Sunday, January 14, 2007

Craplets: a new term is coined

Craplets! What a great word to describe a very dirty side of the PC retail industry.

'"We call them craplets," the official said. The term is a contraction of the words "crap" and "applet." An applet is a small computer program or application.'

For years now I have been removing these things from customers computers. Generally right after we purchased them for their company use.

Recently Dell has begun allowing customers to "opt-out" of craplets on certain high end computers, including some of their ultra high performance gaming rigs, and their medium-to-enterprise class business laptops and professional grade workstations. They've also managed to resist the temptation to add these nasties to their business server lines.

But . . . if you shop the "Home User / Home Office" section of Dell, don't expect to see those options.

The infuriating part is that you have to pay Dell extra to not install their extra crap. Actual cost if you opt out of all the craplets available is between 8 and 24 bucks, at $2 per applet. (A recent ARS blog states that the Dell CEO liked the idea of $60, but I note that he did not mention that the option is already there for less on select systems.) You get a clean system on delivery for your spare change, instead of a unit that likely as not already has spyware or adware on it - new out of the box!

Last year I discovered an automated craplet removal script called the PC Decrapifier that is being maintained/updated on a regular basis. Better, since I generally shop Dell these days, it's specifically targeted at new Dell computers. It's free for personal use, and so far my results have been stellar. Your mileage may vary, yadda yadda etc.

They state it will work on most other new OEM systems, although I cannot personally verify that yet . . .