PC Decrapifier 1.8.3 Review

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Pros: Easy and quick installation; Lists removable programs; Free

Cons: Doesn't perform well on all notebooks; Didn't recognize all software

Verdict: PC Decrapifier aims to rid your new notebook of crippling trial software, but some new computers pose too big of a challenge for this free download.

If ever there were an application we hoped for on a new laptop, it would be one that would get rid of the free trials of AOL, Quickbooks, Napster, and the load of other preinstalled crap (hence the name "crapware"). Even virus software, which you need anyway, is a royal pain when you first get a notebook, because it's constantly reminding you to buy it. PC Decrapifier lets you save some time otherwise spent in the Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs menu, and with a few mouse clicks clears your PC of unwanted crapware-or at least some of it.

This software works better with some notebook brands than others. According to the company, PC Decrapifier works well on Dells and HPs but not as well on new Acer, Sony, and Toshiba notebooks. We downloaded the free 518KB program in less than a minute from PCDecrapifier.com to a brand new HP dv6000 notebook running Vista. After we agreed to the initial terms and conditions, PC Decrapifier prompted us to save a restore point-a smart safety precaution.

The next step brings you to the software-deletion process. A list of preloaded applications appears with checkable boxes to the left, so you can decide what stays and what goes. Only four programs appeared for deletion on our system: Microsoft Office, Norton AntiVirus, WildTangent, and Yahoo Toolbar; it missed Rhapsody, Vonage, and Vongo.

Though we were frustrated that the program didn't recognize all the preinstalled programs we wanted to remove, we do like the option to reset Internet Explorer's homepage and clean up the registry. (The registry-cleaning setting is the equivalent of changing your bootup applications.) We selected these two tasks, as well as the option to delete Yahoo Toolbar and WildTangent games. Removing those two apps took three minutes, and the whole process took close to five minutes, including Registry and startup fixes.

In the end, PC Decrapifier successfully removed everything we told it to. Internet Explorer was also reset to MSN.com instead of HP's AOL site. And we noticed that the boot time on our notebook decreased. But to clean up our new laptop completely, we had to remove Rhapsody, Vonage, and Vongo manually.

PC Decrapifier's nonexistent price tag makes it worth the download in that it saves some time and minimizes--but not eliminates--the headache of crapware.

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