Columnist Ed Bott was curious about a friend who complained bitterly about the way Vista ran on his brand new Sony Vaio laptop last year, so he asked permission to look it over. Recently he got a similar new Vaio from Sony to see what had changed in a year.

He describes the experience in this article – interesting reading because it describes the process I engage in all the time on your behalf, evaluating how much time will be required to give you a better experience with your computers.

The original Vaio was a disaster, slow and overloaded with crapware that would have taken hours to uninstall manually. When the hard drive was formatted and Vista was installed from scratch, the laptop ran at full speed with none of the frustrating slowdowns and popups and clutter that had been driving his friend crazy. But Sony had not provided the tools to install Vista from scratch without simultaneously reinstalling all the craplets, and installing from a different Vista source was only successful after tracking down drivers for the devices that did not come to life automatically.

The new Vaio was better – Sony included less crapware – but still required laborious removal of trial versions and poorly chosen crap.

“Lessons learned?

“Well, for starters, Vista doesn’t suck. And neither does Sony’s hardware. That four-pound machine with the carbon-fiber case is practically irresistible, as my wife continues to remind me.

“But when you shovel Windows Vista and a mountain of poorly chosen drivers, utilities, and trial programs onto that beautiful hardware without thinking of the customer, the results can be downright ugly. That was certainly the case with the early-2007 vintage Vaio, and it’s still true today, with too much crapware and not enough attention to quality or the user experience.”

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