Do You Use Pre-Installed Software?
When I review new computer hardware, I try to first use it "as is" and then make configuration changes based on the way I'd use a computer if it were actually mine. One of the key components of "as is" configuration is the software that comes pre-installed. For instance, on the HP dv2 I received from HP for testing some of the pre-installed software includes a Norton Internet Security trial, a Microsoft Office trial, Slingbox Sling Player, and muvee reveal. Then there are the paid links to services like ebay, a Quicken and Quickbooks trial download, NetZero, and Juno.
Some of these pre-installed features are actually useful and some of them are downright annoying. Take Norton Internet Security for instance. While I'm all for a secure computing experience, I don't particularly want to use Norton's products. Everytime I power on the HP dv2, I get nagged to activate the Norton trial. Once I get past the "as-is" experience, Norton will be the first thing on the list to get uninstalled.
Other software I might actually want to try if I knew what to do with it doesn't ever make itself known. The Microsoft Office trial doesn't ever do anything unless you open one of the applications. Since I'm not informed of a situation when I'd want to use Office, I don't ever have a reason to try it out. Of course, I already know what Microsoft Office is for, but that doesn't mean everyone who gets a new computer does. muvee reveal is a fun application for making quick movies from your video recordings. If I wasn't already aware of muvee's software, I would never know that it's for video from the information provided on by this HP dv2. The Slingbox Sling Player is definitely an advertisement for buying a Slingbox, but it also sits quietly on your computer, so if you never bother to look at it you won't ever know why you would or wouldn't want to use it. If you already have a Slingbox, it is nice to already have the software ready to go.
Presumably either the software companies are paying to put this stuff on new computers or HP is paying to have access to the software. In either case, if I never use the software, the financial transaction involved is a waste. Even worse for me as a customer, at retail places like Best Buy encourage me to pay for an optimization service that removes trial software so I lose and so do the software companies. In a better customer experience, I'd get some education about the benefits of the software so that I might make an informed decision about what I want or need.
But my real question is, what do you do with the software that's pre-installed on your new computer? Do you use it? Do you uninstall it? Is there software listed in your start menu that you've never tried? Would you use more of the software on your computer if you knew what it was for?