Crapware. You’ve Got It.

“As long as people accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it.” – Dick Cavett

We service a little over 1,000 machines a year. I know this because I’m a meticulous record keeper. (You say anal, I say meticulous).  And after 6 1/2 years of business, I can accurately say that only a handful of those serviced machines came in free of crapware.

I define crapware as 3rd party software programs and browser add-ons that get downloaded onto machines under the guise of “filling a need”, “improving your computing/internet experience”, or “saving you money”.  For example, suppose you’re surfing the web and come across a video you’d like to see. After you click on the video, you’re subjected to a pop-up advising that you don’t have the necessary software or plug-in needed to play the video. Oh, but click here and we’ll download “Flash Player Pro“, free of charge. Flash Player Pro is on my ever growing list of “crapware”. It is not Adobe Flash Player, and it serves no legitimate purpose other than you lure you into that download. Because, unbeknownst to you, you’ve just downloaded five or six additional garbage programs, all of which will slow you down, cause incessant pop-ups prompting you to pay for something else you don’t need, corrupt your browser settings, redirect your homepage and search settings and probably add another, ever popular toolbar to your browser. Crapware.

Most of these programs are not classified as viruses, but they fit nicely into the malware category, and they will make your computing/browsing experience miserable. They also will not be stopped by anti-virus software, paid or free, because somewhere along the way they either convinced someone, or paid someone to be convinced of their legitimacy.

So what to do? First, you have to find it.

Step 1: Click your start button and then Control Panel. (Windows 8 users click the search tool then type control panel and click)Start ButtonStep 2:  Click Programs or Programs and Features. Wait for the list to propagate. The list should be alphabetically sorted. If not, click on the word “Name”. You’re now seeing most of the software programs currently installed on your machine.Sort by NameStep 3: Every customer is provided with a list of the programs we remove from their machines. We’re always coming across new ones and try to meticulously (there’s that word again) add them to our list. Review, download and/or print our current list of Crapware here. If any of these items appear in your programs list, uninstall them. Click on the item, then uninstall along the top bar.

UninstallStep 4: Download and install a program that will locate and quarantine the registry entries and miscellaneous crap (crapware, remember?) left behind by the programs. We recommend the free version of MalwareBytes, which you can download here

Step 5: Download & run CCleaner. Get the free version here.

Step 6: Are you feeling our pain yet? Reset your browser(s) and homepages.  If you don’t know how to do that, proceed directly to Step 7.

Step 7: See you soon!

 

One thought on “Crapware. You’ve Got It.

  1. My favorite crapware removal tool: Ubuntu. http://www.ubuntu.com/ . Totally free (GPL). Just use Rufus to image to a USB stick, reboot and voilà, crapware gone!

    I’m kind of kidding. But Kdenlive is better than the standard video editor bundled, whatever it’s called, with a new Windows PC. And also, even y’all might say that I am incorrect when I say that Windows does not come with an office suite… “It comes preinstalled!” Yeah. A trial version, if the OEM includes it, and the clueless salesperson is upselling a CLOUD BASED version of Office. LibreOffice does read and write MS Office formats.

    And a Google search will tell you outright that all of the freeware sites bundle MORE crapware. In Ubuntu, one trip to the Ubuntu Software Center (or an apt-get command in a bash terminal if you want), you get only what you want and nothing more.

    And Linux is NOT difficult to understand. You’re probably using an Android phone? Linux kernel. Just Google hides that from you elegantly.

    My $.02

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