Tag: thinkpad

A Letter to Lenovo: Your Bloatware Brings My Piss to a Boil

(Note: before I get more complaints from sysadmins saying “WHY AREN’T YOU RE-IMAGING”, this is for a client, an imaging solution is on their roadmap, but for now they’re setting up their own laptops, so this is the hand I’m dealt.  Thanks for the advice, but I am aware.)

Dear Lenovo,

I understand why bloatware exists.  You get paid to put it on there more often than not, or you think you’re offering the consumer something useful while keeping the name Lenovo in front of their eyes.  In some rare cases it offers some level of value.  Your System Center application, when it doesn’t decide to crash or fail to connect to Lenovo servers, offers an easy portal to updating drivers and firmware on your laptops.  The Lenovo Power tray icon appears to be something some users think “looks nice.”  And I’m pretty sure I can easily blame poor performance on your “Lenovo Applications”, mainly because they are often the cause of said poor performance.

All these tricks are well and fun on consumer-level hardware.  The whole Superfish thing?  That’s a practically unforgivable affront to user privacy and security, but the good news is that you only did that on your consumer-level products.  The beloved Thinkpad line was left untouched, much to the relief of systems administrators everywhere.  You may have spewed bile and shit all over Average Joe Laptop User, but at least the business sector was spared your shoddy, ill-advised treatment.

Now, I happen to be a fan of your products, from a hardware quality perspective.  Lenovo laptops often have best-in-class keyboards and reasonably usable trackpads.  The docking stations have also proven to be reliable and simple.  Thinkpads, specifically, are sturdy and durable.

Your support experience, while not as good as Dell’s, is still light-years ahead of Hewlett-Packard, (though that’s not a terribly difficult hurdle to clear).  So there’s that.  Good-ish job.

Today, however, I question your practices.  While it concerns a seemingly innocuous action, it is representative of a larger disregard for your customers.  Specifically, your business customers.

I had been working on a seriously simple task: creating a domain-wide group policy to force a specific desktop wallpaper.  This is a very basic operation: create the policy, point the configuration to the image I want to set, deploy the policy where I want, wait for things to update and propagate.  This was supposed to be a 5-minute policy creation, then a check-up the next day to make sure it worked.

Your built-in software decided to override my policy.  After hearing reports that laptops weren’t receiving the wallpaper update, I had to verify other more likely possibilities (are they on the wireless network, have they received the group policy update, etc).

I had to drive on-site to assess the issue, as all my testing in the server farm had proven my policy worked.  What I witnessed was your software rubbing shit in my administration.  Upon login, the correct, policy-set wallpaper appeared, only to be changed to the annoying blue “Think” wallpaper about 10 seconds later.

To confirm, I disabled all of your bullshit software in startup, rebooted, and tested.  Oh, look, my system administration worked, now that your software had been disabled.  Thanks.

Now, this is wallpaper.  No big deal, right?  Well, you’re right.  It isn’t a big deal.  That’s why you should not fuck with it.  You should especially not fuck with it if I have made a domain-wide policy dictating what it should be, only to be overridden by who-the-hell-knows-whatever Lenovo Jerkoff Bloatware HD software that is only on the laptop because you put it there, because you think you’re smart.

You’re not smart.  This is an egregiously dumb thing to do, because now I question your integrity when it comes to business.  I now have to advise to every customer I have that getting a Lenovo laptop will require additional setup time, because I have to scrub your viruses in disguise from the hard drive.  I’ll tell them that it’s for their own good, because your built-in software cannot be trusted, and has a lengthy track record proving it.

It’s not a great idea to piss in an administrator’s cereal.  Mainly because we can (and should) tell our clients that they should just go get a fucking Dell instead.