YOU wouldn’t expect a new toaster to arrive from Morphy Richards stuffed with bits of old bread, to help you “get started”. But that’s exactly the principle on which PC manufacturers work.
Every major brand of Windows computer, whether desktop or laptop, comes pre-loaded with software you neither need nor want, let alone asked for, on the pretence that it adds value.
Often these are little more than glorified adverts for expensive programs or services someone is trying to flog you - your PC maker will take a cut of any proceeds. Other times, cosmetic add-ons will have been installed to customise the standard Windows interface - but these are more likely to add confusion than functionality. In my experience, companies which specialise in hardware are the worst at making intuitive and useful software.
This so-called bloatware isn’t exactly malevolent but it’s not harmless, either: it fills up your hard disk and slows down your computer before you’ve even begun to use it. Consequently, the first few hours for many buyers are taken up uninstalling it.
For the casual user, though, this is easier said than done - especially since it’s hard to tell whether a program bearing the badge of your PC’s manufacturer is essential to its smooth running or a thinly-disguised ploy to sell you another of its products.
A free tool from the lavatorial-sounding website pcdecrapifier.com can take some of the guesswork out of it, weeding out software that’s blatantly a commercial placement or a front for some proprietary service that will incur charges further down the line.
You can also take the DIY route, with this useful list of useless add-ons from the consumer magazine Which?
Your computer doesn’t have to be brand new for this to work; space and speed can be regained from any machine that hasn’t previously been cleaned. To remove any of these programs, go to the Windows control panel and select Add or Remove Programs, then follow the instructions, ignoring any requests to complete “feedback surveys”.
From PCs made by Acer, get rid of these programs unless you’re actively using them: Acer Ring, Acer Explorer, Social Jogger, Netflix,Spotify,7Digital Music Store.
Dell PCs can be rid of Dell Backup and Recovery and the Amazon App.
HP machines can comfortably live without HP Games, HP Connected Photo, Wildtangent Games and HP Connected Remote.
Superfluous Samsung software includes AllShare Play, HomeSync Lite, EmoDio Music Centre and SPlayer Plus.
Windows itself often comes with a collection of bloatware which can also safely be removed unless you need it. In particular, free trials of Microsoft Office, encompassing Word, Excel and PowerPoint, take up enormous amounts of disk space and can be replaced with leaner, free programs like the offline component of Google Docs.
And don’t forget to eradicate the expensive anti-virus program that came with your PC for a trial period. Use a free alternative like AVG or AntiVir instead.