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Golden Rant : Dell trialware - just say no...

I'm getting seriously annoyed with Dell Computer. What's cheesed me off Is the way it sneaks in trialware on its computers which then pop up daily reminders that you can subscribe.

Take McAfee Security Suite. All Dell computers now come with a 30 day trial and, as I reported last week, it's a real pig to uninstall the program.

Such a porker, in fact, that Symantec has a four-page support document on its site to explain how to uninstall the software. But wait - there's also (fx: roll of drums) the Dell PC Tune-up software, which is also being supplied on a trialware basis to all Dell users.

This money-for-old-rope package `tunes up' your machine by:

- Defragmenting the hard drive

- Removing unwanted and temporary files

- Enabling automatic Windows updates

- Updating security settings

- Checking and activating the Windows firewall

- Verifying known `good' restore points

And all for only £32.53 a year - plus VAT, of course.

The first two features can be automated by using a number of simple freeware utilities that do a lot more than Dell's heap of code. As for the next two - what on earth? They are standard settings under Vista and XP Service Pack 2. As is the firewall activation.

And how, exactly, do you `verify' good restore points in under 10 seconds. Has Dell achieved a miracle of modern coding? No, this is how long the little bar takes to scroll across the screen, which it does several times whilst it operates and you think it's doing something complex.

What a joke. You can get freeware such as PCPal, Registry Mechanic and my personal favourite, TheGadgetbar Toolbar, to do this. This handy toolbar performs Registry cleaner and disk cleanup scans, as well automating disk fragging, cookie cleaning and cache purging functions.

It also carries out a lot of IT security functions as well and it's available in Microsoft plus Firefox browser flavours. Check it out here (opens in new tab).

Unless, of course, you want to pay Dell almost 40 notes a year for the privilege of doing less...