Having extra software on your computer can slow it down, even when the software isn’t running, because the software may have extra startup programs that run in the background to check for updates. By themselves, these programs don’t do much, but en masse they can be a huge drag on your productivity.
Tip: You may want to print this page for reference; while you are going through this process, you should keep other windows (like your browser) closed.
Step 1: Uninstall Bloatware
Bloatware are programs that came with your computer that you don’t need. They aren’t malicious, but they are useless, and they’re a waste of space and resources. My favorite program to uninstall a lot of bloatware at once is PC Decrapifier. You can download it by clicking here.
When the program finishes downloading, run it. It will bring up a list of all of the programs installed on your computer. Put a check the programs that you want to remove.
Here’s some examples of stuff I have seen:
Remove it (put a check mark by it)
Keep it (leave unchecked)
- Any Adobe stuff besides Adobe Reader (keep Flash if you’re not using Google Chrome)
- Java (unless you have some program that absolutely needs it; it’s becoming more and more of a security risk and less common to use)
- Anything with “Updater” in it
- Any kind of toolbar
- Any products from Cyberlink
- Any Apple stuff unless you sync your iPhone/iPod/iPad with your computer all the time
- SearchDial My Protect (Adware)
- All of your security software except one (having more than one security program at a time makes problems; I recommend removing all of them and using Microsoft Security Essentials instead).
- McAfee Security Scan (it finds viruses for free, but you have to pay to have them removed).
- Any games unless you absolutely love them and play them all the time.
- Most HP stuff (except Touchpad, printers, drivers like “wireless device” driver)
- Things that sound like security software, but you don’t know what they are and you didn’t install them. They have things like “protect,” “guard,” and so forth in the name.
- Adobe Reader
- Google Chrome or Firefox
- Most Microsoft stuff
- Anything from Intel
- Anything from Realtek, Qualcomm, or Atheros (these are probably drivers)
Hit “Next” and PCDecrapifier will run in the uninstallers for all of these programs. You will have to click “Next,” “OK,” and “Finish” a lot.
- If a program asks you to restart the computer, always select “I’ll restart my computer later.” Restart it after PCDecrapifier has completely finished.
What if I accidentally uninstall something important?
Suppose you finish the uninstaller and suddenly, your sound stops working, or the touchpad on your laptop stops working. What does this mean? Don’t panic, you just accidentally uninstalled the driver for that device (the instructions that tell Windows how the device works). How do you get them back? Go to the website of the manufacturer of your computer, find their support page, and enter the model number of your computer (usually a short string with numbers and letters). Find the Downloads for that model and they will have a list of all the software that the computer needs to run. Just find the appropriate download and install it.
Step 2: Forcibly Remove Malware
Malware includes viruses and spyware, but most of the malware you will see on your computer is Adware. Adware is tenacious software that tries to present you with more ads, and sometimes collects information about you (Spyware).
These are tougher to remove manually, even if you uninstalled them, because they still leave pieces of unwanted code lying around your computer (particularly in the Registry). To remove them, I recommendMalwarebytes. You can download it here.
Once the download finishes, run the Ninite installer. (I love Ninite, by the way).
When the Ninite installer finishes, a Malwarebytes icon will appear on your desktop. Double-click on it to run it. Wait for it to finish updating, then run a scan.
When the scan finishes, Malwarebytes will ask you what you want to do with all the stuff you found. Click “apply actions” to Quarantine everything.
When you’re done, go to your Start Menu Programs, find the Malwarebytes folder, and uninstall Malwarebytes. (It’s done it’s job: we’re trying to have less software on your computer. Also, you’re not going to run Malwarebytes more than every few months, by which time there will be more updates released and you’ll have to download it again anyway. No point in keeping it on your computer that whole time).
Step 3: Spit Shine
After restarting your computer, you should notice that it is running considerably faster now. But let’s get it squeaky clean. Download and install Glary Utilities
(notice this is another Ninite link. Have I mentioned that I love Ninite?)
When the Ninite installer finishes, you will notice a link for Glary Utilities on your desktop. Go ahead and run it. It will ask you some stuff about upgrading to Pro; just ignore that. Find the one-click maintenance tab, check everything, and click “Scan.”
When the scan finishes, click “Fix All” (or whatever; the button text will probably have changed by the time you read this.)
When Glary has finished, find its folder in the Start Menu program again and uninstall it.