NOTE: The following transcript has been edited to make it ieasy to follow. Non-essential material such as headers, boilerplate, and other repetitive or non-essential text has been removed. However the actual responses are verbatim except where noted as being edited for brevity. Nothing of substance has been removed.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION SUBMITTED TO HP:

I want to COMPLETELY uninstall everything I am not using to free up disk space. The following icons are indicated by Windows to be shortcuts but they are not normal Windows shortcuts, therefore the properties screen gives no information as to what they are shortcuts to. They are clearly not shortcuts to URLS because they work without an Internet connection. They do not have standard extensions. Please tell me how to completely uninstall all the related files for these "shortcuts."

Music and Games for My PC HPQ1
Hot Deals HPQ2
Networking Configuration Guide HPQ3
Special Networking Offer HPQ4
Networking Tutorial HPQ5
Protect My PC HPQ6

REPLY #1 from HP:

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

I understand from your message that you require information about removing the shortcuts to desktop items on your computer.

I am glad that you have forwarded your concerns and have given me a chance to assist you with this matter.

After going through the names of the shortcuts that you have mentioned they could be spyware applications or the related to some preinstalled programs. I am not sure if these shortcuts are on the computer from the time of purchase of the unit.

However, if these are spyware applications you can remove them by using spyware removal tool.

You can download and install third-party software to protect your computer from spyware. Intermute is offering a special rebate on SpySubtract for HP owners. For more information, visit the following HP Web site:

[edited for brevity]

Additionally, I also recommend that you download and run the application called "CCleaner" that can be used to remove all the unwanted programs from the computer. Please download the "CCleaner" from the following Website: http://www.ccleaner.com/

NOTE: The URL above will take you to a non HP Web site. HP does not control and is not responsible for information outside of the HP Web site.

If you have further questions, please reply to this message and we will be happy to help you.

You may receive an e-mail survey regarding your e-mail support experience. We would appreciate your feedback.

HP Total Care is a J.D. Power and Associates Certified Technology Service and Support Center, recognized for consistently providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience

[edited for brevity]

Sincerely,
Ralf
HP Total Care

 

MY REPLY #1:

Are you telling me that you do not recognize these items which were pre-installed by HP from the factory on this computer?? I just completed a full factory restore and these icons/shortcuts/programs were re-installed by the HP recovery program. If there is adware or spyware installed on the computer it is part of the original software onfiguration as installed by HP.

Please review the list again:

Music and Games for My PC - file type listed as HPQ1
Hot Deals - file type listed as HPQ2
Networking Configuration Guide - file type listed as HPQ3
Special Networking Offer - file type listed as HPQ4
Networking Tutorial - file type listed as HPQ5
Protect My PC - file type listed as HPQ6
Owner Services - file type listed as HPQ7

These are clearly items preinstalled by HP. I need to know how to remove not only the "shortcuts" but all the related programs. A clean installation of Windows XP should only take up a couple of gigabytes and the recovery CD set should be only 3 CDs, even with a few applications such as MS Office. But your HP computers come with a load of junk, much of which is trialware or other programs that are nothing more than advertising, directing the user to your marketing partners, and/or trying to get me to spend more money.

I want to uninstall all this extra junk so that I really have a good clean installation of Windows XP. Since HP/Compaq insists on pre-installing all this junk, HP needs to need to document what it is and provide a way to uninstall it. Much of it does not show up in add/remove programs.

 HP REPLY #2:

Thank You for writing back.

I understand that you have performed system recovery and still the shortcuts are there and you would like to uninstall all the programs related to the shortcuts.

I have verified the complete specifications of your HP Pavilion a510n desktop computer and found that there no such programs installed in your computer and I am not sure of the steps you have performed to do a complete system recovery, so for your convenience i am proving the detailed steps to perform complete system recovery.

The information below explains how to reset the HP Pavilions software To its original state. All work stored on the hard drive might be lost

[edited for brevity]

If the issue persist please get back to us with the results. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to assist you.

I again sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused in this

regard.

MY REPLY #2:

I an ABSOLUTELY SURE that I performed a complete destructive system Recovery following precisely the instructions you outlined.

All the "programs" I listed were reinstalled along with the OS. They show up both in the Start Menu and also as icons on the desktop when I switch to the classic start menu.

This is not the first HP/Compaq that has reinstalled all these programs.

HP REPLY #3:

Thank you for writing back.

At this moment to delete the icons located on the desktop, I request you to download and install the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility. Windows Installer CleanUp Utility Provides a dialog box where you can select one or more programs that were installed by Windows Installer. You select the programs on the Installed Products list in the Windows Installer CleanUp dialog box. After you make this selection, the utility removes only the Windows Installer configuration information that is related to those programs.

Please visit the following web site to download and install :

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;290301

If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further.

MY REPLY #3:

The Windows Installer cleanup utility does not remove files of any programs that are installed by Windows Installer. Please read the summary of the Microsoft KB article you referenced.

Furthermore, I do not need a program to delete these icons. They can be deleted the normal way. However this does not delete the programs that they call up, nor does it even delete the icon graphics which are not contained in the file itself.

Because these files preinstalled by HP are not standard shortcuts, it is not possible to right-click, select properties, and look at the path to the actual program called by the shortcut so that I could determine what program the "shortcut" is actually calling. I want to delete the programs and related files that these icons (that were installed by HP) refer to.

HP installed these icons and programs. HP must know what they are and how to delete them. As I said, the icons are not regular shortcuts (.lnk files) and not actual program files either. They are empty files, each of which have a unique extension such as .hpq1, .hpq2, etc. All these extensions are associated with a program called shortcut.exe which is in the C:\hp\DTIcons directory. It appears that shortcut.exe is configured to call certain programs based on the filename extensions of the file that Windows is trying to "open" with it.

For your information, I am attaching some of the files to this email.

HP tech support should have been able to immediately answer this question. HP designed and configured the computer. This is not some Windows problem. It is not a spyware issue. It is not third-part software installed by the customer. It a question relating to items added to Windows by HP and present on the computer immediately after a full destructive factory recovery was performed. HP has already wasted several hours of my time. Please provide me with a good answer this time. If you can not answer this question, please refer it to an appropriate level of technician or engineer at HP who can answer the question.