[Windows] Remove pre-installed bloatware from your PC with Decrap my Computer

Decrap Step 1 UninstallSo, you just bought a lovely new PC and you’re ready to take it through its paces. One of the first things you should do with any new device is clear out some of that excess crap that comes pre-installed, often referred to as bloatware. Dell, Asus, HP, Toshiba, Gateway it doesn’t matter what brand of computer you have they are all guilty of bogging down devices with unnecessary bloatware. They make money by installing it because it’s essentially free advertising for the related software companies. There’s no need to keep all those antivirus trials, and proprietary media software installed. You probably have your own favorite software that you’re going to install anyway. Decrap (Decrap my Computer) is a free Windows application that will scan your computer for bloatware and remove it in one convenient process.

What is it and what does it do

Decrap Step 4 removal process

Main Functionality

Decrap is a Windows application that will remove unnecessary bloatware from your PC, whether it’s new or old. It’s best used on a new system, since a lot of bloatware is installed by the manufacturer. The normal way to remove various applications can be quite tedious, but Decrap makes the whole process a lot faster.

Pros

  • Very easy to use, walks you through the entire process
  • Analyzes your computer for unecessary bloatware and helps you remove it
  • Decrap Step 3 automatic warningIncludes an integrated and thorough registry cleaner (optional to use)
  • No advertisements or bloatware to contend with
  • Relatively lightweight, only uses about 20MB of RAM while running

Cons

  • Automatic mode will handle all prompts without user interaction, there’s a chance it will remove something you don’t want it to (manual mode is recommended)

Discussion

Decrap download buttonsThere are two versions of Decrap available. One comes as an install package and the other comes as a portable application in a compressed folder. I used the portable version (click the ‘Download without installer’ link as pictured on the right), however I did check out the install package for the purpose of this review. I did not encounter any bloatware content, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be added in a later version. As always, be careful and paying attention during install and never blindly click “next.” Freeware usually comes bundled with its fair share of bloatware because it’s how the developers make their money.

Decrap LanguageThe first time you run Decrap it will need to analyze your system for installed applications. Before doing that, it will take you through a very brief tutorial that doesn’t necessarily show you how to use the app, but instead outlines the fact that Decrap is safe to use. After the initial setup is complete the application will then restart itself.

Once the setup is all complete, it will need to go through another analyzation process, but this time it’s relatively quick and painless. Decrap will then ask you if you want to run the automated mode, or if you want to handle bloatware removal manually. I would highly recommend sticking with the manual mode, and choosing what bloatware to remove. In automatic mode, the application will remove bloatware on its own without user input and there’s a chance that it will remove something you actually need. Then again, on a brand new system it wouldn’t be that big a deal because chances are high that you haven’t really installed anything on it yet.

Decrap Fully Automatic ModeOnce the app has analyzed your system, it spits out the results in a listbox. All of the content is separated into six different categories or groups:

  • Automatically Starting Software
  • Desktop Items
  • Drivers and other probably important software
  • Start Menu Items
  • Third Party Software
  • Windows Related Software

The different groups are pretty straightforward as far as what they include. The third party software includes anything that’s not associated with the operating system, or in other words anything that’s not necessary for the PC to operate.

Just select the items in the list that you wish to remove and then move on to the next step (click next). Next, the application will prompt you to create a restore point which serves as a backup in case anything goes wrong. I highly recommend you create a restore point whenever possible.

Decrap Step 2 create backupAfter dealing with the restore point, Decrap will move on to the uninstallation setup. You can either have the application run in automatic mode, or manual mode. In automatic mode, Decrap will handle clicking all of the related buttons in the installers which means you shouldn’t have to do anything. You can also tell Decrap to clean the registry automatically, manually or prevent it from doing so at all. Once you choose the related options and click next a popup will appear. All non-essential Windows programs need to remain closed in the background.

Decrap will then remove all the user specified software from the system, and perform a thorough registry clean (if you allowed it to do so). Once the entire process is complete it will spit out the appropriate information and stats and then automatically shut itself down. That’s it really, that’s all there is to it.

For reference, Decrap uses about 20,800KB of RAM while running which is a little over 20MB.

Conclusion and download link

Decrap Step 3 manual or automaticDecrap is a free Windows tool that is actually designed to clean brand new computers. More specifically, it targets pre-installed bloatware that does nothing, but bog down the system. If you don’t use it, and you don’t need it then why allow it to take up precious system resources? Decrap includes both automatic and manual operation modes, though I would stick with manual just to be on the safe side. Automatic mode would be fine to use on a brand new computer, because that’s when you hardly have any third party software installed, but there is a chance it will remove something you don’t want it to. The application also includes an integrated and very thorough registry cleaner which will run after you uninstall programs or applications. The registry cleaner is optional though, so you don’t have to run it you don’t want to. All in all, if you want to get some of that pre-installed crap off your new computer, Decrap is the way to go.

Decrap First RunPrice: Free

Version reviewed: 3.0.0.1299

Supported OS: Windows (XP, Vista, Seven, Eight)

Download size: 4.31MB (compressed portable), 7.36MB (unzipped portable)

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? Yes

Decrap my Computer Homepage

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20 comments

  1. RawData

    Nice article and nice piece of software. It will be a time saver and good addition to my toolbox.
    Pretty fool proof, too… as long as you read and follow the points made in article, of course.

    I’m not naming anyone, but some people prefer different approaches. As OEM’s are trying to stuff more and more crapware into new setups, this will become handy for removing them. After all, it’s the user who decides what software (s)he uses, not OEM or MS.

    Almost any software can be used wrong and mishaps happen when you don’t know or care how to use it. This is no exception, allthought as article points out, problems can easily be avoided. It’s easier to use automatic functions, but generally they will not work well in all circumstances or setups.

    As far as letting the Windows do the uninstall job, no cake. It’s always been (and will be?) broken. Moreover, those pesky bloatwares sometimes leaves parts (3rd party offers, updates services) of them behind, instead completely uninstalling. So much for letting Windows doing the job.

    Using restore points is generally good idea, but not ideal if it’s the only tool in your box, as it’s not enough by its own. Specially for preinstalled OEM crap in new computer. Ever tried to restore computer to the point just before all that extra is installed? So much for restore points as only tool…

    At least, for a time being, this is one of those good uninstallers, given that user follows the “manual approach”. Yes, you can mess things up a bit if you fail to understand why “automatic” approach is not always good! Still, hinting this being “dubious” as someone does, is out of the line. Even worse is the earlier suggestion that complete removal of software is bad for your computer. I fail to see why would anyone think that partial uninstall is better that full one.

    All in all, thank you for introducing this freebie!

  2. Yue

    Used it, choose manual mode and only checked things related to HP bloatwares and other stuff I knew wasn’t a driver/windows file. It’s a good tool for people who know what they are doing, but if you choose Automatic, you can kiss your drivers good bye, because those are checked by default, for me it was Graphic, USB, SD card reader, Sound and Ethernet/Wifi drivers that were checked by default, basically everything essential.
    Sure I could get the latest drivers instead, by I do need the ethernet driver for that. Overall, nice utility, could do something else while it was uninstalling all the junk without me having to sit in front of the screen and doing it manually with every single bloatware.

  3. michel

    [@Dale Dixon] yes, that kind of proves my point. If the tool fails to fix your problems, use system restore to repair what the tools have done? Why bother? Use system restore in the first place, without installing dubious “utilities” that IN MY EXPERIENCE only make things worse.

  4. michel

    [@DoktorThomas] Not sure why you think that’s apparent. I am familiar with Revo and have used it extensively in the past, Again, MY experience with these tools is that they cause trouble, not eliminate it. Great that it works for you, or seems to. I gave up all the fix-it tools when problems only multiplied, and said problems never reappeared.

  5. DoktorThomas

    [@michel] Apparently you are not familiar with Revo Uninstaller, free wonderful utility for removing installed software completely from your PC. Have used it hundreds of times to remove unwanted software with no ill affects.
    * * *
    The majority of users run their computers like they run their automobiles, after ignition the rest is a blur; so anything beyond the “on” button is and will be foreign to them. “Setting up” their PC is not within the realm of possibilities.

    Anyone with a valid MSFT OS code should be able to re-download their OS at any time from msft.com. However, what is and what should be are light years apart. (The current web site is nearly unusable. Further evidence that MSFT hasn’t a clue.)

    Resistance is a consumer’s most valuable tool in the OS marketplace.

  6. vandamme

    Two other solutions: download and install the “pure” Win7 ISO from the official repository:
    http://www.mydigitallife.info/official-windows-7-sp1-iso-from-digital-river/
    …and all you get is a OS which you register using the code on your license sticker.

    Better solution: go to distrowatch.com and find one of the OS’s that fits your needs, and it comes with most of the apps you need and no bloat-, spy-, trial-, or malware. No license needed.

  7. David Roper

    [@michel] You make it easy for me. In the first sentence it states:

    “Decrap is a Windows application that will remove unnecessary bloatware from your PC, whether it’s new or old. It’s best used on a new system, since a lot of bloatware is installed by the manufacturer.”

    If you know what Bloatware is then use it (examples: Norton’s, Window’s Office 90 day trial”. If it’s “Jane’s Super Defragger” then use the Windows Uninstaller, or If Jane leaves pieces of poop throughout your Hard drive everywhere, then “wipe” it up with Revo, etc.

    Then, some people just have cleaner houses than others. Check out the corners in the bathrooms upstairs and the dust around the back of the front door. Different strokes for different folks. ;-)

  8. michel

    [@David Roper] If you’re talking to me, no, I’m not missing the point. The article clearly states this removes programs and then registry entries. My point is, anything that does this is bad for your computer. Much better to uninstall manually through windows and then browse for leftover folders and delete them yourself.

    You mileage may vary, but all my computer problems disappeared when I stopped “maintaining” my system with these kinds of tools. I use window’s built-in tools, and they work.

  9. michel

    [@jayesstee] What makes you think I don’t know that? But guess what: That’s safe. I’d much rather there be some garbage left over than risk breaking the registry or something else by “cleaning” it.

    I know what these utilties do, I know many people think they’re safe and useful – my experience tells me different. Yes, I sacrifice a tiny (compared to the size of the hard disk) amount of space, but that’s much preferable to an unstable system. My advice to everyone is, if you have a clean, stable system, don’t mess with it. And registry cleaning is messing with it.

  10. Tony

    may be helpful with brand new computer ?, but as it’s now in my 2 months old computer, this program is dangerous esp. in auto mode, because it lists all programs regardless!! ( I know it will create a restore point…but still)

  11. jayesstee

    [@michel] Sorry Microsoft uninstalls zilch.  What it does, is use a progs. one uninstaller.
    Use it and then search the file structure and registry for the name of the “uninstalled” prog.  You will be amazed how much debris is left.

  12. David Roper

    Y’all (as we say in SC) are missing the point. This is to remove Bloatware that comes on all new PCs these days, not compete with the likes of REVO and others.

    I would like to see a comparison done between DECRAP (this one) and DECRAPIFIER. Ashraf?

  13. David Roper

    Great program. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could give it a few programs from a download URL in a txt list like TEDnotepad or VLC that need to be loaded ONTO the new PC, too. Just sayin’

  14. michel

    I highly recommend staying away from any and all uninstallers, cleaners and tweakers. I realize they offer a lot of convenience, but in my experience, they ALWAYS lead to trouble.

    WIndows has all the built-in tools you need to safely remove and clean what you don’t need, and customize the rest. Again, in my own experience, all third party tools – including well-known favourites touted by tech blogs such as this one – will cause problems eventually.

    We often hear how after time Windows needs re-installation, and it seems to me this is said by people who love to tweak and clean and do it regularly. Whereas, if I leave my system to its own devices, it works fine.

    just sayin’.