Lenovo says it will stop pre-loading unnecessary software on its computers later this year. In a statement released today, the company says when it launches its first PCs running Windows 10 software they’ll be free of all bloatware and adware.

The announcement comes at a time when Lenovo is taking a lot of flak for pre-loading software on computers that turned out not only to be bloatware, but which also compromised the security of those computers.

lenovo yoga 2 pro

The Superfish software which Lenovo shipped on notebooks starting in September 2014. The software was designed to display ads (which is annoying enough), but in order to do that it inserted JavaScript into web pages visited by users and also broke the security on sites using HTTPS, making it easier for malicious hackers to snoop on you when you’re surfing the web at a coffee shop or other location with public WiFi.

After the public outcry began last week, Lenovo introduced tools to remove Superfish, worked with McAfee and Microsoft so that their security software would automatically remove Superfish from affected computers, and promised to reconsider its approach toward software pre-loads in the future.

Now Lenovo says it will offer free 6-month subscriptions to McAfee LiveSafe to anyone with an affected PC. But more importantly, the company has announced that when it begins shipping computers with Windows 10 later this year, they’ll include just the operating system, related software, security software, and software required to make the hardware work (if there are features like 3D cameras or other devices which may require special tools).

What do you think? Is that enough to make you start trusting Lenovo again?

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23 replies on “Bye Bye Bloatware: Lenovo promises cleaner, safer PCs (Superfish fallout)”

  1. As a long time T-series Thinkpad user, this news pleases me, but I was always more concerned with the poor quality of the screens in recent years and their messing around with the keyboard and trackpoint, both of which they have started to address, I believe.

  2. I have a household full of Lenovo PCs. None of them have Superfish, but they do all come with loads of bloat software that really takes its toll. If I wanted apps like Oovoo, or an internet phone calling app, I would install them myself.
    Definitely glad they’re getting rid of all of that bloat.

  3. Look were we really expecting anything less than their statement?
    I didn’t know who these guys were before IBM sold off to them and I don’t know anything more about them now except that they got caught fishing.

  4. Maybe I’ll actually buy a Lenovo product in a couple of years if this turns out well.

  5. “Now Lenovo says it will offer free 6-month subscriptions to McAfee LiveSafe to anyone with an affected PC.”

    What? Hey, we screwed up with all this bundleware. To compensate have some more of the same kind.

    What they SHOULD do instead: Provide very clear and in depth information about exactly what the already shipped bundleware on all their devices do, what such utilities are needed for system functioning, how much they impact the system (CPU use, memory use, etcterea) and what to do to uninstall any one of them and remove all traces of it from the system. They should hire respected third parties to partake in that and to vouch that the descriptions are correct and not the usual PR lingo and hyperbole that Lenovo spreads about its bundled stuff.

    1. Just to clarify I’m not talking about only Superfish but also other third-party tools and Lenonvo branded utilities. My Yoga laptop comes with at least 10 Lenonvo something tools bundled. I’ve uninstalled some but are not sure if a few are actually needed. (For example is the Lenovo energy only a frontend for Windows own energy settings or does it do something different?).

      If third parties want to pay Lenovo to get their stuff bundled then I understand the temptation for Lenovo to go for that cash. But I hope they get really burned economically for it now. Anyway, what I really don’t understand is why they insist on bundling so much crappy software stuff of their own making. It is like Samsung’s Android phones. They can’t just build hardware but are strangely compelled to dabble in software and force that onto the user. They should focus only on making the best hardware and let the app stores and ecosystem of competing developers do the software.

    2. So apparently Lenovo have sold nagging rights to McAfee (owned by Intel) who will start pestering the user for protection money when the 6-month honeymoon is over. It’s a contemptible business practise IMHO but one that seems to have become part and parcel of the Windows user experience in recent years

    3. Fortunately McAfee is a legitimate anti-virus program, not anything like Superfish. It does cost money after the trial period, though. I personally use AVG Free on my Windows computers, it works quite well and is free. Just don’t take the 30 day free trial of the paid version or it will be a bit of a process to downgrade after the trial expires. There are several other free anti-virus programs that also work.

  6. My first step when I get a new laptop is to remove the biggest piece of bloatware that it ships with. It’s called Windows and by a strange coincidence when I replace it with Linux the computer performs better and doesn’t spy on me or serve me adverts.

      1. Well, there are efforts to change this… like Steam for Linux… but they’re still years away from getting the kind of industry mainstream support that Windows gets, even OSX gets better support right now…

        While Linux users can go out of their way getting Windows games to run on Linux systems but it’s generally above and beyond what the average gamer would be willing to do to just play the game and it’s not always 100% effective… but we’ll see how it goes in a few years and whether efforts like Steam for Linux helps to turn things around…

      2. As CyberGusa says that’s changing fast. Between steam and wine theres more than enough titles to keep me interested.

        Besides PC gaming is more and more a niche market. I bet that more people play games on phones, tablets and consoles.

    1. The bloatware is mainly a results of OEMs trying to lower costs, they basically get paid off by the 3rd party software makers but that means they would do the same with Linux systems if they came pre-loaded from the OEM and there was enough users to warrant the 3rd party software makers getting involved…

      Like, regardless of what you think of Windows, people who install their own OS don’t have to worry about bloatware regardless of what OS they install… though, some distros may come with something pre-installed you may not want but that’s rather minor compared to the ton of bloatware a OEM could install on the system before you get it and a lot easier to remove/uninstall…

      1. Point taken and I understand the economics behind it. I also concur that you can achieve the same by installing a vanilla retail or OEM copy of windows. I bet that only a very small percentage of people have the inclination or skills to do that however.

        I still think windows is bloated though. In my experience Linux has a lighter footprint and performs better in terms of memory management.

        1. Possibly, the reason retail versions of Windows is now so hard to get is partly because of the decline of people doing their own installations… never mind the general much higher price of retail copies over OEM copies or Volume Licenses…

          Thus consumers are partly to blame for letting OEMs have too much control over how the systems get set up and pretty much giving up on custom setups…

          If no one had complained about the Lenovo Bloatware then we can be pretty sure they would have continued to put them on their systems… and we can’t be sure they won’t go back to it later once the publicity had died down… this may be more a reprieve from the bloatware than an actual permanent change of policy…

          It doesn’t help that the average users are generally not very technical or know much besides basic usage of a given device/system… and tend to just use the product as is out of the box…

          It’s one of the reasons why GNU/Linux hasn’t gotten a larger share of the general consumer market and why mobile device makers can actually usually get away with locking down their devices…

          So we can’t expect too much to change until the average consumer changes… all the technology in the world won’t help us if we allow our society to dumb down over time and give up all control… but that’s a much larger discussion…

      2. It’s not about “OEM’s trying to lower costs”. It’s about OEMs determined to boost profits, at the expense of the user who will suffer the degraded performance and inexcusable rudeness of unwanted programs that interject randomly when the user is simply trying to make use of the computer that he/she owns. Because most users are not savvy enough to get rid of the offending programs, they simply fume, curse and put up with a confusing, frustrating and generally degraded user experience indefinitely.

        1. There is really no difference from OEM’s trying to lower costs to being determined to boost profits as that’s how it’s basically done!

          They couldn’t boost profits unless they lowered their costs or actually increased prices to customers… So you seem to just want to emphasize the negative results of this kind of behavior…

          Something that isn’t being argued but the lack of consumers exerting control over how their systems are configured has a good deal to do with what OEMs think they can get away with and is part of the overall problem and not just the OEMs trying to make the most profit…

          Besides, Lenovo would have never felt any pressure to change their policy if consumers “fuming” really had no effect! Consumers just need better ways to influence OEMs to help to actually prevent such abuse before it gets out of hand…

          1. Of course you are right; there is no difference. The point I wanted to make is that the user IS paying an increased price, the increase being hidden from the buyer’s view at the time of purchase because the OEM does not provide a listing of the nagware providers who have bought the opportunity to harrass the unsuspecting user. Such kickbacks should IMHO be absolutely illegal because they significantly compromise consumer rights. If the consumer has paid for Windows, the consumer is entitled to receive an unadulterated copy.

  7. reading the fine print “the company says when it launches its first PCs” so they will start back with the 2nd batch and all the rest with a differnt add system not called Superfish. I have bought my last Lenovo. Fool me once – shame on you, Fool me twice – shame on ME.

    1. That was my language, not theirs. The official statement reads “by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include” the items listed above.

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