Microsoft slowly have made the bloatware that comes with OEM laptops redundant, adding more and more requirements to setting up a fresh computer over the years. In the past, a clean install was a great way to strip bloatware from a new computer but when you look at the full list of steps to set up Windows 11 22H2 it becomes obvious what is meant. If you haven’t reset a computer to the so called Out Of Box Experience or set up a brand new machine recently, Ars Technica describes the current experience:
- (Mostly) mandatory Microsoft account sign-in. (You need to disable all network connections and ignore several nag screens to proceed)
- Setup screen asking you about data collection and telemetry settings.
- A (skippable) screen asking you to “customize your experience.”
- A prompt to pair your phone with your PC.
- A Microsoft 365 trial offer.
- A 100GB OneDrive offer.
- A $1 introductory PC Game Pass offer.
The best part about this is that these steps apply to both Home and Enterprise versions of Windows 11 22H2. There are solutions which help businesses somewhat, but Intune comes with it’s own fun. If you do get through these steps without signing up for the various services, you will at some point be offered a second chance to do it all again in the new SCOOBE. The second chance OOBE is the same as the first, again trying to get you to sign up for a variety of services.
Once you do hit the desktop, you will have some cleaning to do in the Start Menu, as the number of extraneous apps like Netflix, Disney+ and Facebook are all automatically installed. For bonus points, certain updates will reinstall some of these apps if you do remove them. There are even some Microsoft apps which can cause problems, as the personal versions of OneDrive and Teams are automatically installed and neither will work with business accounts.
That is just a taste of what awaits you on a new PC, you can read the rest in the Ars article as they spent a fair amount of time cataloging the entire experience. For some this process is helpful, as they can sign into all their old apps immediately but for others it can range from inconvenient to dangerous.
Perhaps one day Microsoft will offer an optional version of Windows which prunes the extraneous apps and steps to a minimum, but it seems more a dream than a reasonable hope.