How to Clean a PC of Crapware
What are we talking about?
Most PC's and laptops nowadays come with a tonnes of funky, cute, wing-dingy things installed when you pull them out of the box. As you start using the computer, it seems to want more and more of these 'accessories' and 'plugins' as you start to use the machine.
Many of these programs are OEM from PC manufacturers such as SONY, IBM, LEVONO, HP, COMPAQ, DELL and TOSHIBA.
Although they seem to be fully integrated into the machine, many can (and in my opinion should) be removed. By removing all those little start-up items and programs, it frees up all that lovely juicy RAM for you to use. After all it IS you who owns and works on the machine, not the machine that works on you!
These are tools I carry on a USB stick for computers with problems and they can be used to remove junk or settings left by crapware.
And even better: they are all freeware.
Quick Links to Tools
Free Window Registry Repair
Almost all Windows users gradually experience the downfall in their PC's performance. Much of it can be attributed to Windows Registry Errors. By using Free Window Registry Repair regularly and repairing your registry, your system should not only be more stable but it will also help Windows run faster. For your convenience it automatically backs up any repairs made so that you always can restore Windows registry to the original state.
- Repair invalid registry entries that are a common cause of Windows crashes and error messages
- Increase system speed and stability
- Set a variety of Registry cleaning preferences
- Improves system performance
- The automatic creation of Windows Registry backups, with the option to restore them.
- A simple, user-friendly interface
- 100% Spyware FREE, NOT contain any Spyware, Adware or Viruses.
Free Registry Defrag/Compact (Freeware)
During the normal operation of a Windows system, registry data is constantly being written to and removed from the registry. Over time this data becomes scattered within the registry file and when information is deleted from the registry holes are left which fragment the data within the registry. Registry compacting optimizes your registry by removing gaps and wasted space, thus improves the whole system performance.
It's a freeware and completely free to use. Just enjoy it.
System Requirement: Windows XP, Vista, 2000, ME, 98, Windows 2003, Windows XP Pro x64 edition, Windows 2003 Server x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 edition.
As one tries new software, and new applications are not always up to scratch, the system registry gets more and more "dirty" - that is, there appear keys with no parameters or wrong keys that slow down system startup and performance. To manually delete those keys would be way too insecure. Use RegScrubXP for this purpose.
RegScrubXP is a registry cleaner for Windows 2000/XP. It clears all the unnecessary keys, leaving you with a perfect registry that leads to better and more stable system performance. You can let the program scan for problem keys and then select the ones you feel safe to delete, or pick your own way through the registry and fix the wrong keys yourself.
There are also additional tweaks for Windows XP users, including changing current user name and more.
TCP Optimizer is a free, easy Windows program that provides an intuitive interface for tuning and optimizing your Internet connection. There is no installation required, just download and run.
The program can aid both the novice and the advanced user in tweaking related TCP/IP parameters in the Windows Registry, making it easy to tune your system to the type of Internet connection used. The tool uses advanced algorithms, and the bandwidth*delay product to find the best TCP Window for your specific connection speed. It provides for easy tuning of all related TCP/IP parameters, such as MTU, RWIN, and even advanced ones like QoS and ToS/Diffserv prioritization. The program works with all current versions of Windows, and includes additional tools, such as testing average latency over multiple hosts, and finding the largest possible packet size (MTU).
The TCP Optimizer is targeted towards broadband internet connections, however it can be helpful with tuning any internet connection type, from dialup to Gigabit+.
HijackThis, a general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with almost a dozen other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks.
HijackThis does not target specific programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites. As a result, false positives are imminent and unless you are sure what you're doing, you should always consult with knowledgable folks (e.g. the forums) before deleting anything.
Startup Control Panel
Startup Control Panel is a nifty control panel applet that allows you to easily configure which programs run when your computer starts. It's simple to use and, like all my programs, it's very small and won't burden your system.
A valuable tool for system administrators!
The StartupRun utility displays the list of all applications that are loaded automatically when Windows boots. For each application, additional information is displayed (Product Name, File Version, Description, and Company Name), in order to allow you to easily identify the applications that are loaded at Windows startup. If StartupRun identifies a spyware or adware program that runs at startup, it automatically paints it in pink color.
In addition, you are allowed to Edit, disable, enable and delete the selected startup entries. You can also save the list of startup items into a text or html files, and even add a new startup entry to the Registry.
BootVis is a performance trace visualization utility that you can use with Windows XP systems. Customer research shows a frequently requested feature that users want from their PCs is fast system startup, whether from cold boot or when resuming from standby or hibernation.
The Windows development team at Microsoft has taken bold steps in making fast startup PCs a reality with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.
Here are some key features of "BootVis":
- Boot to a useable state in a total of 30 seconds
- Resume from Hibernate (S4) in a total of 20 seconds
- Resume from Standby (S3) in a total of 5 seconds
This radical, new tool is one of the best and most powerful Windows XP tweakers ever, having a few tweaks, which are unique to the program. Among them are: ultrafast boot (rearrange boot files); boot folder defragmentation; prefetch folder cleaning; DNS cache optimization; and file allocation size tweak.
However, that isn't all. It includes a plethora of other performance tweaks, which will make your Windows installation run faster than ever before, as well as Windows Service configuration. For the first time ever, it allows the user to control a few of the most common performance suckers and annoyances.
I know some of these go beyond specific crapware but if you use all of them and each one adds a few percent improvement in speed when you're done your machine may be noticeably faster.