Annoying PC Programs

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 1, 2008
Updated • May 9, 2012

Interesting article over there at the Download Squad where they list the 5 most annoying programs. They call it Elephantwear, a very fitting description for programs that make your feel like your computer is not that fast anymore even if it is state of the art. Their top 5 consists of Adobe Reader, Apple's iTunes, Real Player, Internet Explorer and Outlook.

I'm a bit surprised that they did not mention any Norton / Symantec product in the list because those top all of the mentioned ones in my opinion. It is also interesting to note that all five mentioned programs have lightweight alternatives that provide most of their functionality.

Adobe Reader can be optimized to load blazingly fast, or users can use Foxit or a similar faster software. Apple's iTunes can also be replaced with lightweight software except for the iTunes store as far as I know. Real Player has the Real Alternative software, Opera and Firefox are great browsers that are in many aspects better than Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook can be replaced by Thunderbird although it is missing some features (exchange server, calendar).

I would probably remove Internet Explorer and Outlook from that list and add Norton / Symantec programs instead. Which programs would you add to the list?

Update: With the Download Squad being closed down, we have removed the link from this article. When it comes to the programs, things have not changed a lot in recent years. Microsoft is on a good way with Internet Explorer 9, and the upcoming Internet Explorer 10, improving the browser both functionality-wise, but also speed-wise. But those versions of the browser are not available under Windows XP, and as far as IE10 is concerned, under Windows Vista.


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  1. Arvin Bautista said on January 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    BTW, I just recently cut down my bootup time from 4 minutes to 1:10 because it turned out my wacom tablet drivers needed to be updated (they may have been corrupted from a reinstall previously), but before I figured out that was the problem I went and took out all the unnecessary windows services and scrubbed my PC clean.

  2. Wizard of OZ said on January 2, 2008 at 11:28 am

    You can always use the Lightning Calendar addon for Thunderbird.

    You can also add Zonealarm to your list of slow-ware. My computer used to take nearly 5 or 6 minutes to boot until I disabled Zonealarm at start-up. Now it takes 50 seconds to a minute to boot, and then I start Zonealarm up afterwards. No more slow boot ups now.

  3. Arvin Bautista said on January 2, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Ugh, my father insists on putting Symantec utilities on every computer he can get his hands on, which includes the ones in their home (where I grew up) and my sister’s laptop. Whenever I’m home for break I have to sit through 10 minutes of startup, plus another 5 just to shut it down. He has it in his mind that these programs will save the computer, but with the lost productivity in starting up, just keeping the computer shut down is as effective a way of making sure the computer never gets viruses or loses data.

  4. Tim said on January 2, 2008 at 4:08 am

    I thought Windows Sidebar deserves a mention and it doesn’t help that vista craws right along with it.

  5. Rico said on January 2, 2008 at 3:29 am

    I really don’t want to turn this into a Photoshop-GIMP war, but honestly, Photoshop isn’t something i’d call elephantware or bloatware. It’s not a fast-loading app, sure. It’s the kind of app that, if you’re using it professionally, you just pretty much keep loaded. Once it’s open, it’s stable and compared to other programs doing similar tasks, pretty fast. If the startup time is too long, you can remove plugins and whatnot, and similarly there’s tweaks to improve its performance. It’s also a pro level app, which The GIMP is not. That’s not to say that The GIMP can’t be used in that capacity, but there’s features in Photoshop that you just won’t find in The GIMP. From my experience The GIMP chokes and sometimes stops responding when working on large files, an area Photoshop doesn’t have a problem with.

    The only real bloat to me with Photoshop is with the bundled Adobe Bridge, which is a separate app and not needed to run Photoshop. Even at idle with nothing loaded it takes 50MB of RAM.

  6. saad said on January 1, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    oh………martin.what are you saying.will u add those norton utilities which can make your computer load in approximately 10 minutes

  7. Roman ShaRP said on January 1, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    I avoid to use all of them (and Symantec too – oh, once Norton Utilites was really helpful and handy but it was a decade ago… ).
    But chiefs on my old work forced me to work in Outlook. I really hate that fat, buggy, stupid and ugly monster.

    As for Elephantware… is loading slowly and consuming much of memory. But as for me it is most functional alternative for MS Office.

    And I hate Photoshop. It sucks. I tried it in 2005 and want never see it again. The GIMP is MUCH better for personal use, I find it easier to learn {and I’m really not familiar with sophisticated graphics editors}, it is localised in many languages, and version 2.4 is just beautiful.

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