One of the reasons why I go with Dell is because their systems are SO easy to re-format and install all device drivers. I can see how it may seem a little intimidating to someone who is not familiar with the process, but after a while - it becomes second nature (and it's the first thing I do when getting a new system).
Doing a 'clean' install of XP boosts performance tremendously while ridding of all that crap Dell loads on there. Using Add/Remove will free up some hard drive space, but you'll be left with remnants of things here and there and a somewhat dirty registry (at least in my anal mind).
IMHO, doing a re-format/clean XP load actually takes less time and thought over handpicking things you don't want and need and or tweaking the system in the process. There is a thread somewhere with an alternative to reformatting and when I read through it, I hasd to ask why anyone would want to go through all that instead of a nice, easy, smooth, clean XP install?
VAIO's and ThinkPad's on the other hand are a different story. IBM and Sony love to load lots of proprietary CrapWare on their portables leaving you at an unorganized website wondering which driver will work and in what order they should be installed. I've done it successfully on both company's hardware several times, but it's definitely more time consuming than it needs to be.