Lots of new PCs come crammed with software trials and freebies that are more bloatware than useful. But should you wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows to get rid of them? Probably not, and here's why.

QUESTION My Acer Aspire 8943G laptop came preinstalled with several 'bloatware' applications that I neither want nor need. Windows 7 discs are not provided, but the HDD is partitioned to create a recovery disc – I would also like to remove this partition. I have a desktop PC on which I have installed a retail version of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. Is it possible – and permissible – to use the Windows retail disc I used on that PC to make a clean installation of Windows on my laptop using the key on the sticker affixed to the Acer? Peter Pemberton

HELPROOM ANSWER The extra programs some manufacturers add to their PCs can be annoying and often time-consuming to remove. However, you should only go ahead and wipe the hard drive clean if you have a Windows 7 licence. You can't simply use another manufacturer's key. They are often locked into the brand of hardware on which they're installed.

Your best course of action is to manually remove the 'bloatware' and install your own programs. If you must wipe the entire drive, you should first purchase a Windows 7 disc online for around £75.

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