If you spend some time on PC blogs – like the one you’re currently reading – then you have probably encountered the term ‘crapware’ at some point.
Crapware refers to any software that is downright crappy. It doesn’t provide any real value to your computer and it almost always installs itself in a sleazy fashion.
For years, brand new PCs have been plagued by a common problem: PC manufacturers make extra money by signing up for licensing deals with software publishers. The manufacturers pre-install software on their PCs so that consumers have access to the “fantastic” benefits from the very first day they own a PC.
That sounds good, right? The problem is that crapware (also known as bloatware in this case) doesn’t usually work as stated. For example, your new PC might come with trial antivirus software, trial cloud storage services, and trial backup solutions. When you try to use these programs, you’ll often encounter the dreaded “Buy today for full support” message.
Reading the above two paragraphs, you might be inclined to think that crapware is a first world problem. And it probably is. But crapware can also pose a serious threat to the security of your system.
For example, manufacturers don’t always perform background checks on software companies before they sign up for a licensing deal. In other words, there’s no guarantee that the software won’t steal your credit card information, install a virus on your PC, and take all the money from your bank accounts.
Other types of crapware are basically “gateway” crapware programs. The first program installed on your computer might be harmless. But pretty soon, you’ll be prompted to download more and more software from that same company.
Here are a few reasons why crapware should be removed immediately from your system:
-It takes up space
-It slows down your computer
-It may steal your information or perform other unscrupulous activities
-In most cases, crapware doesn’t do anything useful
-You may have to upgrade to a premium copy of the program in order for it to work at all
In most cases, crapware can be uninstalled through the “Uninstall a program” menu in Windows. You may have to walk through a few “Are you sure you want to uninstall this fantastic program?” messages before you completely remove it from your system, but you should be able to easily remove it from your system.
Crapware toolbars are probably the most annoying type of crapware in the world. They often come with free software that forces you to use a third-party toolbar in order to install it. Uninstalling crapware toolbars isn’t always easy. You might not be able to delete it from the Windows Uninstall a Program menu, so you’ll have to go to your Browser’s menu to find it.
In Chrome, click on the Settings button (the three straight lines in the top right corner of the browser screen), then go to Tools > Extensions. Click the trash can icon beside any crapware extensions you see to get rid of your annoying toolbar problem.
In Firefox, click on the Firefox button and then click on Add-ons. Click the Extensions or Appearance or Plugins panel and then choose the add-on that you wish to disable.
Whether uninstalling toolbars or regular crapware programs, be sure to perform a quick search of your computer after the uninstallation process is complete. Search for the name of the crapware program you just downloaded by tapping the Microsoft button and by typing that name in.
Delete any related files that pop up. Some crapware programs will leave fragments of themselves on your computer. These fragments might be harmless, or they could be tracking what you do on your computer and prompting you to buy more software. In any case, delete the files that pop up through your search.
Once you’ve done that, you can safely say that you have eradicated a crapware infestation from your computer. Remember: do this every time you buy a new PC. New PCs come loaded with up to a dozen or more crapware programs that take up space on your hard drive while doing nothing useful.