sony fresh start

Sony has begun to do what we have all been asking begging of computer manufacturers: deliver a bloat-free computer. There is a catch are several catches though. At this point the option is only available for a custom-configured Sony VGN-TZ2000, and Vista Business must be your operating system of choice. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that there is a $50 premium that you must pay to get a squeaky clean PC.

Sony dubs the option Fresh Start, and while they don’t say exactly which things your system will come without they do have a reassuring statement regarding it:

Opt for a Fresh Start™ and your VAIO PC will undergo a system optimization service where specific VAIO applications, trial software and games are removed from your unit prior to shipment. Fresh Start™ safely scrubs your PC to free up valuable hard drive space and conserve memory and processing power while maximizing overall system performance right from the start.

What I love is that it says they “safely scrub your PC” which is almost a statement of admission as to how terrible the software is that they actually pre-install normally. I’m actually surprised that they wrote that second sentence in the description at all because that will leave a lot of people wondering why Sony wouldn’t want to give them the best experience possible right off the bat.

I would like to give Dell some credit because I believe that they are leaps and bounds better than many of the manufacturers out there. Even on one of their budget computers you’re able to remove any antivirus software and productivity suite, which is a lot more than I can say for their competitors. And Dell doesn’t charge a dime for turning those things off, but then again there are some other things that comes with their PC’s that you still can’t have removed at the factory.

So what do you think? I know I’d go for it, but is forking out an additional $50 worth it to you considering how much hassle it could save in the future? I would assume that the computer also comes with a way to restore the system back to this “Fresh” state, but there is no mention of that.

UPDATE: Looks like Sony will be removing the $50 fee tomorrow.

[via Engadget]

There Are 14 Comments

  1. No. Why pay more for less stuff? If anything, they should charge you $50 for putting all the software on the comp to begin with.

    Then again, if I had a pile of money, $50 would be nothing compared to the time I’d save by not having to uninstall all the crap.

  2. I wouldn’t pay $50 extra just because removing all that software isn’t difficult and I could do it myself for free. But if I had no idea how to remove that software, then adding $50 to a $2000 computer isn’t that big of a deal and I would probably do it.

  3. If you buy a Dell from its business section you get it bloat free. I even got the original Vista DVD which is surprising. Their home ones still come with some of the bloatware though.

    It’s not that bad of them charging $50, as they probably get money from all the bloatware that allows them to make the laptop cheaper in the first place.

  4. I wouldn’t pay. When I bought my Vista machine back in October, Best Buy offered (bribed) to remove the software. The only thing I removed off this machine was Norton Anti Virus. Everything else I have left, mainly because it does not run at start up and I have plenty of disk space.

  5. No way, I would build my desktop (which I did couple of days ago) if it’s a laptop then I would just uninstall all the crap (like I did with my laptop). 8)

  6. It’s a business they make money from having these trails preinstalled on systems. It’s a form of advertisement aimed at growing the software companies subscriber/consumer base. There have been several surveys done by major computer companies to see how much people would pay for such a service to remove bloatware and $50 was the sweet spot. So naturally, if they can’t make money off of preinstalling bloatware, then they are going to try and charge you a fee instead.

    This is why I don’t purchase PCs from retailers except in situations where I absolutely have to, like when I need a new laptop, and even then I get it 50% off or less on black Friday, and spend the time myself either deep cleaning the PC, or simply reformatting the HDD and reinstalling XP. I prefer building my desktop PCs on my own… I get more performance for less money and don’t have to deal with bloatware or an OS I don’t want.

  7. I would not pay $50 to not have the software pre-installed. I know exactly what I am doing so I can either uninstall it myself or install from scratch if needed. But many users do not have the knowledge to do this and would be willing to pay. But for those who don’t know how there is The PC Decrapifier [pcdecrapifier.com] which will do the job and requires very little knowledge.

  8. Not only would I not pay, I wouldn’t even buy the laptop. Why do they need to bundle 90% of the junk anyway? Way to go Sony, you ALWAYS come up with new ways to screw over the consumer.

  9. Engadget is now reporting that Sony got scared about all the negative press, and has announced they will now offer the option for free!

    One win for the little guy…………….

  10. Michael Dobrofsky

    No way, I would not pay. Once people start paying for this kinda thing, companies will line up and they’ll all wanna charge like it’s blackmail. “Pay $99 or else we’ll fill your PC will crap.”

    Ridiculous.

  11. Max wrote:
    I wouldn’t pay $50 extra just because removing all that software isn’t difficult and I could do it myself for free.

    Things like AOL and a lot of the security suites really embed themselves in your computer though. So even though you run through the uninstall process not everything is actually removed. That’s the thing that really irks me.

    motang wrote:
    No way, I would build my desktop (which I did couple of days ago) if it’s a laptop then I would just uninstall all the crap (like I did with my laptop). 8)

    I agree with you about building your desktop. That definitely saves a lot of heartache, but you do have to go out and buy the operating system yourself.

    curtissthompson wrote:
    It’s a business they make money from having these trails preinstalled on systems. It’s a form of advertisement aimed at growing the software companies subscriber/consumer base. There have been several surveys done by major computer companies to see how much people would pay for such a service to remove bloatware and $50 was the sweet spot. So naturally, if they can’t make money off of preinstalling bloatware, then they are going to try and charge you a fee instead.

    You’re right on the money there. That’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t actually mind paying assuming that they do provide restore media to take it back to the clean state anytime that I want.

    Lewis wrote:
    If you buy a Dell from its business section you get it bloat free. I even got the original Vista DVD which is surprising. Their home ones still come with some of the bloatware though.

    Huh, I’ve bought from their business side before and didn’t get the actual Vista DVD. I got the anytime upgrade DVD, but that’s not used for a clean install of Vista.

    Bamboo wrote:
    Engadget is now reporting that Sony got scared about all the negative press, and has announced they will now offer the option for free!

    Yup, you’re exactly right. We just wrote a new article about that.

  12. Really? I guess I was just lucky then. I got a Vista Business install DVD, which I thought was very odd considering they’ll usually only give you a restore CD.

    Did you buy Vista home or Vista business? It may be a new thing they’re doing or something.

  13. Actually my boss bought a Vista Home Premium laptop and got the DVD plus restore disc. I think it’s part of Microsoft’s new upgrade anytime program, they include the DVD so you can upgrade to the higher end version at any time thus bringing in more money to Microsoft at a minimal cost of including the DVD with all OEM installations. At least that is what HP indicated when I inquired.

  14. Lewis wrote:
    Really? I guess I was just lucky then. I got a Vista Business install DVD, which I thought was very odd considering they’ll usually only give you a restore CD.

    Did you buy Vista home or Vista business? It may be a new thing they’re doing or something.

    It was Vista Home which might explain things.

    leland wrote:
    Actually my boss bought a Vista Home Premium laptop and got the DVD plus restore disc. I think it’s part of Microsoft’s new upgrade anytime program, they include the DVD so you can upgrade to the higher end version at any time thus bringing in more money to Microsoft at a minimal cost of including the DVD with all OEM installations. At least that is what HP indicated when I inquired.

    I did get the Anytime Upgrade DVD, but from what I’ve read that can’t be used to perform a fresh installation. I could be wrong since I’ve never actually tried it, but I think that is just for upgrading from one version of Vista to another.

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