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News 06-01-12 11:50 AM

Blowing away bloatware: a guide to reinstalling Windows on a new PC
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-conten...op-640x480.jpg Does your new PC's desktop look like this, or worse? It doesn't have to be this way!

Werecently reportedon a new service offered throughMicrosoft Stores: for $99, technicians will reinstall a clean copy of Windows on any new PC, wiping out all of the bloatware that shipped with the computer and installing a few basic productivity applications in their stead.

We ended up with nearly as many comments on that story as it had words. The discussions included whether $99 was a fair price for the service, alternatives to completely wiping out and reinstalling the operating system, and the reasons why PCs come with so much pre-installed software in the first place. Whichever side of these various arguments you came down on, the general consensus was that bloatware brings down the price of PCs'but is otherwise supremely terrible and should be nuked from orbit.

This guide aims to address all of these points in one big, sweeping go, both for home users and for smaller businesses without dedicated IT staff. People who have never tried this before will learn enough to be able to download Windows installation media, hunt down drivers, and reinstall their own operating system. Technical users who have done all of this before can pick up some information about how Windows installation media and the Windows activation process have changed since the Windows XP days. And everyone should come away with an idea of what goes into installing Windows from scratch on a new PC, and just what that $99 will pay for.

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