Raise your hand if you hate CrapWare. Yes, CrapWare (or BloatWare) are those programs that come with your OEM-installed PC. Most of the time you don’t want it (or don’t even realize it is there). Depending on the variant, it can the OEM (original equipment manufacturer, such as HP or Dell or Lenovo, to name a few) thinking they know what you might want; often it is the OEM in a financial agreement with a software vendor installing it for you. Either way, most of us hate it (hence the term CRAP).
I seldom have to put up with CrapWare for the simple reason that I usually wipe the hard drive and install the operating system from scratch when I get a new PC. Those of us who do this will have a clean PC completely free of CRAP…
…Or will we?
It was discovered recently that Lenovo (who make spectacular laptops) has been preventing that solution using a dirty little trick: They have been hiding the CrapWare in the BIOS (the Basic Input/Output System of every device). When you delete the CrapWare (as many people do when they get their PC) it re-installs it for you when you reboot your system.
Naughty Naughty Naughty.
You can read the details here, but the basics of it are that if your Lenovo laptop is running Windows, the CrapWare will be there, no matter what you do to uninstall it…including re-installing your operating system from scratch.
According to The Register (www.theregister.co.uk):
Owners of LSE-afflicted computers urged to update their firmware
A tool quietly released on July 31 will uninstall the engine if it is present in your machine: it is available here for notebooks, and available here for desktops.
On Tuesday this week, Lenovo published a full list of affected desktop and notebook models. Desktop machines built between October 23, 2014 and April 10, 2015, with Windows 8 preinstalled, have the LSE inside them.
Think-branded PCs did not include the LSE, we’re told.
Ok… while I do have a Lenovo T420s on my desk, it is a ThinkPad, so it will not include this rootkit-like code.
It just goes to show you… companies are getting sneakier and sneakier in how they foist their CrapWare on you; fortunately for us the other side are getting better at discovering them, and companies will eventually be caught in their deceptions (remember the Sony Rootkit?)
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