Microsoft

Five apps for crapware cleanup

You don't have to put up with the aggravation of crapware. Here are several effective tools for removing it from your Windows PC.
It's that time of year again. Odds are good you or someone you know will be getting a new computer or computing device as a gift for the holidays. Unfortunately, that often means crapware will have to be eliminated. With that in mind, we revisit this Five Apps Blog post from January 2012.

If you buy new PCs from OEMs, you are probably all too familiar with the plague known as "crapware": the useless applications that come installed with Windows. Crapware wastes space, often ties up your RAM and CPU power, and can be a major hassle to get rid up. Luckily, there's a solution. These five applications will help you deal with the crapware quickly and safely.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: The PC Decrapifier

Well, it should be pretty clear from the name what The PC Decrapifier does. This zero-install application, shown in Figure A, easily removes the most common pieces of junk that clutter up a new Windows PC. You can run it from a USB drive (great for desktop support technicians), and it has two low-priced purchase plans, one for commercial use and one for individuals.

Figure A

The PC Decrapifier

2: SlimComputer

SlimComputer (Figure B) doesn't just remove crapware. It also performs basic performance tuning, such as disabling services and reordering startup items. It can remove some of the less intrusive items, too, like links to trial offers. SlimComputer is interesting in that users can give feedback on what applications should be included in the scans, and it uses a cloud-based system to get this crowdsourced data when you run a scan.

Figure B

SlimComputer

3: WinPatrol

WinPatrol (Figure C) is not nearly as automated as some of the other tools on this list, but what it lacks in automation, it makes up for with control. WinPatrol provides extensive lists of the applications on your system and gives you the choice to disable or remove them. There is a feature-limited free edition as well as a paid version. Read TechRepublic's interview with WinPatrol's author.

Figure C

WinPatrol

4: Revo Uninstaller

Revo Uninstaller (Figure D) is an app in the tradition of the uninstallers that were popular in the Windows 9X era. It can show the installed applications on your system and remove them, of course. But more important, it can look at applications that are already gone, find the traces of them that were left over, and give them the heave-ho as well. In addition, it can monitor what occurs during an installation and use that data to completely uninstall an application. Revo Uninstaller has free and paid versions.

Figure D

Revo Uninstaller

5: CCleaner

After you have uninstalled the crapware, use CCleaner (Figure E) to make sure that no traces of it are left behind. CCleaner can also perform the basic tasks of uninstalling software and detecting what runs on startup. It comes in a free edition, a "home" edition, and a commercial user edition. There is also a portable version for running from a USB drive that does not require an installation of its own.

Figure E

CCleaner

More on the war against crapware

Other choices?

Do you have a favorite crapware removal tool that didn't make this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

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