Microsoft Signature is something Microsoft came up with to combat the increasingly unimpressive experiences that new PCs seem to provide. Nobody actually wants most of the junk that comes pre-installed on their computer when they take it out of the box. Many people make the removal of all the bloatware the very first thing they do on any system, adding sometimes hours of tedium to the otherwise pleasant experience of setting up a new system. With Microsoft Signature PCs that doesn’t come up.
The idea is not just to remove all of the bloat that OEMs love to install, but also to optimize the Windows installation for the hardware. These PCs ship with pre-configured anti-virus protection, no “sample” software, and an average boot time that the company claims is 40% faster than identical hardware running the usual bloated manufacturer installations we’re used to.
This isn’t a new thing with Windows 8. The program is already around. You can head over to Microsoft’s website and pick up Signature computers running Windows 7. They come with all the big MS names from Windows Live to Zune. Admittedly I’m not a big fan of the Zune software despite being rather fond of the now-dead MP3 player from the line, but for the most part it is all stuff you will eventually need anyway. Even Microsoft Security Essentials works as well as most of the competing AV software and isn’t too bad to remove as desired.
What’s interesting is not that they plan to keep the program going despite already stringent guidelines for hardware providers (at least on the Windows RT side of things) so much as that they will reportedly be selling these PCs from their website and stores immediately after launch. They will also be launching Signature Upgrades for Windows 8 at the same time to extend the concept even further.
This doesn’t have quite the same impact as actually buying one of Microsoft’s hand-selected hardware models, but it works quite well. If you happen to have access to a Microsoft store, of which I believe there are now at least twenty either open or soon to be opened, you can bring in your PC and have it optimized with the latest version of Windows, complete with bloatware removal and the usual collection of MS software tools, for no charge beyond that of the OS (which you are welcome to buy elsewhere and bring in with you).
Let’s face it, they can’t help what OEMs decide to package with Windows 8. In fact, based on things like the removal of native DVD-playback capabilities we can probably say that they are counting on OEM bundling in some ways.
If you want a clean, efficient system without all the trouble of building your own, the Microsoft Signature selection might be the best way to break into Windows 8. If nothing else, you can be fairly sure that nobody else has anything close to as much invested in making the new experience as great as possible for every user. They should be putting a lot into this.