What Is Crapware & Bloatware?

Many digital devices come loaded with pre-installed software. While some of these applications may be useful, others take up space and slow your device down without giving you any benefit in return. These programs are often referred to as crapware or bloatware, and once you know they exist, you can start figuring out what to do about them. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Different Types of Bloatware

  1. Trialware: Free to use... until it isn't
  2. Utilities: Can be useful, but not necessarily the best option available
  3. Adware: Invades your privacy and generates annoying ads

What Problems are Caused by Crapware & Bloatware?

First of all, this software takes up space on your hard drive. If there's enough of it, even smaller programs can add up to a big problem. This can leave you without room to download files that you actually want. Bloatware also slows you down. Some of these programs can run unnoticed in the background, draining computing power and making it difficult to stream a movie or play a video game. But worse than both of these problems is the potential security risk. For example, a program called Superfish once came pre-installed on several laptops. The software injected advertising into encrypted Google search pages in a way that left computers vulnerable to serious cyberattacks.

What Devices Come With Bloatware?

How Do I Get Rid of Crapware & Bloatware?

If you have a little time, the simplest thing you can do is to go through and manually delete any software that you don't want. Just be careful and make sure you don't accidentally get rid of an important program while you're doing it. If you have a PC, you can try using the Refresh Windows Tool. This will remove any apps that don't come standard with Windows, including software installed by your PC's manufacturer. There are also several third party programs that can help you identify and remove bloatware.

Programs that Find and Remove Bloatware

  1. SlimComputer (PC): Keep your computer fast & secure
  2. CCleaner (PC): "The world's most popular PC cleaner"
  3. AppCleaner (Mac): Easy to use & free
  4. AppDelete (Mac): For a more thorough uninstall

Conclusion

Bloatware and crapware can be annoying and, in some cases, even dangerous. Luckily, there are many ways to identify and delete unwanted software. Whether you sort through your programs yourself or get an app to do some of the heavy lifting, it's worth taking the time to clean out your device. You'll be left with a computer that's faster, more secure, and has plenty of drive space for files that you actually want.

In Depth

Bloatware, also known as crapware, is a term used to describe undesirable software that actively uses up your device's resources. Have you ever bought a brand-new laptop, smartphone, or even a pre-built PC? If you have, then you've probably encountered bloatware, and chances are you may not even be aware of its existence.

Bloatware almost always comes pre-installed with any new computer or phone. Most of the time, it's completely harmless and only takes up a negligible amount of space on your device. Sometimes, though, it can actively slow down your system by launching at startup and running in the background without your knowledge.

Manufacturers install bloatware on their devices mostly because companies pay them to do so. They're usually trial versions of software that you may or may not find useful, such as an antivirus or a media player. This serves as advertising for the developers because once your trial expires, it'll repeatedly pop up and ask if you'd like to buy it. Sometimes, they won't even wait until the trial expires, which is much worse.

They're usually trial versions of software that you may or may not find useful, such as an antivirus or a media player.

At this point, you're probably wondering how to get rid of bloatware. Well, there's lots of ways to remove them from your system, depending on what device you're using. Let's go through a few options to consider.

Let's start off with computers. First of all, if you've built your own PC, then you probably don't have to worry about bloatware. If you own a pre-built PC though, then there's a huge chance that you have a bunch of useless programs installed on it.

The simplest way to fix this problem is to manually remove them one by one. It's a tedious process, but it's easy and it works. All you have to do in this case is open up the control panel and select "Programs and Features". From here, just look for the programs that you would consider to be bloatware and uninstall them.

From here, just look for the programs that you would consider to be bloatware and uninstall them.

If you don't want to do that because you're worried that you might accidentally uninstall something that's actually useful or essential, then you can download something like "PC Decrapifier". This program is a free tool that scans your computer for potentially unnecessary software. After it's done analyzing your system, it'll make recommendations based on what other users usually remove.

PC Decrapifier even shows you which programs are either questionable in terms of essentiality or just straight up not recommended for removal. You might still have to do your own research on what some of these programs are though. Either way, it'll help you make a more informed decision on what you should keep or uninstall.

Another option you have is to completely reinstall your operating system. This mostly applies to Windows users, and it may not be the best course of action. It will ensure that you have a clean system afterwards though. The main downside to this is that you might also have to reinstall drivers for your hardware, and it may take more time than it's worth.

It will ensure that you have a clean system afterwards though.

Now, if you're on mobile, removing bloatware is going to be a little more difficult. For starters, most manufacturers, and sometimes carriers, fill their devices with dozens of pre-installed apps. The problem with these is that the majority of them are barely useful for the average user. A good example of these is Apple's "Stocks" and pretty much the majority of Google's pre-installed apps on Android devices.

Unfortunately, most of these just cannot be uninstalled normally and may actually do more harm than good when removed. If you do insist though, there are a few ways you can remove bloatware on mobile.

You can start by checking each app to see if it can be removed normally. How this works will depend on your phone. Basically, if you get the option to uninstall something, then go for it. If you don't, then this is where it gets complicated.

You can start by checking each app to see if it can be removed normally.

In most cases, you may have to jailbreak or root your device, which is not something we recommend unless you absolutely know what you're doing. If you really want to remove bloatware from your phone, then we recommend that you go online and look for a guide for your specific device.

Alternatively, if you're an Android user, you can disable apps through the settings menu. All you have to do is go to your settings and look for "Applications" or "Apps". From here, it's as easy as choosing an app from the list and just tapping on the "disable" button. This won't free up space, but it can potentially speed up your phone and help extend battery life.

Overall, removing bloatware can be very frustrating, and sometimes it isn't worth the effort. This is something that most people will just have to deal with for now, since it's highly unlikely that companies will stop shipping devices riddled with such software.