Make Your New PC Hassle-Free, Part 2: Remove the Crapware
Now that you've created a system-repair disc for your new PC, let's get it running at peak performance. That means removing some, if not all, of the software that was preloaded by the system maker. Some call it shovelware; I call it crapware.
Why the derogatory moniker? Simple: The proprietary and/or third-party software that many vendors preload on their PCs is mostly junk. It consumes space on your hard drive, causes your system to boot slower than it should, and just generally gets in the way.
Yes, I'm looking at you, McAfee Internet Security 90-day trial. And Google Desktop. And Roxio everything. You're not bad products, but I didn't ask for you, and I don't want you unless I want you. Get it?
There are two ways to go about shoveling out the shovelware. First, you can install one of my longtime favorite utilities, Revo Uninstaller, then manually remove unwanted apps one by one.
Second, you can take advantage of the aptly named PC Decrapifier, which was created for the sole purpose of removing crapware. The latest version (2.1) can kick nearly 100 crap apps to the curb, everything from AOL to Yahoo! Toolbar. Of course, it's not an all-or-nothing proposition: You can choose exactly which programs it uninstalls.
Yes, I recognize the irony of installing software to remove software. But Revo Uninstaller is worth having anyway, and you can dump PC Decrapifier when you're done with.
As to the question of what programs you should keep and what you should pitch, tread carefully. For example, if your system came with a Blu-ray drive and you remove a bundled program like Arcsoft TotalMedia Theater, you may lose the ability to watch Blu-ray movies. When in doubt, keep the crap.
In most cases, however, if there's a program you don't recognize or don't think you want (a little Googling can answer most questions), get rid of it.