Crapware, also known as Bloatware or PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) are applications that are not helpful to us and they get installed to our computer without are direct agreement and knowledge of it.
A common way that Crapware gets installed to your computer, is via your manufacturer, if you ever got a computer out if its box, be that a Laptop or a Desktop, you might have noticed that there were some applications pre-installed which you did not necessarily need.
Another way that Crapware gets to your PC is as bundled software, which means that you install one application and of nowhere you get one more. That extra application got installed without your direct permission and knowledge of it and is also considered as Crapware.
The ones that install these kinds of applications actually warn you in one way or another, but they do it purposely in a way that makes it hard for you to notice. And even if you know that additional software gets installed on your PC you won’t be able to do much about it, are you willing to not buy that wonderful PC that you want because of the Crapware that comes with it? I don’t think so, the only thing that you can do is to remove the Crapware after you get your PC.
Why does that happen?
So, if Crapware is indeed something that we don’t need, then why do all these companies insist on installing it to our computers? The short answer is money and advertising. Have you ever wondered how you got that free pre-installed Antivirus for a year? You got it for the sake of advertising, the company that develops this Antivirus paid your manufacturer to install their product on your brand new PC and that can also be considered as Crapware. In some extreme cases, the Manufacturer will make it so that you will not be able to remove that Crapware, at least not without using some tricks.
So How can we remove Crapware?
The Hard way
The hard way is tedious but in some cases where your Manufacture made it so that you won’t be able to remove the Crapware with automated programs, it will be required. If you want to you can jump ahead and try out with the easy way to see if you get any results, but for now, I’m going to show you the hard way which is more likely to work.
Through the control panel
Select “Uninstall a program”, after clicking there, a list of your installed applications will pop up. Go through them, see which ones you do not need, and uninstall them. In some cases, you might be unable to uninstall a program as it’s already running in the background and it just refuses to stop, in that case, you can try rebooting to safe mode and try from there. In safe mode only the absolutely required applications will start up, so if you’re unable to uninstall a program normally because it’s running and you are unable to stop it, then trying out from the safe mode might be a good idea.
Through your browser
If your Crapware is something like a browser hijacker or an adware, then you’ll have to go to your browser’s settings to remove it. If your homepage is changed to something else and you’re unable to change it back, then congratulations, you are infected with a browser hijacker. You can try to change that from your browser’s settings, if you removed the main program from your control panel that is.
If the hijacker is not removed, then your homepage will revert back to the Crapware version no matter how many times you change it, it might be necessary to use an Anti-Malware for this, but we’ll get to that later. If you’re having ads popping up out of nowhere even when you shouldn’t have any ads at all, then chances are that you have an adware which belongs to the PUP category.
To remove that you must go to your browser’s extensions or plug-ins depending on your browser and adware that you have, and remove the adware that is causing this problem. You might need to restore your browser to its default settings to completely get rid of the adware and prevent it from getting there again without your permission.
The Easy way
This method might or might not work depending on the Crapware that you have, if you only have your pre-installed applications to remove, then you’re better off sticking with the hard way, but if you have adware, browser hijackers and everything in between, then this is likely a better solution.
Use an Anti-Malware
In case that you’re wondering, an Antivirus will not be much of a help here. Antivirus programs are not generally designed to remove Crapware, one of them could work, but Anti-Malware programs are a better choice for this as one of their main concerns is to remove PUPs and such.
The thing is that they might not work with Bloatware, which means that your pre-installed applications are likely to not be removed with that.
If your focus is to remove Bloatware, then jump ahead to the next section. So, as an Anti-Malware, I would recommend to use MalwareFox as it is lightweight, cheap, effective and its free version offers the same features as the premium one but without real-time protection which you will not need for removing Crapware anyway.
Use a Bloatware removal
A Bloatware removal is only meant to remove your unwanted pre-installed applications, I don’t think that it’s going to work for adware, browser hijackers and anything like that. A Bloatware removal has something like a blacklist, the developers have examined the various programs that manufactures install as Bloatware and they have made their application so that if it finds one of the programs in their Bloatware list, it will remove it.
No need to worry though, it won’t just remove everything that it considers as Bloatware, it will show you the list of programs that were detected and it will ask you which ones you want to remove, simple as that. I don’t think that there is much room for recommendations here as Bloatware removals are not that sophisticated, but you can try decrap as it seems to work just fine.