How to tell what software is on my new Windows 8.1 laptop?

Miamicuse

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I just got a new HP laptop that comes with Windows 8.1. On my old Windows XP laptop it came with the Windows XP CD, as well as the HP drivers for that particular laptop. Now there is no CD and I am having a hard time trying to figure out all this stuff that has been installed on it - seems a lot of them are trial software installed by the manufacturer.

Some of these look like programs designed for tablets? Programs like "Food and Drink", "Health and Fitness", "Weather", "Travel", "Sports", "News", "Maps" Are these integral part of Windows 8.1?

Also comes with it is Windows Defender, Avast Secureline, McAfee Central I think some of these work against each other right? I think I need one antivirus software, and I am more comfortable with Malwarebytes for malware detection.

Sorry I am all over the place here I guess my first question is how do I peel back all this fluff and strip it down to the bare minimum before I install the stuff I need?

Second question is if the manufacturer does not provide a Windows CD and a driver's CD how do I rebuild the machine in case something happens to it?

Thanks in advance.
 

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mrgeek

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I came straight from WinXP Pro, skipped Win7, Vista and Win8.0. In the past I have used AVG (FREE) for antivirus, Malwarebytes and RogueKiller. I am wondering if I should install those?
I assume Windows Defender is like "MS Security Essentials" back in the days? Thoughts? Should I use it? Is it part of Windows or do I need to pay or subscribe to use it ?
I did the same, XP SP3 to 8.1. Uninstall the McAfee and Avast, they are probably trial versions that you'll need to replace eventually, anyways. Use the built-in Windows Defender, it has both anti-virus and malware protection and is updated daily thru Windows Update or in program itself. And yes, it's the new name for Security Essentials, so no charge or subscription needed. From your screen shot, I see you have Malwarebytes. Keep it for added peace of mind and it can run concurrently with Defender. The others, likely, need to be disabled anyway.
 
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mrgeek

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First project and a very important one.
Make your initial system recovery disks. Locate the HP Recovery Manager either in the Apps Section or the HP Support Assistant. On a new PC you can only make this media once and it will allow you to return the PC to Out-of-the-box condition.
Next I would make sure the Windows System Protection (Restore Points) is enabled. You can find this in Action Center (Control Panel) or white flag on bottom of screen. Recovery/Configure System Restore.
Post a screen shot of Programs & Features screen and you will get recommendations on what to remove. HP does include a lot of junk but some of it can be useful but most of it is BS. Uninstall Apps that you don't want or need.

Thanks. I made a mistake and didn't make my initial system recovery disks out of the box. Is it too late to do it now that I have installed stuff on it or can it be made from the recovery drive?
As far as what's been installed, I was looking at Windows 8.1 Start screen there was a down arrow on the lower left and when I clicked it I saw a list of installed apps. This screen, there is a lot of stuff here.



I also ran the appwiz.cpl cipals15 suggested and here is a screen shot of that. What I circled in red are items I installed myself.

View attachment 63937

Any obvious junk?
Take the advice to copy the Recovery Drive onto a USB thumb drive. It is essentially the same as getting the OEM installation DVDs which you can still order but would be no different. The option to do this is in the Program folder 'Security and Protection' which also contains the Recovery Manager (or use Search). This will let you to later re-install any selected programs that you un-installed, for instance Cyberlink or Camtasia which you don't need if you have alternatives. This is why you should not delete the drive to save space, which is offered after you make a copy of it to a USB.
As for Metro Apps, right click and hit 'uninstall' if you don't want or need them; ie, games like Polar Bowler, etc. If you decide later that you want them, you never lose these. Go to the Store App and you'll see them there as 'Owned' and you can re-install them any time. Yes, Office 365 is redundant to Office 2010 unless you want the Cloud backup and sync features and it will require a fee, eventually. I just continued to use Office 2010 Pro with no problem, just constant security updates thru Windows Update.
I also have an HP 8.1laptop. You can get the orig HP drivers on their support site - HP Drivers and Downloads for Printers, Scanners and More | HP® Support
Just put your model number in the Find My Product field and it will bring up a page with a software and drivers tab where all your pre-installed items and any updates to them since you bought it, are listed. Be careful to see that the version is a later date than when you bought it, as the update date is an audit date only. Bookmark the page for easy access after your custom results come up and check monthly or so.
Bottom line, you can uninstall any pre-installed Apps or programs w/o fear, as they are either owned in the MS Store or backed up in the Recovery drive. You do not need to do a clean install but make a system image after you're happy that you only have the software and drivers you want and not what HP decided for you. Good Luck and keep us updated.
 

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Ztruker

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1st, it's not to late to create the recovery disc set.
2nd, uninstall Office 365.
3rd, uninstall


  • McAfee Central
  • McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security
  • Avast Secureline
4th, Use Windows Defender and install Malware Bytes Anti Malware. Premium edition is best but free is okay.
5th, install Malware Bytes Anti Exploit free.
6th, uninstall all software you will not use.
7th, Use the Start tab of Task Manager to disable most startup items other than anti-virus.
8th, Use msconfig, Services (Check hide all Microsoft services) and disable all not used or needed.

Lastly, once everything is setup the way you want, do an image backup to an external USB hard drive using Macrium Reflect Free. Keep it current whenever you make significant changes or after a month or so. There is a good tutorial here: Imaging with free Macrium
 

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Miamicuse

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Trying to remove McAfee now.

Instructions says to uninstall them from Control Panel, then download the MCPR to clean out the rest.

However, on McAfee's own instruction page it says "IMPORTANT: If your McAfee products were pre-installed by your computer manufacturer, ensure that you activate your McAfee subscription before you uninstall them."

My trial version of McAfee has expired, do I need to buy a new subscription so that I can remove it safely? I just want to get rid of it so I can turn on Windows Defender, I am trying to understand why a subscription of McAfee needs to be activated before uninstalling?
 

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Ztruker

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NO NO NO NO ... just uninstall it the run MCPR to finish cleaning up.
 

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    Intel Quad Core i7-4770 @ 3.4Ghz
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    16.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
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    500W
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    Wired USB
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    SeaMonkey
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    Windows Defender; MBAM Pro
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10soonerlater

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The GREAT thing about having that Recovery drive D: whatever missteps you think you might have taken, whatever lessons you think you've learned from this forum, you get to start over and experiment anew; until you find and arrive at that comfort zone, that sweet spot where you then image the C drive as the fall back when trouble strikes in the future.
 

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Miamicuse

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NO NO NO NO ... just uninstall it the run MCPR to finish cleaning up.

Thanks, I did that and all is good now. I can't believe McAfee's removal instructions would have misleading info like that...to activate and buy a subscription before you can safely remove the tool so as not to mess it up.
 

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broe23

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I just set up a brand new Lenovo Small Form Factor desktop. They have started to switch from an internal Power Supply, to an external as you see with laptops. The only piece of software that needed to be uninstalled was McAfee. Office 2013 was on it, which my client wanted to keep. Lucky I still had one license for it. There was nothing else to remove from it.
 

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