You wouldn’t buy a new car that needed a few turns of the engine to get going, would you? But that’s exactly what a lot of us do when we buy a new laptop. Nearly all of us have experienced the sensation of starting up a new laptop for the first time, expecting to watch it zoom through any task you can throw at it and then feeling frustrated when it takes ages to get going. This is often the result of the pre-installed software that manufacturers throw onto a new piece of hardware. This software, often included entirely unbeknownst to customers, is known collectively as bloatware. Often, it is included ‘free’ with a new laptop as extra tools that the manufacturer thinks you’ll find useful. Sometimes however, software is included simply because it can act as another potential source of income.
Bloatware is particularly annoying not just because it’s often not very useful (and sometimes full-on useless!) but it actively uses up your new laptop’s resources, reducing the available resources to focus on the tasks you actually want it to do. This might not be such an issue if you’re just browsing the news or replying to some emails, but start working on a memory-intensive programme and you might find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated with the speed of your machine.
How much can it affect your work? Does it really slow down your new machine that much, or is this just computer nerds exaggerating? Well, let’s have a look at some of the evidence. A study conducted into a line of laptops manufactured by a well-known computer company found that those without pre-installed bloatware started up an average of 40% faster than the same laptops with the bloatware installed! (https://computercures.com.au/real-reason-new-laptop-runs-slow/) That’s a pretty dramatic improvement, showing us just how much bloatware can slow down a laptop. Furthermore, those same laptops also had an average of 28 minutes of additional battery life (https://www.computerworld.com/article/2966113/bloatware-what-it-is-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it.html), enough to finish an important piece of work, send a few more emails or even watch an episode of many TV shows.
The good news is that bloatware is often easy to remove, with just a little work. By researching your laptop manufacturer and operating system's particular method of deleting pre-installed software, users can take back that extra memory and get back (some) of the new-laptop experience they were looking for with their purchase.