I received a call from a friend who was computer shopping at Best Buy and he asked if he should pay $100 for them to remove advertisements from the computer he was purchasing. I know Best Buy needs to make a profit, but the services they offer are almost criminal (and sometimes, they are – I’ll get to that later). I told my friend NO – ABSOLUTELY NOT! I told him to download the free program PC Decrapifier. This program will look for the trial and basically junk programs that come preinstalled on new computers. I further recommended he did not purchase anything other than the computer. I have heard that Best Buy makes little profit on the actual sale of computers and they push accessories [with high profit margins] that customers do not need.

I mentioned “almost criminal” above, but I have seen actual criminal behavior from a Best Buy store. A friend brought me his computer after a Best Buy employee replaced his hard drive, the Windows operating system, and the antivirus software. The employee told my friend that the hard drive had failed and that was why he needed a new copy of Windows and new antivirus software. I checked the old hard drive and it was functional with no detected hardware problems. I scanned the drive for software errors and then Windows booted just fine. I then checked the new hard drive and found that the copy of Windows that the Best Buy employee installed used a pirated product key. The product key was a well-known leaked key people were using to activate Windows until it was later blacklisted. Secondly, even if my friend’s hard drive had really died, he would not need to purchase a new [legitimate] copy of Windows because he had his license sticker on the side of his computer (look for the Windows sticker on the exterior of your computer if you did not build the system yourself).

I have been contacted by several other people over the years about equipment or software Best Buy employees told them they needed. Many times it was not needed. This may just be inexperience by the employee or their effort to make a profit at the expense of selling customers what is not needed. Best Buy often has great deals on computers, so I am not recommending to not shop there. I am recommending knowing exactly what you need and not being talked in to purchasing useless services, hardware, or software.