The PC crapware problem has finally gotten bad enough that Microsoft is now charging users to fix it.
For $99 Microsoft is now offering to strip consumers’ Windows PCs of all unnecessary software pre-installed by PC makers, AllThingsD reports. Affectionally dubbed “crapware”, the software is installed by PC makers in exchange for cash from vendors and is almost universally hated by owners of new Windows PCs.
This makes the removal program an arrangement bordering on a racket: PC makers get paid to put the software on computers, and Microsoft gets paid to remove it. Perhaps this questionable situation is part of the reason Microsoft never made it a priority to advertise the offer, even though its been around since 2010.
To be fair, as Microsoft PR pointed out to VentureBeat over the phone, the $99 fee is more than just crapware removal. Also included in the offer are things like Windows 7 and Microsoft Security Essentials installation, data transfer, and 90 days of free phone support.
The program is offered via its Microsoft Stores, of which there are a disappointing sixteen. It’s an expansion of Microsoft’s “Signature” initiative, wherein Microsoft sells consumer crapware-free PCs directly to consumers. That program has been around since 2009, though its never been very well publicized. (Paul Thurott first reported on it back in February.)
A better solution? Prevent the software from being installed in the first place.