The worst computers for bloatware: Here's everything we found on retail machines

Count 'em and weep: We found bloatware lists exceeding two dozen items as we walked the aisles at Best Buy. Here's a sample.

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Credit: Flickr/Intel Free Press

The blizzard of bloatware we found on PCs at Best Buy is just a snapshot in time of the products we examined in the store. However, it should give you an idea of how much bloatware you're likely find on retail machines.

We sampled several machines at a local Best Buy, where we could examine the included software in person. (Any links to Best Buy were active and working at press time.) Note that some of the laptops sold at a retailer like Best Buy are exclusive to the store—sometimes called out using a “BB” designation—even though they many be almost but not quite identical to models sold by other stores like Amazon. This tactic enables the retailer to avoid price matching, since other stores won’t offer an identical product.

Where we could, we listed every app that Windows included in the Windows 8 Start page. In certain cases, apps may be bundled together in a suite of utilities; we still noted them as separate apps, as Windows did.

Also take note of the Retail Processor App from Intel and the Productivity with Windows app from Microsoft: From what we could see, these apps are loaded onto floor models and used to extol the virtues of Windows and Intel’s own processors. They probably won't be loaded onto the products that you buy.

We excluded Microsoft’s native Windows apps, such as Paint. In some cases, Microsoft also bundles trial versions of Microsoft Office or Office 365; you’ll have to decide whether those are bloatware or not.

Laptops

$699.99 Toshiba Radius 2-in-1 15.6-inch laptop (P55W-B5220)

Apps installed:

  1. Wild Tangent Games
  2. Amazon
  3. Book Place by Toshiba
  4. Deals & Offers by Toshiba
  5. eBay
  6. Evernote Touch
  7. Hulu Plus
  8. iHeart Radio
  9. Netflix
  10. Next Issue Magazines
  11. Norton Studio
  12. Retail Processor App/Productivity with Windows
  13. Smart Audio
  14. Software Updates
  15. Toshiba Central
  16. Toshiba Favorites
  17. Toshiba Media Player by SMedia
  18. Toshiba Registration
  19. Toshiba Start

$799.99 Asus 2-in-1 15.6-inch laptop (Q502LA-BBI5T12)

Apps installed:

  1. WildTangent Games
  2. Asus Photo Director
  3. Asus Power Director
  4. Asus Web Storage
  5. Audio Wizard
  6. Line
  7. MusicMaker Jam
  8. Netflix
  9. Productivity with Windows/Retail Processor App
  10. Asus FlipLock
  11. Asus Install
  12. Asus Live Update
  13. Asus On Screen Display
  14. Asus eManual
  15. Splendid Utility
  16. USB Charger Plus
  17. WebStorage
  18. CyberLink Media Story
  19. Dragon Assistant by Nuance

$679 Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch laptop (I7547-3020SLV)

Apps installed:

  1. Adobe Revel
  2. Amazon
  3. Dell Shop
  4. eBay
  5. Kindle
  6. McAfee Central
  7. McAfee LiveSafe
  8. Microsoft Office 
  9. Retail Processor App
  10. Dell Backup and Recovery
  11. Dell Digital Delivery Manager
  12. Dell Power Manager Lite
  13. My Dell
  14. PC Checkup
  15. Dell Audio
  16. True Color

$449.99 HP Split X2 13.3-inch two-in-one (13-r100dx)

Apps installed:

  1. McAfee LiveSafe
  2. 7-Zip
  3. Classic Board Games
  4. CyberLink PhotoDirector
  5. CyberLink PowerDirector
  6. CyberLink YouCam
  7. Disney Fairies Hidden Treasures
  8. Evernote
  9. Getting Started with Windows 8
  10. Kindle for Windows 8
  11. Ludo
  12. Microsoft Games
  13. Netflix
  14. Pinger
  15. Skype
  16. JigsWar
  17. Wheel of Fortune
  18. HP Connected Drive
  19. HP Connected Photo
  20. HP ePrint
  21. HP Games by WildTangent
  22. HP Recovery Manager
  23. HP SimplePass
  24. HP Support Assistant
  25. HP Utility Center

$599 Hewlett-Packard Envy TouchSmart 15.6-inch notebook (M6-N113DX)

Apps installed:

  1. WildTangent Games
  2. Amazon
  3. Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance
  4. Farmville 2
  5. HP Connected Drive
  6. HP Connected Music
  7. HP Connected Photo
  8. McAfee Central
  9. Microsoft Mahjong
  10. Netflix
  11. Productivity with Windows/Retail Processor App
  12. Software Updates
  13. CyberLink YouCam 6
  14. Pinger
  15. HP PowerStation
  16. HP Recovery Manager
  17. HP Recovery Media Creation
  18. HP Support Assistant
  19. Beats Audio
  20. CyberLink Media Suite
  21. CyberLink Media Espresso
  22. CyberLink Photo Director
  23. CyberLink PowerDirector
  24. CyberLink Power2Go
  25. Snapfish
  26. 7Zip
  27. Evernote
  28. HP Utility Center
  29. ISO Viewer
  30. Virtual Drive
  31. HP SimplePass
  32. McAfee LiveSafe

Best Buy also includes the option to download a free game from AMD’s Web site as well as a year’s subscription for Webroot Secure Anywhere.

$349.99 Lenovo 15.6-inch laptop (G50 - 80E3016QUS)

Apps installed:

  1. Amazon
  2. BTServer
  3. Lenovo Companion
  4. DailyMotion
  5. Evernote Touch
  6. Free Online Games for Lenovo
  7. Kindle
  8. McAfee Central
  9. Nitro Pro 9
  10. Phone Companion
  11. PowerDVD for Lenovo
  12. Skype
  13. The Telegraph for Lenovo
  14. The Weather Channel for Lenovo
  15. TripAdvisor
  16. Zinio Reader
  17. AMD Catalyst
  18. CyberLink Power2Go
  19. Desktop Burning Gadget
  20. ISO Viewer
  21. Virtual Drive
  22. PowerDirector
  23. Dolby Digital Plus
  24. Lenovo Energy Manager
  25. Lenovo Messenger
  26. Lenovo PowerDVD
  27. Lenovo Updates
  28. Lenovo Veriface
  29. Lenovo One Key Recovery
  30. Lenovo ShareIt
  31. Lenovo PhotoMaster
  32. Lenovo Reach
  33. Maxthon Cloud Browser
  34. McAfee LiveSafe

Best Buy also includes a downloadable one-year subscription to Trend Micro’s Titanium Internet Security.

$1,049.99 Lenovo Yoga 2 13.3-inch laptop (59418309)

Apps installed:

  1. Accuweather
  2. Lenovo Companion
  3. eBay
  4. Evernote Touch
  5. Hightail for Lenovo
  6. Intel Experience Center
  7. Amazon Kindle
  8. Lenovo Support
  9. LiveTV
  10. McAfee Central
  11. Nitro Pro 8
  12. Rara Music with Lenovo
  13. Lenovo Smart Voice
  14. Yoga Cameraman
  15. Yoga Chef
  16. Yoga Phone Companion
  17. Yoga Photo Touch
  18. Yoga Picks
  19. Zinio Reader
  20. Lenovo Energy Manager
  21. Lenovo Motion Control
  22. Lenovo Smart Voice
  23. Lenovo Transition
  24. Lenovo Veriface
  25. Lenovo One Key Recording
  26. Lenovo User Guide
  27. McAfee Live Safe
  28. Nuance Dragon Assistant
  29. RealTek HD Audio Manager

Tablets

$269 Asus Transformer Pad T100 (T100TAF-B11-GR)

Apps installed:

  1. Asus PhotoDirector
  2. Asus PowerDirector Mobile
  3. Flipboard
  4. Line
  5. Netflix
  6. Asus LiveUpdate
  7. Asus OnScreen Display
  8. Asus Screen Saver
  9. Asus eManual
  10. Asus WebStorage
  11. Asus WinFlash

$190 Unbranded tablet (UB-15MS10SA)

Apps installed:

None

$244.99 Toshiba Encore 2 10-inch (WT10-A32)

Apps installed:

  1. Amazon
  2. eBay
  3. Amazon Kindle
  4. Netflix
  5. Toshiba Control
  6. Toshiba Favorites
  7. Toshiba Registration
  8. Toshiba Start
  9. Toshiba Travel Place
  10. Toshiba TruCapture
  11. Norton Internet Security
  12. Dolby Digital Plus

This story, "The worst computers for bloatware: Here's everything we found on retail machines" was originally published by PCWorld.

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