Will my brand new computer be faster if I uninstall everything?
November 18, 2009 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I just got a brand new HP G61 320US with AMD Athlon II 2.0 Ghz processor and 3 GB RAM, running Windows 7. It is still in the box. I want it to run fast. Do I need to uninstall everything and then reinstall the basics? If so, what program should I use to do the uninstall?

I have heard that new PCs come larded down with all kinds of garbage that takes up RAM and processor-effort. So to all you computerheads: do I need to wipe it clean? If so, does that include reinstalling the OS?

I've heard that PC Decrapifier (no joke) is a good tool for this. Yes/no?

Any advice is much appreciated.
posted by kensington314 to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Just uninstall the stuff that looks useless. That's typically enough to do the trick.
posted by GuyZero at 3:18 PM on November 18, 2009

You just need to uninstall the programs one by one. The biggest issue is which ones are loading at startup, so keep an eye on those. You can use Windows' uninstall program or something like CCleaner.

You ask about reinstalling the OS as a possibility. There are two ways to do this:

1) Since it's an HP, your computer probably has a restore partition on your hard drive which will give you the option of restoring your computer to its original factory settings. This will reinstall the OS but it will also reinstall all of the crap programs that come with the computer. This will obviously not do you any good.

2) You can buy a Windows 7 DVD and reinstall the OS without any of HP's stuff, but there's no reason to go buy a new copy of the OS since you already have it.
posted by puritycontrol at 3:37 PM on November 18, 2009

2nd the "just uninstall stuff", but PC Decrapifier is pretty handy too.
posted by niles at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2009

Cool. It's been awhile since I've owned a PC, and I've never used Windows 7. Are there any seemingly pointless programs that I absolutely should not delete? My tendency is to want to delete everything that isn't MS Office Suite.
posted by kensington314 at 3:40 PM on November 18, 2009

I tend to be a purist. I would format the drive and reinstall the OS from scratch. I like to know exactly what's on my hard drive at all times, and the stock condition of most PCs interferes with that. Uninstalling programs one-by-one doesn't satisfy my paranoia that all the unwanted stuff is completely eradicated. But this is just me being obsessive, and likely goes way beyond your needs.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:56 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Revo is where it's at. Seriously. Use Revo. I mean it. Uninstalls beautifully and has a built in tool set that lets you wipe out startup entries and whatnot. CCleaner does too, but Ccleaner doesn't uninstall.
posted by TomMelee at 3:58 PM on November 18, 2009

Ccleaner doesn't uninstall

It does. Under Tools there's a pane that let's you run uninstallers for all installed apps.
posted by aheckler at 4:01 PM on November 18, 2009

Seconding Revo. It will change your life.

(One other thing,...
Ccleaner doesn't uninstall.

...yes it does. And quite well. You just have to explore a little bit. But I agree Revo is really where it's at.)
posted by humannaire at 4:02 PM on November 18, 2009

Ok, my bad. W/e. Does CCleaner's uninstaller just run the application uninstallers, or does it registry/file scrub like Revo does?

Seriously, Revo is something I install on every computer I touch.
posted by TomMelee at 4:03 PM on November 18, 2009

The biggest issue is which ones are loading at startup,

This would be your primary concern for processing grunt - the other stuff is just taking up hard drive space but not hurting performance. You can also type msconfig in your start menu and fire up the system configuration, then check out the StartUp tab and disable anything unnecessary. Win7 has devolved most the under the hood stuff to windows services, so you can't really do too much damage, but if you don't recognise something, leave it or or google it just in case.

Step by step instructions here
posted by Sparx at 4:03 PM on November 18, 2009

I have been dismayed to find that computers generally don't come with OS discs anymore, so I think I may need to skip your idea, Winsome Parker Lewis. (Even though it's the preferred option for me too.)

I will check into Revo.

Is all this going to leave me sans anti-virus software?
posted by kensington314 at 4:04 PM on November 18, 2009

The kind of anti-virus software that comes preinstalled is something you don't want anyway; it nags you like a bitchy wife.

You can download Microsoft's "Security Essentials" antivirus program for free. It works fine. (In fact, it works a hell of a lot better than Norton or McAfee, which will probably be preinstalled.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:21 PM on November 18, 2009

Regarding Revo - should I run the option that uninstalls registry files and everything? Or should I run the "safe" version? Is it pretty safe to assume that I can get rid of anything associated with most of these programs?
posted by kensington314 at 4:25 PM on November 18, 2009

System Restore is a huge resource hog. That said, I would discourage you from disabling it.
posted by box at 4:30 PM on November 18, 2009

Before you do ANYTHING else...
Create the system disks.

I believe (and I may be mistaken) that the system disks do not have all the add-on junk that the system has installed.
posted by Drasher at 4:37 PM on November 18, 2009

I want it to run fast.

Then install Linux.

To run fast and keep Windows, I'd definitely do a clean format and install with a real Windows (retail) disk, but using your own Windows serial number when prompted. This is what I have done for PCs I've bought in the past.

But yes, Drasher's advice is also good: make the damn recovery disks before you do anything else. Just in case.
posted by rokusan at 4:41 PM on November 18, 2009

Oh, I also second the Microsoft Security.

(And be careful about using Revo, the site says that is does not support 64-bit systems, and it does not seem to have the Win& "seal of approval" either.)
posted by Drasher at 4:42 PM on November 18, 2009

Does "making a system disk" create a disc I can use to restore the OS from scratch? Is there a program that does this in Windows 7?
posted by kensington314 at 4:47 PM on November 18, 2009

I would recommend wiping and reinstalling.

You can download the Windows 7 ISO here (official links). You will still need your product key.
posted by wongcorgi at 5:37 PM on November 18, 2009

I believe MS has used different keys for the OEM built-in versions and the ones you get retail, like those ISOs, so you probably can't just download the ISO and use your key.

Personally I'd just uninstall anything non-microsoft. Definitely dump the included virus scanner, which is there to get you to sign up and pay for a subscription. Use Microsoft's "Security Essentials" as mentioned above, or AVG free.
posted by alexei at 5:43 PM on November 18, 2009

I would buck the trend and say NOT to reinstall, there is some debate about the number of times win7 is going to let you install it per-key. So far it looks like 3 and you're already on number 1.

To make the thing as fast as possible, uninstall anything you don't like, go into power options and make sure that "high performance" is selected, it does NOT ship with high performance selected, and then turn off most of the aero enhancements.

No need to reinstall, seriously.
posted by TomMelee at 6:16 PM on November 18, 2009

On preview, yes, Microsoft Security Essentials just did great in a new series of benchmarks. However, a couple days later, Panda Cloud whupped it and got higher performance marks. I've been using Panda Cloud since early beta, and I have to say that I'm more than a little impressed.

And really, for good speed, turn off any realtime virus monitoring. Then turn it on and let it runs itself once a week or so, or w/e.
posted by TomMelee at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2009

Careful! It's true they don't come with DVDs anymore. They do usually come with a program installed to burn those DVDs: Windows, drivers, crapware, etc. Find those and run them first so you have DVDs, then go ahead and obliterate the drive if you feel like it.
posted by chairface at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2009

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