Just buy a new PC? Make sure to get rid of all the bloatware!

For years, Windows users have been dealing with Bloatware — pre-installed, mostly-useless software that burdens and bogs down almost every new Windows PC. It is not unusual for a new PC to have dozens of programs pre-installed, ranging from virus scanners to Skype to cheap video games, all stealing valuable storage space, RAM, and CPU cycles.

Meanwhile, of course, on the other side of the blindingly white picket fence, Macs come with a bunch of first-party (and mostly first-rate) Apple applications — and that’s it. For Windows advocates, this has always been a particularly tough bone of contention: Even though Windows 8, in its base state, is faster and more stable than OS X, it’s hard to extol the virtues of a crud-laden, $300 PC from Dell or Acer.

How did the Windows OEM ecosystem ever end up in such a sorry state?

it’s actually all our fault.

You see, OEMs are paid good money to install shovelware on your new Windows PC. We don’t know the exact amount of money that McAfee pays Dell, but it’s likely in the range of a few dollars. Scale this up to a few dozen pre-installed apps, and OEMs probably net somewhere in the region of $50 to $100 per PC sold.

Now, in the case of Apple, an extra $50 or $100 on top of a 30%-profit-margin $1,500 Mac isn’t all that enticing. In the Windows OEM world, though, where you can buy a PC for $250 and profit margins are sub-5%, crapware is subsidizing your new PC.

It’s sad but true: In the race to the bottom, Windows OEMs first slashed their prices, then reduced the quality of their products, and then — with nowhere else to run — the only recourse was bundling every new PC with a library of cruddy apps. It’s a classic case of mass-market consumerism: Above all else, we demand cheap PCs — and in the rush to undercut each other, crapware was the only solution. It’s sad, but true: We caused the proliferation of crud-laden PCs; we caused the consumer perception that Windows PCs are slower, cheaper, and tackier than the Mac competition.

This problem got a new face in the last couple of weeks when Lenovo took a well-justified beating in the press and by the populace for including software called Superfish on many of its consumer Windows PCs. Superfish isn’t even software—it’s adware, which provides nothing of value. (Here’s how to delete it) In other words, it’s crapware.

Wiping The Crapware

On the first boot-up, it may be okay; by the second or third, it can be noticeably slower. Sometimes the desktop can have 15 icons for needless, worthless crap. Opening up the Uninstall a Program control panel will reveal even more in residence.

At Ctrl Alt Repair we turn to Slim Computer from Slimware Utilities. It keeps a database of bloatware, and helps you identify it on a new Windows PC. Select all the crap and it steps you through the uninstall routine for each. It helped me dump several less-obvious but still-unnecessary programs.


‘Potentially Unwanted’ PUP Crap

Perhaps they were on the Computer to start, or perhaps the crapware uninstall routines put them there (probably giving the crapware developers the same kind of kickback as Acer or Dell), but now the new PC had actual malware infections in the guise of “potentially unwanted programs,” or PUPs.

The programs don’t call themselves by that name. The anti-malware companies use the term. It describes programs you probably didn’t install on purpose, don’t want, and probably find unusable—but they have to say “potentially” because, sure, it’s possible you wanted to install a toolbar for your browser called “Search Protect” by a company named Conduit, or a search engine for your browser called Binkiland.

In reality, it’s about as likely as wanting to be set on fire. Both of those “programs,” among others, have even found their way onto my PC. But they exist only to take over your browsing experience; both appear on a list of browser hijackers on Wikipedia. Others you may see as well, and should eradicate immediately: Taplika, SwiftBrowse, BetterSurrf, CrossRider, WeDownload, OpenCandy, OptimizerPro, and DoSearches. The list can and will go on and on, as the hijackers make new threats. It’s telling that searching for “Search Protect” or “Binkiland” brings up absolutely no link for people to get those programs—only to remove the damnable hijackers’ files.

The hijackers can do a number on your PC. Making the browsers already installed (IE, Chrome, and Firefox) go to a Web page to try and force you to download other tools, making things worst in a hurry. Once we are sure all these theats are removed and comfortable in about in PC we at this point uninstalled trial anti-virus, and spyware protectors like; McAfee, Norton, or whatever it may be installed free on the new PC You may not consider antivirus software as shovelware, but it certainly is—the OEM didn’t put it on there to be altruistic, we promise that! Plus, these larger A/Vs are likely to 1) slow the PC more than smaller AV products we could install later and 2) would eventually cost $79 after the trial was over. No thank you! These are just a few of your tips we’re passing on to you, hope it makes your transition to your new computer a little smoother.

And as always if you have questions or issues and would like to speak with an IT Specialist.

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