Sony has just introduced a new service in its portfolio, called Fresh Start, that allows users opt-out the bundled software applications that ship with its mobile computers. Usually known as "bloatware" or "crapware", the inclusion of additional, useless software leads to unexpected failures or even renders the system frozen.
Sony's Fresh Start program removes both VAIO-specific programs as well as games and other trial software, that the company is pre-installing on the Vaio series of notebooks. According to the company, the practice is meant to "free up valuable hard drive space and conserve memory and processing power" and takes place even before the systems leave the manufacturing unit.
The new service is billed as a software optimization and will force users into paying an additional $50 fee, but it is only available to users who upgrade the operating system to Windows Vista Business from the standard Windows Vista Home Premium operating system. The upgrade is not free, either, which means that the customer would have to pay another $100 over the notebook's price.
System integrators and PC vendors are usually getting money from software houses in order to ship their computers with pre-installed trial versions of miscellaneous pieces of software. However, the pre-installed bloatware would dramatically impact on the system's performance, not to mention the fact that it usually comes with adware and (not so often) with security backdoors that exposes the machine.
The "fresh" Vaio TZ notebooks will come without the pre-installed versions of Microsoft Works SE 9.0, a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office, Sony's Vaio Creation Suite Photo Software, a 30-day trial version of Corel Paint Shop Pro, WinDVD, and a free edition of QuickBooks Simple Start that can track maximum 20 customers.
According to the company, the $50 fee would cover the uninstallation process of the above-mentioned software before the system is shipped to the customer. However, the Fresh Start option is limited to the TZ2000 model only. Of course, you'll always have the option of a free reinstall if you're that tech-savvy to perform it yourself.