Many new PCs have a range of applications pre-installed by the manufacturer. These can include security tools, media players, maintenance programs and office software, and some of these installed apps will be trial versions, prompting you for payment after a certain period of time has elapsed. Removing these applications and focusing on the programs you do need can speed up your computer and free up system resources.
Windows comes with its own uninstaller, accessed through the Programs section of Control Panel, for removing unwanted software. The utility displays all of the applications installed on your PC, enabling you to launch the built-in uninstaller tool for each one. Several third-party tools are also available for removing programs from your computer -- the best freeware choices include Advanced Uninstaller Pro and Revo Uninstaller, which includes a 'hunter' mode for removing apps that don't appear in the main list of programs. If you are running Windows 8, Start screen apps can be removed by right-clicking the relevant tile and choosing "Uninstall" from the toolbar.
Identifying Useless Apps
It's important to focus on unnecessary and unwanted applications and to avoid removing apps that are essential to the smooth running of your operating system. Many of the trial software and bloatware installed by the PC manufacturer will have associated shortcuts installed on the desktop, so this is a good place to start identifying useless apps. The "Publisher" column in the Control Panel's uninstall tool also offers more information about particular programs. Do some research online about any apps you are unsure about.
Cleaning Up Your Browser
As well as checking through the installed programs list, open your default browser to look for superfluous toolbars and add-ons that aren't required. Manufacturers often install extra browser toolbars to promote their own services or certain search engines. To remove them, check the add-ons manager supplied with the browser, which is typically accessed through a settings page. Another option is to download and install an alternative program for your Web browsing.
Securing your System
If your PC came with an anti-virus program or security suite that is prompting you to subscribe for further protection, you may want to uninstall it and switch to a free alternative. Make sure you keep your system protected by installing your new software straight after removing the previous apps. Many freeware security tools can be found on the Web, including Windows Defender (built into Windows 8), AVG Free, Avira Free Antivirus and Comodo Internet Security.
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