How To: Avoid Bloatware while Installing Hardware Drivers on Windows

If you decide to install your manufacture’s drivers, instead of the ones Windows offers you, you will end up having a lot of useless applications in your operating system. To avoid such annoyances, let us show you how to install hardware drivers without bloatware.

Download and Install the Minimal Driver Packages

A decent number of device manufacturers often provide you with a variety of driver download options. For example, you could either select a small driver package, which contains everything you need, or a large one that contains some additional software too.

To be more specific, Brother’s website not only offers you a large driver package that contains software, but you could also download a few small packages, which are indicated to some of your printer’s features, such as scanning and printing. However, this kinds of offers are not so common. Many manufactures decide to provide only their device’s full driver package.

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Do not Install Junkware

Many driver installation wizards allow you to select the tools you want to install. This kind of option can be found in the Custom section of the installer.

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Extract and Install the Drivers Manually

Do not worry about installing some additional software, in case your device manufacturer provides you only with a large driver package. There’s still a way to avoid installing them.

  • First of all, download the large driver package. Once you do it, extract its files to a folder in your PC.
  • After this, open the Device Manager by pressing Win + R and typing devmgmt.msc in the dialog box. Then press Enter and find the device that you need to install its drivers.
  • Right-click on the device and select the Update Driver Software option from the menu.
  • When you do this, click Browse my computer for driver software and select the tool, located in the folder that contains the extracted drivers. You should know though that there is no need to find the specific subfolder that contains the drivers. Windows will locate the drivers, even if you select the large folder, in which they are located.

NOTE: Windows are able to find and install the required driver files for your device automatically. Therefore, you won’t have to install the whole driver package.

Disable the Bloat

If you can’t avoid installing a large driver package, do not worry about the bloatware, because you could disable them after the installation.

  • If you use Windows 8, right-click on the taskbar and choose Task Manager. Next, click More details and go to the Startup tab.
  • In this tab you can disable every startup app that is associated with your installed drivers. As a result, those apps will not launch in the next boot up of your Windows. You will also notice that the startup process might be faster than before.
  • In case you want to reactivate an app, you could simply go to the same tab and enable it.

NOTE: Before you disable an app, make sure that you know everything about its features, because you might end up disabling an app that is important for your computer.

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  • In Windows 7, you will have to use a third-party startup manager to disable an app. One of the best solutions is the tool, available in the CCleaner application.
  • Install the app and go to Tools. Then, select Startup and disable the startup app you want from the list.

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Every app that is included in a driver package can be bloatware. This depends on the needs of each user. If there is an app, which is simply wasting your PC’s RAM space, you could disable by following the steps we described above. On top of that, if you decide later that a disabled app could be useful, you can reactivate it by using the same method.