Do you ever have a day where you just feel bloated? Your computer feels the same sometimes. The good news is that it's very easy to make the computer feel better quickly. Bad news, sadly humans are more complex.
So what is bloatware? We'll keep it brief by explaining the 2 types. Firstly, it is essentially programs / software that is installed on the computer that is non-essential, and in some cases, unwanted. If you've ever bought a PC with Windows 10, you might have spotted Candy Crush on there? You get the idea.. As addictive as games like Candy Crush are, chances are, you didn't ask for that to be included in your new device.
Secondly, it can be programs / software that is downloaded without your knowledge. How can that happen? Honestly, it might be a bit of human error, or lack of attention - we've all been there. For example, let's say you wanted to download a new video editing software, you go through the download wizard, and one page has a checkbox already checked, and the description is 'Also download our free audio recorder'. That's bloatware. When downloading anything, you'll probably notice that a lot more than you expect now.
Sounds more irritating than anything else, right? It's a bit of an inconvenience as it can slow down your device quite a lot just by simply being installed.
Actually, Bloatware does expose the user to a greater number of cyber security risks. If we think about it a little more broadly - unknowingly downloading a piece of software can be harmful. If we don't know what we download, we don't know what has come with it. Maybe a worm? Maybe a virus? Now, it's unlikely that a reputable company such as Adobe will sneak a bit of software under the carpet, but can we be 100% sure?
More worrying, if the device connects to the internet, it exposes the computer to malware by introducing a host of applications designed to exploit computing power and personal information, including financial information.
Additionally, and a lesser known fault with bloatware, the programs can become outdated more quickly. The reason for this is simply because you don't use them. After purchasing the new laptop, you've never played Candy Crush on it, how do you know that it doesn't require an update? Remember, software updates are super important - check out why here.
It's okay though. Like I said, we can fix the bloating problem in computers relatively quickly and easily. Simply deleting unwanted and unused programs / software on your device increases the performance of the device and decreases the chances of outdated software causing you security risks. You can manually delete a lot of these, but sadly, not all. Deleting some bloatware requires the installation of at least one specialized software utility, possibly several, depending on the persistence and destructive nature of the program.
So in essence, like those paper flyers that clog up mailboxes, bloatware isn't going away anytime soon. It's important to be aware of the threat and how to manage it. It's not complicated though, so don't make it so.