How to get rid of bloatware and clean your Windows 10 Start menu (without crapware cleanup tools)

Windows is powerful, but it often arrives on your PC as a bloated, crapware-filled mess. Here's how to remove the bloatware and clean it up, without making things worse with more crapware-filled helper apps.
Written by David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer on

Windows 10 is a powerful, capable operating system, but it can be full of annoyances. In this article, we'll show you some simple tricks for removing some of the more visible annoyances Windows throws at you out-of-the-box, especially for Windows Home users.

For those of you who are Windows gurus, these tricks are old hat. But there are a lot of daily Windows users (think managers, sales folks, marketing type, HR staffers, etc) who just need to get their work done, and aren't familiar with tweaking settings and fiddling with the registry. This article is for them.

See also: Crapware: Why manufacturers install it, what you can do about it, and why it's not going to go away

That said, if you have even more ways to help, feel free to let us know in the comments below. With that, let's dive into the tips.

Getting rid of bloatware

When you buy a new PC, it often comes with a Windows license and a Windows install filled with bloatware. The other day, I got roped into looking at some laptops installed in the office of some friends. They all had Start menus filled with bloatware. My friend was unhappy and we suddenly found ourselves in a teachable moment. I'll share with you what I shared with them.

Even a bare, simple install of Windows 10 often comes with garbage like Candy Crush Friends Saga, Candy Crush Saga, and Cooking Fever.


The best thing to do is uninstall these apps. In the search box, start typing "add" and the Add or remove programs option will come up. Click it.


Scroll on down to the offending app, click it, and then click Uninstall. Do this for each bloatware application.


Sometimes, you won't find the app listed in the Settings Apps & features panel. In those cases, you might be able to right click on the menu item and select Uninstall.


There are also apps you can use to remove bloatware, like Bulk Crap Uninstaller or PC Decrapifier, but simply uninstalling the annoying apps usually gets the job done just fine.

The risk in using a third-party uninstall tool was illustrated quite vividly by the always-in-trouble CCleaner, from last month's favorite privacy violator Avast.

See also: Avoid Windows 10 crapware: How to get rid of Candy Crush and all the rest

Disabling Start Menu ads

Microsoft helpfully calls the ads it plasters in its Start menu "suggestions." Once you know what this "feature" is called, you can turn it off.

To find and disable this feature, type "suggestions" into the search box and then click "Show suggestions occasionally in Start".


Then just turn off "Show suggestions occasionally in Start".


Removing the tiles from the Start menu

If you're like me, the Start menu tiles give you Windows 8 nightmares. On my Windows installs, one of the first things I do is remove them all. Doing so is very easy. For each tile you want to remove, right click and select Unpin from Start.


Once you do this with all tiles, you'll have a Start menu that looks and feels the way a Start menu should look and feel.


So there you go. Quick, clean, and easy. Let me know what you use to clean up your Windows 10 installations. If you've found a particularly egregious bit of crapware, tell us about that below, as well, so we can all share your pain.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.


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