HP Thinks We're All Stupid

I bought two Compaq notebooks this week from Best Buy, to be shipped to our new remote office in Poland.  Yesterday, I was setting them up with all the software our employees would be needing, a job that was made very difficult by all the extraneous crapola HP puts on these notebooks.  In particular, while you're setting the machine up, this incredibly bloated animation starts to play.  It explains this application that HP has (in)conveniently pre-installed that helps monitor the health of the new machine.  Not only does this animation take approximately a month and a half to load up, but there's no "close" or "skip" button until the damned thing is done playing, so you're forced to sit through the entire feature film when you'd rather be doing productive things like installing applications. Then the app itself loads, which takes another month and a half to appear on the screen.  The application window is divided into these little pieces, each of which tells you something about your computer - the status of its battery, how much hard drive space you have left, the assessment of how secure the damned thing is.  While you're watching this thing hog system resources and slow a brand-new machine to a crawl, you also notice that each little section has its own resource-hogging mini-app.  The battery life section loads separately from the security section, etc.  If there was an "I never want to see this application again, and please don't even think about running on startup" checkbox on this thing, I would have checked it within nanoseconds, but no such luck.  This app was among the biggest pieces of bloatware I've ever witnessed - It left me wondering if HP had even considered coding a light widget before moving ahead with this pig.  It was as if they walked the halls at Microsoft, looking for the individuals who porked up Office and then hired them on a weekend contract basis to develop this thing.

The worst part of it was that the animation that praised this application as the patron saint of computer health also reminded new users in glorious marketing-speak that they should use the app every day to check for new offers from HP and its partners.  Another blogger might witness something like this and joke casually that they "threw up a little in their mouth."  Not me.  I full-on projectile vomited.

When are PC manufacturers going to get it through their heads that new PCs aren't a marketing platform for their initiatives (or their partners', for that matter)?  Some of us just want new machines that boot up within a reasonable length of time.  It's gotten to the point where every time I get a new PC, the first thing I do is create a desktop folder called "Detritus," which is where I toss all the desktop shortcuts to "special offers," "free trials" and extraneous apps that no one asked for.

We're not stupid.  We know you get "slotting fees" for putting partners on the desktop.  We know you get paid every time someone converts to a paying subscriber.  But that doesn't mean you can slow new machines to a crawl with all the special offers, HP.  I think next time I'll build the machines myself and buy fresh copies of Vista to install, so I don't get all this junk hogging my precious system resources.