Remove unwanted junkware
The worst offenders have been sent packing from your Windows PC, now it’s time to move on to the other undesirables
Next, we’re moving on to programs, add-ons and files that inhabit a ‘grey area’ – these are potentially unwanted (hence the term PUPs, or potentially unwanted programs) and fall into a number of categories. Most PUPs are installed alongside seemingly legitimate software – usually for financial reasons, an increasing number of supposedly free tools are bundled up inside installers that attempt to do more than simply install the original program.
These additional actions may be to attempt the installation of further programs. Others offer you browser toolbars while attempting to change your browser search settings or homepage. The offerings are usually legitimate, but the tactics used to get them on to your PC are not. Items are usually pre-selected, and it’s not always clear which options you need to select in order to remove those unwanted items thanks to confusingly worded buttons or dialog boxes. Some security software can block these attempted installations at their source – see the ‘Block PUPs’ box on page 19 – but if you’ve not been particularly careful you may find your browser sagging under the weight of multiple toolbars and competing search engines.
Remove the PUPs
If you’ve already taken our advice and performed a scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, then you’ve probably already removed the most insidious PUPs – unlike your regular security software, Malwarebytes is hot on detecting programs with dubious recommendations. They’ll be clearly marked as PUPs in the scan results.
Malwarebytes also offers AdwCleaner, which targets browser-related items – toolbars, add-ons, search hijackers, browser redirects and other unsavoury items – in addition to adware and PUPs. It’s worth running if you’re struggling to reclaim control of your web browser. Get it from www.malwarebytes.com/ adwcleaner/ – unlike Malwarebytes itself, you don’t need to install AdwCleaner before running it.
It keeps on coming
Rogue program installers aren’t the only source of junk. If you bought a PC from one of the major manufacturers, chances are it came with a host of pre-loaded software. Some of it might be useful, but most it – including all those trials – is just junk. You could wade through it all manually following the tips on the following two pages, but why not employ the services of a third-party tool to root it all out for you?
PC Decrapifier (www.pcdecrapifier.com) is one such free tool, which we feature in the step-by-step guide opposite. It can uninstall multiple programs at once with minimal intervention, and we like the fact it filters its results into three categories: Recommended, Questionable and Everything Else. You get to see how many other users have removed the software and then choose exactly what you want to remove – remember, you’re under no obligation to remove anything, even recommended entries.
With these techniques, you should be able to remove all malicious and potentially unwanted software from your PC with the help of the step-bystep guide opposite. But what if you want to go even further? Turn the page to discover more ways to declutter your PC and reclaim both lost storage space and system resources.
Java is well-known for installing unwanted bundleware. Choose the right settings.
Retoring your PC to its factory settings can also cause unwanted bloatware to be reinstalled.