Getting a new Windows 10 PC is an exciting time, bringing home a shiny new toy promising fast, secure access to the world with none of the issues of your old, outdated PC. It’s all fun and games until you end up with a screen full of pop ups after 30 days asking for payment of expired, trial subscription software.
A bit of time spent when you’re setting a new Windows PC up for the first time will ensure the best experience in the long run.
Bundled Trial Software
The primary concern with store-bought Windows PCs, is the loading of unnecessary, fast-expiring, trial software and OEM tools. Most PC manufacturers offset the cost of PCs by bundling third party software solutions. The first thing you should look at after turning that new PC on is the PROGRAMS AND FEATURES list, and start uninstalling third party trial software.
- Third party security software. This is the main offender. McAfee, Norton, TrendMicro are all common trial security software options installed on new PCs. Uninstalling this will automatically enable Microsoft’s own Windows Defender Security Centre to be enabled. This is the FREE, included with Windows 10, and requires no subscription that offers a complete suite of security working in tandem with Windows Update.
- Toolbars, game managers, media suites and connection managers. Unused bundled software can generally be removed without risk. Toolbars and connection managers tend to interfere with website browsing and present security risks as they’re usually never updated. Windows 10 will handle your WiFi drivers without any further need for third party managers.
- Manufacturer extended survey, support connection tools, alerts and monitoring software. These too can generally all be removed, as they’ll all be running at startup and wasting system resources. Your PC will not need any of these to run, Windows 10 will handle and update your drivers in most cases.
- Trial PDF, web-based printing and trial office suits apart from Microsoft Office. Windows 10 will open and print PDFs without the need for any additional software. Bundled manufacturer productivity applications tend to be quickly outdated and offer very little functionality.
Productivity Suite Options
Most Windows PCs now DO NOT come bundled with Office. The 2 best options are Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs.
- Microsoft Office 365. Subscription based access to the entire suite of Microsoft productivity tools, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and much more. Also includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and the ability to install on 5 devices of your own or your family members. It offers exceptional value for money if you can also claim it as an expense. Many workplaces and schools also offer a subscription with their email address.
- Google Docs. Free, web-based productivity suite best used via Google Chrome signed in with a Gmail address. It offers simple, functional productivity options for documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Usage becoming more and more common in schools, businesses and institutions allowing easy sharing and online saving to Google Drive.
Windows 10 offers a number of reset options to automate the clean up process and remove third party software. These work slightly differently and may require a fast internet connection.
- Reset this PC. Located in settings, under recovery. Offers options to reinstall Windows 10, with the choice of keeping or removing your documents and files. Removes most third party applications, but may still include manufacturer additions and optimisations.
- Start over with a clean installation of Windows. Located in settings, under recovery. Offers a pathway to download a clean Windows 10 image from the Microsoft server, and performs a complete reinstallation of Windows without any manufacturer additions or optimisations.
Microsoft Signature PCs
Microsoft Signature PCs can be bought directly from the Microsoft Store websites or retail outlets. Manufacturers such as Dell, HP, Razor and Alienware offer these options that are free of all pre-installed manufacturer software, and are configured to be clean and secure with no bundled trial software. They offer a clean, fast experience, very similar to how Apple MacBooks and iMacs are shipped.
[credit: Microsoft, featured image]