With an Acer I had I just replaced Vista with XP and got rid of every piece of useless software. I'm sure you don't want to go that route, but what you might want to do is use something like Autoruns to disable the offending startup programs. This way if there is any problem you can just re-enable a program. Also, aren't there some keys that are used with the Empower utilities (I traded my Acer for an old Toughbook so I don't have it to look at)? These keys will probably no longer function. If you still want to remove the programs (to recover some disk space if nothing else) it shouldn't be a problem. Since Acer's come with a recovery partition you can always revert back.