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by JB Burke

Q. I need to order a new computer. How can I minimize the work required to get a clean new computer, without the extras frequently installed by the manufacturers?

A. The computer manufacturers make a lot of their profit from those installed "trial" versions of software. They hope you will subscribe after the trial ends. But that doesn't necessarily help you. Most of that software isn't anything you really want, and it clogs up your new system and slows it down.

One thing you might try is something a colleague of mine did successfully. He was in the market for a new laptop from one of the major manufacturers who sell online and via phone. He configured the computer he wanted on their web site, and then placed a phone call to their sales department. He told the sales associate that he wanted the computer with just Windows installed … nothing else. At first the sales rep told him that wasn't possible. My associate said he was prepared to go elsewhere for a computer, and the sales rep eventually relented. He got a computer with only Windows installed. So you might try that approach first. Be firm.

Failing that, or if you buy in a local store or via an online retailer, the next best thing is to promptly clean up the computer when you receive it. One good program to do that chore is SlimComputer, a free utility found here. Their web site states "Disable or uninstall unuseful items. Optimize your system with push-button controls that let you disable services, remove links & uninstall the software you never asked for."

When you download SlimComputer, save it somewhere on your computer that you can find it. Open the file and follow the simple instructions to install it. When it starts, click Run Scan. It will scan your Applications, Browser add-ons, Startup Items and Shortcuts. If it reports nothing, you are good to go. Otherwise, check over the returned list and check any items you want deleted. As usual, be careful not to accidentally delete useful applications or add-ons.

Published: Courier 4/12/15 - Page 12A