I’ve been getting rid of the stuff that I know for sure is bloatware on my laptop, but I back off from certain things because I’m not sure If they might be useful. How do I tell what I don’t need?
If you are uncertain about a program just open it or google it and look to see what it does. You know if you will need it or not. Every program has a free alternative trust me.. so dont despair if you think you have deleted something you shouldnt have. My advice would be to just go to your program folder and delete everything you think you wont need, leave the updates and framework etc but the programs are fair game. you wont render your pc useless by uninstalling a program. After you have done that download CCLEANER and clean your registy, making sure you backup when it asks. Then you can download Smart defrag to defrag your sytem. These simple steps will make your laptop run a bit better. Also before I forget in CCLEANER there is an option to disable startup programs, which can considerably make start up times quicker. Its a case of looking for programs that start with windows and disabling them. Example: HKLM RUN Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is a program, not an essential part of the windows operating system so you can go ahead and disable that. There will be some things on there that you shouldnt touch, normally they are things like CTFMON.EXE or other things that look like services. A quick google search can tell you all about the things on the startup list. Generally though if they have the program name in ie norton, firefox, smartdefrag or whatever then you are fine to stop them running at startup.
Stating the obvious: If you know you don't need it, you don't need it.
Bloatware isn't a list of software and tools you should delete.
Bloatware are things you yourself identified as not useful.
I myself even consider Antivirus software as bloatware because I have no use for them.
I am with Mike here. Just open every single program that came preinstalled with your PC and if you haven't used it until now you probably don't need it. Don't worry that youmight delete some program that might come in handy some day. MakeUseOf keeps a list of essential programs for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can find a program for pretty much all your needs there.
I would just Google search each item. I'm sure tools exist to tell you the priority of each application, but few (if any) take into consideration who the user is and what they need on their system. Just mind not deleting required files ;)
One way is to run each of the programs to determine if you have any use for them. If not, dump 'em. Another way is to download PC Decrapifier and run that. It uses a predefined list of software trials, toolbars, and other general crap that come preinstalled on many computers. Select what you don't want and let it get rid of them for you.