Junkware – What You Can Do About It

got a really good desktop computer desktop computer deal. You took it home, unpacked it, ran the usual rat’s nest of cables, plugged it into a good surge protector and turned it on. Pretty soon (A bit longer than you would have liked.) icons started popping up. You have just booted it up for the first time and you have 10 or 15 icons staring you in the face. This is a brand new desktop computer. What’s with that? That my friend, is junkware or shovelware as we used to call it. It is a bunch of “try it, you might like it and buy it” software.

Most of it is only good for 30 days and it just sits there. I don’t like it and you probably don’t either. The manufacturers make a boatload of money from the software vendors for loading it on every new PC they sell. They are not about to stop. You have a couple of options: Using the Windows CD that came with it, you could wipe the hard disk clean and reload Windows, you can live with it, or you can clean it out manually. I usually opt for cleaning it out manually.

Before you start the cleaning process, make note of the different icons. If you don’t know what they are or what they do, then search using Google and determine whether you want to keep them or not. Those you want to get rid of, Click Start, Control Panel and then Add Remove software. This is the safest and easiest way to get rid of them.

If you are feeling adventurous, Click Start, Run, type in MSCONFIG and then click OK. On the popup window, click Startup. This will bring up a list of items. Those with an X in the little box will start anytime you boot your system. You don’t need 95% of them and they just hog your resources and slow your new desktop computer. Remove the x’es from all of them or most of them. I would remove all of them to start with, click OK. Reboot the system. When Windows starts up, it will open a small information with a check box.

Click the box that says “Don’t Run MSConfig” and then click OK. Play with the system to make sure everything still works. If anything does not work, click Start, Run and enter MSCONFIG. Then click Startup items and put some x’es in some of these boxes shown. Repeat until the system is running to your satisfaction.

Most systems come with an Antivirus program (Usually McAfee). It is only a 30 day trial version. There are free ones available (Google is your friend, use the search “free antivirus checkers”, download one and install, or you could use the one that came on the system. Personally, I prefer Norton Antivirus from Symantec over McAfee but it is your choice and you absolutely need a virus checker. My sister bought a brand new cheap desktop computer (Knowing my sister, it was probably the cheapest desktop computer she could find, but that is another story.) She plugged it in, connected to the internet and had a virus within 30 minutes. She canceled the internet and hasn’t been back on in over 5 years.

After you have done all of this, using Google again, search for Spybot Search and Destroy. This is a free anti spyware program and is better than almost all of the ones you can buy. Install it and you are protected from spyware.

Mow that you have done all of this, your excellent desktop computer deal is even better. You have optimized it, protected it from viruses and spyware. You are ready to surf! Kowabunga Duuude!