How To Remove All The Crap From A Brand New Computer

You just bought a brand new computer, and you are so excited about getting it up and running. It hasn’t been in the news much, but new PC’s just keep getting slower and slower. It makes sense because the slower the PC is, the less time it will last, and hence the sooner you buy a new computer. That’s their plan.

Before you even open the box, there is a ton of stuff that has been put on your computer not for your benefit. In many cases, the computer manufacturers like Gateway, Dell and HP are receiving millions of dollars in payment from certain companies to stuff their software in front of you. Often times, they want you to ultimately buy something and so after a certain amount of time, the software goes into annoying and badgering mode. When that happens, your productivity goes in the tank until you figure out what to do about all the persistent popups. No, it’s not rogue security software but it might as well be. Let’s make it clear that your brand new PC is preinstalled with a bunch of special offers that by and large you will never need.

On top of that, the computer makers are receiving further payment from people that want something more important than your wallet. They want your eyeballs. So your PC is also chock full of software and tricks to steer you toward a particular search engine, or perhaps that e-Reader you never wanted.

There are three categories of crap that are being placed on new computers.

1. Start Up Processes. Start up processes as a rule are unnecessary. As stated before, they are a method of keeping a product in front of you. During the installation process, many programs create an icon on the task bar so it is always in your face. The problem with this is that it slows down reboot times and also takes up valuable memory that you need for watching videos and surfing the web. You need to be vigilant. Once you have your start up processes clean, you are still running risks. Every time you install a new program or plug in, they might take the liberty of invading your startup list.

Fortunately, there is a simple way of to monitor all of this. It is called MSCONFIG and is included with Windows. Just hit start, and in the search box, type, MSCONFIG. Look quickly through all of the startup processes. Virtually all of them can be disabled. Note: You are not disabling the program, and the program is still entirely functional after doing this. You are just disabling the program from loading an applet during boot.

2. Start Up Services. Since you are in MSCONFIG, you will also see a tab for startup services as well. You will be astounded on the number of services that are running on your computer! Services are similar to start up processes, but services have a more severe impact on performance. Not only do services slow boot times, and use up memory, services also run constantly in the background waiting to be triggered. If you have ever thought that your computer has a mind of its own, it is because a service has decided to do something without your knowledge. There are very few services that you really need. Using MSCONFIG, check Hide All Microsoft Services. What is left is by and large unnecessary.

There are a few exceptions. One example is BlueTooth. I don’t use BlueTooth, but if you are using BlueTooth service running so that when a BlueTooth device comes near, it is recognized. Those are the exceptions. In our testing, we have not seen any negative ramification from disabling the services. More importantly, the performance improvement can be astounding. You will literally feel like you bought a different computer. Everything seems faster when unnecessary services are disabled.

3. Unnecessary Applications. There are many applications that you should eliminate as soon as you get your computer. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get rid of them. Just go to Uninstall Programs in Control Panel, and you can analyze all the junk the computer manufacture left behind.

MS Config is a great tool to remove all the junk placed on a new computer.

There are many, many types of junk that is placed on a brand new computer. Here are some of the more common forms of junk and gunk found on new computers.

Security Software. In the United States, almost every computer comes preloaded with some form of security software. The main culprits are McAfee and Symantec. Both of these companies have large and lucrative arrangements with the computer makers to preload their software. Their software is the most expensive and it is far from the best. Plus on top of that, there are plenty of free solutions from Microsoft, AVG, Malware Bytes, and many many more. You can see a comprehensive list of all free security solutions on our Free Software List.

The problem is that once the free trial is over, the security software is placed into annoying mode. Buy Me. Give Me Your Credit Card. Now. You will lose your identity to criminals. You will regret this decision the rest of your life. But the worse part is that they make it so hard to turn it off and just say No Thank You. It never happens at a good time, so the best thing is to take the brand new computer and uninstall the trial ware, and then install something of your liking.

Toolbars. I have a personal dislike for toolbars. Toolbars are little bars that is placed on the very top of your browser. The big problem with toolbars such as these is that they take up a lot of vertical space. I have literally seen computers that have 4-5 tools bars, and there is less than 1/2 of the screen is left to see the actual web pages. The problem is that if they take up 1/2 the web page, then you are doubling the amount of time you spend scrolling to read your web pages.

There are all kinds of tool bars, and I have yet to find one that serves a useful purpose. Everyone has them including reputable companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and so on.

Games. There is a company called Wild Tangent, and somehow they have managed to install their games on virtually every new PC. For virtually everyone I know, I recommend to uninstall it immediately. Best I can tell, they are trying to get you to buy their WildCoins so that when you get addicted to the game, then they bang on your credit card. Unfortunatley, they make it hard to uninstall. Frequently, they will have like 40 games on our computer, and they make your check each game individually. They also disguise their name. So rather than Wild Tangent, it can also say Dell Games or HP Games. For some reason, I get a strange satisfaction when I blow these thing off my hard drive.

PC Manufacturer software. You will also find a lot of software that the PC maker put on the hard drive. Some of it is good stuff. My Sony came with Roxio CD burning software and Adobe PhotoShop Element. These are good and useful programs. But a lot of the other stuff is total junk. I recently purchased a new Gateway and it comes with this crazy keyboard that has about 30 extra keys on it. I have no idea what they are for, but they have to have special software that knows what each cute key does.

Last But Not Least. Here is a rule of thumb. You should know everything that is running on your computer. In the example above, if your computer maker put something on the hard drive, and you are not sure of it, then maybe you should leave it. But if there is something and you have no idea, then it should probably go. If there is not a manufacturer, then it should go for sure. If you still don’t feel comfortable, then Google the name of the service. The key point is that you must be vigilant if you want a good performing computer.

Conclusion. It is certainly not easy to keep a computer running great. But in my view, it is worth it. You want your computer to last as long as possible, and the only way is to be vigilant. For me it is at least a day’s worth of work to transfer everything to a new computer and getting it tweaked so I am productive again.

This is a major initiative at PC Pitstop, and in the next few months, we will be introducing features in PC Matic that will make a new computer even faster. Stay Tuned.

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73 thoughts on “How To Remove All The Crap From A Brand New Computer

  1. Awesome issues here. I’m very happy to peer your article. Thank you a lot and I am having a look ahead to contact
    you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  2. Lol.. all of this goes without saying man.. if someone doesnt understand that, they shouldn't work on their pc. I have never run into anyone who reinstalls, not understand that it goes with reinstalling. But, you're right. I should have clarified exactly point to point.. so even a monkey could understand it.

  3. Mark WickedInnocence O'Hearn, or just go to the manufacturer support site and download them….. pretty self explanatory and simple. acer, hp, dell, asus and i'm pretty sure all major brands have a drivers site.

  4. The problem is, even if you install generic Windows from a MS DVD, you **STILL** end up with crapware, except it comes from Microsoft. If you don’t like DVD Maker, Live Messenger, MS Mail, MS Photos, whatever, you’re stuck with the worthless junk with **NO** way of removing it.

  5. Easier, but more time consuming. Get a fresh disk and reinstall just windows. Then use your programs to your choosing. Backup programs, antivirus, and video player and whatnot.

  6. So, I have a question. I'm trying to watch some downloaded videos on my HP (Sony Vaio E Series_Windows 7) and every time I want to watch a video, a small window will open saying: "Please wait while Windows configures Reader for PC". It's SUPER annoying and makes the video take longer to load, overall I CAN watch my videos but I don't want to have keep running into that stupid 'Reader for PC', should I just remove it? (And, how can I remove it..)

  7. I work with installing, dusting, maintance computers and support blablabla etc etc etc. When I buy a new computer I usually format it and reinstall the OS (Windows or whatever) and the programs I use. That way I know the crap it comes with is not there is just my crap. lolz. But I gotta have another computer so I can download drivers in case the one I setup missing any drivers (especially network drivers). I usually make an "image" of what I installed so I can reinstall it faster in case it crashes or goes very slow in the future. Usually they do after a time due to several reasons, mainly that I installed to much crap with the time. lolz Well at work the users have to call us if they want to install software on the office computers. We don't allow them to do it themself. That way we avoid viruses and crap software. Well here I go talking and talking again. >>>>> Anyways is a nice article for everyone to read. <<<<<<<<

    • @Ronald McGear:
      If you are doing a clean re-install on a brand new computer, the thing to get is BooZet’s DoubleDriver utility. Let the system do it’s initial setup so that it loads all the necessary hardware drivers, then use DoubleDriver to back up the machine-specific device drivers to a USB dtick. Once you do the clean install, you can pull the drivers from the backup.

  8. I have a new Blackberry Playbook. There was a major update this week and since that time it is extremely slow starting. I do not see that much is added to it but it is sure slower starting. Does anyone know how to speed it up a bit? Thanks

  9. I had the same problem with this article that others have related, I followed the directives but it made my PC functionally inoperative so I had to restore all the files to remedy this. I also AGREE completely that the Folks at Pitstop are NOT doing right by us PC users by NOT reading the Comments for Feedback so they could correct whatever inadequacies of their advice and then provide us the HELP we come to Pitstop to get. But this is a common problem, Cybernauts, folks who are highly sophisticated about Programming and Computers do NOT seem to bother to accord consideration to those of us who are NOT such dedicated Cybernauts so as to make their advice more USER FRIENDLY. Hey whoever it was who coined that phrase needs to be SHOT, Computers are ONLY User Friendly when they ARE and when they aren't it's PURGATORY!

  10. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for this article. I received a new laptop as a Valentine’s Day present from my son-in-law and daughter. It’s an HP workhorse at 1.5 TB, but it seems to not move any faster than other computers under 1.5TB. 🙁
    What an eye openner!!! I had already decided not to take up Norton on its offer after my trial- after research- but now I guess I’d better remove it before the trial ends. tee hee Lots of work to do…sigh…but it sounds like it’ll be worth it! 🙂

  11. DELL HIGHJACKS Facebook Connection.

    This message concerns PITSTOP as well as We private Computer users so I would hope that the Cyber Experts of Pit Stop do read and take this message seriously enough to act on it and be of help to not only ME but Pitstop.

    Specifically I have a Dell purchase no more than 6 months ago. Last week I attempted to go on Facebook through the usual link but instead of opening Facebook there was a page with a Download Box. I tried several times but continuing to get the same page I made the decision to brave the Download which might be now required for Facebook for good reason. The download took only seconds but when I opened it there was only a page full of Computer Code. I continued to try again and again but always got the same result. I googled Facebook to hopefully find a Link to the Management but found that every time I clicked a Facebook Link I again got the page full of Computer Code. I then tried Dell Support and opened the Dell Tile on their Dell Stage. Sure enough there was a new site on there called Dell Facebook Outlet that took me to a Facebook Login page but with Dell Posts promoting their Timeline program.
    I was able to Login and Get On Facebook but now I must use Dell Facebook Outlet every time I want to do so. ATTENTION PITSTOP. I tried to click the link you provide to the Pitstop Facebook site and got the same page of Computer Code. SO as should be obvious, whoever imposed this ‘Malware’ on probably not just my PC but that of any Dell Customer who purchased a new PC recently has also done a serious disservice to Pit Stop that prevents using their Facebook Connection or at least again for ME and Dell Owners.

    Please Respond ASAP with HELP on ridding myself of this Outrageous imposition on my Cyber Space and usage of Facebook!!!

    • I resolved the problem I was having in my earlier Post. Because DELL was involved I thought the malicious File might have been in my PC but neither I nore Malewarebytes could find such. So I availed myself of the Support of my MSN Browser to Optimize the Browser and this directed me on How to remove ALL the History, Cookies, and other stuff that one regularly picks up every time they Go Online with a PC. Sure enough that remedied the problem HOWEVER what you folks need to know is that FACEBOOK is a major habitat of what we call Cyber Nerds who have nothing better to do than Hack into other folks computers and in this case Dell took advantage of Facebook to impose a Malware on their Customers that allowed them to Post their Ads as in my case whenever I clicked my Link to Facebook. Good Idea to CLEAN UP your Browser in this way with regularity and this should be the FIRST response to such problems with Malware and the like.

  12. I added physical memory, increased virtual memory, ran malware software and registry editor. Nothing worked as well as the information found in this article. Sooooo grateful.

  13. So what do we leave on? I have a ton of crap & I don’t know what it is. I am afraid to get rid of it. Can anyone say what is all we need, so I can get rid of the rest?

  14. great article. But regarding msconfig, the “APPLY” button is greyed out. Ticking ‘selective start-up’ has no effect as a result.

    Is the APPLY button greyed out on everyone’s PC?

      • Thank you Grump3 & OldOnliner
        @Grump3: Yes – My profile is Administrator
        @OldOnliner: I changed one of the configuration options. It then said “An ‘Access Denied’ error was returned while attempting to change a service. You may need to log on using an Administrator account to make the specified changes.” But I am.
        After which it said “restart necessary to apply these changes” AND THEN . . . it said msconfig is starting in safe mode because you have changed the start-up from Normal to Selective. And it always will” or summat like that.
        What blasted nonsense. A cynic would say that this is how MS stops users from removing crapware. I’m so disappointed that the author appears not to read thes posts.
        That’s enough PC-ing for the day. I’m off to watch my football (UK) team play Liverpool in a major final.
        I’ll return tomorrow when hopefully you very helpful guys will have waved a magic wand & found my “Apply” button in msconfig / Selective start-up. ;o)

        • @Taffy087: When you go into “MSCONFIG” go to the “Startup Tab” to change what you want to run or not. If you make a change the apply button will be active, if no change it will be grayed out.

          In “services tab” I wouldnt mess with that part, I unchecked it all and the startup was only 20 sec. faster and not worth the time…for me anyway and stops services (excluding MS services) I need running.
          Hope this helps.
          Jim

          • @Jim:
            Many thanks Jim. I made a change (to Selctive) and the Apply button was still greyed out. So I unticked*** an item there and the Apply button was now available. (***I remembered to re-tick it!)
            btw – I didn’t go into the services tab. The word ‘service’ in their warning is misleading!

    • Hi Taffy087,

      The apply button will be greyed out unless you have made some change. If you haven’t changed anything with msconfig, then it should say normal and the apply button will be grey and you can just quit that window. If you have changed something and click on normal, then the apply button should appear

  15. I can verify the comment about McAfee. I loadedthis thing and my laptop speed took a nose dive. Would like to get rid of it but need a good replacement for it

  16. The points made in this article, the fact that proprietary screen reader and screen magnification software for blind users (of which I am one) typically costs $500 – $1,000 (not including the cost of upgrades), as well as many other reasons were what strongly influenced my decision to move to Linux back in 2007.

    I still keep Windows around under a virtual machine so that I can use it to help others who have problems under Windows. I’m not saying Linux is not without its issues, as no piece of software is perfect, but it does what I need it to do, it does it efficiently, and it (through my past five years of use) has never suffered from software degradation.

    In any case, thanks for these articles! I like to keep up with what is going on, and I have found a lot of great information here at this site.

  17. I would love to remove all the games on my computer with Windows 7. There is nothing in the control panel. When I try to delete the folder in C/Program Files it say I need permission. . I googled and others have the same issue.

    • @MaryAnne: To remove the games that come with Windows, go into Control Panel. Click “Uninstall a Program” or “Programs and Features”. While looking at the list of programs, notice the upper left column and click where it says, “Turn Windows Features on or off”.

      If you wish to uninstall the dreck, teaser games that come from places like WildTangent, etc., you’ll need to look in the regular Uninstall Programs listing for suitable entries.

      There’s a high probability, you’ll see a dialog asking to confirm the actions from Windows’ User Account Control. This is normal. You will need to confirm the Administrative permission.

      • @OldOnliner: Hi I want to uninstall all the games but there is nothing in the Uninstall a Program area. No Microsoft Games, No Wild Tangent.
        When I try to get rid of the folder there is a small window saying it need administrator permission but the only option is try again or cancel. So where do I confirm the Admin permission? I really appreciate your help. Thanks.

    • @MaryAnne: You shouldn’t really try to delete the folder in program files. If possible you should always try to get rid of a program via add/remove programs or if you are on win 7, programs and features.

      This is because it may leave a lot of stuff still your registry and other places if you try to delete the folder.

      There is a way to uninstall the Microsoft games. Just go to programs files or if in Win 7 Programs and features and then select uninstall windows components on the LHS of the screen. Once there, look down the list and you will see games. Simply untick the ones you don’t want and then uninstall.

      With those pesky Wild tangent games it is a lot harder. You have to go to program files (x86)in Win 7 and click on games or the name of the computer manufacturer and games. For example Toshiba Games, HP Games and so on. Once you are inside click on the individual game folders and you will see an uninstall icon. What a very crafty and underhand way to go about making their software hard to uninstall.

        • @MaryAnne: @Sooz: I wish I could find Wild Tangent somewhere on my computer so I can delete it. I was able to delete 4 games but there are still 14 in there. The only other thing I see in the HP games that has an uninstall
          is Game Explorer categories

      • @Neil: Thanks Neil I went into program files but there is no ..uninstall windows components on the left hand side of the screen.
        When I go to program files x86 I can see HP Games I can see some uninstall links when I click on the individual games.
        Thanks so much for your help.

        • @MaryAnne: @Jim:
          What version windows are you running? I have Win7. I have start menu setup for the control panel to be shown as a “list” when I hover the pointer over the control panel button and it shows a list or everything in the control panel. If you havent changed that to hover it would be then to click on control panel and under “programs”- uninstall a program and then on the left “Turn windows features on or off”…I do believe Vista is the same.

          • @Jim: Hi Jim I am running Windows 7 Hi Jim I just realized when I click on Control Panel – Programs I see one list on the left while when I click on the link under Programs that says Uninstall a Program I am able to see Turn Windows Features on and off. Thanks Sorry for the confusion.

  18. Using the free version of Revo Uninstaller, you can clean offending code off your computer’s hard drive without having to wipe everything off the drive and do a clean install either. Wipe & reinstall is a pretty drastic step to take when cleanup can be achieved so easily, without all the drama. Just my opinion… Do as you like.

  19. It saddens me to see the MSCONFIG screen shot where the instructions say, “Just go to Uninstall Programs in Control Panel…”

    So very many people and pretend-techs go to MSConfig to disable startup items/services BEFORE doing the Uninstall dance. And that’s exactly backwards from how it should be done. Doing MSConfig first will usually leave the disabled (unchecked) entries behind after the uninstall – as sort of “ghosts in the machine” – and that is not at all a desirable condition for non-tech type computer users.

    MSConfig should be the LAST resort for dealing with junk, and NOT one of the first places.

      • Hi. I’m NOT a teccie and so I always err on the side of caution. I was told to use msconfig as my final ‘solution’, when all else had failed. I use Winpatrol to delay start-ups. But sometimes if there some stuff left over from a bad uninstall (I now use Revo)I’ve found Autoruns an excellent tool:
        http://www.filehippo.com/download_autoruns/

  20. Once you have removed all the crapware, updated & tweaked your PC to your taste the easiest & fastest way to recover your setup is to then clone that system partition to another hard drive, (either internal or external).
    In the event of a crash You can then get back to a clean fresh install in under 20 minutes.

  21. Advertisers pay the computer com[panies to put these trial versions on their systems. Withiut them these new systems would cost a lot more

  22. PC Pitstop PC Matic I copied and ran this program, It ran for 2 or 3 hours and was still running when I stopped it. Never did see what it was supposed todo for Me, sooo, I took about 20 min to get rid of it and finally got it out of my computer soo I guess it left a bunch of crap in my Registery!! I have given up on trying to get a REGISTERY CLEANER. They either don’t clen it or You have to work 4 or 5 Hours to clen the Things off Your Computer!!

  23. Having a pre-installed OS which requires the purchaser to copy it onto a disc is similar to sweat equity in purchasing a new home. Microsoft does not honour OS warranties with OEM in the serial number, or bundled operating systems. Judging from conversations I’ve witnessed between consumers and sales people, the majority of purchasers have no idea what their shiny new product comes with. And, sales is about money. We all want more money unless we’re spending it. Cheers.

  24. 1 tool I find very useful in helping you know and/or find out if you have crapware is (win patrol) This is one program that runs at startup on my taskbar near the clock. It tells you when a new program(s) is/are trying to add itself to your start program and run in the back ground to take up useful memory and space. It’s free and very useful at helping you keep your computer programs in check. I have used it for years and it only does what it has to, let you decide what you want to allow or not and that would help your computer run better without the extra “crap”. Just though I would mention it.

  25. You can use it also when do a 'factory restore' to like new on the OS. The first thing I do and have done since buying my first XP systems, remove the crap-baggage. You spend 1 hour installing the new OS, another 2 making sure you take out the trash and tweak the system like it should be out of the box.

  26. Unfortunately, new computers do NOT come with Windows disks, or at least not very often. At best, they come with an installation set of disks that restore the PC to as it was, complete with crapware. At worst, there is a restore partition that does the same thing at the cost of 15-20GB of your hard drive. My feeling is that I am paying for a Windows computer. I want Windows and appropriate drivers installed and nothing else. Value-added? Right. But for whom?

    • @Oldgeek: Most computers allow you to make recovery disks at least one time. Remove all the crap you do not want, defrag and make the recovery disks. If you need to start over some day you can remove the partition, format the whole drive and then use the disks you made to make the recovery.

      • @Ralph: New computers not only let you make recovery disks, but some – Dell, Toshiba, HP – let you make recovery USB drives. Asus laptops let you create a recovery ISO on a USB drive. Granted these drives must be 16 to 32 Gigs. (That’s not as bad as it sounds, Staples had a micro-size 16gb USB on sale last week for $14.99!)

        Almost all OEMs provide an mechanism to recover driver/applications from system media or partition WITHOUT the need for a full-up system restore.

        Lastly, since WinXP days, HP has provided a way to remove and resize the recovery partition after making system restore media to recover it as usable space on the main partition. (Of course, Vista and Win7 have their own built-in means of managing partitions so there’s no longer a need for OEMs to provide it.)

  27. If you’re buying a new computer, a copy of the OS and all the software bundled in should be included with the package.

    With that in mind, is it not just quicker and easier to wipe the computer’s HDD and OS clean and reinstall the OS with the supplied disk, as the OS disk does not (from my experience) include all the extra programs etc.

    • @Frankerick Ocean:
      Sadly, many new PCs do come without a disk for recovery. The first thing I had to do was burn two DVDs ready for recovery. Then I cleaned out the tower and installed everything that was necessary. It’s much the same as Forest R. Johnson described. In my opinion, it’s worth the time.

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