Thinking of buying a Dell computer?


Fully vaccinated are you?

Be advised that if you are giving a Dell for Xmas, their tech support lines will refuse to tell users how to remove it, and will not give people advice on where to find some good tools to remove it. As seen in the latest newsletter from SpyWareInfo, Dell sent an internal memo to its tech support minions which says in part: 'NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.' This means we do not take callers to or, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs.'
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I just bought one a month ago. So, Dell is saying that they won't interfere with services the customer may have contracted for? Dell says they don't install Spyware. Is spyware something people agree to have down loaded? Forgive my ignorance on this issue. I'm only curious about the implications, because really, I could care less. My home computer is for e-mail and coming here. Now, work is different. We have a website and it appears that you can somehow have downloaded something that can monitor your business and provide personal information on websites without your knowledge or permission. The Dell at work is a year old, but who knows how long their insistance that they do not install spyware and their policy of not removing spyware has been in affect(effect) :vfunny: I also see that they are selling spyware for spyware for $29. Could this be what Dell is talking about? :bonk:

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
What is the big deal?

Here is what I see at the site Marc posted the link to...

"I'd like to clarify that the posting at slashdot is misleading, suggesting that Dell itself is installing spyware. That is not the case at all and please don't be confused into believing that. Dell is absolutely NOT bundling spyware on their PCs."

"Dell cites the possibility that removing spyware might violate user agreements between the user and some other company."

Sounds to me like the Dell company attorney has found some reason to avoid giving advice on spyware removal. Like so often happens, the fear of a lawsuit hurts many, but I'll stop there lest I get political. Is it a big deal? How many folks with a Dell who know what spyware is, or have heard of it, can't type it into Google and learn everythign they ever wanted to know about it?

Will HP, or Gateway, or anyone else give spyware removal info. thru tech support?


No, Dell won't give ANY info on removing spyware. I just read an article that quoted an internal memo to Dell techs that even statements such as "We don't support the removal of spyware, but I personally use...".

Apparently they are covering their butts due to some software they have preinstalled on your new system may include spyware components and they would be contractually(?) required to leave it in...

It's all about the license

Most spyware is relatively benign: all those cookies in your temporary internet directory that keep track of your clicks and where you click then dump the info back to the mothership when you go there again.

The real cast-iron illegitimate sons are the ones that get installed into your startup files and mickeysoft registry. I have only contracted one of these and it was very viruslike. However, I was installing an adware (as opposed to shareware or freeware) program to convert .mp3 files to .wav files. The license agreement for installation of this converter -provided free of charge- was predicated on installing the software that hijacked my browser. Removing the spyware and not removing the converter violated the license agreement. I removed both and downloaded a shareware converter that served my need, then paid for it.

Before you think I got what I deserved for hijacking music files online: I was converting bible teachings available at my church's website, so they could be burned onto CD's and played on cheap car players.


Fully vaccinated are you?
We're talking about spyware - not cookies which are tracking devices, mainly. Often times spyware slows down a computer and, as was the case several times when friends called me with problems, they dramatically slowed down the machine.

Some programs install 'Call Home' or other spyware (as opposed to adware) without telling the user. Even this software - vBulletin - 'calls home' in this case to validate the site the software is on and the license number. The down side is if THEIR site is down (as it has been several times recently - they claim due to DoS attacks) I can't access the admin control panel because it won't validate me. Yes - the forums work but I can't change anything if I want to. I don't consider this spyware per se but - as it was last week - it can cause serious issues.

I posted the above as an FYI. Many times spyware interferes with a computer's normal operation in one way or another. Since the user typically doesn't realize a program installed the spyware, few companies tell customers, the person can end up spending days trying to figure out the problem.

To experienced users, this typically isn't a problem as they're savvy enough to realize what has happened. On my old Compaq, I wiped the entire drive and didn't even put in Compaq's software (didn't use the restore software disks) - just Windoz 2000. It is obvious how much faster the computer runs without Compaq 'proprietary' bloatware. On top of that I installed Tiny Personal Firewall which will not let ANY program install spyware without telling me - Tiny asks me if I want to let a program install spyware.

I posted the above as to me it's a bit silly for a computer company to forbid techs to even suggest that a problem is due to spyware being installed by another program. So - if you have problems, you might want to consider that if you call the manufacturer (in this case Dell) the techs may know what the problem is but they cannot tell you - the buyer - what the problem is even though they themselves know what is causing the problem.

As a last comment, spyware doesn't bother me per se. I don't mind call home spyware. What bothers me is that most companies / people who put out software which installs spyware typically hide this fact from the consumer. And spyware has the potential to send more info to the 'home' site that you may realize. From keystroke logging where they know everything you type to simply sending info such as your name, a listing of files on your drive, etc.

Aaron Lupo

Bought my wife a Dell for Christmas last year, customer service is great and the system itself is MUCH better than the one I use.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Never have had one so I can't address their service or support. When I bought the used Compaq a couple of years ago Compaq's service was OK. I dumped all their junk from the machine after some reaearch and am glad I did. Runs a lot faster and BSODs practically disappeared.

You all know I'm a Mac user. I will say my experience with Apple's tech support has been good and bad. But then I only called 4 or 5 times back when I first bought my powerbook. All had to do with the fact they sent bad (unreadable) system and software restore disks with the computer. A VERY bad mark for Apple in my mind. I love their OS, but their support, and to some degree the quality of their equipment, is (my opinion) 'normal' - sometimes good, sometimes bad. If it wasn't for the OS I'd probably own and use a PC for my every day use and run Linux or FreeBSD.

I want to add my original post was not meant to be anti-Dell. I posted it as informational to those thinking of buying a PC. I know if I was shopping and I saw that, I'd think twice because customer service, especially tech support, is important to me.

I don't buy an arguement that this is a legal issue for Dell. I do wonder what motivated them to establish the policy.
Removal Software

After my computer took a complete dive last year the fellow who fixed it installed a program called "AD-AWARE". It looks for the spyware and deletes lets you delete it. The program is free.


Joe Cruse

As a side note on Dell, I just helped my parents purchase and install one. It was a major pain getting their Xerox Doc Center installed. I've heard from others that Dell makes it tough to install any other printer on their systems, except their own. Could be stories though.

Marc, where did you find Windows on a stand-alone install disk??? I'd LOVE to have a new computer show up with Windows XX on its own CD. The last several new computers I've seen (mostly Gateway, I'll admit) have had the Windows XX software bundled on the manufacturers "Recovery" software disks. The licensing info is now on a sticker on the computer itself.

James, Ad-Aware is a good one to have, you should also check out Spy-bot. The 2 programs work well together in tandem; what one doesn't catch, the other does. At least from what I've seen so far.

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