5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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remove pc bloatIt’s a fact of life for most Windows users that as the weeks go by with a PC in regular use, things just start to accumulate, the OS becomes more bloated and everything just seems to take forever to run. Personally, I just format the whole thing and start again – but for most people I realize that might not be a practical solution. So what are some way to trim the fat, remove PC bloat, and have Windows running at top form again?

Note: A lot of these apps and methods highlighted do pretty serious things to your computer, so I hope it goes without saying that you should have a full bootable system backup before attempting any of them. You have been warned!

Remove Windows Features You Don’t Need

Windows is a massive operating system, with an array of features and processes that the majority of us simply don’t need. Luckily, Windows makes it relatively easy to turn features on and off.

Just go to Control Panel -> Programs -> Turn Windows Features On or Off.

remove pc bloat

Note that like most of the methods described today, this all needs to be done with elevated admin user privileges.

On mine, I chose to deactivate:

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  • Internet Explorer 9 (seriously, it’s a worthless browser)
  • Games – this means Solitaire etc – not your own installed games
  • Media Features – all of them. Windows Media Player has never been good; I don’t know anyone who actually uses Windows DVD Maker; and while Media Center is a fantastic PVR for the living room, it’s pretty useless otherwise.
  • Tablet PC Components for obvious reasons
  • Windows Gadget Platform, because I’ve never been a fan of desktop gadgets
  • XPS Viewer and Services, because most users don’t need postscript printing services, and if you did you would know it.

Fantastic, that’s 80% of the features disabled right there! Hit Ok, and reboot!

pc bloatware removal

Uninstall Old Apps

This might seem obvious, but uninstalling apps we no longer use is a sin that can pass even the best of us by sometimes. Head to Control Panel -> Uninstall a Program and see what useless apps are lurking within.

Alternatively, try our recommended Revo Uninstaller Free, or IOBit Uninstaller, both of which will make sure those apps don’t leave anything left-over in the registry or hidden.

Soluto to fix your boot time

We’ve recommended Soluto and covered it in-depth before. The first time you run it, Soluto records everything that loads during your boot time, and categorizes it according to community feedback or apps that are known.

pc bloatware removal

From there, you can choose to either delay the app until startup has finished, or remove it from boot up completely. The choices are explained clearly and it also helpfully shows what other users decided to with that particular item.

pc bloatware removal

Finally, you can see how much time it saved you. Lovely, and absolutely essential install for very Windows user in my opinion.

Run IoBit Advanced System Care

As a last step, check out the previously reviewed Advanced System Care; and I should point out right now that many of our readers are fans of CCleaner, which has a similar but slightly more limited feature set.

Advanced System Care does a number of useful clean-up functions:

  • Cleans the registry by removing dead and incorrect keys
  • Defrags
  • Removes junk files (temporary caches etc)
  • Basic malware scanning (though I wouldn’t put my trust in this feature alone as a capable malware scanner)

It’s also incredibly easy to use for novice users with simple one-click fixes, which is why I recommend it over CCleaner.

pc bloat

Save Yourself The Hassle Next Time By Creating a Test Virtual Machine

Assuming you’ve done all the above steps and now have an efficient, spit-shined OS, the next step is to prevent it from getting into such a state in the first place. For this, I recommend creating a virtual machine for testing out software before putting it onto your main desktop. By using a virtual machine, you still get enough power to test and use fully functional versions of most applications (though graphics intensives games aren’t recommended), and the whole thing will be self-enclosed in a single VM image file. If you mess up, or accidentally install some malware – you can just load up a fresh one from your backup image.

How do you go about creating a virtual machine? Why, you use the free Virtual Box and our comprehensive free VirtualBox guide of course!

remove pc bloat

That’s all folks. Think I missed something, or have some tips of your own for de-bloating a Windows PC? Let us know in the comments – but no flame wars on which particular cleaner is the best please. Our Best of Windows Software page covers a variety of cleaner, uninstall and other system utilities – so do check that out and bookmark it too. If you ran through the process, I’d love to hear how much boot time and space you saved, so please let me know – be sure to use Soluto first though to measure the total boot time both before and after. Did you notice an overall increase in system performance too?

Image Credit: ShutterStock

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Comments (33)
  • Guest

    Use tune up utilities 2012. it is very easy to use. U can download its full version for free at :pcsoftsfull.blogspot.com

  • Darryl

    You’re right, Andrew, cleaning the registry probably is pointless. There are many credible sources that agree with this. However, CCLeaner does other cleanup tasks that are useful though.

  • Navinvillavicencio

    dumbass.

    • Darryl

      Calling someone a dumbass because you don’t agree with some technical point that they have made really is indicative that the name-caller is a dumb ass. Especially when they make the comment anonymously.
       Just saying’

  • Club Penguin

    You forgot #6, which should be the #1 way to remove Windows bloat (and imho the most obvious).

    Install Linux. :)

    • Darryl

      Club Penguin, you forgot to mention that to use Linux, you also have to
      spend countless hours trying to decipher cryptic and esoteric commands to do
      simple tasks that are typically accomplished with a couple of clicks in
      Windows. And if you want help, the following is an example of the type of
      advice you will get from Linux users. The following is an actual message I
      received from a Linux forum when I asked a basic help question:

       

      “You have received a new private message at Linux
      Forums from Etna, entitled “OS”.

      This is the message that was sent:

      ***************

      Linux is an OS for the elite PC users and programmers.
      Windows is an OS for the average PC user. Having said that, please get the hell
      out of my elite, uncaring face, because the Linux eliteland does not welcome
      the existence of human scum like you. =)

       

      Oh, and one more thing: we get paid handsome amounts of
      money to develop this OS you call not ready for prime time. Oh dear, does it
      mean that you are so stupid you don’t know how we can earn money by doing
      nothing? Poor guy…

      ***************

       

      All the best,

      Linux Forums”

      I think that about says everything you need to know about Linux users.

    • James Bruce

      Wow ;) That’s pretty awful. I wouldn’t take that as indicative of the whole linux userbase; though I totally understand if that left a somewhat bad taste… As for esoteric and cryptic commands to do the simplest of tasks – completely agree!

    • GusDog2010

      Ubuntu linux is easier and much faster than windows for the average user. 

  • Tina

    I second XPantiSpy. Great tool and also works for Vista and 7.

    • James Bruce

      The webpage has no english translation and the about url is broken – I’m finding it really hard to recommend a tool that is clearly no longer in active support or development. The site is so sketchy. 

    • Tina

      The English version of the page is here. You can switch between German and English through the flags in the top right.

      When you go to the download page, you will see that the software is available in several languages, including English. Last software update was released in March 2011 and I think that indicates sufficiently active support and development.

      The about page doesn’t work, however, the site is being updated regularly. Last update is from September 30, when the software was nominated for Best Software of the Year by a popular German website. XP-AntiSpy has been very popular in Germany for 10+ years, as documented through the Awards they have received.

      Also check out the reviews and ratings on Softpedia (software last updated June 2011), MajorGeeks (last updated March 2011), and Chip (leading German IT magazine, online and print, software last updated March 2011).

      Besides, isn’t MakeUseOf all about recommending useful software, regardless of whether it is state of the art or stylish?

      Finally, I hope you trust me. :)

    • James Bruce

      So only the download link is in English? Awesome. Anyway, the fact it has XP in the name would put me off. You’d think they’d make a new version, with a decent webpage, and call it “Generic Windows Version AntiSpy”. 

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.