Entry: 509ec629< < Back
Yesterday my desktop died, and so I went ahead and got a brand new Windows 8 laptop. Its always been my feeling that as years go on, user experience has been going down for people who use a computer and the Internet, because of decisions all companies make that are clearly anti-user, either because they think they know best, or in many cases, for financial gains. But from spending all night reinstalling everything and customizing the laptop, I realized just how bad it has become.
These are some of the annoyances I encountered while setting up this Windows 8 laptop. Now I realize those are very specific examples, and may not apply to most people, but I think they are fairly indicative of what most people go through. Also, many of these things can be fixed, when you know how to, or after some Google searches, but it's still annoying at the time.
The first step was getting rid of the usual pre-installed crap. This is supposed to be a fairly clean HP laptop, yet there still were 28 different useless items in the Programs and Features window, from games, to toolbars, Norton Security, Microsoft Office launcher asking you to buy a license, etc. It took me over an hour to go through all the uninstallers.
While Norton actually uninstalled correctly (that surprised me) it seems like it turned all security off on the system and doesn't bother reinstating it. I had to go back and turn the firewall and Windows Defender back on, and set them up.
This laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner, which is fairly easy to enroll in, but as soon as I installed Firefox, the HP software felt the need to add not only a plugin, but a toolbar icon. Worse, if I remove the icon, the plugin adds it right back. Even if I disable the plugin in Firefox, the icon will be added back, meaning it completely ignores both user preferences. Only completely removing the HP software got rid of it.
Then it was time to install some programs. Of course, Windows 8 doesn't let you do that. SmartFilter blocked every attempt, telling me how it protected my PC from myself, and has no option to disable it from the dialog box. You need to go in the Control Panel to disable that, and when you do, you get a constant warning about your PC being at risk.
Now that Norton was gone, I personally happen to like Comodo firewall. So I go to download it, but the installer nicely tells me that this doesn't work on Windows 8, and I need to download another file instead. However, this is their pro product, which basically means it's filled with crap. It's a good thing I noticed the tiny Customize Installer button because otherwise it would have: Changed my home page, subscribed me to something called GeekBuddy, enrolled me to their cloud program, change my DNS servers, and sent information about each scan it does to the company. The same was true with many of the applications I installed, like Adobe Reader trying to install McAfee, or QuickTime trying to sign me up for offers.
Next was time to get used to the new start screen. At first I didn't like it, but I think it may actually be a decent idea. Of course I first had to remove everything so that I could put only my own software there. By now there were over 40 items on there, from the weather in South Africa, to some more games, and multiple links to their news, sports and other Bing related pages. I didn't find any way to quickly clean it up, so I had to manually remove each icon.
Finally, now that everything had been uninstalled and reinstalled, I did a quick check of msconfig, which apparently in Windows 8 has been integrated into the Task Manager. Unsurprisingly, the amount of applications that had set themselves to run on startup was staggering. All sorts of crap like HP Messaging, QuickTime Task, Google Update, Apple Push, and so on.
The bottom line is that this isn't about Microsoft, HP, Apple or Adobe. It's about all of them, and how bad the experience has become. While many of these issues can be fixed, checkboxes unchecked, and so on, I feel like as time goes on, every company is trying to come up with any possible idea that they can garner in order to screw their customers over, in most cases just to make an extra buck. The simple fact is that most people don't go through the trouble is fixing all of this crap, they just put up with it, and that's exactly what companies count on.