Depending on how you look at it, a free upgrade. Or bloatware.

Here’s a tip for those of you who own HP or Compaq laptops and netbooks. Most of these machines ship with HP Wireless Assistant, which basically does two things: display a popup telling you if your wireless network is on or off, and in some cases, enable a wi-fi on/off button on the keyboard.

But some versions of it moonlight by causing WMIPrVSE chew up 20% of available CPU power. People sometimes pay hundreds of dollars to get 20% more CPU power, so that’s not exactly welcome.
The problem is supposedly fixed in newer versions of HP Wireless Assistant. But frankly, you may be better served by just uninstalling the thing. It sounds like a free upgrade, especially for memory and CPU-limited netbooks.

It’s easy to remove this tool from Add/Remove Programs.

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4 thoughts on “Depending on how you look at it, a free upgrade. Or bloatware.

  • February 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Of course it has all reached ridicules levels. Is there anything wrong or of lesser functionality with the wireless configuration applet in Windows since XP. This instance notable for going a bit rogue but then what about the Yahoo mail applet for the new Windows Mobile 7 causing excessive background cellphone data usage. Imagine the potential overage charges that might have caused, especially for those with data plans measured in a handful hundred of megabytes.

    These types of things in addition to, rather than in lieu of, stuffing one too many installation disks in the cup holders. A modern era PC can do allot of stuff, just not all at once, or even on the same machine. I get to look at many machines literally borked on boot for all the preloads and background tasks. Many wholly unnecessary. I won’t bother even starting to mention the ones I happen to be aware of among the multitudes.

    Then there are the conflicts.

    You’ve written before about preloads out of the box — we all have — and HP/Compaq is certainly among the notables. Difficult if not impossible to get back to a clean condition as the stuff is packed in the restore partitions and disk sets, the great unwashed who buy them destined to suffer into eternity among coercions to upgrade but for greater register discounts plied upon manufacturers by third tier marketing whores hungry for hearts, minds and eyeballs.

    Even our operating systems, most notably Microsoft, serves to obsolesce our hardware with each update, upgrade and patch until it all falls down in a heap. A quad core with four gig can pretty much insure access to email these days, but not guarantee it anymore than a 1080 monitor might display a usable browser window among forests of tool bars appearing from the ether regions of cyberspace as though by magic. Comes with the latest OS.

    And so we watch road kill line the service counters at the big box with hundred dollar bills in hand for desaturation services and extended warranties to lie waste in the landfills with all the assurance of tomorrows rising sun. Hopelessly helpless yet lured to the flame to pay now and later, for facebook and farmville await.

    The games are rigged and the house is crooked as they dance with Darwin in the slow lane of electro-life until unceremoniously ditched when the money runs out. Next. Victim. If only for an additional hundred they could go to the Wednesday night group therapy session to stand before an odd assemblage of navel gazers with tears streaming down both cheeks; “Hi, my name is John and I’m a computer user.”

  • February 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Make that “ridiculous” as in “reached ridiculous levels.” Ridicules! Meh.

  • February 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Bill, I’ve wondered many times how much Microsoft has profited from selling the same OS multiple times. I first observed it with Windows 95. Someone goes and buys the upgrade, installs it with horrid results, gives up, and buys a new computer with the OS pre-installed. So Microsoft gets paid twice.

    Every subsequent Microsoft OS was prone to this. And it’s not just profitable for Microsoft, but also for hardware makers. Why change, when you have a license to print money?

    But like you say, it will continue as long as the masses are willing to put up with it so they can play Farmville. I wrote a book where I tried to spell out precisely how to break the cycle. I thought I was going to change the world. 12 people bought the book and read it. 11 understood it. The rest of the world got worse. So it goes.

  • February 15, 2011 at 3:48 am

    No doubt Microsoft has made some money on double sales and a particular travesty for what people pay retail versus OEM pricing. A disparity so great that it usually makes little economic sense not to obtain the latest OS with the purchase of new machines for most users and dump the old one on Craigslist if you can.

    Personally I tend not to finger point all that much at hardware manufacturers given levels of competition even though they leave themselves open from time to time. A friend of mine bought an Acer Aspire One netbook paying a premium to get the the ten inch 1366×768 screen. Single core Atom, 2 gig of memory, sweet little box. Came with Vista. Total slug. I hear Windows 7 is a bunch more efficient and makes a big difference but for what price? Another hundred or so?

    The less than a year old little lappy wound up at my house when the owner fell into total disgust and quit on it. I swapped in a spare hard drive, installed box stock Ubuntu, then bumped into the famous problem of Linux versus Intel’s GMA500 graphics chip. The GMA500 was a bastard for Intel considering they didn’t design the chip and outsourced the Windows driver as well. Offering hardware acceleration and on chip video decoding, it was a nice part that could have been used to great effect had Intel released the API needed to program for it. Contractually Intel couldn’t but suggested on several occasions releasing a binary blob as they had done for Dell and their own Meego project. Short story is this never happened and Intel simply moved on, abandoning the hardware. Yesterdays news and no more profit makable.

    The community pulled yeoman duty developing a driver with next to nothing to work with and by their efforts was I able to compile a kernel module from source. It worked in large regard although on chip video decoding was a non-starter which the little Atom chip sorely needed for such things. If not willing to live with the limits, the only way out was to pony up for Windows 7 or drop down to XP which was end of life at the time. I put the original drive back in place and returned the Aspire to its rightful owner without recommendation. Close, but no cigar and Intel sacrificed allot of faith in the community over the matter. Hundreds of thousands of machines had been produced by three different manufacturers using that chip and it would have been far better for Intel PR had they developed and released an up to date Linux driver at a loss.

    Now we wonder about the thru-chip encryption of Sandy Bridge and what the impact of that will be. Something I suspect will not be a problem for Microsoft.

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