This laptop comes with a fingerprint scanner, which is fairly easy to enroll in, but as soon as I installed Firefox, the HP software felt the need to add not only a plugin, but a toolbar icon. Worse, if I remove the icon, the plugin adds it right back. Even if I disable the plugin in Firefox, the icon will be added back, meaning it completely ignores both user preferences. Only completely removing the HP software got rid of it.
Then it was time to install some programs. Of course, Windows 8 doesn’t let you do that. SmartFilter blocked every attempt, telling me how it protected my PC from myself, and has no option to disable it from the dialog box. You need to go in the Control Panel to disable that, and when you do, you get a constant warning about your PC being at risk.
Now that Norton was gone, I personally happen to like Comodo firewall. So I go to download it, but the installer nicely tells me that this doesn’t work on Windows 8, and I need to download another file instead. However, this is their pro product, which basically means it’s filled with crap. It’s a good thing I noticed the tiny Customize Installer button because otherwise it would have: Changed my home page, subscribed me to something called GeekBuddy, enrolled me to their cloud program, change my DNS servers, and sent information about each scan it does to the company. The same was true with many of the applications I installed, like Adobe Reader trying to install McAfee, or QuickTime trying to sign me up for offers.
Next was time to get used to the new start screen. At first I didn’t like it, but I think it may actually be a decent idea. Of course I first had to remove everything so that I could put only my own software there. By now there were over 40 items on there, from the weather in South Africa, to some more games, and multiple links to their news, sports and other Bing related pages. I didn’t find any way to quickly clean it up, so I had to manually remove each icon.
Finally, now that everything had been uninstalled and reinstalled, I did a quick check of msconfig, which apparently in Windows 8 has been integrated into the Task Manager. Unsurprisingly, the amount of applications that had set themselves to run on startup was staggering. All sorts of crap like HP Messaging, QuickTime Task, Google Update, Apple Push, and so on.