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Spyware on Your New Dell Computer?
December 3, 2003
Thomas Mennecke
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This story appeared on late last night. An update to the article stresses the computer manufacturer is not responsible for installing spyware, rather the implication falls on the company who installs the programming on Dell's hard drives.

While Dell may not be directly responsible, they have chosen a rather suspicious path by hiding information from their customers. This clandestine approach has manifested itself with Dell ordering their tech support staff (those lovable characters seen on TV) not to advise customers on how to remove this third party menace.

According to an internal email from Dell, the tech support staff cannot give any information whatsoever; no mention of Adaware, SpyBot or hosts of other spyware removal tools. Below is the email, which first appeared on

Subject: Spyware: What we can say to the customer

Dell does not support or endorse the use of spyware removal programs.

NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.

This means we do not take callers to or, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs. This includes using phrases "We don't support the removal of spyware, but I use..."

Please reply to this e-mail to indicate that you have read and understand this information.


In response to this bizarre policy, several members of the antispyware community have sent Dell an open letter, denouncing this tactic and asking it to be repealed.

Our advice? Anyone who is buying a pre-bundled computer should format the hard drive as soon as it is delivered. Wipe that hard drive off and start fresh with just the Operating System. Without all that extra nonsense they install (not just spyware), you'll find the computer will run considerably more efficient, thus making this spyware situation a non-issue.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Spyware/Adware

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