New tool uses crowdsourcing to remove bloatware

SlimComputer draws user feedback to filter bloatware from critical applications

The bloatware battle has reached the cloud. A new PC utility announced on Tuesday collects information from other users over the Web to help make computers run faster and free up disk space.

The SlimComputer software from Slimware Utilities collects user ratings of programs that ship with PCs and aggregates the data to decide which ones to delete. Users can give programs ratings ranging from unwanted to good.

"As more users participate, we get more data. As we get more data, the better the ratings are," said Chris Cope, CEO of Slimware, based in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The tool will identify and remove programs that many users don't want -- like the free games that come with many PCs -- and also list nonessential toolbars, startup items and shortcuts.

Software publishers often pay PC makers to include trial versions of their software on new computers. Commonly called bloatware, the software can slow boot times, drag on performance and take up disk space. Other examples of bloatware include trial productivity tools and accounting software.

SlimWare tries to be careful not to interfere with important system software such as antivirus programs, and has safeguards to prevent such software being uninstalled, Cope said. For example, users are presented with a list of the programs that are going to be uninstalled and can remove programs from the list before they are deleted.

SlimWare also gathers information about potential bloatware from computer repair shops and volunteers that examine new PC models, Cope said.

Many utilities exist already that clean out unwanted programs, but few use an online feedback program like Slimware's to rate programs.

About 2,000 users have been contributing feedback so far, Cope said. In the future the company plans to extend the cloud-sourcing capability to its SlimCleaner software, which deletes junk files. User feedback will help identify new locations where programs such as browsers store temporary files, which can then be safely deleted. The capability will also be added to an upcoming version of its driver assessment and install software.

The SlimComputer utility is available for free download on the company's website.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardware systemsdesktop pcssoftwarelaptopsSlimWare Utilities

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?