How to Completely Uninstall Programs
Level of difficulty:
The easiest, safest and most recommended way for uninstalling application is via the “Add/Remove Programs” found in the Control Panel. A number of applications especially the older ones are not capable of creating entries in the “Add/Remove Programs” list but instead, have a remove or uninstall shortcuts in the menu of Start> Program Groups. Sometimes, there are applications that cannot be removed from the computer system using the Add/Remove Programs because although the applications have been removed, the displayed applications list says otherwise.
- Programs to be uninstalled
- Add/Remove Programs
- Uninstall applications
In order to remove the installed program on the computer, begin by clicking on the 'Start' button followed by the Control Panel. Double-click the 'Add/Remove Programs'. The programs that you would like to uninstall are located in the box of 'Currently Installed Programs'. Click on the programs that you want to remove from the system and then click on Remove. When prompted to make a confirmation of the program’s removal, click on Yes.
However, when uninstalling a Windows program, the uninstaller does not always remove every one of the registry entries and files created using the application. Sometimes the program’s developers design it that way so that reinstalling the application requires the same files. This results in a slow computer performance because the computer’s registry contains unnecessary entries and the hard drive contains files that are no longer needed.
There are several uninstallers capable of completely removing programs and are easier to use than the Add/Remove Programs. One such uninstaller is the Revo Uninstaller which allows you to search for the program and once located, open the program that you want to remove. You can then drag the undesired program to the uninstaller’s window.
Uninstallers analyze the data of the program and launch uninstaller programs that show you a list of files, registry entries, and folders related to the programs that you want to uninstall.
Programs can also be manually uninstalled from the computer system but this is not recommended for beginners and must be attempted only when all other methods have been exhausted. When manually uninstalling programs, one would have to consider such things as backup, registry, Program Group items, Windows folder items, Start menu shortcuts, and Start-up Programs.
Before you manually uninstall programs, make sure to make a backup of the system so that it could be restored when something goes wrong.
Remove the program group directory of the application. If the program has a shortcut located in the start menu, examine it in order to obtain the directory that contains the application or more simply, right click on the item to get the properties. Instead of deleting the directory, rename it and add the file extension .old to the directory’s name. The effect of doing so is the same as having deleted it. When the computer system runs without problem after some time, delete it.
Almost all programs store data in the system’s registry. Although it is unessential, the stored information may also be deleted from the registry in order to optimize the performance of the computer. However, mistakes in deleting registry entries could render the computer useless.
Delete all the application’s shortcut folders and disable the program if it runs during login or startup. Since it is quite difficult to identify the files in the directory of Windows, it is best to leave it alone because you might be deleting files required by other programs.