How to clean up your PC from unnecessary programs

Who I am
Judit Llordes
@juditllordes
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What are the useless programs?


Before you enter the live of the tutorial and explain how to clean up your PC from unnecessary programs, it seems only right to give you some "tips" on how to identify such software.


Well, we can define a "useless" program when, trivially, it is not needed by the user in his daily work on the PC. An objective evaluation, therefore, cannot be given: a software could be of vital importance to me and totally useless for you, or vice versa. However, there are some programs that we can define generally useless - if not downright harmful - and that I would collect in various macro-categories.

  • bloatware - the term "bloatware" indicates all those programs, precisely useless, that are pre-installed by the manufacturers on Windows PCs (Macs are not affected by this problem). Among these, there are often cybersecurity suites provided in trial version (so that after 30 days or less, they expire and must be paid for), software for viewing or producing multimedia content and other programs that l computer manufacturing company supplies its bre.
  • System optimization suite - as counterintuitive as it may seem, most programs that promise to speed up your PC actually end up slowing down the operating system and / or making it unstable. Nowadays, thanks to the spread of SSD drives (which, more and more often, are used instead of classic mechanical hard disks) and to the many optimization functions performed automatically by Windows (as well as by macOS), the use of external solutions for cleaning the disk, freeing up RAM, optimizing the registry, and updating drivers are almost always useless, if not harmful.

Although they are not "useless" in the strict sense of the term, among the software to pay attention to the cybersecurity suite (those consisting of antivirus, firewalls and other security solutions), which, although effective and do not represent risks to the stability of the system or to the user's privacy (on the contrary!), can make the computer extremely heavy and slow it down .



If, therefore, after eliminating all the above bloatware, you still notice unsatisfactory performance of your new PC, try to change the antivirus and replace the one you currently use with a lightweight antivirus. For the rest, such as firewalls, backup software and password managers, you can turn to external solutions not related to antivirus, which often do an even better job than the tools included in the all-in-one suites.

Basically, you have to keep in mind the now overused concept of less is more, that is, "less is more". By now operating systems like Windows 10 and macOS include almost everything you need to work with your computer with dignity and take care of maintenance effectively. You need to install additional applications only when you really need them and you know for sure that they can improve your daily PC usage; if not, forget it.

How to find useless programs

Having read the above premises, you are surely wondering how to do a identify unnecessary programs present on your computer. Well, the answer is quite simple: going to "browse" in the menus of the operating system and in the list of items that are loaded when the PC is turned on. Below you will find explained how to act on both Windows and macOS (where, however, as mentioned, the problem is less felt).

Windows


You can access the list of programs installed on your computer by clicking on the button Home (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen) and browsing all the items in the menu that opens.


Alternatively, you can access the Windows settings (the gear icon found in the Windows 10 Start menu) and click on the icon App, in order to view the list of all software installed on your computer. On older versions of the Microsoft operating system, you can achieve the same reont by opening the Control Panel and accessing the section Uninstall a program.

Many bloatware are set to run automatically when you log into Windows (i.e. when you turn on your PC). To check which programs are set to start automatically on Windows, right-click on taskbar (the one with the Start button, located by default at the bottom of the screen) and select the item Activity management give the menu check if you press.

In the next window, if necessary, click on the item More details (bottom left) and select the tab Start, in order to display the list of all the software set for automatic start.

On older versions of Windows (eg. Windows 7), you can reach the list of programs set for automatic start by calling up the panel Esegui ... (via the key combination Win + R), giving the comme msconfig and selecting the tab Start from the window that opens.


If you are unsure of the identity of a process, you can find out if it refers to a useful program or to software that is generally considered superfluous by doing a simple Google search.

MacOS

If you use a Mac, you can access the list of programs installed on your computer simply by opening the folder Applications from Finder (via the left sidebar or the menu go, at the top of the screen). If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts, you can also reach the folder in question by pressing the combination cmd+shift+a.

To view, instead, the list of software set for automatic start, click on the icon System preference (i.e. the gear icon) present on the Dock bar, select the option Users and groups from the window that opens, then the you don't know and the card Login elements.

Again, if you have doubts about the identity of a process, I recommend that you do a Google search on it.

How to clean your PC of unnecessary programs for free

Once you have identified the software that you believe to be useless for your daily PC use, I advise you to immediately take action and proceed with their removal. Below you will find explained how to do it.

Steard removal procedure

Very often, to delete a useless program from the PC, just follow the classic uninstall procedure provided by Windows or macOS. There are also some software designed for the purpose but, for the "less is more" rule I mentioned earlier, I would advise you to avoid them and "dirty" your hes in first person, proceeding as described in the following lines.

A PC equipped with Windows 10, you can uninstall a program simply by accessing the Windows settings (the'icona dell'ingranaggio located on the side of the menu Home) and selecting App from the window that is proposed to you: you will then access the list of all the programs installed on your computer.

Now, analyze the list in question (if you want, you can use the drop-down menu Sort by to organize the programs in alphabetical order, by installation date or by weight on disk), click on the name of the useless program you want to uninstall and press the button Uninstall appeared in his correspondence, twice in a row. Then follow the instructions on the screen (usually it is a question of always clicking on Forward / Next and then Fine/Finish) And that's it.

If you are using an older version of Windows, you can take action by opening the Control Panel and going up Uninstall a program

If you use a Mac, you should know that, as already mentioned above, you do not run the risk of finding bloatware the first time you turn on your computer.

If, however, you have installed programs that you now consider useless and you want to know how to get rid of them, you are satisfied: go to the folder Applications, take the icon of the useless program you want to remove and drag it to the Trash can present on Dock bar (then to empty the latter, using the appropriate option in the menu that opens by right clicking on its icon).

If, on the other he, it is an application downloaded from the Mac App Store, you can remove it simply by opening the Launchpad macOS (the rocket), by performing a long click on its icon, by pressing on (X) which appears at the top left and confirming.

But be careful: some software, such as antivirus or virtualization programs, may include official removal tools and uninstallation procedures similar to those of programs for Windows

How do you say? What you intend to remove from your computer is not a real program, but a browser add-on that you use to browse the Internet (e.g. a toolbar)? In this case, you must proceed directly from the configuration menus of your browser, as explained below.

  • Chrome - click on the ⋮ button located at the top right and select the items Other tools> Extensions from the menu that opens. In the next window, locate the extension to remove, press the corresponding button Remove and dai confirms.
  • Firefox - click on the ☰ button located at the top right and select the item Additional components from the menu that opens. In the next window, select the item Extensions from the left sidebar, locate the extension to remove, press the corresponding button ..., select the voice Remove from the menu that opens and confirm.

  • Edge - click on your button ... collocato in alto a destra and seleziona la voce Extensions from the menu that opens. In the next window, locate the extension to delete, click on the corresponding link Remove and dai confirms.
  • Internet Explorer - click onicona dell'ingranaggio collocata in alto a destra and seleciona la voce Manage componenti aggiuntivi from the menu that opens. In the next window, find the extension you want to delete, click on its name and then on the corresponding button Disable. To uninstall it completely, since the extensions for Internet Explorer are real programs, you have to act from the Windows Settings panel or the Control Panel, as explained above.
  • Safari - go to the menu Safari> Preferences (top left). In the window that opens, select the tab Extensions, choose the extension to remove, press the corresponding button Uninstall and confirm. In some cases, it may be necessary to uninstall the program to which the addon belongs.

Software to clean up your PC from unnecessary programs

By following the directions I have given you so far, you should have been able to clean your PC of useless programs. If this is not the case, I recommend that you contact a software antimalware, able to eradicate the so-called PUP (potentially unwanted program), i.e. potentially unwanted programs that often install themselves by mistake by checking the wrong option when installing other software downloaded from the Internet, as well as toolbar and other annoying elements.

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is a small antimalware designed specifically to eliminate PUPs, toolbars and all those annoying software that can infest the PC following accidental installations. It is for Windows only and does not require installations in order to function.

To download it to your PC, connect to its official website and click on the button FREE DOWNLOAD, in the center of the page. When the download is complete, start the file .exe got it, answer Yes to the warning that appears on the screen and press on Accept and Scan now, to start the system check.

In case any threats are found, select them and proceed with their removal, following the instructions on the screen. You will be asked to restart your PC: accept. 

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

If with AdwCleaner you have not been able to clean your PC of unnecessary programs, you can rely on Malwarebytes Anti-Malware: one of the best antimalware currently agolable on the market and compatible with both Windows and macOS. It's free, although there is a paid version agolable (starting at € 39,99 / year) that offers real-time system monitoring (which is not essential for what you have to do).

To get it, connect to its official website and click on the button first FREE DOWNLOAD, top right, and then up Download now, on the page that opens. When the download is complete, start the executable file got it, answer It opened to the notice that appears on the screen e, to conclude the setup, click in sequence on the buttons Personal computer, Install, Start now, Use Malwarebytes Free and Open Malwarebytes Free. It will take a few seconds to complete the process, as all the program files will be downloaded from the Internet. The procedure is practically the same on both Windows and macOS (where, however, now also type the administration password).

now, premium pulsating Scan, wait for the system to be examined e, if any threats are found, agree to delete them, following the on-screen instructions. 


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