Every computer develops some cruft over time: the small app you installed years ago and forgot about, or a cleaning utility you downloaded when you wanted to free up some space, but is still running in the background. Plus, Windows comes with its own bloatware. No matter how old (or new) your Windows PC is, you should do an occasional audit of the apps you have installed, and decide which apps you can do without.
Here are some of the Windows apps you should remove ASAP — either because they are outdated, they pose a security risk, or because they are just scams.
CCleaner and other cleaning utilities
Windows 10 and 11 do a great job of looking after themselves. There is no need for a cleaning app anymore — especially CCleaner. CCleaner used to be a reliable app for cleaning up Windows. But in 2017, it was bought by Avast, which started to add unnecessary features and data-monitoring tools. While the app is better about these things now, there is just no need to use a cleaning utility like CCleaner these days.
Redundant technologies like Flash, Silverlight, Java
Adobe Flash is no more. Thank God. But it still might be around on your computer. The same might be true for older frameworks and technologies like Microsoft Silverlight, Java, and Shockwave. Go to your apps list, and if you see any of them on the list, make it an instant kill.
A free screenshot utility like Lightshot
Lightshot is a free utility for taking and uploading screenshots to the cloud. It’s useful, but it has a security risk. We suggest you don’t use any third-party screenshot tool for taking a screenshot of personal data — especially something like Lightshot that connects to cloud storage, where you have no control over the data.
Use Window’s Snipping Tool, or ShareX, our recommendation for the best screenshot tool for Windows (and then only store screenshots locally).
Cortana is one of those Microsoft projects that never worked out. It was already hidden in Windows 10, and it’s gone in Windows 11. Still, Cortana lurks in the background, taking up space and resources. Use the Windows10Debloater script in PowerShell to uninstall Cortana with just a click.
Apple apps like Bonjour, QuickTime, iTunes, and more
If you installed iTunes once in 2014, you still have at least five different Apple apps installed on your computer. In the modern era, there really is no need for iTunes, and if you do want to back up or sync your iPhone with a PC, you can use a third-party tool (or just use iCloud).
Go to your apps list and remove iTunes-related apps like Bonjour, Apple Software Update, Apple Mobile Devie Support, QuickTime, and iTunes.
If you bought a Windows PC from anyone other than Microsoft, chances are it came pre-installed with free apps you don’t need. Go to your apps list and find such apps. Use the Should I Remove It? website to figure out which apps are bloatware and uninstall them right away.
McAfee is one of the antivirus apps that itself isn’t safe. And it has proven to be a notoriously tricky to completely uninstall on the Mac. It mostly comes preinstalled with PCs, and is not an easy app to use. It’s easy to get rid of on Windows, though — you can uninstall it from the Apps list in Settings.
Torrent apps like uTorrent and BitTorrent
uTorrent used to be the best torrent app for Windows; BitTorrent was a close second. But then uTorrent started getting ads and bloat — and BitTorrent went the same way. uTorrent even added a crypto mining software without telling users. Ouch.
Uninstall these apps and switch to qBittorrent, which is safe, free, and open-source.
Everyone needs an app for unzipping archives — but it shouldn’t be WinRar. This app hasn’t seen a real update in 20 years, and offers 40-day trials perpetually. It won’t lock you out if you don’t pay, but it will keep showing you an annoying popup. Switch to the 7-Zip app, which is free and easy to use.