard drive space. I manually remove all the demos, offers, links myself. This self-removal is time-consuming, and is a total waste of time. Plus, I also have to install my favourite applications for work and play. I also resent having to boot my computer several times in the above exercises.

Someone should be paying ME for doing all this!

Posted April 30, 2007 03:51 AM



"... PC makers could offer machines without the programs for an additional fee."

So what we have is: "Nice PC you have sir. It would be a shame if something were to... happen... to it. I'll tell you what, if you pay me a little something I'll make sure that it'll be okay."

Isn't that extortion, or at least a protection racket? Is it legal to get people to pay to remove something they didn't order in the first place?

Posted April 30, 2007 10:30 AM



Give the Windows operating system and it's pre-installed craplets the heave-ho. Alot of the craplets are for various third party security programmes designed to "fix" problems in the crappy Microsoft Windows operating system...problems that shouldn't be there in the first place.

While the Canadian mainstream media hasn't covered this, the tech press certainly has. Dell just announced this week that they'll be offering PC's for sale with the new Ubuntu Linux 7.04 pre-installed starting in about a month. This is the first time in the last couple of decades or so that a major PC manufacturer will be offering PC's without a Micro$oft operating system. Other PC manufacturers (hopefully) will follow suit.

It's a real victory for computer buyers. They finally have a choice in what operating system is pre-installed on their "name brand" PC.

Posted May 2, 2007 09:29 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy


World »

Hariri meets Macron in Paris for talks on Lebanon crisis
Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister this month while in Saudi Arabia, arrived in Paris on Saturday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, a statement from Hariri's press office said.
Zimbabweans march to celebrate expected Mugabe downfall video audio
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans flooded the streets of Harare on Saturday, singing, dancing and hugging soldiers in an extraordinary outpouring of elation at the expected fall of President Robert Mugabe, their leader of the last 37 years.
Dozens killed in bombings in Damascus, eastern Syria
At least five children and two rescue workers were killed Friday in a Damascus suburb during a government bombing campaign amid escalating violence in and around the capital despite a truce, activists reported.
more »

Canada »

'Our children are vulnerable': Judge sentences Calgary mother to 3 years in prison for son's strep death
A Calgary mother convicted in her son's "senseless" death after failing to take the bedridden seven-year-old to a doctor for his treatable strep infection was sentenced to three years in prison Friday.
Ontario Legislature set for weekend debate on bill to end college strike
The Ontario Liberal government's second attempt to push through legislation to end the province's college strike on Friday did not get unanimous consent, but the bill was introduced and will be debated starting on Saturday.
Shut out: Lack of sign language at concerts frustrates deaf Canadians video
Deaf music fans in Canada say insufficient laws and lack of support leave them shut out when their favourite artists come to town.
more »

Politics »

Charity with ties to Trudeau excluding Quebecers from contest
A high-profile Canadian charity with close ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife is excluding youth from Quebec, Trudeau’s home province, from a nationwide contest to win tickets to an event featuring former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.
Head of NATO tells Canada to gear itself up for Russian cyber threats audio
Canada and other NATO countries must do more to counter Russia's growing and ever-evolving cyber threats, says the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
'Canada does not engage in death squads,' while allies actively hunt down their own foreign fighters video
Countries like the U.S., U.K., France, and Australia have adopted a policy of killing their citizens who have gone to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. But Canadians who join the militant group have so far had little to fear from their own government, either at home or abroad.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Profile Michelle Winters: Cubicle worker by day, Giller-nominated novelist by night video
Michelle Winters, a New Brunswick writer who lives in Toronto, is on the shortlist for the Giller Prize for her debut novel I am a Truck. She has a 9-to-5 job as a translator, and writes on weekends and at night.
Shut out: Lack of sign language at concerts frustrates deaf Canadians video
Deaf music fans in Canada say insufficient laws and lack of support leave them shut out when their favourite artists come to town.
Alex Trebek, Tragically Hip receive Order of Canada video
Alex Trebek and the surviving members of the Tragically Hip will receive the insignia of the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday morning.
more »

Technology & Science »

Climate-hit nations say UN talks offer little help for soaring losses
Though some delegates and observers claimed progress on key details of the Paris agreement, countries that are immediately threatened by climate change say enough isn't being done.
Quebec biofuel company partners with Qantas in effort to cut emissions
A Quebec biofuels company has signed its first deal to power an airline's jets with energy grown from Canadian oilseeds.
What are the best ways to shrink your carbon footprint?
Want to reduce your carbon emissions? Curious about whether you’re getting the most for your efforts? Here’s how to figure out how to make the biggest difference.
more »

Money »

'This is bunk': WestJet apologizes for misleading passengers about why it cancelled flights
WestJet cancelled flights to Turks and Caicos, telling passengers the local airport instructed it to suspend service following Hurricane Irma. Now the airline admits that wasn't accurate and that it cancelled flights for business reasons.
Canada's inflation rate cools slightly in October
Canada's rate of inflation came in at 1.4 per cent year-over-year in October, following a 1.6 per cent rate in September, easing mainly due to smaller gasoline price increases, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Loblaw to be early adopter of Tesla's all-electric Semi
Canadian grocer Loblaw has ordered 25 of Tesla’s all-electric Semis, as part of an effort to move its fleet of delivery trucks to low-emission vehicles.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Live Watch Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Internationaux de France video
Watch coverage from the Internationaux de France, the second-last Grand Prix of Figure skating event of the season where Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje, Liubov Ilyushechkina, Dylan Moscovitch and Kaetlyn Osmond are competing.
Justyn Knight seeks elusive gold at final NCAA cross-country championships
Canada's Justyn Knight will run in his fourth and final NCAA Division I cross-country championships this Saturday in Louisville, Ky., having rediscovered his love for the sport. "I love the feeling of competing hard ... and making personal improvements."
Live Watch World Cup long track speed skating from Norway video
Watch live as some of the best speed skaters in the world will be in action this weekend in Stavanger, Norway. Coverage continues on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET with the 500m and 1500m disciplines.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »