About a month or so ago I purchased a new Dell desktop to serve as my “home base.” Being old school, I like having something that’s stationary and large. The laptop, tablet and cellphone are convenient, but there’s something about having a large, stationary, go-to computer that comforts me (yes, I’m old fashioned).
As a long-time Dell customer, I’m familiar with how things work. They offer a ton of services (for a fee) and I decline them all. All I really want is a computer. I already have all of the protective software I need. Nine times out of ten, if there’s a problem with a computer, the software is usually to blame, not the hardware. The worst hardware failure I’ve had is a non-functioning CD drive. I replaced the drive and all was right with the world.
The computer came with 1 year’s worth of McAfee virus protection. It was included in the price of the computer. When my one year is up, I’m not renewing it. Personally, I’ve been using Microsoft Security Essentials for several years and it works just fine. By the way, it’s free and included with the Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. If you have an earlier Microsoft operating system, you can download Security Essentials for free from the Microsoft site.
Having purchased a computer without all the Dell bells and whistles, I was happy to have a functioning computer with way too much space for my needs (1 terabyte). With today’s cloud technology, I don’t have much of a need for so much hard drive space. Heck, I never exceeded 270 GB of space on my old computer that I used every day. I tend to clean out old files periodically so I use my space efficiently. In the old days I used to reformat my hard drive annually to keep things clean, but that’s not very practical now a days.
Basic Computing Needs
My usual computer needs includes writing, web browsing, simple household bookkeeping, blogging and watching the occasional movie. I’m not creating feature-length movies or recording music. I don’t do any software coding or compiling so my computer is basically a glorified pen and pad. With McAfee periodically scanning my computer for viruses and Windows 10 installing its required updates, my computer shouldn’t have too much activity.
Imagine my surprise and annoyance when I started getting notifications from Dell. The occasional notification is to be expected, but it seemed like every time I sat at my computer I would get some sort of notification from the lower right-hand corner of the screen. The notifications were harmless, but annoying.
All was good until one of the notifications advised me that it wanted to scan my computer to see if my hardware was up to date. Since the computer is about a month old, I hope my hardware is up to date. Not only that, the notification popped up every other day.
Noticing Odd Occurrences
On days when I was away from my computer for an extended period of time, I’d come back to see Dell’s software scanning my computer. No, not McAfee looking for a virus, but Dell checking my hardware.
I put up with the barely tolerable annoyance until one day something odd happened. A file that I use daily and is always open on my computer disappeared. I went to save the file and got an odd error message, something to the effect that the file was read only and someone else was using it. Being that I’m the only one using the file, I cancelled out and closed the file. When I went to open it again, it was gone. I did a search through my computer and it was nowhere to be found.
The second odd thing that occurred was the disabling of my wifi adapter. Again, my computer was on and I was away from it for several hours. When I came back to check emails and get to work, I couldn’t. Thinking it was my router, I checked it and my network was fine. All other devices were connected to the wifi, but my new Dell computer wasn’t.
In addition to the wifi disconnection, my sign on screen image changed. Now, I know no one was in the house to fart around with my settings so there had to be another explanation. I then checked to see if there was a Windows 10 update that would affect my computer in such a way, and there was not. I checked McAfee and all was running just fine. The only other application I could think of was Dell and its incessant computer checks. Enough was enough…off with the Dell bloatware.
Removing Dell’s Bloatware
I accessed my Control Panel and navigated to the Programs menu to remove the unwanted bloatware. I found there were 6 programs installed by Dell to “improve my user experience.” I deleted them all. The six programs were as follows:
- Dell Digital Delivery: This program is for those individuals who purchased software at the time of the purchasing the computer. Dell digital delivery allows for easy download of purchased software. I didn’t purchase software so this was the first to go.
- Dell Foundation Services: Whether I should or shouldn’t have, I removed this. Here’s more info on what it does. Even after reading the info on what it does, I still didn’t know what it did. I’m sure if I really need it, I can always reinstall it, but for now, it’s gone.
- Dell Help & Support: In all the years I’ve owned Dell computers I’ve never used their Help & Support. The one time, early on in my computing career when I did need them, it was an epic fail. They wanted me to pay to talk to them. Instead of paying them I found another way to resolve my computer problems for free.
- Dell Customer Connect: Deleted. If I feel the need to connect with Dell, I know how to access them.
- Dell Support Assist and Dell Support Assist Agent: According to the Dell website, “Support Assist proactively checks the health of your system’s hardware and software.” No thank you…gone!
- Dell Update: This is the bugger I blame for my funky computer happenings. It might not be the culprit, but it’s gone now so I’m keeping an eye out to see if the same behavior continues.
Before you do like I did and delete the files out of frustration, do a little research to see if you really need to delete them. Early on in my computing endeavors I relied more heavily on such programs. Now, since I’ve been around the block a time or two, I know where to go to repair what needs to be repaired. I like my computers to run as clean as possible without excessive bloatware.
Since deleting those programs, I’ve been able to work annoyance free (more or less).