Posted on Friday February 01, 2019While you might think that getting free software with your new Windows 10-powered device sounds like a good idea, it's not. Beyond taking up storage space and diverting processing power, pre-installed software such as trial versions of video games, antivirus programs, and web browser toolbars - collectively called "bloatware" - can make your device vulnerable to cyberattacks. Read on to learn how to be bloatware-free.
In the middle of 2014, Lenovo users noticed something awry with their web browsers: banner ads were breaking webpage layouts and pop-ups made surfing unpleasant. A deep dive into the problem led to the discovery of a pre-installed software called Superfish - adware that jumps in the middle of your internet connection to stuff web pages with ads. Not only was this bloatware irritating, but it also made connections unsecure, leaving users vulnerable to hackers.
Software behemoth Microsoft has developed and deployed its fair share bloatware as well. The Windows 10 operating system, in particular, has plenty of them, such as:
While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and how they experience their hardware and software.
Like Superfish, other Windows 10 bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.
Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious: