From the first power-on, your PC becomes the keeper of all of your digital files, the link between you and your social circle, and the portable entertainment center you depend on, day after day, and year after year. As time goes by, you begin to notice longer load times, more frequent freezing, and diminished performance speeds
. All of these tell-tale signs eventually lead up to the dreaded “Low Disk Space” notification.
You may not have realized it then, but before you even got the chance to transform your new PC into a device of your own, your computer came preloaded with a number of features and programs that you’ve probably never used or even heard of. These superfluous bloatware programs bog down your computer’s speed
, crowd your hard drive, and hog precious resources you rely on for adept performance.
Also known as junkware, crapware, shovelware, and even more derogatory terms which our family-friendly censors will not allow us to publish, bloatware is the bane of every Windows 10 user’s digital existence. But what exactly is bloatware, how does it affect your computer, and, most importantly, how can you get rid of it? We’ll cover all of the necessary bases to leave you and your PC feeling lighter and more nimble.
What is bloatware?
Bloatware is a type of software that uses up storage space on your hard drive while consuming RAM memory, battery life, CPU usage, and more without any valuable payoff. These useless programs generally come pre-installed on your Windows 10 PC and often go unnoticed as they monopolize your computer’s most valuable resources.
You’d be surprised to find out just how many programs are running at any given time. Even if you only have your internet browser and media player open on your PC, your task manager tells a different story. To see the extent of how your computer performs in real-time, open up your task manager by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, and explore the “Processes” and “Performance” tabs.
Does bloatware slow my computer down?
Since the vast majority of pre-installed bloatware boots up each and every time you press your PC’s power button, you likely have no real concept of your PC’s true speed potential sans bloatware.
Bloatware increases the time it takes for your computer to fully boot, clutters your system, and gobbles up RAM performance right before your eyes. Not only does bloatware slow your PC down, but it takes advantage of the key resources you depend on for high-quality movie-watching, productive file-sharing, and seamless multi-tasking.
What are the most common bloatware programs?
1. Manufacturer bloatware
It is a very common practice for computer manufacturers to install bloatware onto their PCs as simple merchandise placement. From HP® and Dell to Apple and Lenovo, each computer provider has its own line-up of pre-installed bloatware living on products from day one of purchase. Depending on the manufacturer of your PC, your manufacturer bloatware may differ, meaning HP bloatware will carry a different name than Dell bloatware.
Windows 10 does a great job of catering to every type of PC user, but rather than keep pre-installed programs to a minimum, the vast majority of Windows 10 computers come equipped with a load of games best suited for kids and teens. These bloatware games often include:
- Candy Crush Soda Saga
- Cooking Fever
- Bubble Witch 3
- March of Empires
- Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure
- Disney Magic Kingdoms
In an effort to stay one step ahead of consumer desires, Windows 10 computers come with a slew of preloaded apps that are designed to optimize the user experience by making common apps or useful everyday information readily available. Unfortunately, these apps can take up a lot of hard drive space and leave your PC feeling laggy and crowded.
Common Windows 10 bloatware apps include:
- Movies & TV
- Groove Music
- Calendar & Mail
- Alarms & Clocks
In addition to preloaded Windows-based apps, Windows 10 computers come with a number of third-party applications pre-installed. Unless you plan to use these apps on your PC, they’re just fancier-looking bloatware programs living within the nooks and crannies of your computer. Third-party apps include:
- McAfee LiveSafe
Pre-installed applications that allow users to use software for free for a limited time are considered trialware. After a 30-day or 6-month trial period, the software requires payment to continue regular functionality. The most common type of trialware falls within the security software genre. McAfee and Norton are among the most popular pre-installed trialware programs that give users a free taste of top-notch cybersecurity before requesting credit card information.
How can I remove bloatware from my Windows 10 PC?
Before those pesky “Low Disk Space” notifications can get you down, free yourself of all the clunky junk inflating your PC’s hardware. Learning how to remove bloatware from your Windows 10 computer the default way is simple.
The Windows 10 control panel is your one-stop-shop answer to modifying just about anything living on your computer. From firewall settings to color scheme personalization, the control panel functions as a PC’s configuration center.
Bloatware removal process
Step 1: Access your control panel by pressing Windows + I at the same time. This will direct you to the Windows Settings page. Select “Apps.”
Step 2: Within the “Apps & Features” tab, you’ll see a long list of all programs installed on your PC. Sorting by install date will give you a better understanding of what programs came pre-installed. Sorting by size will inform you of which programs are taking up the most space on your disk.
Step 3: Click on the app you wish to remove and an “Uninstall” button will reveal itself under the program name. Some uninstall jobs will require an added layer of confirmation to ensure you’re certain of your decision. Press “Yes” and watch your disk space grow.
What bloatware programs are dangerous to delete?
There are some programs that may look like bloatware but are essential to the operation of your PC. Make sure you know what you’re deleting before you hit the confirm button. Believe it or not, removing certain bloatware programs can negatively affect your computer, and only worsen performance speeds and create lingering processing problems. The last thing you need on your digital plate is to be dealing with dangerous uninstalls that compromise basic functionality.
Manufacturer bloatware may come in a number of different application names and sizes, but we recommend keeping them on board for proper PC operation.
What to keep and how to be sure
HP bloatware programs like HP JumpStart, HP Support Assistant, and HP Audio Switch may take up space on your computer, but they provide vital performance enhancing qualities that you may miss soon after uninstalling. If you want to remove HP bloatware, be sure to understand the risks before confirming.
Having a sure understanding of what you can and cannot uninstall (without compromising performance) before you begin your bloatware purge doesn’t have to be a guessing game. “Should I Remove It”
is a great resource to use when you’re looking to empty out disk space but don’t know where to start .
With your newfound knowledge of how to remove bloatware from Windows 10, there’s nothing standing between you and a lighter disk drive. The taste of freedom is just a few clicks away.
About the Author: Tulie Finley-Moise is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tulie is a digital content creation specialist based in San Diego, California with a passion for the latest tech and digital media news.