We’re all used to our computer manufacturers preloading Windows, Windows Media Player, AOL and a couple other dial-up services, anti-virus trials, Microsoft Office trials and a bunch of other stuff.
I usually delete the junk quickly. Whether it’s a trial version of an antivirus I don’t want or a trial of Microsoft office, I want the software that I pick — and from the vendor of my choice. Those preinstall “deals” often seem to be at list price.
I recently ran into a client’s computer that would not communicate on his network or access the Internet. Guess what?
It was the pre-installed, partially activated Norton Internet Security that was causing the problem. Since it was installed but not activated, it was blocking everything!
Since he used a different anti-virus program and a different firewall, and since Norton showed that it was not protecting his computer, he thought that was ok. NOT!
Norton’s firewall was working, even though their “security center” said he needed to go through the installation and registration process. Once I uninstalled Norton Internet Security, everything worked fine.
Note that I said he used a different anti-virus and a different firewall program. We did not run his computer on the Internet without AV or firewall. I recommend that you have a two-way software firewall (the Windows XP firewall only works “inbound”) to protect you and your computer.
That way, if a program wants to “call home,” you can control the call. If you get hit by malware that wants to turn your ocmputer into a spam-spewing zombie, your two-way firewall will block that, too.
So, what’s my message here? Don’t just leave the pre-installed software on your machine. If you’re not going to use it, delete it. The extra space may be a help. It may even help your computer to run better.