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

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

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.

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