When ‘Bloatware’ Isn’t Crap: Give Pre-Installed Apps A Chance

When ‘Bloatware’ Isn’t Crap: Give Pre-Installed Apps A Chance

Whether you’re talking about pre-built PCs, Android phones, or other gadgets, pre-installed software often gets a bad rap . But just because it’s pre-installed doesn’t mean it’s bloat — every once in a while, you get a gem you might not otherwise have seen.

Image by Thomas Pajot (Shutterstock) and vectorlib.com (Shutterstock)

I recently bought a Moto X, which — while mostly stock — contains a few extra apps and features from Motorola. As soon as I got the phone, I started hiding those apps from my launcher, including the not-very-descriptive Motorola Assist app — which actually turned out to be a useful little utility. It can silence your phone when you sleep, auto-reply when you’re in a meeting (based on your calendar events), and even read text messages to you while you’re driving. Now I use it every day.

That’s just one example, and it’s not to say bloatware isn’t real. But before you go on an uninstalling rampage, take a look at what you have. Out of 20 crappy programs, you might have one app that’s worth keeping. Lenovo, for example, bundles power managers and software updaters with its PCs that are quite good. Some old HP computers used to come with a free licence for Fences . A few Samsung phones even came with 50GB of free storage on Dropbox.

The point is: It’s easy to get tunnel vision and uninstall all these things as soon as you get your new phone or computer. The next time you get a new device, do a little research and give those pre-installed apps a chance before you kick them to the kerb. You might find something useful.


  • Nope, I have to disagree! I’ve had a PC since my first 8086 IBM clone. I’ve had a handheld since my Palm V, and a smartphone since the Handspring treo 180. I’ve never seen a bit of bloatware that I would even remotely refer to as a “gem”. In fact, quite the contrary is true. On my previous phone I had to delete 18 bits of bloatware after purchasing it. Soon after I received the latest Optus update… that number rose to 23 bits of Crapware. A lot of it was various iterations of Optus Zoo. It annoyed me so much that this time round I purchased a Sony Xperia Z1. One factor in the choice was that it is not crammed full of crapware. It does include some stuff from Sony that I can’t get rid of, but at least it is not intrusive like the Optus stuff.

  • Lenovo’s updater mindlessly went to my local subsidiary website and told me my machine didn’t exist and so therefore there were no updates. It seems that laptop/tablet manufacturers still haven’t figured out that “portable” might mean that a device crosses between countries.

    Also be aware that a “gem” may also be sending data to the manufacturer without your informed consent.

  • Free versions of Blu-Ray playback software are almost needed, unfortunately. They’re truly horrendously bloated software, and I hate everything about them, but when you’ve got a laptop with a blu-ray playing in-built, there’s little other choice (unless you want to *pay* for the same software from a slightly different company).

  • I’ll admit, the Alienware Command Center is good, bringing the LED lighting, Touchpad controls and power settings all in one area.

    Apart from that wipe the PC and re-build from scratch 😛

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