Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Saturday, May 21st, 2005
I thought my new Tablet would make me more productive. Yet, I've just wasted 2 hours, removing software, so that I can be more productive with my Tablet PC.

As I prepare to migrate my working environment from the IBM ThinkPad T42p to the Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC, I must first remove what I will call Tablet PC Spam. You read correctly. I received two kinds of Tablet PC Spam with my new Tecra M4 and neither were delivered by email. I'll talk about the first kind in this post: Pre-installed software and desktop shortcuts.

Just look at what I had to remove today:

I uninstalled the following programs
  • Acrobat 5.0  (I'll install a current version, thank you.)
  • Alias SketchBook Pro
  • AOL - will not uninstall. Says it's not installed even though Windows shows it.
  • AOL Coach
  • AOL Connectivity
  • AOL Spyware (They got that right)
  • AOL Pictures
  • AT&T
  • MS Office SBE - I specifically ordered my tablet without MS office. (I already own MS Office Pro)
  • MS Works - If guess if you can't sell it ...
  • Napster
  • My Connect Special Offer
  • Pure Networks Port Magic
  • McAffee
  • And more ...

I uninstalled the following shortcuts
  • MS Office Editions Trial
  • AOL Trial
  • AT&T Trial
  • Napster
  • My Connect Special Offer
  • Toshiba Software Upgrades
  • Toshiba Great Software Offers (Free software that you have to buy)
  • EZ Firewall trial
  • And more ...

I realize that there are probably some marketing execs at Toshiba that are thinking "That's not Spam; it's a service to our customers." I don't think so. Not when it gets in the way of my productivity. Today, rather than spending two hours happily loading productivity software onto my new Tablet PC and blogging about the productivity gains, I wasted those hours uninstalling and removing unwanted software.

I don't mind that all of this software was made available to me. I mind that I had to remove it. And, I really mind that the AOL software that Toshiba allowed to infect my new Tablet PC, is impossible to remove.

Vendors. Don't irritate your customers and champions.
Seth Godin would probably jump all over this kind of experience. If you really want to serve your customers, give them a DVD with add-on software, but don't preinstall software they don't want it in such a way that it wastes their time or worse, cannot be safely extracted from the system.  

Current score on productivity - 2.0 hours.
(I know, Michael Hyatt will say he warned me)

Recommendation to Toshiba:
For those of us who paid a premium to purchase a "build to order" tablet, why not give us one more option: "Removed all 3rd party software from your new Tecra M4? Y/N."

I'll have more to share on the second form of Toshiba Tablet PC Spam - one that I find even more offensive and insulting - in another post.

I promised to share my experience and opinion. I've already documented 3 pages of likes and dislikes. I plan to work my way through the list to see if my initial reactions are reasonable. Then, I'll start to share them.

Right now, I'm going to load some productivity software on this machine so that I can report some good news about this very cool Tablet PC.

Discussion/Comments (22):

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Eric, I enjoy your blog.

I have two (apparently contradictory) comments. First, I also am annoyed when companies add to their revenues by disserving their actual "customers". It's at LEAST unethical. On the other hand, I wonder about your statement that you "had" to uninstall this staff. I can understand your getting arrayed, but it seems to me that the "waste" of your time was largely your choice. You might also consider that the Acrobat Reader is becoming an essential utility, and that it would be a genuine disservice not to include it. And somebody who WANTED Office might well consider it a waste of time to have to do the installation, which is considerately more time consuming (with that product) than the uninstall.

Bob, writing from Kansas City on his Viawsonic 1250 convertible. :)

Posted at 05/21/2005 18:01:34 by Robert Pedersen

It´s about choice ... Mine.

Bob, you bring up some good points. True, I chose to uninstall the software rather than leave it. I have a suite and a specific process of software installation that I've developed over the years. - the eMack edition. I have designed many ThinkPads for myself, David Allen, and other clients, using this suite. In all cases, I like to start with a "clean" system. That is, just Windows XP, the related service packs, and the manufacturer-specific drivers. That's it. From there, I add my own applications in the scope and sequence that works for me. I'm not opposed to the applications listed as much as I'm bothered that for the amount I paid for the new system it came polluted with software. (Yes, those are strong words.) Yes, I chose to take the time to uninstall the software. Perhaps I should have just started fresh with Windows and then loaded the Toshiba drivers. All I want is a clean environment so that I can load the software that I want in the way that I want. As for Acrobat, 5.0 is an old version. For a new laptop, they should have shipped it with no Acrobat or a link to download the latest. I've already purchased a full Acrobat Pro for this Tablet PC.

While I've never installed this suite of productivity applications on a Tablet, I'm quite familiar with it on a Thinkpad. Once I get the essential 20+ applications installed, I hope to turn off the ThinkPad and get used to Tablet life. Then, I'll ghost the system and start exploring the world of Tablet PC productivity applications.

Posted at 05/21/2005 18:25:03 by Eric Mack

I agree with Eric on this subject...Totally!

I couldn't agree more with Eric. I also prefer a "clean" installation made with my choice of software. Usually, vendors include these preinstalled softwares that most of the time (in my opinion) takes space in your hard drive and sometimes even in your system memory!

My recommendation, after installing all the software that you want make a ghost image of your hard drive because if something happens and you have to reinstall with the recovery disks... oh the Humanity!!

Posted at 05/21/2005 18:43:50 by Edwin Morales

I went through the same experience


I went through the same experience last January with a new Toshiba M205 and know how frustrating it can be.

Let me suggest an excellent piece of freeware that James Kendrick listed in his blog, called RegScrubXP. It's easy and safe to run, and in 15 minutes it cleared a ton of AOL entries from the tablet's registry.

The junkware load on a new PC is bad enough, but AOL software is like a fungus that breeds and spreads throughout an infected PC. The developer who releases a program that effectively removes it from a hard drive in a single application will end up rich. Until that happens running RegScrubXP after you've deleted all the AOL files you can find is an effective solution.

{ Link }

I'm following your experiences and taking notes as I'll be going through the same process soon on a Motion LE1600.

One note of caution. As necessary and frustrating as your current experiences are, it's not fair to categorize this as the "Tablet PC" experience. Every commercially produced PC sold these days, of whatever format, has a ton of "spam" pre-loaded on the hard drive.

I'm sure that in the end you will be pleased with the utility of the tablet PC.

Posted at 05/21/2005 18:46:59 by Steve New

Okay, I warned you. ;-)

(I couldn't resist!)

Posted at 05/21/2005 20:08:27 by Michael Hyatt

I knew that was coming ...

Michael, I look forward to comparing notes in a few weeks. :-)

Posted at 05/21/2005 21:31:16 by Eric Mack

re: I went through the same experience

Thanks, Edwin, & Steve, for your suggestions. I've just run RegScrubXP, although it would not remove the pesky AOL.

Yes, I do ghost the machine at steps along the way. I suppose I had better temper my complains before both Michael's tell me it's time to buy a Mac.

Posted at 05/21/2005 21:32:33 by Eric Mack

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Although this 3rd party software and those stickers are annoying, they might help to lower the cost of a new computer. (I must admit I’m not sure of this, but is seems reasonable)

Posted at 05/22/2005 6:35:52 by F

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

A question and a comment.

I'm quite like you, I like to have a system clean and fresh. I did install a Toshiba laptop for a client recently and I totally agree with you, so much junk in there, toshiba own software for connectivity, battery etc... Haven't removed them at that time, not sure how it's tied to the system, but I think I will next time.

So for my question/comment, for my machine, I generaly reinstall a fresh OS and start from scratch. Do you only have a recovery DVD with your toshiba preventing you to do that ? Maybe there's a way to create a windows XP TPCE install CD, I'm sure the tablet guru out there will have an answer to that. I mean 2 hours is enough to do a complete windows reinstall with drivers etc... and it'd be more productive to actualy build a system rather than removing crap.

Posted at 05/22/2005 7:38:45 by EZToms

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

What no Restore CD?? Have you made the back up yet? is it going to work when I need it? What is your thoughts on the self configuator for restoring the M4..


Posted at 05/23/2005 18:34:14 by Tim

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Eric, can't agree more with you. I've recently spent about all morning de-installing all that same software you mention on my new Tablet PC, a Toshiba Satellite R15. Besides the Acrobat -an older version, but ok (I've personally uninstalled it for a newer one)- and maybe Quicken, the rest are just trial software or crap software -who uses Works anyway?-. They should provide a bonus or trial software CD with your computer for you to try at your choice, but no more. They're not only making you loose time, but also resources from your supposedly "virgin" equipment.

Posted at 05/25/2005 8:53:51 by Alvaro Flores

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Eric, I am totally agree with you. The first thing I did after I got my new TOSHIBA laptop was to remove all the garbage software. But I still had problem to remove the AOL. When I tried to remove the AOL by 'Add or Remove Programs', it always returned the message 'No installed versions of AOL could be found on your computer'. The AOL is really a virus!!! I did not know why TOSHIBA preinstall this virus on their new machines. Does AOL pay them to do it? I had to format the disk and install a clean version Windows XP.

Posted at 12/13/2005 13:12:15 by Ge Zhang

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Well, I sit here with my new Toshiba laptop highly frustrated that I have to waste so much time removing this useless junk. In addition to a lot of the things you mentioned, I also removed much of the Toshiba Utility stuff because it was also getting in the way. I am feeling a bit cleaner now but yes, I still have to deal with this damned AOL. That's how I stumbled upon your blog. Sadly, your entry and the comments offer some comfort.

Posted at 12/18/2005 10:43:44 by Ravi Chodavarapu

AOL Spamware on Tablet PC

i don't think aol is actually installed. Just remove what you can from add/remove programs and then delete the aol folders from c:/Program Files

Posted at 01/15/2006 10:21:16 by anonymous coward

Removing AL from Toshiba

I just bought a Toshiba M65 so I do not know if this applies here. After two days, six phone calls to both Toshiba and AOL, and after threating to return the machine I was connected to a Toshiba tech guy who knew the answer.

He said to load AOL then it could be deleted. What is on the machine is not "AOL" so that's why it can't be removed.

I was extremely skeptical but finally went along with the thing. It seems to have worked. Once the installation was done I was able to remove AOL and the other AOL related programs.

Again I do not know ow important it is but Iwas give the following location fom which to down load the AOLloader program.

{ Link }



Hope this helps

I still have a bunch of other Toshiba stuff remaing. Some I've deleted but am not sre what the remaining stuff does s I've decided to live with it for the time being.

The main thisn is AOL is gone!

Posted at 01/21/2006 0:18:02 by Michael

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Well rats the link did not work.

his time I included my email address.

I will email the link to whoever wants it.

Posted at 01/21/2006 0:21:15 by Michael

Removing AOL from Toshiba

just figured i'd post this in case anyone else ended up here after doing a google search.

if you copy (dont click cause it will re-direct) the link provided by michael, then ADD to the end everything on the line after the link, then ADD to the end again the spillover ending in "mm.0" on the next line, that forms the full link that takes you to the Toshiba install file. i also put the full address in as my web site link, ymmv.

anyway, run the install you download via Toshiba, its like a 70MB dl. after it does its thing (fyi- its not at all transparent, a near blank toshiba screen that says to wait and no indication of what its doing in the background), do not restart. instead, go into Add/Remove programs and click AOL for it to search for versions.

now, in addition to the version you just installed (may appear as AOL 9.0a) the original version that it magically couldn't find is also listed. highlight both to uninstall and you've got your AOL-free Toshiba.

Posted at 02/07/2006 9:01:32 by -steve-o-

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam


I am having a similar problem with my M45-S359. I already removed several programs that I don't want. The only one that I can removed is AOL because it says that the uninstall file is not install!!!??? Anyone could help with that? I don't want to delete all the files from program files since they might be at the register key.

If anyone knows the steps or could help me I would appreciate.


Mikhael P

Posted at 02/20/2006 22:13:21 by MP

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

I ran into the same problem with my new A105-S101 from Circuit City. I spen the weekend trying to remove all the junk I could, but there still seems to be ghosts everywhere. The best idea I have found on the web is to do a complete OS reinstall using a generic WindowsXP disk. Just remember to get all the drivers needed for the Toshiba before you start.


Posted at 02/21/2006 4:50:12 by Vince

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

I am actually surprised no legal action has been taken against AOL. They're rightly notorious for the way their software infects your machine.

Posted at 04/02/2006 5:24:40 by Ian

Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Dear friend

I purchased toshiba tecra M4 S115TD model in 2005, suddenly some files like windows\system32\config\system file is missing or currept, Technicam information: stop: 0x000000EA (0X89A5B158, 0X89A70078, 0XB3F01CB4, 0X00000001), problem seems caused by the file "nv4_disp", Restart pc if screen appear again then Device driver got stuck in an infinite loop, usually indicate problem with the device itself or with the device driver programming the hardware incorrectly, plz check device for driver updates,

Though i restarted pc but its not responding either in normal/vga/safe mode & i gets different coloured linings & then screen gets swithched off automatically, several time i installed through recovery disc which i made it myself when i purchased directly from Toshiba, can u plz send me copy of "winxp tablet pc edition recovery dvd/cd plz. So that i can start my laser acupuncture therapy

My address is

Dr Ravindra Mistry

Yogic Laser Acupuncture Centre Intl,

Morabhagal st, Near-Fire Brigade, Rander,

Surat-5, Gujarat State, India, Pin-395005

Looking forward to hearing fom u soon with esteemed +ve cooperation etc.

Thanking u.

Sincerely Yrs

DR Ravindra Mistry

Mobile # 00 91 9825135559

Posted at 06/18/2007 6:04:10 by Dr Ravindra M Mistry India

re: Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC Spam

Sorry I can't help. I gave up on Toshiba, although I continue to receive complaints about them and letters begging for help almost daily.

Posted at 06/19/2007 18:27:36 by Eric Mack

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