Now if you know me, you know that I've been a Microsoft Trainer since 1998 and I enjoy the products and features that Microsoft creates. In fact I'm shocked when I see some of their products given away for free (no I'm not talking about someone downloading the latest Office or the latest OS from a torrent) like Windows Server Update Service (WSUS). If you're an old dog like myself, you know that this product was actually called "Windows Update Services" but maybe Microsoft was afraid that the acronym WUS wasn't a great marketing play. Any-who, I just discovered something this weekend that is kind of bothering me...A LOT.
So this last week I decided to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch. After the reinstall I started installing the apps that I enjoy using with Ninite.com (great website, service and application). I started searching for an Office app which I could not remember the name of (no not Word, Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint). So I hit the old Start Button or the Window Button and started looking for the app. I soon discovered that there were several applications that I KNOW I didn't install but for some reason is appearing on my "Start Menu".
Let me show you:
Time to put on my cowl and grab the Bat-Utility Belt, because something doesn't seem right here.
Notice that applications and accessory apps appear: like my Dropbox, Excel and Eclipse Manager....wait, what the heck is Eclipse Manager? And while we're at it I don't remember installing something called Duolingo, or "Paid Wifi-Cellular"... a total of 9 apps are listed on my device that I didn't install, ever. Now this seems really strange. Okay let me see about uninstalling them. So I opened the Microsoft Store and clicked on My Account and opened My Library. Here's what's weird, none of these apps are listed as My Apps. And what's weirder is that apparently I installed CandyCrush today!
NOT! I not only hate this game as bad as Pokemon, but I would never install a game on my work laptop (well, unless it was Arkham Knight).
OK, so I get it that when I buy a Dell, HP or Lenovo laptop off a retail shelf, I'm gonna get some "bloatware" installed. I'm OK with it I even expect that (it's why I carry the PC-Decrapifier in my belt). But I personally think that loading an OS from scratch (oh, and this was the Enterprise Version of Windows 10) and loading up applications that I or anyone else don't want or need is crossing the line for me. From the security side of things, I hope and pray that Microsoft is vetting these applications THOROUGHLY. Last thing we need is another case of preloading apps that are either malware infected or pulling personal data without the user's knowledge/permission.
What I "hate" here is that most users wouldn't think twice about these apps being installed. SuperDale Security Rule #3 "Always know what you install before you install" comes into play here. I don't care how cool an app like Wunderlist is, if I don't personally want it on my laptop, then don't install it.
Well, I guess I now have to start uninstalling more apps on fresh installs.