If you’re human and you use a computer, it has some junk on it. Every computer has something it doesn’t need on it, and every computer is a touch slower because of it. Most PCs actually come with loads of useless software pre-installed; developers pay big-bucks to companies like Dell or HP to pre-load their software. These programs are aptly named Bloatware and, while they don’t do anything to hurt your computer, they do slow it down by clogging your RAM, cluttering your registry, and taking up hard drive space.
Most of us are a touch hesitant to delve too deep into our computers, and for good reason! They’re expensive, complicated, and fragile. However, taking a few simple steps to clean up a bloatware infestation can go a long way towards making your computer not only faster, but easier to navigate, and more fun to use as well.
The first step is to identify which programs you don’t need. Common perpetrators found on a new system are Norton Antivirus, Wild Tangent Games, and Vongo among others. Removing these programs is simple and harmless, here’s how:
- Click the Start button
- Click “Control Panel”
- Click “Programs” or “Programs and Features”
- Here you’ll see a long list of programs. Click on the one you want to remove.
- click uninstall at the top.
- After removing certain programs, Windows will prompt you to restart the computer.
Another type of bloatware are unnecessary programs that are, by default, set to run at all times. Adobe Acrobat is a good example of this, Acrobat is a useful program used to read digital documents and it’s worth keeping around. Adobe, however, seems to think that it needs to be running at all times, even when you’re not even thinking about reading digital documents, making it a useless drain on your computer’s resources.
In order to fix this and other programs like it, we’ll use a program built-in to Windows—MSConfig.
- Click the Start Button
- Type MSConfig into the search box (Or use the “run” command if you’re using Windows XP)
- Click on msconfig.exe
- Here you’ll see a small window with several tabs at the top.
- Click to the “Services” tab and check the “Hide all Microsoft Services” box
- Here you’ll find several services that automatically start when you turn on your computer. Some of these, like antivirus, you should leave checked, and some can be unchecked. If you don’t know what something is, try running without it, nothing here will break your computer (as long as you checked that “Hide all Microsoft Services” box)
- Uncheck the services you’d like to remove and click apply
- Click the Startup tab
- These are processes or programs that start when you load your computer. Many of these are not necessary and can be unchecked. If you’re not sure if something can be safely unchecked try this:
- Hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete
- Open your Task Manager
- Click on the “Processes” tab
- Look in the right hand column for the name of the process you’re not sure about (e.g. Windows Explorer)
- Once you’ve found it look to the left hand side for the Image Name of the process (e.g. Explorer.exe)
- Input the Image Name into www.processlibrary.com. This site contains information on nearly 150,000 processes and will let you know what the processes in question are so you’ll know if you can remove them.
- Click apply
- After doing this your PC will prompt you to restart. If you’re not busy, go ahead and do it. If you’re in the middle of something else, click exit without restart and your changes will go into effect at the next startup.
These two steps, using MS Config and removing bloatware, will put your computer square on the road to non-crappiness. Remember though, these are not one time processes, follow these steps at least once a month to keep your PC clean and fast.