A blog dedicated to the researchers who dyed a captured chimp's fur pink, then released it. The other chimps promptly tore it to pieces.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dell Computers - now with PRE-INSTALLED spyware!

The place I work received three Dell laptops yesterday. While setting up one of them this morning, I discovered something called "MyWay Search Assistant" in the Add/Remove Programs control panel. I'd never heard of that particular program, so I Googled it hoping to find more info.

I wasn't entirely surprised to find that it's spyware, so I used the control panel to remove it. However, one of the posts I saw was from someone who tried the same tactic and was not happy to find that the program put itself back into the control panel after a reboot, minus the "Remove" button that would allow uninstalling it again!

They were right - it did replace itself in Add/Remove Programs and no longer had a "Remove" button.

So I'm currently formatting the drive of a brand new laptop so I can reinstall Windows from scratch to get rid of Dell's spyware crap. Can you tell I'm not very happy about this?

Up until today, I was a big fan of Dell's computers. No more - I will never again recommend a Dell to anyone. I hope whatever money Dell got from MyWay will offset all the business they're going to lose once this starts getting around.

Like corporate IT departments don't already have enough spyware problems without vendors PRE-INSTALLING the fucking shit. I can't believe Dell was stupid enough to pull this.

13 Comments:

  • At 5:34 AM, Anonymous Matt said…

    wow--that sucks. Has this become general knowledge? You might consider emailing this to David Pogue of the NY Times, who just published a column yesterday on dealing with spyware on a Carribean vacation.

    I had recommended Dell to someone buying a new computer, but I'm going to have to rescind that recommendation...thanks for the heads-up.

     
  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Realist said…

    Thanks for the tip, Matt - I'll send my sad story along to Mr. Pogue as soon as I get home tonight. I'd been wondering what the best way to spread this story might be - the NY Times sounds like just the ticket.

     
  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well maybe people should buy there computers from a reputable store.

    I worked at a computer store that went out of business because we could not compete with Dell and other businesses that rip off there costumers.

     
  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger Aurous said…

    With all the "value added" crap that Dell has added to their computers over the years, I would recommend formatting new equipment as a matter of course anyway. If you've ever used Norton/Symantec Ghost that's my preferred method - you'll get a lot of side benefits in addition to knowing exactly what went onto the PC. As for Dell, I'll chalk it up to a once great company that keeps getting more and more sketchy...

     
  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    >>I worked at a computer store that went out of business because we could not compete with Dell and other businesses that rip off there costumers.

    I can only assume you went on to become an English teacher, given your mastery of spelling.

    What exactly did Dell do to those poor costumers - take away their sewing machines?

     
  • At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    MyWebSearch is the core component of FunWebProucts, better known as SmileyCentral. These are, believe it or not, products of the once respected Ask Jeeves. Not only does Ask Jeeves own MyWebSearch and FunWebProducts (SmileyCentral etc.) but lie about its function. On SmileyCentral's Web site it indicates plainly "No Adware/No Spyware" yet proof that they are adware for sure can be found at http://thundercloud.net/infoave/askjeeves-rant.htm . And additionally information about questionable installation tactics can be found at http://www.benedelman.org. Ask Jeeves denies that it has anything to do with questionable installation tactics and blames it on wayward affiliates.

    To add more fuel to this fire, Ask Jeeves targets children with its "SmileyCentral" collection of goodies. One of the tentacles that MyWebSearch/FunWebProducts installs is something called PopularScreenSavers, which provides children with an opportunity to view nearly naked "babes" (as Ask Jeeves calls them.

    Tiagara

     
  • At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Michael Righi said…

    I just got off the phone with Dell technical support discussing this very problem. Dell said that they are happy to provide me assistance removing My Way if I'm willing to pay them $49 for their time.

    Let's think about this... Dell installs spyware on my computer. Dell does not allow me to easily remove said spyware. Dell charges me $49 to remove their own spyware. How can this be?

    I describe my problems removing Dell's My Way spyware over on my web site.

     
  • At 2:45 PM, Anonymous April said…

    I find this to be disturbing, especially as I currently have 3 Dell computers and have been looking to get another. I think I'll wait and see, now, and maybe check out a different maker.

     
  • At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Jesus Christ Superstar said…

    At 10:32 AM, Anonymous said…

    >>I worked at a computer store that went out of business because we could not compete with Dell and other businesses that rip off there costumers.

    >>>>I can only assume you went on to become an English teacher, given your mastery of spelling.

    >>>>What exactly did Dell do to those poor costumers - take away their sewing machines?

    My god, you are so much better at spelling! *GASP* MAYBE DELL TOOK AWAY THEIR COSTUMES!!!11!1!!!

    HALY FICK? WTF IS LIEK DEL DOIN WID SPIWAREZ LAWL!?!???@?!?21111221111!!!ONEONEONE!!!ELELENVENEMSNAN!!!!11?

    But really, that was a stupid thing to say; the word is 'customers'.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Jesus Christ Superstar said…

    By the way...

    >>What exactly did Dell do to those poor costumers - take away their sewing machines?

    That's very bad formatting... perhaps you should learn a bit more English yourself?

     
  • At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All this news is so bothering to me as I just received a new $2000. Dell today that I haven't opened yet. I'm thinking of returning it.

     
  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous mel said…

    this sucks

     
  • At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have had a dell comp now for 2 years and I wish I never got the dam thing from dell. wish I had went and bought all the parts and built it myself as dell are SHITE and what ever comp you get from them it will give you endless problems as I have had 2 years of problems with this shity dell comp

     

Post a Comment

<< Home