A new beginning
December 18, 2014 7:08 AM   Subscribe

I got a new ASUS laptop with Windows 8.1. I've removed some of the obvious bloatware, but I'm still getting minor hiccups in games, so I want to wipe everything and reinstall (I don't have the CD). I'm considering using the "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" feature under the "Update and Recovery" settings. According to the official website, "Only apps that came with your PC will be reinstalled." Before I waste several hours, will this actually remove the bloatware?
posted by gorbweaver to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If your laptop has a Windows sticker with the license code on it, you should be able to grab the Win 8.1 .iso from Microsoft and just do a wipe and install.

posted by Gev at 7:14 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I work in a corporate IT and load all our own systems so I thankfully don't have to deal with all that crap.

This tool comes up recommended though.
PC Decrapifier
posted by WillRun4Fun at 7:15 AM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: No it won't remove the bloatware, however you can do as Gev said and reinstall from any win 8.1 iso disk/key and it won't reinstall the junk. It also may miss some drivers and the proprietary Asus update stuff that's relatively ideal to leave installed.

For years people have recommended Revo Uninstaller, but I stopped using that. (I'm an IT professional, btw), and instead recommend Geek Uninstaller. Use it to ensure full uninstalls of everything. You should probably also use something like ccleaner or autoruns to see what's loading at startup, and turn off anything unnecessary.

TBH it's honestly probably something like windows updates and/or the onboard video causing your issues. Set updates to "inform me but don't download or install" and check for driver updates for your card.
posted by TomMelee at 7:23 AM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

With Windows 8+, you won't find a sticker with the serial number. The serial number is actually stored in the BIOS now. You should be able to get a Windows 8.1 ISO and re-install; the computer will insert the serial number on its own during the install.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:24 AM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It won't take several hours - that restore feature of windows is remarkably speedy.

That said, if Asus set it up so that the crapware gets reinstalled, then it will. But if they did not, and left it at the defaults, then windows will basically reinstall itself and you'll get a HTML document on your desktop telling you what programs were installed so you can reinstall manually.

I've used that tool to recover otherwise unusable machines and it works pretty OK well. In my experience, however, it doesn't beat a full wipe and reinstall for restoring original performance.

So, it might pay to try it, and if you aren't satisfied, you can always nuke it later.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:27 AM on December 18, 2014

Get a copy of your laptop drivers from Asus's website, and do that before all this wiping. Network driver is most critical, though, since you'll need that to get other drivers you're missing after the wipe. Good to have a backup of these somewhere, preferably on something that's most likely to work on a raw windows install, like USB.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:42 AM on December 18, 2014

You're almost certainly going to get bloatware with "Wipe and reinstall."
posted by cnc at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2014

Best answer: It also may miss some drivers and the proprietary Asus update stuff that's relatively ideal to leave installed.

Prior to re-installing, download and run Double Driver (free, no installation required). It'll backup all your drivers to a folder which you can put on a USB stick.

Once you've re-installed Windows (you did put those drivers onto a USB stick right?), run Windows Update to get as many drivers as you can.

Afterwards go into the Device Manager, right click on any device that has the icon indicating there isn't a driver for it, click on "install" and point Windows at the folder of drivers on your USB stick.
posted by mr_silver at 5:20 AM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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