A Comparison Chart: By PC Manufacturer Which Shows How Much Bloatware Is Preinstalled On New Computers
Scroll to the bottom to find the link to the chart
Consider the Bloatware Factor In Your Buying Decision | What is Bloatware?
Bloatware Definition for Window’s Computers
If a new PC or windows computers purchase is on the horizon for you, one aspect you should take into consideration is where or who you should buy it from. Different sellers may bundle additional software they add to all the computers they sell. They’d like you to believe that these bundled applications add value for you, but in fact most experienced users call this Bloatware. The extra apps don’t generally add much value for the computer owner, because they are primarily intended to increase profits for the seller.
How do manufacturers benefit? Well, in several different ways that I’m aware of…and probably many more that I’m not. They may profit from future sales made by users after trying promotional versions of software that came preinstalled. Or they may allow preinstalled adware which is so aggressive that it’s essentially malware. This can take different forms such as ad pop-ups while using web browsers, or unwanted toolbars that complicate users’ normal work flow. These are just 2 examples, there are many more variations which differ by manufacturer and seller.
Windows PC’s are most often purchased as prebuilt systems in one of two ways.
- They can be customized somewhat through purchasing them directly from a manufacturer’s website.
- They can be purchased locally through retailers like Best Buy, Costco, and the big office supply chains. This mode usually doesn’t allow as much customization.
Regardless of the method, one thing is certain: the computer will arrive with preinstalled ‘Bloatware’. Unfortunately, most Bloatware is basically just junk software. Yet it’s not easy for new users to differentiate what apps are actually Bloatware from those which may be enhanced utilities specific to that PC maker. Even apps such as trial versions of programs that you want and use, like Microsoft Office, are considered by many to be Bloatware. That’s because these preinstalled trial versions often offer people very little utility, resulting in the ‘bloat‘ aspect…this places additional demands on their new computers’ resources (hard drive space and RAM (memory) sapping) as well as using possibly occupying screen and menu real estate too. Also trial versions can be difficult for new users to remove…and sometimes they can’t be removed at all!
The overall effect of Bloatware can vary substantially from one user to another depending upon how savvy they may be with their Operating System. Try thinking of Bloatware as appearing on a continuum, the net effects may range from just using up a little hard drive space to severely complicating the initial adjustment period to your new PC. At the far (negative) end of the Bloatware spectrum, where virtually no value is provided, the app may appear as only intrusive or obnoxious interruptions in one’s work flow…to very little impact on the user…it’s clear that the Bloatware factor should absolutely be one consideration when purchasing a new computer.
Real Life Example
My Dad recently encountered constant interruptions shortly after setting up his brand new HP Desktop PC (in December 2014). He purchased it from HP’s online store (with HP’s customer service phone support to configure the hardware components.)
(I place my Dad on the more experienced end of the spectrum regarding his command of Windows and PC’s…he’s definitely not a neophyte…but Window’s 8 is new to him.)
A few days after he received his new computer he was extremely frustrated with one app that constantly popped up and bugged him…I forget the app’ s name but I’ll check. He spent a few days trying to figure out what the app was, how it ended up on his new PC, and finally how to get rid of it. He was only successful after his own research, which yielded little information, failed to give him answers. He ultimately had to call HP, remain on hold for a long time and then re-explain his problem to several different customer service agents before one walked him through the uninstallation process.
HP Computers Aren’t More Bloatware Prone a Than Other Brands
My example isn’t intended to cast negativity on HP and their computers…in fact I love the computers HP makes! Rather it’s intended to illustrate that Bloatware is added by almost every manufacturer today…even the great ones!
Bloatware is Added to Most Every Device Sold Today
Apple’s mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad contain Bloatware too…as do most Android devices sold. I’ve written a longer description of what Bloatware actually is on mobile devices here.
Avoiding Bloatware on Your New PC
One way to avoid the retail establishment’s bloatware loading is by asking them to remove it prior to bringing the computer home. Even if you buy a PC in person, you can ask the store to remove software you don’t want first, and possibly even customize it further for you by preinstalling applications that you purchase through them, and then arrange to pick it up at a later date.
I ran across a freeware utility today for identifying bloatware and removing it from PC’s, called ‘Should I Remove It?’
I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this freeware because in reading others’ reviews of it, it has some problems too. It works in 2 modes, either online or locally, to scan your PC for offending software. Reviewers with more technical expertise than myself suggest that in making this utility easy to use for the general public, there may be too little security in the way the program operates to make it truly the simple utility that it was designed to be.
However, you can read the reviews and judge for yourself whether or not you’d want to download it onto your machine and run it. I’m hyper-sensitive to security issues therefore I rarely use freeware. When I do, I make sure that the site I’m downloading from is credible, and I look at the files that are actually downloaded prior to installing them. If additional things I didn’t want are included, and no option is provided for not installing those, I delete the download and search for another source. If possible, I try to download freeware from the site of the originator. If I end up really liking it, I often purchase a full version of the software, or I may contribute to the developer through PayPal.
Because it also provides a really great comparison of the relative amount of bloatware added to PC’s by maker. And I can tell from experience, that this data is really spot on!
The crowd sourced way this website gathers their data can give new purchasers or potential purchasers valuable insight into many of the preinstalled apps they come across. This can help both in figuring out what is and isn’t Bloatware post-purchase, or what may come as preinstalled apps by PC makers. In both cases, this service is unique and really beneficial for new PC owners.