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October 08, 2012

HSN Jumps the Gun on Windows 8 PCs with Uninvited Guests

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Something of an unexpected development hit over the weekend, as the Home Shopping Network's online arm, HSN.com, began offering sales of something that many out there were looking forward to. Specifically, HSN.com was offering up PCs in both Acer (News - Alert) and Gateway brands, complete with Windows 8 operating systems. Since Windows 8 doesn't officially go on sale until October 26, this was naturally quite a compelling deal for many, but the PCs in question didn't come without some further, equally unexpected, surprises of their own.

At the time, there were fully five different machines across the Gateway and Acer brands--Gateway is actually a division of Acer--available, and were set to ship immediately when ordered. It didn't take long for Microsoft (News - Alert) and Acer to step in, of course, and ask HSN to pull the devices until the official launch date actually hits, but there almost certainly were some sales made prior to their involvement. 


Image via Shutterstock

This unexpected release has provided some new information that turns out to be less unexpected than some might think. If the actual release holds to these specs--and given that there's a little less than three weeks to go before the launch, these are likely to stay true--the Acer and Gateway (News - Alert) models, at least, will come loaded with plenty of extra crapware, or software no one really wanted to see.

Under a listing for "Preinstalled Software" on the main product listing, the exact inclusions were denoted: a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office 2010, Acer Portal, Acer Games, Acer Recovery Management, Adobe (News - Alert) Reader, and several others, including trials for McAfee and Norton products. Additionally, there's also an extra set of programs contained on what's known as the "PC Essentials 22A Standard Software DVD". The DVD includes an array of programs which, at first blush, seem neither "essential" nor "standard", including things like TurboFloorPlan 3D Home & Landscape Deluxe 16, as well as My Perfect Wedding Planner and a set of Corel tools. Since these are on a separate DVD, however--and hopefully not preinstalled--there will be quite a bit less to get in the way, and someone may even find one of these programs useful.

More than a few people have been distressed by the sheer amount of "crapware", or unwanted programs, that often come bundled with laptops and desktops alike. It's often found to have a deleterious effect on performance, and as such, leads some to perform clean installs whenever they buy a new computer just to get rid of all the unnecessary software that's so often included.

The rise of independent software makers has shown, clearly, a movement toward getting away from large-scale software makers for solutions--OpenOffice has taken the place of Microsoft Office for many, and a wide variety of anti-virus software has given established names like Norton and McAfee (News - Alert) an equal run for their money--and in turn, a greatly decreased need for preinstalled software. Why offer a specific set of solutions when users have not only the ability but also the inclination to go out and get their own with an easy Internet transfer? Still, even with the addition of crapware, there will likely be plenty of takers when Windows 8 hardware starts rolling out at the end of October.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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