5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

bloat   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PCIt’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.

control panel   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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:

  • 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!

features off   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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.

sol5   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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.

sol6   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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.

quickcare   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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!

virtualbox 3page   5 Easy Ways To Remove Windows Bloat On Your PC

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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33 Comments -

CommonReader

“Internet Explorer 9 (seriously, it’s a worthless browser)” seriously, how did you get the job?

James Bruce

Have you ever tried developing a modern website while maintaining compatibility with internet explorer? 

curts

I agree with CommonReader.  That’s great that all your farovite web sites work correctly with other browsers, but there are still a few out there that can be problematic.  I encountered this problem just last week with WebEx; had to use IE to get to the webinar login.  Another example is Microsoft Sharepoint, but I gather from your post you are probably only playing games on Windows and as such are probably ignorant of such things.

Additionally, Windows Update used to require IE.  Is this no longer the case?

James Bruce

Fair point curts, but I’m not ignorant of them – I realise there are some very badly designed sites that do require IE – and if I found one, I would be inclined to stay away from it as they clearly don’t have a good business strategy. Give that sharepoint is a MS product though…. 

Anyway, the items listed to remove were what *I* chose to disable. Ignoring the debate of which browser is best, obviously if you need to keep IE for compatibility with certain website, then you should do so. What works for me does not necessarily apply to everyone. Even if you did keep it, that’s not relevant to the point that other browsers are better for daily use. 

And no, windows update no longer requires IE. That was only in XP, I believe. 

Danijel Cukari?

..or If you really need IE for some old or badly developed web site add IE Tab for chrome or FF… 

James Bruce

Looks interesting – but sadly not available for osx ;(

Danijel Cukari?

Used it only on WIN based machine so far in rare occasions I really need it, but worked perfectly, and  more important no hassle with IE :) 
last time I checked it was not available on ubuntu either.

Edwards1218

Try Chrome or Opera! Way way better!

Mark Rushton

….or you could just install Ubuntu… ;)

Jan D.

For those of us still using XP, which does not offer the Programs>turn Windows features On or Off , do you have suggestions about how to achieve the same thing?

Jan D.

Never mind, I found it.  Thanks anyway.

Heyoka1

Anyway, Jan D., you could share your finding, as I use XP, too, so I am interested.

Gene

Hope you’ll never have sex in your life and die alone in poverty for posting BS!!!!

joe

Some things like media features are not listed when i open up that Turn Windows Features On or Off thing

James Bruce

You have Windows 7 right? It could be that you’re running a cut-down version of windows, like ‘home’ or ‘n’ version (I think that’s what it was called).

joe

vista home. i guess that is why. i would really like to get rid of WMP

Darryl

“seriously, it’s a worthless browser”? Seriously,
that’s just a ridiculous statement and it removes all credibility from the
entire document.

James Bruce

This particular document writer would like to think he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to browsers after having used just about everyone since the dawn of the internet. The thousands of bug reports on microsoft connect aside, the opinion of web developers and designers the world over ought to be ignored too. 

Here’s just one. 
http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/why-ie9-is-a-web-designers-nightmare/
Please get a browser that conforms to CSS, javascript, and XHTML standards. 

Darryl

I don’t disagree the Internet Explorer isn’t
ideal, but neither are the other browsers. The point is, to tell people that it’s
a worthless browser simply isn’t true. I couldn’t work without Internet Explorer,
and many people are going to run into serious and inexplicable problems if they
disable Internet Explorer without understanding the consequences. What will
happen is they will encounter Web pages that won’t work, and they will be
frustrated because they won’t understand why or how to resolve the problem. By
telling a broad audience of basic users to disable Internet Explorer, you are potentially
causing a huge amount of frustration.

James Bruce

I would like to think you’re looking at it backwards. Instead of letting Internet Explorer continue for the sake of a few websites that are badly coded, it would be better if those websites were coded correctly in the first place. Internet Explorer causes headaches for web designers everywhere, and thats not really something that can be refuted. No browser is perfect, sure, but they’re all a lot better than IE! ;)

And personally, I would never point users to a website or service that only works with IE – to do so would be utterly irresponsible. If information outlets such as MakeUseOf don’t take a stand against bad browsers, the state of standards compatible browsers will never improve. 

I’m curious though, if you don’t mind me asking – what work do you do that requires IE on  daily basis? Is it some obscure web service you need?

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”. 

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. 

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’

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.

Guest

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