Updated: 12/05/2021 by Computer Hope
Garbage pile in the shape of a human head.

Alternatively known as bloatware and junkware, crapware is software pre-installed with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) computers or smartphones with no advantage because it's a trial version or expires after a few days. Computer manufacturers often include this software in exchange for special deals with the publishers, often helping to reduce the overall cost of the computer for the consumer.


Crapware should not be confused with adware, spyware, or malware, which are all malicious. Apart from consuming disk space and using system resources, crapware is not malicious.

Why is bloatware bad?

Any software installed on your computer, including bloatware, takes up additional space preventing you from having available space for programs you want installed. In addition, if that bloatware is loading each time you boot the computer, even when unnecessary, it takes up system resources. Finally, bloatware can cause problems with other programs and hardware, making your computer less reliable and potentially adding frustration while working on the computer.

If bloatware is so bad, why is it installed?

By automatically installing bloatware, a company has an easy way to promote its products and services to all their customers. In addition, other companies give your computer manufacturer subsidies for each computer installed with their software. Companies can reduce the overall price of a computer because they're subsidizing their costs by installing bloatware.

Is all bloatware bad?

No. Many users, especially new users, may not consider bloatware bad because they find it useful. However, not giving the user the option of what to install and run automatically is what causes these programs to be considered bloatware. For users who have no intention of using the software, it is left up to them to disable or uninstall the program. Also, for users who experience problems because of the bloatware, it can be difficult to locate the cause of the problem.

What is an example of bloatware?

Examples of bloatware include the following examples.

  • Ask Toolbar - A toolbar for the search service that installs itself in your browser when installing another program.
  • Internet software - An ISP (Internet service provider) software (e.g., AOL (America Online), Earthlink, MSN (Microsoft Network), etc.) installed to promote an Internet service.
  • McAfee or Symantec antivirus software - Antivirus software that's installed for a trial period with the hopes that the user wants to continue using for a yearly fee.

How to remove bloatware?

Most bloatware can be removed by uninstalling the software. Software that is not listed as an option to be uninstalled must be disabled or manually uninstalled.

Sometimes, like on certain Android smartphone models, bloatware cannot be uninstalled. If your service provider (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) provides apps like voicemail and other related services, you may not be allowed to uninstall them.

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