After a recent purchase of the system pictured below, I decided that I didn’t want to have all the bloatware sitting on the system doing who knows what. I figured it would be a quick process to get it booted into a mode to allow a USB installation of vanilla Windows 11 Pro, but oh boy was I wrong.
- 4.7GHz Intel 12th Generation Core-i7 (1260P)
- 16GB DDR4 RAM
- 16″ OLED Display (3840×2400)
- NVIDIA GeForce MX550
- 512GB M.2 NVMe 2230 SSD
- Wireless-AX WiFi 6
- USB-A / USB-C / Thunderbolt
- 1080p Front Facing Camera
The purchase price after the discount running at the time put it just above $1,400 and an added promotion of 24-months interest free is the sole reason I purchased from Best Buy instead of an independent retailer. Upon booting it up for the first time, it was loaded with Dell inspired bloatware (ie – McAfee, social media, etc.). I wanted none of that so as soon as I got it to a regular Windows screen, I rebooted into restore mode and forced a boot from USB. What I didn’t realize is that stupid idiotic Intel Rapid Restore was turned on in UEFI and prevented any external bootable USB from seeing the NVMe that was installed. I attempted multiple times with various attempts at providing what I knew to be the correct M.2 NVMe driver for the installed SSD, but no luck. It wasn’t until I found a post on Dell’s own website that they mentioned possibly changing the storage to AHCI mode instead of the dumb Intel Rapid Restore.
Several moments later, I had it booting from the USB and recognizing the installed SSD and I was off to the races. I had a small list of applications that I wanted to get installed before I restored any data from OneDrive. Yes, I’m a long time M365 subscription owner and have no issues saying that. I know there are other services that may work better, but for my own personal purposes and ease of use, I just stick with the M365 5-person subscription. The amount of pain I endured making sure the essential Dell update and assistant software was in place to make driver/firmware updates easier was more than I thought was necessary. I also installed several apps related to NVIDIA and the OLED display so I could take advantage of what is truly awesome to look at. Having a 4K resolution paired with an OLED makes movies a pleasure to watch. Being honest though, the 16″ screen really packs those pixels small so I’ve had to push Windows out to 175% of normal just to make it legible for my middle-aged eyeballs.
I’m not huge for reviewing hardware since it can be so subjective, and I don’t have the ability to describe things in a way that doesn’t come across as biased. For me, this was a decent upgrade from my previous machine, which was a Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. I wasn’t impressed with the Surface Laptop 5 and the price I’d have to pay to match the specs of the Dell Inspiron. My first impressions now that I’ve got the bloatware replaced with a base install of Windows 11 Pro are quite good and I think I might actually submit a review to Best Buy about this system. It’s a great bang for the buck!