Shovelware

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What Does Shovelware Mean?

Shovelware is a derogatory term used for software that has either been quickly developed without regard to quality or function and features, or software that has been forced on customers such as those that are preloaded on laptops or smartphones by their respective carriers.

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Techopedia Explains Shovelware

Shovelware refers to low-quality software that falls into three categories:

  • It’s Quickly Developed: These are meant to be developed fast. There is often no regard to function or usefulness and the goal of the testing may be simply that the software works most of the time. This mostly applies to games that are developed for consoles or the Web.
  • It’s Forced Onto Customers: Preloaded software on laptops and carrier-distributed phones tend to come with shovelware. It’s also called "bloatware" because it just serves to slow down the device and take up valuable storage space. Some of these programs cannot be removed from the device. Other examples are those that install with other software Web browser bars.
  • It’s Filler: In the days when software usually came in CD and DVD ROMs, shovelware was meant to fill the rest of the space on the disk.
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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.