Things in the Windows world have changed a great deal. Today, there are desktop PCs that fit in your hand and are powerful enough to get basic tasks done. These Windows PCs have astonishingly low price tags to match their diminutive stature. What’s more, these PCs are feature complete. They come with a full version of Windows – something we could only dream of when Microsoft first revealed Windows 7 Starter some time ago. The world of Windows PCs has improved, except for one thing: shovelware.
You’re probably not familiar with the term shovelware, but chances are you’ve encountered it a lot. Unlike malware, shovelware doesn’t find itself on your PC through tainted emails, flash drives or websites. Shovelware, is what we call the extras that PC makers like Lenovo, Dell and HP include on devices they sell you. Shovelware isn’t the useful utilities that are included to help you back up your PC. It’s the software and apps that aren’t essential to what you’re doing with your PC.
Here are some tips for a cleaner Windows 8 PC free of shovelware and other extras. Windows 8 PCs free of shovelware are typically ready for you to get starter quickly. Getting rid of this stuff also frees up some space for the things you actually care about.
Uninstall Unnecessary Programs from the Control Panel
First, let’s start with the basics. The road to a shovelware free cleaner Windows PC starts with investigating the programs installed in the Windows 8 Desktop. Programs are the biggest nuisance because they are allowed to run in the background and perform tasks when they’re not on the screen. They aren’t required to ask for permission and generally aren’t that well managed by Windows itself. Trouble from programs are one of the many reasons Microsoft is hoping users embrace Windows Store apps.
Place your mouse cursor in the top-right corner of your screen to pull up the Charms Bar.
Click on the Settings Charm.
Click on Change PC Settings.
Click on Control Panel.
Inside the Control Panel click on Uninstall a Program.
Do not start immediately uninstalling programs. Instead, scroll through the list and take a look at what you know is useful to you and what isn’t. If you don’t know what something is, search the name on Google or Bing to determine whether it’s useful or not.
You can uninstall a program by clicking on its name in the list and then clicking Uninstall from the menu. In our example there’s more than a few things listed for Intel. Don’t uninstall that stuff if you see it. Be careful not to install hardware specific programs either like the software for your trackpad. Again, look up what you do know.
Uninstall Unnecessary Windows Store Apps Too
By design, apps that live in Windows 8’s Start Screen experience aren’t as dangerous as programs installed on your Desktop. They’re sort of corded off, and directly answerable to Windows as a whole. Tell your Windows 8 PC you don’t want to share location information in an app and it won’t. Tell your Windows 8 PC not to run a Windows Store app in the background and it won’t allow it to do that either. Generally, people uninstall programs because they’re worried about their security. Uninstalling Windows Store apps is more about freeing up storage space for something else you actually care about.
Press the Windows key on your keyboard to go back to the Start Screen. Then click on the arrow in the bottom-left corner of your screen.
This is a list of all the apps installed on your Windows PC. Right-click on any of them and select Uninstall to ditch them and free up space. Again, look up the names of apps and programs that you don’t know. At every opportunity you what to ditch apps that you know you’re not going to use for whatever reason.
There should be plenty of Windows Store apps for you to remove, many Windows PCs come with more than a few Windows Store apps that aren’t necessarily useful to buyers, but earn them money.
Use Ninite to Keep Your Machine Clean
Getting your system as clean as possible should be your first priority. Keeping it clean is the second. Tons of Windows PC users download new utilities to make their machine useful every day. Some of these, like those that Microsoft offers direct, don’t come with additional add-ons that stealthy install themselves and bog your machine down. Others, like anything you get directly from Download.com, have tons of toolbars and extra garbage that you didn’t ask for.
Ninite allows uses to download dozens of the same software utilities they’d normally download, but without other junk. It’s free and pretty easy to use.
Beyond these tips, there’s some practical things involved in keeping a clean Windows 8 PC. First, know what you’re installing and if you can trust where it’s coming from. Second, it never hurts to review anything that came installed on your device. If you’re not comfortable with removing programs and apps yourself, make sure that you look into how stuff is installed on a device before you buy it. Microsoft’s Windows Signature Edition program lets shoppers buy dozens of Windows 8 PCs free of any junk.
Lastly, remember to keep your device updated. Windows 8 PCs will alert you when there’s a new update and install them on-command or automatically if you give them permission to. Once you’ve got a clean PC, it doesn’t hurt to back it up in case something goes wrong down the road.