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Clean Up the Asus Zenbook Bloatware

Got a new Zenbook and want to get rid of the software that comes with it? Consider this your guide.

Coming from an enterprise IT environment, I’m used to the laptops immediately being wiped clean and installed with our custom installation of Windows 7. This laptop came with Windows 7 Home Premium — and a lot of software I didn’t ask for.

This software is sometimes called “Bloatware” or “Crapware” and depending on what the manufacturer installs, those names are accurate. Bloatware slows down your brand new computer and you often don’t need it.

I think I know why the manufacturers do it, but it’s annoying. At least with the Zenbook, the software was (mostly) ASUS’s. There were no random AOL icons on the desktop, but there was still a lot of software taking up room.

I’ll say this clearly so there is no confusion. Yes, it is okay to delete some of the software that came with your new laptop. Do not be afraid, but if you don’t know what it is, don’t blindly delete it.

Asus Recovery Discs

When you first turn on the Zenbook, there’s a window asking you to back up the recovery discs. Go ahead and do this. I chose the ISO method which creates 2 DVD image files that you can burn using a separate DVD burner. Keep these files safe on another computer or burn the discs.

Uninstall Programs

Here is a list of the software that I uninstalled and that you can feel safe uninstalling as well. To get rid of these, start by opening up the Control Panel and click on “Uninstall a Program” or just hit the Start key and start typing “Uninstall a Program”. This will show you a large list of software that’s been pre-installed on your computer.

Screenshot of the programs I uninstalled from my Zenbook.

  • ASUS FaceLogon
  • ASUS LifeFrame3
  • ASUS PowerWiz
  • ASUS Secure Delete
  • ASUS Splendid Video Enhancement Technology
  • ASUS Tutor
  • ASUS USB Charger Plus
  • ASUS WebStorage
  • ASUSVibe2.0
  • Microsoft Office 2010 (because I have a separate installation)
  • Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security (see below)
  • Windows Live Essentials 2011 (to remove Live Mesh)
  • various Windows Live Mesh ActiveX controls

Update: I ended up uninstalling the Power4Gear Hybrid power management utilities. After a few weeks of usage, I determined that it didn’t seem to be doing any better of a job than the built in Windows 7 power management features could and therefore was just wasting memory. It makes the power management settings a little more accessible than the default Windows utility and by default scales back the peak performance in power saving modes (presumably to boost the battery time benchmarks).

Live Mesh No, SkyDrive Yes

Windows Live Mesh is a part of Windows Live Essentials and lets you sync files between computers (among other features). Live Essentials comes pre-installed on the computer and that’s mostly fine. I would have installed it anyways. However, I would not have installed Live Mesh. I suggest you uninstall that piece of Live Essentials and instead install SkyDrive for Windows. Installing that on the various computers you use will handle any file syncing you may need. Plus you can access the files over the web! I wrote more about SkyDrive here.

Security Essentials

This machine came with an antivirus application called Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security. This piece of software claims to do a lot, but it costs money. If you want to keep it, you need to pay a yearly subscription to keep it going and that’s a deal breaker ladies. What you need to do is uninstall it and install Microsoft Security Essentials. This is free and a quality product. Every IT guy I know uses this on their home computers and you should too.
[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Yes, it is okay to delete some of the software that came with your new laptop.[/quote]

UPDATE: Note that you cannot use Security Essentials on Windows 8 because Windows 8 already contains Windows Defender. Windows Defender does the same job as security essentials plus more. So if you have Windows 8, you’re already set.

ASUS LiveUpdate

I kept the ASUS LiveUpdate utility since it’s an easy way to update the drivers and various software for your Zenbook. If you’re an advanced user, you might want to rely on Windows Update and your own active driver management. You can setup the toolto automatically check and let you know of any updates.

I tried it out of the box and there were 14 updates available. Some were useful, some were for pieces of software I had already uninstalled. So, it’s not the smartest tool, but effective, nonetheless. Give it a go. It’s nonessential, so you can safely uninstall it. For now, I still have it installed.

Sysinternals Autoruns

Uninstalling the software is a big step towards a cleaner computer, but there is more we can do. Visit Sysinternals Live to get autoruns.exe. Sysinternals is a stellar suite of utilities and tools written by some extremely smart people to dig deep into your computer.

Autoruns lets us see everything that is setup to run automatically through various means. Run this, click on the “Logon” tab and check out the screenshot I’ve provided to see what you can safely unclick.

screenshot of the logon tab in autoruns.exe

Questions?

Any questions about your new computer? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be glad to help. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @kenstone.

Comments

  1. Nick

    Hi Dave, thanks for the short informative post on the Asus Zenbook and the software that can be removed. I have the Zenbook as well, and recently it had some software bugs causing the blue screen of death. As such, I popped in the recovery discs that were burnt (1&2) and restored the computer. The tech guy at the store helped me setup everything including outlook etc … and told me if anything went wrong, just restore and you will get everything you see today. However, what I got is a raw default computer with windows and the stuffs you mentioned earlier. Gone were the settings of outlook and other programs I installed right when I bought the computer.

    Perhaps you could just point me correctly. If I installed programs and settings and then burnt the recovery discs, shouldnt the computer restore to that same state rather than a pure default state?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. ken_stone

      Hi Nick. Sorry for the late reply. I just installed DISQUS on here and didn’t see the notification.

      Unfortunately, no, the recovery disks do not include your programs and settings. When you burn the discs, it’s just burning the disc images that come pre-installed on your computer. Those images are static and never change regardless of what you put on the computer. So, when you restored, all those programs and settings were gone. The discs get you back to factory settings, essentially. So the guy at the store was wrong. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  2. Jens Reuterberg

    Hi I’ve followed this guide kinda to the letter and I uninstalled Live Mesh using the method you suggested. The thing is I still have Windows Live Mesh ActiveX controll for something connections lying about. Should I remove them too (they didn’t disappear when I removed Live Mesh)? I say them because for some reason there are several versions, an english one and then one for every scandinavian language (I’m from and bought my zenbook in Sweden).

    Also I am doing everything humanly possible to make photoshop run as smooth as possible on my computer. Do you have any suggestions (Ive fixed the settings in photoshop and installed new drivers for my wacom tablet)?

    Thanks for a great guide btw!

    Reply
    1. ken_stone

      Hi Jens. Yes, go ahead and remove the Windows Live Mesh ActiveX control(s). I uninstalled all the language versions.
      As for photoshop, did you uninstall the Power4Gear Hybrid tool? I found that was limiting the maximum processor speed at times which improves battery life, but reduces performance.

      Reply
      1. Jens Reuterberg

        Yeah I’ve been sorta holding back on it simply because I don’t want the computer to crash after an hour of heavy use (which is probably not a realistic scenario but I’m a nervous computer owner).
        (I found that by fiddling with the settings for Photoshop and especially shutting off the thumbnail layer-previews I could greatly enhance performance but I really want to tweak it towards it so I’ll uninstall P4G aswell)

        Thanks again!

        Reply
  3. Bjorn C.

    It is amazing that the producers don’t realize how negative it is for them to preinstall games, crazy crap etc that most professionals DO NOT want. My Asus is two months old and after a few weeks of usage a message always comes up when booting that there is something wrong with AsusVibe2.0.
    I don’t know what the He_l AsusVibe is – if it is not necessary I just want to remove it but don’t dare. Why should I even have to spend time on trying to understand something that most people probably aren’t interested in? It is an insult to the buyer.

    And this Trend Micro Titanum – where did that come from? Can it be deleted? I have Norton and it seems to work.

    The bottom line is that the crapware sends a negative signal back to the producers. Most working people don’t have time for games and similar stuff – we just want to be efficient in what we are doing.

    Reply
  4. Pete

    I don’t work on computers for a living, so I’m a little paranoid about not knowing all the steps for putting in a new HD. I’m about to replace the hard drive on my Asus. I don’t care about any docs or software on there. I have a full version of Windows 7 Pro 64bit to install on the new drive. I have two main concerns: the only DVD drive is external, and what about all the drivers? Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Tracy

    Hi Pete,

    You should go to the Asus site & download the drivers for your laptop there. Save them to an external drive so you have them ready. Replacing a laptop drive is fairly easy- you need a small, phililps screwdriver- that’s it. Put the new hard drive into the little drive cage just as you had the old one oriented. As far as reinstalling your Windows operating system, if you didn’t make the recovery DVD’s, you can simply install from a burned copy of whatever system you were running before. You’ll probably need to do the old “telephone activation”- but it’s automated & painless. Your product key is on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop. Google “digitalriver” to get the site that allows for legit downloads of the OS’s.

    Reply
  6. Tracy

    Hi Ken,

    Re: the person who thought they’d do a recovery & ended up back at factory settings?

    Windows 7 allows the end-user to create an image of their system at any time.

    I recommend to my clients to do this as soon as their computer is just as they like it (& as close to new as possible).

    This is found under the folder, “Maintenance”>Backup & Restore> Create a System Image. Best practice is to port it to a portable external HDD. I find that DVD’s fail most often.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Tsonko

      Hi Tracy,
      Could tell me where is the same image creating place on win 8.
      Until now I was using Ghost for image creating, but I would like to have a windows image which is working with the win 8 recovery tool.

      Thank you!

      Reply
  7. Rob

    Dave, thanks so much for putting up this tutorial. I just got a zenbook and this was really helpful! I noticed the version I got had a slightly different collection of software. I was curious about one item in particular that was on my version that doesn’t look like it was on yours, and that is “Zune” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zune Any thoughts as to whether this could/should be removed? Thanks!

    Reply
  8. robert

    great article, i got a asus k55n for Christmas and want to get rid of all this bloatware, but identifying the bloatware can be dicey because just not sure if the laptop will act strangely if something is removed, but this helps alot.

    Reply
  9. nora

    Hi, I have an urgent problem and I can’t seem to find solution maybe you can help! I got a new zenbook, and I installed all the CAD softwares I need to work, but some programs are being blocked. I read many forums and I turned off firewall and windows defender and the programs stilled blocked. This problem only occurs only in brand new laptops so many said it’s usually related to a preinstalled security application (for e.g. toshiba- eDataSecurity). Sarting in safety mode the error message comes up: ‘it is possible that a firewall applicaiton is preventing archicad from binding to a communication port.’
    So what would be the program I should uninstall? I’m desperate.

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch First Impression | Notebook Heavy

    1. kenstone Post author

      That’s sort of a hard question to answer because the right one for you depends on what you prefer. If I had to pick, I’d choose the Carbon Touch. The Lenovo feels like a premium machine. I feel like I could drop it and it would keep working. Its got a different aesthetic appeal than the Zenbook does. The Zenbook ux31a (touch) has a higher rez screen than the carbon. So it’s picking what’s most important to you.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  11. Heather W.

    hey, I just recently got an ASUS and i was wondering if i get rid of all the stuff on my programs and features list that have ASUS in front of it, basically the list you have above, will that be ok or do i need to download programs to replace them? also did you say something about free security because i am in desperate need of that :-)

    Reply
    1. kenstone Post author

      Heather,

      For the most part, the ASUS programs can be removed. I didn’t get rid of ALL of them, but my post and some of its updates go over that.

      As for security, if you’re running Windows 7, download Windows Security Essentials. It’s free and does a fine job without bloating your computer with lots of stuff. If you’ve got Windows 8, then there is no need for anything extra as, essentially, Security Essentials is built in.

      Reply
  12. Dan

    Mate, you helped me so much… Wasnt sure what to remove and what not, but yer list definately helped. Going to delete them programs now ;) Ive deleted some on my own few weeks ago already and wow my pc speeded up suddenly. So well, by tomorrow it’ll be supersonic ^^ Greetings from the Netherlands

    Reply
  13. Amir

    Hi All,

    I have the Asus Zenbook UX32A with the i7 Intel chip and I am running Windows 8.

    If I am surfing the net I often have to click a few times on a link before my cursor recognises or allows me to actually click on it. I have a feeling it is a security setting of some sort but does anyone know how to deactivate this or have solution if it is not a security setting.

    If it helps to know…I have not installed any software on here besides itunes.

    I am using google chrome but the same thing seems to happen when using internet explorer.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Amir

    Reply
  14. Charlie

    Hi everyone,
    I m looking for some advice and infos about a recent problem with my zenbook UX 32 VD
    I should first specify the specs: core i7 @ 1.9Ghz, 10Go RAM, dedicated GeForce GT602M, windows 7 64bit (version 6.1.7601 service pack 1 built 7601)

    The problem is it takes a while to boot up….between 2min and 8min….it was not the case before and it should not be the case considering that windows 7 is supposed to be installed on a SSD drive.
    I tried a lot of things that people talked about on internet: downloading all the latest drivers for Norton, Nvidia graphics and so on….I also used CCcleaner in case of registry errors, I did a memory test, I defragmented eveything possible, I cleaned up the drives, I restarted the computer after removing the services programs and the startup programs (using MSCONFIG)….

    And it didn’t change anything, it is still freakin slow to get the welcome menu….then the laptop works pretty fine.
    I should also mention that I got no response typing F2, F8, F12 or the space bar during the long black screen when starting up the machine….which is pretty annoying too.

    Looking forward for some magician to help me, cheers

    Reply
  15. Samir

    I wanted to partition the HD into 1. i have a 256gig ssd drive and asus split it into 2 drives which i do not like. what would be the best way to do this? i am creating the back-up .iso’s right now

    Reply
    1. kenstone Post author

      Are you wiping the disk and reinstalling? I’m not sure if you can extend a partition in Windows 8. You’ll have to check on that.

      I’d try “Disk Management” first. Hit Win-X and then choose “Disk Management”. See if you can delete the 2nd partition. Then see if you can extend the first If not, during Windows setup, you should be able to create a single partition and install to that.

      Reply
  16. Samir

    i used a program called EaseUSA partition. worked perfectly and simple to use. i didn’t want the OS drive to be 100gig so i made it 50 and then created another partition with the remaining 184gig. worked fine on win 7 home

    Reply
  17. bram

    hi, today i just boght a zenbook ux21a, and i got an information that maximum watts of the cpu was 17W, thus i check it on power management and was suprised that cpu just 13W instead of 17, therefore i got 30″ for booting time. is that normal? how should i fix it?
    thx

    Reply
    1. kenstone Post author

      Bram, do this to give some info:

      If Windows 8, go to the desktop and hit Win-X. Then click “System”. Tell us the exact CPU you have. For example, mine is Intel Core i7-3667U CPU @ 2.00 GHz.

      Windows 7 is similar. It’s the “System” control panel you’re looking for.

      Reply
  18. Moira

    Hi Dave,

    I ran Autoruns and I found some programs which are not shown in your screenshot. Could I unclick all of them? What are those programs inside a red box in your screenshot? Does it mean I can unclick them? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. kenstone Post author

      Moira,

      Yes, the programs inside the red box in my screenshot are what I unchecked. I can’t say for sure if you can uncheck all of the programs you found in autoruns as some of them might be essential.

      Reply
  19. alori

    hi, thanks for that tutorial, it was very usefull.
    but I misanderstood the AI recovery and delete the windows source file before the back up. As my laptop is not working so well (trackpad not responding, slow start…), I was wondering if there was any way to get the original windows 7 home premium that comes with the UX31E firmware stuff when you buy it? didn’t find that on the web.
    thanks.

    Reply
  20. Alexis

    Great article, thanks! Quick question- I’ve had my zenbook for a few months now, and never got around to making a Recovery Disc, but I’d like to do so now…is it possible? It seems like I used to get a prompt to do this every time I booted up the laptop until today when I was planning to actually do it! Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

    Reply
  21. Eli

    Hi Dave, I have downloaded the autorun and clicked the logon. What can I delete? Is it all that´s on the logon-side or what? (In that case, quite a lot…) Most of it is Purple, some yellow marked…
    Thanx for great help…!

    Reply
  22. yytellmey

    Thank you so much on the guide. I sent my Asus Zenbook Ultrabook to claim for a malfunction HDD warranty. When they replaced my HDD and returned it to me, I found out that it ended up with tons of Asus Bloatwares (My original Asus Zenbook contains far fewer of these craps).

    Thanks again!!

    Reply
  23. jk

    Thanks for the help, really needed this. Quick questions, since i’ve done this, my zenbook will at random go into sleep mode while i’m using it. All my window power options seem fine. Wondering if this has to do with uninstalling Asus Powerwiz. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  24. michael

    hi
    i bought one of these machines and despite it has a ssd and a hdd I could only see a drive C at the beginning after a while by some pure unluckiness my windows 8 became dysfunctional and i installed a clean version of windows 8 during this i changed some hard drive configurations. now, i don’t have the same speed as i did before, i also see the ssd and hdd separate in my computer. the recovery partition is deleted too. what do you suggest me to do so i could get my laptop like day one? I’ve been reading a lot online but did not find anything!

    Reply

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