Manufacturer bloatware is a bigger problem on Laptops. 2.5 years ago, I did not have the knowledge & expertise I now have (thanks in part to this Forum)
I bought a HP Pavilion DV7 for the missus, although I used it from time to time. After a few months, and several complaints about the krap that HP installed on it, the wife (demanded) -er-requested- that I do something about it. So I read the tutorial previously mentioned, with the intention of de-krapping the lappy. Then I thought better of it and backed up the relevant stuff, before carrying out a complete reinstall of Windows 7. Result: machine hums along nicely, one happy-with-the-lappy wife.
I think we tend to view what MS has done here, through the eyes of experienced PC users. Redmond knows exactly what they are doing here: lots of inexperienced computer users, will take up this offer. (If you know of one, you can make them a better offer. I know I will!)
Having said all that, I have to admit that $99 is a heck of a lot of money for this service. In some cases, it may be around 30% of the original purchase price. But my real gripes are (a) will it make it to the UK and (b) will it be the usual practice of ignoring exchange rates and going straight to £99?
That is what usually happens here with US-UK exchange rates, in relation to buying from a US source.