In the last couple of weeks I’ve set up several Dell Optiplex computers running Windows Vista from Dell’s small business division. Dell has seriously cut back on preinstalled software; there’s been virtually no unnecessary programs to remove, which is a big change from just a few months ago. It helps that Dell has improved the ordering process so it’s possible to get a new computer without any unwanted security software or ISP promotions.

When a new Vista computer is turned on the first time, it immediately downloads and installs security updates – no fuss, no delay. Take a look at Vista’s update utility (Control Panel / System Maintenance / Windows Update). If there’s a button that says, “Get updates for more products,” click it and go through a very short process; the computer will then also check for updates to Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products.

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