Should We Remove Bloatware on Office PCs


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy brought up that he is unsure why bloatware is bad (or, I think, why it is bad enough to warrant removing it or doing alternative installs to avoid it) and I figured it would be a good topic for discussion on its own. What do people think? Is it worth removing? And if so, why?



  • It's not that I think it isn't bad, it is that I think it is trivial to uninstall it. And that uninstalling it may be an easier process than doing a fresh Windows install from a volume licence image.



  • I definitely read @Carnival-Boy post to mean more what he repeated here than @scottalanmiller interpretation.

    I kinda hope everyone understands why removing bloatware is a good thing, regardless of where the computer is.



  • @Dashrender said:

    I definitely read @Carnival-Boy post to mean more what he repeated here than @scottalanmiller interpretation.

    I kinda hope everyone understands why removing bloatware is a good thing, regardless of where the computer is.

    Why is it always a good thing? Excluding Lenovo there is rarely malicious bloatware. Dell and HP have minimal bloatware to begin with and most of the utilities are just other applications that do Windows tasks. Sure they are extra but are they really a bad thing?


  • Service Provider

    This is the quote that I was referencing for this topic:

    You may have issues with bloatware (I don't see why), but I don't speed is a valid reason for doing a clean install.



  • Because if you are not using those things, they are just extra things that load and make the computer slower. They also offer one more point of entry into a system for hackers. And if the user isn't using them, they almost assuredly aren't updating them.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    I definitely read @Carnival-Boy post to mean more what he repeated here than @scottalanmiller interpretation.

    I kinda hope everyone understands why removing bloatware is a good thing, regardless of where the computer is.

    Why is it always a good thing? Excluding Lenovo there is rarely malicious bloatware. Dell and HP have minimal bloatware to begin with and most of the utilities are just other applications that do Windows tasks. Sure they are extra but are they really a bad thing?

    That's the core question.... why is it bad?



  • Can someone define bloatware for me?

    As far as I can recall, the only 3rd party applications that HP currently include on their business PCs is trial version of Norton security software (bad) and Skype (benign).

    Or are we including HP/Dell utilities as bloatware? I presume HP and Dell write them because they believe they are helpful? They're not making money from them (as they are with including Norton trial software).


  • Service Provider

    Why I see bloatware as bad:

    • Uses disk space, generally minimal, but you paid for it and are getting less.
    • It increases the attack surface of the machines.
    • It is more software that needs to be managed and patched.
    • It is universally complete garbage that you would not want your users using anyway.
    • Quite often it contains competing programs for which you already have a solution and may cause compatibility problems (antivirus, for example.)
    • The software is often trialware and needs licensing and will prompt the user for this.
    • It commonly loads into memory slowing the machine.
    • It can be used to hide malware either maliciously or accidentally.
    • It is generally embarrassingly unprofessional software.


  • I rarely install the HP/Dell/Lenovo utilities on a clean install because I'm managing the machine with other tools, not their tools.



  • @Dashrender said:

    I rarely install the HP/Dell/Lenovo utilities on a clean install because I'm managing the machine with other tools, not their tools.

    This isn't an imaging question. No doubt you will not install these tools on a fresh install.

    The question is "Is it worth taking the time to uninstall them if you are not going to image the machine?"

    I agree that they should be removed but I wanted to see other people reasons for it.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    This isn't an imaging question. No doubt you will not install these tools on a fresh install.

    Then ....

    • Consistency

    Becomes an issue too. Some machines have some software, some do not, people wonder why things change, etc.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    The question is "Is it worth taking the time to uninstall them if you are not going to image the machine?"

    Right



  • @coliver said:

    The question is "Is it worth taking the time to uninstall them if you are not going to image the machine?"

    If I wasn't going to image, I probably wouldn't remove them. Manufacture tools usually are the least of our concerns compared to the AV, PDF viewer, movie maker, etc.


  • Vendor

    I find annoying anything that was not installed by me (probably except free MS Office on windows machines).

    Have a relevant question: how often you kill the vendor’s recovery partitions? I literary hate those because vendors used to create recovery partitions at the end of the existing disk layout making the native shrink/expand impossible. That’s a pain to repartition the 1 TB C volume you know.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    The question is "Is it worth taking the time to uninstall them if you are not going to image the machine?"

    If I wasn't going to image, I probably wouldn't remove them. Manufacture tools usually are the least of our concerns compared to the AV, PDF viewer, movie maker, etc.

    There are not manufacturers tools in any case that I've seen. It's advertising crap put on to get users used to stuff so that they demand that it be put back on again.


  • Service Provider

    @angrydok said:

    I find annoying anything that was not installed by me (probably except free MS Office on windows machines).

    Have a relevant question: how often you kill the vendor’s recovery partitions? I literary hate those because vendors used to create recovery partitions at the end of the existing disk layout making the native shrink/expand impossible. That’s a pain to repartition the 1 TB C volume you know.

    That too, I always remove those partitions. They use up part of the disk again to make the bloatware self-reinstall!!



  • huh, I've never seen the bloat auto reinstall. Be prompted through those manufacture apps, sure, but never auto reinstalled.

    Again, Why not just drop kick it and image whenever possible. One less issue to worry about.


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy said:

    Can someone define bloatware for me?

    It's a loose term and certainly not limited to what HP, Dell or whoever ads to the OS. The OS has bloatware too, like games for most people. Bloatware would be, to me, anything that is installed that is not needed or desired. Anything unnecessary.

    I would not include drivers if they are lean drivers (HP has been known to put on huge drivers that you might want to replace anyway) but any extra software or features that are not for the purpose of use. Anything that uses disk, memory, CPU, menu space, etc. Anything that makes a PC bloat rather than be lean.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    Again, Why not just drop kick it and image whenever possible. One less issue to worry about.

    That's another discussion and I agree, even at home I would image 100% of the time. Image meaning from VL disc, not an imaging server until you get to scale. I literally find it less work for the first time and since I install every machine more than once over a lifetime, it ads up quickly.



  • I never considered @scottalanmiller suggestion of a just a base install of the OS via an image before. Definitely an idea that gets to you a pure clean state much faster and guaranteed clean (save vendor bad drivers) that you can be assured of after uninstalling bloatware.

    It also solves the partition problem at the same time.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    It also solves the partition problem at the same time.

    You have to manually remove that or the image goes only into the partition available.



  • Before the newest (retail) sales model.. I would always toast and load my computers. But that was when you had a CD / DVD to work from to install the OEM OS.

    Now that they are moving more and more to not including any type of media,.. you still end up with the bloatware on a 'new install' because it's part of the recovery system.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    It also solves the partition problem at the same time.

    You have to manually remove that or the image goes only into the partition available.

    This depends on your imaging solution - Clonezilla for example removes all of the partitions automatically in my experience.



  • @gjacobse said:

    Before the newest (retail) sales model.. I would always toast and load my computers. But that was when you had a CD / DVD to work from to install the OEM OS.

    Now that they are moving more and more to not including any type of media,.. you still end up with the bloatware on a 'new install' because it's part of the recovery system.

    So there are two options here - buy Microsoft Signature Edition PCs. these are machines MS buys and strips all the crap off of and then sells to you at the same price as the OEM would (full retail).

    Option two, assuming Windows 10 (and probably 8.1 as well) you can these days download the ISO from MS and create your own media to reinstall your machine from.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Bloatware would be, to me, anything that is installed that is not needed or desired

    So would you include IE as bloatware?



  • I don't know if there is value in HP's utilities. I install their Proliant utilities on servers. I even go out of my way to download HP's version of ESXi rather than the vanilla version. Why should I feel any different about their desktop utilities? What's the difference?


  • Vendor

    Found a good screenshot example over here - check all tools with HP prefix :)

    In regards to recovery partitions, the only problem I see – it could keep some OEM licenses (laptops usually do). Also this might be related to warranty, I’ve seen several legal where repartitioning or killing this partition automatically cancels your warranty.


  • Service Provider

    @gjacobse said:

    Before the newest (retail) sales model.. I would always toast and load my computers. But that was when you had a CD / DVD to work from to install the OEM OS.

    Now that they are moving more and more to not including any type of media,.. you still end up with the bloatware on a 'new install' because it's part of the recovery system.

    That's WHY they've done that. Makes it harder for people to remove without reimaging rights.


  • Vendor

    @Carnival-Boy definitely :)


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