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What Is Junkware and How Do You Remove It?

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Junkware is any kind of unwanted software capable of clogging up your system and slowing down your device.


Put simply, junkware consists of apps or programs pre-installed onto your computer or phone without your consent. You may have also unwittingly downloaded some yourself. Because they tend to take up space in your device, they can be a bit troublesome, but that’s often just the start of your problems.


Pro tip: Well, it’s time to take out the “trash”. We can help you do some spring cleaning on your device with Clario. Clario can detect and remove not only harmless junkware but also malware. Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Install Clario for your desktop and mobile
  2. Start anti-malware scan
  3. Set up real-time protection

Now, let’s learn more about junkware and what it can do to your device. Read on to find out about the various types, how to tell it apart from a virus, and, most importantly, how to remove junkware from your computer.  

What are the different types of junkware?

There is no real difference between junkware and legitimate software. In general, if you had no prior knowledge of the program’s installation, it can be considered junkware. However, if you start regularly using this software and find it useful, then it can no longer be called “junk”.


Based on its threat level and the way it sneaks onto your device, junkware falls into two categories:  

  • Pre-installed. Laptop manufacturers are paid to install junkware on your device. For instance, your Mac device has a Chess game and the Stocks app pre-installed. Do you need them? That’s a question that leads us back to junkware being a subjective term. Usually, this type of junkware carries a low threat level. It can take up space, or slow down your device, but that’s about it.
  • Downloaded. When you download a free app or piece of software, you’re never told how you’re paying for it another way. This “free” app or software may be bundled with other programs capable of installing themselves on your computer without your knowledge. And in this case, there’s no guarantee that these bundled programs are safe. That’s why downloaded junkware is potentially more dangerous than pre-installed programs.

As you can see, junkware can sometimes pose a real threat to your device. But should we be calling it a PUP (potentially unwanted program) or even malware? Let’s find out.

Is junkware a PUP?

No, it isn’t. Though a potentially unwanted program (PUP) sneaks onto your device packaged with other software just like junkware, we can’t use the terms “junkware” and “PUP” interchangeably. There are slight differences between the two.

First, PUPs cannot be pre-installed by legitimate device manufacturers. A PUP is always downloaded. Second, it’s the threat level to your device that makes the two different. More often than not, PUPs are malicious. For example, they can bombard your device with ads or even spy on your activity. Meanwhile, most junkware is just useless and that’s it.  

Is junkware malware?

As we now know, the majority of junkware is not malware. Why is this the case? Well, malware always has a hidden agenda, such as tracking your online activities or accessing your private information. Instead, junkware is just the programs pre-installed or accidentally installed on your device. Usually, the most damage they can do is bloat your system and take up space in your device’s internal memory or hard drive.

How do I know if I have junkware?  

Junkware may be tricky to spot. Still, here are some signs your device needs to throw out some “trash”:

  • Your computer takes longer to start
  • Junkware reduces your device's internal memory, so you often run out of space when you want to add new programs
  • Your computer seems cluttered, and there are a lot of programs you don’t regularly use
  • You see a new toolbar on your browser which keeps reminding you to upgrade your free trial for an unknown program

Noticed one or more of those signs? Well, it’s time to take some action then.

How do I get rid of Junkware?

Now, suppose you’ve noticed that your computer is working slowly, but for some reason, there’s no free space to install Sims 4. What do you do then?  


Well, there can be two reasons for your computer behaving like this: junkware or something malicious, like a virus. While junkware is, for the most part, just annoying, a virus can cause much more damage than preventing you from installing a game.


We recommend you scan your device with Clario in this case. Luckily, it’s both a junkware removal tool and an anti-malware solution, so you are killing two birds with one stone. So, how do you run the scan?

1. Firstly, you need to install Clario and create a new account.

Install Clario and create a new account.

2. Then, run a quick anti-malware scan. This will only take a couple of minutes.  

Run a quick anti-malware scan.
Run a quick anti-malware scan.

3. Now, just toggle Real-time antivirus to ‘on’ to keep your computer secured at all times.

Click on Real-time antivirus to have your computer always secured.

After the scan, you’ll know for sure what’s causing the problems with your computer. Be it junkware or a virus, make sure you delete the files using Clario’s instructions.

How to prevent getting junkware or PUPs

If you want to avoid junkware invading your devices, here are a few pointers:

  • Only buy your devices (laptops, desktops, phones) from trusted stores. Sometimes, store attendants may ask you if you want some pre-installed programs. Always remember you have the right to politely decline them.
  • Be careful where you download or upgrade your software. Those free downloadable items are usually bundled with junkware, which is potentially harmful to your device.
  • Always update your operating system. While junkware is usually harmless, you never know what threats it can bring. The most up-to-date version of your operating system ensures your device is better protected.
  • Get cybersecurity software to protect your device 24/7 and proactively give you advice on how to keep yourself safe. Don’t settle for just an antivirus. We recommend using a more holistic solution, which can cover all your cybersecurity needs, including the removal of junkware.

Following these simple tips will definitely bring you some peace of mind along with enough free space to install new games.




As you can see, junkware is not as scary as it seems at first sight. For the most part, these are harmless programs on your device that you simply never use. On the other hand, in some cases, junkware can be malicious and do more damage than just stealing valuable memory space. To be sure that your computer is safe and sound, don’t forget to do regular checkups and delete all unwanted software.  


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