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What is Crapware?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Crapware is a collective term that is used to identify any and all types of software that uses valuable resources on a computer hard drive. Generally, any software that is not essential to the function of the system and is not utilized by the computer owner can be referred to as crapware. Some examples of this type of software include components loaded onto the system prior to sale, whiles other relate to software that is downloaded from the Internet without the knowledge or consent of the user.

Originally, the term "crapware" was used to define the extra software that manufacturers would load onto the hard drive of a system before shipping the device to a retail outlet. Along with such important software as the operating system and basic word processing programs, manufacturers often load other non-essentials, such as software to sign up for a particular Internet service provider or basic greeting card creation software. While promotional in nature and serving as a source of revenue for the computer manufacturer, crapware is often not wanted or needed by the end user.

In more recent years, the definition of crapware has expended to include the various types of adware and shareware that download when the user visits a web site, or that piggy-backs on free software that the user chooses to download. Some forms of this crapware are more or less innocuous, with the end result being unwanted advertising that pops up in a separate window, or is displayed as the user attempts to access a particular function of the downloaded software. The broad definition of adware can also include spyware, which monitors and reports back Internet browsing habits to the originator. Hijackware, which can imbed in the files of the system and begin to reset home pages and add toolbars, also gathers confidential information that can be exploited by a third party.

Many virus protection programs today aid in preventing the downloading of new crapware from the Internet. Other programs are geared toward wiping crapware from the hard drive altogether. While more computer manufacturers are offering crapware-free systems for sale, many new computers still come loaded with unwanted promotional software. There are currently several crapware removal software packages on the market that will scan the hard drive, identify a wide range of crapware, and remove it from the operating system within a matter of minutes.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon318545 — On Feb 07, 2013

Great article. We need more awareness out there about how crapware is bogging down our computers and slowing our PC's down. Unfortunately, there are too many PC "cleaning" software companies out there that do nothing but scam people out of money. They are giving the few, yet reputable software companies a bad rap. Need an article to clarify the good from the bad.

By anon129059 — On Nov 22, 2010

this is a very interesting article. caps are for squares. print is dead.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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