What Are Your Most Hated Default Windows Apps?

What Are Your Most Hated Default Windows Apps?

Whether you install it accidentally or it’s something you’re told you “need”, there’s a lot of crappy software out there — and many of us use it without thinking. What are your most hated Windows apps that people say you “need”?

It’s been a few years since our last look at crappy Windows software, and the world has changed a little bit. Whether it’s software that came bundled on your machine, came on the CD with your new printer, or is just one of those apps everyone tells you you “need” (I’m looking at you, Adobe Reader), crapware abounds in the Windows ecosystem. We’re wondering: What are your least favourite programs on Windows, and what, if any, alternatives or solutions do you recommend for them? We’ll be back with a big roundup later on, so hit us with as many as you can think of in the comments.


  • Amazed at the image!

    Used to be lots of default Windows apps, but at this moment, only few left, and the worst: Windows Media Player.

    Still can’t play mkv and divx by default and properly.

    • WMP in w7 has been playing divx out of the box since before initial release.

      As for MKV, that’s a container. You just need the container splitter and common video/audio formats are good go to.

  • Not an app, but its the very first thing I disable with every new Windows installation.
    The ‘click’ sound every time you open a link or launch a program or whatever.

  • Yeah, never understood why they can’t make explorer dual pane! It’s a bloody good file browser, and I prefer it over the plethora of alternatives, some of which are excellent! I actually get around it with a little VBS script called side by side!

  • I think that image points to the problem – the worst default app is Internet Explorer. First step for me on a new build is to enable the menu bar in explorer and a few apps. Second step download Chrome

      • I just downloaded CopyHandler, it’s OK but it has to stay alive in the systray and start with the OS, so not really all that convenient, at least for me, others might not mind stuff in their systray though! #]

        • Yeah I wasn’t such a fan of that part, it has some useful features, but since I purchased Xplorer2 and found it has ‘Robust File Transfer’ for copy/move and also has a thread-priority, I’ve uninstalled CopyHandler. X2 is really great actually, and the new version 2.0 has some really neat layout feature updates: http://zabkat.com/blog/23Jul11-xplorer2-v2-released.htm.

          Also, if you have any issues with x2, the developer, Nikos, is pretty fast to reply with useful suggestions, quite friendly also.

      • Oh yes! I agree – TeraCopy is great, I used it in 2007/8 and it was great, but forgot about it. When I went searching, all I could find was CopyHandler. TeraCopy is fantastic. Thanks for the reminder 😀

  • Well, you’ve opened a can of worms, but I’ll keep it as short as I can!

    My most hated thing about default Windows installations and new profiles, is the Windows Explorer folder options.

    Seriously – why would you ever want to set these options on???
    * View as tiles – this is not a useful view whichever way you look at it: view as details should be the choice, much more useful, and better use of screen space.
    * Hide extensions for known file types – This should not even be an option. Ever.
    * Remember each folder’s view settings – I can’t tell you how annoying this option is
    * Hide status bar – what? The status bar is useful! …maybe not very useful in Windows 7 Explorer though; that was a step back, wasn’t it!?
    * Show common tasks in folders – eeek! Give me screen space any time, these ‘common tasks’ have keyboard shortcuts or can be found in the menus already.
    * Hide the contents of system folders – I can understand hiding stuff from users, but to hide ‘C:\’ when you open it via My Computer? guh!
    * Do not show hidden files and folders – hmm, frustrating, but similar to above, besides, they’re greyed out in the details view, that shows you shouldn’t really be messing with them anyway.
    * Launch folder windows in the same process, whose idea was that? Oh, I suppose the Windows Devs never had Explorer crash on them – probably because they never used it 😉

    Don’t get me wrong, MS did make the platform for which I make my living, and I’m grateful for that, I’m just saying that I would have liked for them to have considered the people like me who are providing support for their product, when setting up the defaults. 😛

  • Any app that creates a background “update checker” task that runs permanently. Why do I need a process running 24×7 to check for an update that only happens once a month, once a year, once every Halley’s Comet….???

    Acrobat, Java, Quicktime, etc. I know there are options to turn it off, but they shouldn’t be on by default.

    Windows should build a third party software Update framework that all 3rd party apps must subscribe to (ie a third party section in Windows Update). Then, users can control when updates are checked for 3rd party apps.

    It should be a requirement for apps listed in the “Windows 8 App Store”….

  • Task Manager/processes tab – whenever you sort any column it shows the smallest first.
    Hmmm yeah, that’s what I want to find out when my machine is running like a dog, which process is doing the best!!

    • We use XP at work (government standard atm, until we upgrade in 2029 just before Skynet gets crushed).

      The lack of PID on the task manager is frustration+++, it should be there, you can add it but it should be there already; task manager is a ‘power user application’ anyway, so PID should be there, just like CPU (I think it is in Win7 at least).

      Good call simo.

    • you know you can click the sort button again to make it sort the other way around, right? so if it sorts smallest to biggest hog, click it again to sort largest to smallest

  • Adobe Flash and it’s updates every other day.

    Anything that you go to download and it has a tick-box marked saying “Oh, and you’ll also get our partner’s spyware…”.

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