Friday, June 17, 2016

New Microsoft Tool 'Refresh Windows' May Be The End All to Bloatware

One of the biggest complaints we've ever had with purchasing OEM or pre-manufactured PC's is the sure volume of pre-installed software that you are forced to endure when getting your new machine. This 'bloatware' that computer makers pack on new machines often slows down that fancy new PC you just bought and in some really bad cases could leave your machine open to security issues.

Now we may have a new tool to eradicate bloatware, and from a very unexpected source! Microsoft has released a free tool for Windows 10 users that will scrub your PC clean of all that unwanted pre-installed software, leaving you with a fresh clean install of your OS. According to the Microsoft Answers article which outlines the details -- the new tool dubbed Refresh Windows downloads and installs a recent, pristine build of Windows 10 on the PC, overwriting the pre-installed version.

Most Windows 10 users probably know that there is a Reset This PC tool in Settings that lets you reset your PC back to its original, factory condition. But since PC makers can modify the system image used by Reset This PC, the resulting clean install is anything but clean, and will include whatever crapware the PC maker decides to include. Refresh Windows will take a few steps beyond that and give users a truly clean image of Windows 10, similar to installing a retail version of the software!

Just keep in mind this is going to be a barebones install, which most of us geeks like anyways, and that all non-Microsoft applications that were bundled or already installed on Windows 10 -- the exception include the Mail email client and the Edge browser -- are eliminated during the refresh. According to the release notes "It will also remove most pre-installed applications such as OEM applications, support applications, and drivers."

So keep in mind this also means you will need to be prepared to download all your drivers if they aren't already covered by those available in Windows 10. So things like your video card, sound card, and many of the peripherals will need to be manually installed.

Refresh Windows hasn’t been officially released yet, but you can download it directly from Microsoft here. However, there is a catch -- the new tool only works on Windows 10 Insider builds, although it will also work on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update when it’s released at the end of July. For more details be sure to read the full Microsoft Answers post.

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