Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Say no to crapware

Windows computers ship with the Windows operating system, and if the buyer asks for it, preinstalled software like Microsoft Office.

They also ship with preinstalled software that few, if any, buyers know they’re getting, much less want. The usual culprits include DVD burning utilities, anti-malware protection and cheapo graphics programs, to name but a few.

This stuff often confuses the less techno-savvy among us. It isn’t always useful. And installing and running it can cause headaches further down the line – think license renewal notices, conflicts with other software, difficulty uninstalling it, and so forth. Even when software doesn’t run “in the foreground”, it may perform background processes that could hamstring your computer while providing no benefit to you.

That’s why it’s earned the scorn of many people, embodied in the nickname “crapware.” At best, it sits on your computer occupying space. At worst, it’s active when you start up your computer, impedes the computer’s performance and proves difficult to disable or remove.

Why would Windows computer makers risk later support headaches and reputational damage stemming from the wrath of their customers? Third-party software makers pay for the privilege of having  demo versions of their software ship on new computers, in the hope that consumers buy the full version. Their hope translate into, in many cases, about $100.00 extra revenue per unit for the computer maker.

How you can use this tip

To help your computer run cleanly, consider taking these steps.

  • When you acquire a new computer, use your Add/Remove Programs control panel to remove any third-party software that you know you don’t need. Don’t consider whether you might need it later – just uninstall it now.
  • If you think some of the pre-installed software might be useful, research it online before you use it.
  • For that matter, research any software before you install it on your computer. Generally, the fewer programs you install on your computer, the fewer headaches your computer will give you.

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