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How do you uninstall a program on your computer?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 24, 2005 6:14 AM PDT

How do you uninstall a program on your computer?

Delete it directly out of my folder
Use Windows Add/Remove programs utility
Use the software's original uninstaller
Use a third-party utility (tell us which one)
Use a virtual machine
Other method (tell us what it is)
I'm a pack rat, I keep everything

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How I uninstall a program
by danwgreen / May 24, 2005 10:49 AM PDT

I use Your Uninstaller 2004 and then I run Registry First Aid. My computers been clean and problem free for years now. I wouldn't use any other programs to do what these two have done for me!

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(NT) (NT) RFA is a good program--one of the few I use anymore
by jpjones / May 24, 2005 4:59 PM PDT
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Great app! But more is needed...
by Havin_it / May 24, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

I agree on RFA - a well-kept secret but simply THE best reg cleaner I've used.

I reckon the ideal uninstall helper would begin its work when you actually installed an app. It would:

- Catalogue all the files created or modified (backup the originals of any modified)
- Catalogue all the reg keys created or modified (backup the originals of any modified)
- Catalogue any services added or replaced

Then *after* running the program's default uninstall routine, check against this stored information to see immediately what has been left behind. Then it can remove the trash, and offer (informed) advice about whether to restore any files that were modified. (That's a nod to RFA, which intelligently decides which registry keys are safe to remove in cases of doubt.)

If such a program exists, I'd very much like to know about it - please email me!

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re: How I uninstall a program
by demartin54 / May 25, 2005 8:25 AM PDT

Forget uninstallers and registry aids. Use MAC OSX and just drag the folder to the trash. Friends don't let friends use Microsoft, unless of course you enjoy the pop-ups, worms, hacks, attacks and other vulnerabilities. Not to mention the non-stop security "enhancements"...

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by dickharris / May 24, 2005 10:58 AM PDT

I first use XP's uninstall/remove program.

I then go to XP's Search, search C-drive, enter the program name. Everything that comes up via the search, I delete.

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just making sure
by bigjewels07 / September 16, 2006 10:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Uninstalling

how do you get to microsoft xp uninstall/add program. i really need this because i mistakenly installed a program without reading the policy. they gave a free 3-day policy but now i have to pay so im trying to uninstall it. please how do you reach the uninstall/add program on xp because i dont know were to find it.

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Through the Control Panel...
by John.Wilkinson / September 19, 2006 5:17 AM PDT
In reply to: just making sure

Add/Remove Programs can be found by going Start->Control Panel.


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How do you uninstall a program on your computer?
by edbrady / May 24, 2005 11:02 AM PDT

If there is an uninstaller built in to the program, I use it. If not, I try the Windows uninstaller. As a final source, I have a thrid-party program to remove it.

THEN, I go looking for it, and, if it exists, delete the folder. It's gone.

Following that, I have a commercial program to check the registry and delete anything I don't need. On occasion, the program I've deleted still exists there, and I remove the entry.

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I'm with Ed on this one...
by Gluhwein / May 25, 2005 4:17 AM PDT

Mark me in the same column with edbrady:
1) Try uninstall found in that app's file
2) Or go to Control Panel then Ad or Remove Software and remove the program
3) If those don't work I do a search and delete the folders, then use Windows Registry Repair Pro to clean up.

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How do I uninstall a program
by gavin.burgess / May 24, 2005 11:56 AM PDT

Ccleaner. Works like a charm and it's freeware.

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by hhdawrs / May 24, 2005 12:18 PM PDT

Using 'Your Uninstaller 2004', or the software uninstaller in some cases.

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by monzilla77 / May 24, 2005 12:22 PM PDT

I use Add/Remove Plus! from Innovatools. I have used this product for a couple of years now and it has worked well for me.

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by iair / May 24, 2005 12:23 PM PDT

I use the Add/Remove from the control panel. Then I do a file search on the hard drive to see if it still left things behind, then I edit the registry using the find function by using the program name and/or the company that made the software.

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I use Add/Remove Pro
by atkinsba / May 24, 2005 12:31 PM PDT
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I Use Jonesoft Uninstaller (did not see it in C-net catalog)
by Bishop-Tom / May 24, 2005 12:38 PM PDT

This is a little utility I picked up way back in my WIN98 days. It is limited to W2KPro and dosen't do XP. Best part of program....deep registry cleanout.
and, it shows the Application name if there are any lefover folders with junk in them so I can manually delete what the Windows uninstaller missed.

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Uninstalling manually
by actingmark / May 24, 2005 12:53 PM PDT

I have tried several uninstallers but with only varying success. Even the most extensice tend to leasve some scraps behind--most often empty registry keys. So I simply do the uninstallation manually for best results. I begin using the Windows Add/Remove applet. Then I use jv16 Power Tools to search for files of the same name (be sure to include the programs name as well as the Software Company's name)and delete those files. Next I use jv16 to search my startup menue, uninstall folder, installed software, looking again for the uninstalled program and then deletingw aht is found. Finally I run the jv16 Registry tool to scan for registry porblems such as empty keys, etc. and delete what it finds. All told this takes about 10 minutes but when you are finished you can be sure that there are no scraps of the old uninstalled program left behind. The other benefit of using the jv16 Power Tools (by the way I use the old free version which can still be found on the Internet) is that it creates a backup of what you delete so that if you accidently delete something you shouldn't have, you can later restore it. Let me give you one example: I removed the Microsoft Anty Spyware Beta (in favor of Counter spy) recently using the Windows Add/Remove applet. After the installation, and using the above manual method I described, I found that there still remained: three folders, the uninstall program file, and 42 registry entries (no, that is not a mistake, 42 registry entries!!). I reinstalled the program and tried the program "YourUninstaller" mentioned in the above article and the results were nearly the same (1 folder, uninstallation program file, and 34 registry entries). You will be amazed to find using a program such as the jv16 Power Tools just how many old empty registry keys are on your computer from old installations. A friend of mine who really does not do that much downloading of software found that after two years he had 576 empty or useless registry entries on his machine just from old software that he had "uninstalled." You will be amazed at how much better your computer works (lots of little glitches disappear) when you try my method.

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by fossface / May 24, 2005 1:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Uninstalling manually

I use Ashampoo Uninstaller Platinum Suite. It' easy to use and gets rid of everything! I also tried the "Your Uninstaller 2004", trial an it worked well also.

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Uninstalling manually/reg cleaner
by bobafettttt / June 28, 2006 4:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Uninstalling manually

After reading actingmark's comment I decided to try ''jv16 Power Tools'' - amazing program. So good I actually went throught the trouble of signing up with CNET forums and finding this string again just so I can comment on how pleased I am with the prog lol.

actingmark - ty. Now I'm going to try ''Counter spy''. If it's good enough for you, I guess it's worth taking a look at!

And as for how I uninstall programs - I use the provided uninstaller if there is one, then delete any folders left behind, then run a registry cleaner (which is now jv16).

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RE How do you uninstall a program on your computer?
by Mike S / May 24, 2005 1:06 PM PDT

Depending on the program, I either delete right from explorer or use 'add or remove' in control panel. Then I use Karenware's Registry Ripper and look for any mention of the deleted program, and if any are found I delete those also.

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How do I uninstall
by pchts / May 24, 2005 1:54 PM PDT

I always try to use the software's uninstall program if there is on if not I use Window's add/remove program. Is there a better way?

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How I uninstall.
by iwish40 / May 24, 2005 2:34 PM PDT

I use a few different ways, sometimes I use the programs uninstaller.
I also use Add and Delete from the Controll panel.
But one of my favorites is NORTON SYSTEMWORKS.
It has an uninstall program that lets you find the program you want to uninstall then "Click" and it wipes it clean off the hard drive.
I had installed a free map of the world program, it was so big that it made my computer run like sludge.
I decided that I didnt' need to keep track of Volcanos,rivers, etc. all over the world...
So I pulled up Norton Systemworks uninstall program and it deleted it, all 6000+ took a while but they are all gone.

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I use GoBack by Roxio...
by lostintime01 / May 24, 2005 2:40 PM PDT

I have found Go Back by Roxio to be the best.
I have used the Uninstaller on Norton Systemworks.
But sometimes it creats more problems.
And I have used the Add/Remove program that comes with Windows. But I Prefer to just 'GoBack' to the previous state my computer was in, as sometimes this is the Best.

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Roxio's Go_back or First Defenser ISR
by tdsmith / May 24, 2005 3:12 PM PDT

I know that Norton's has a "go-Back" but I think that Rosio's is called First Defense ISR. I've tried both, and Go-Back from Norton is better so far because Roxio's F/D must be installed on the "C:" drive, and if you have D: E: F ot G: drives like I do, that is an impossible task. But Go-Back is more of a restore type utility creating an image of your drive. However, if Drive "C" failed as in the Roxio's case, you could not restore since the drive would be dead. However if you have the image on an alternative drive than you could replace drive C and restore from that image. I returned to Go_back after trying First Defense.

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Norton used to make good stuff
by jpjones / May 24, 2005 4:57 PM PDT

Peter Norton had the best housekeeping stuff--back in 1989.

I use norton only as a selective cookie wiper. Been thinking about just doing a full delete on the temporary files rather than monkeying around with symantec at all.

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by tdsmith / May 24, 2005 3:04 PM PDT

I use the Windows uninstaller, but I have also used "Your uninstaller 2004 Pro" available at Before running it will check to see if there are new items and they will be listed in red. Then you can delete them from there with a drag and drop if you wish or by clicking on the item like you do in "add-and-remove". It is suppose to do a deeper remove than "add and remove" so that unwanted directories, or leftover registry keys are removed. I have run into conflict when the applications own "uninstal" will attempt to run, and complicates the process. So far though, it has worked pretty well.

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My way to get the best clean uninstalls
by s_kris88 / May 24, 2005 3:37 PM PDT

I trial a lot of shareware. So I use the remove option in Add/Remove Programs a lot.

But the best uninstall utility I use is called ''Format''; every 4 months or so I clear out my entire boot drive, and reinstall Windows -- in all of 10 minutes!

It's easy for me, because I have split one drive into C: and D:, moved the My Documents folder to my D: drive, and have a Norton GHOST image of my C: drive.

The hardest part was finding out where Firefox and Outlook kept my data -- most programs simply use My Documents. (The second hardest part was moving My Documents correctly -- but that is a whole new topic... :-))

GHOST takes less then 10 minutes to re-image, everything is clean again, and I simply continue to work as usual (while the latest patches and updates download and install themselves in the background).

S. Kris
Sydney, Australia

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Format--best uninstall of all
by jpjones / May 24, 2005 4:53 PM PDT

I do that too but not as often as you.

I keep a complete copy of my address book on my PDA--when I reinstall after format, I trash everything in outlook too and just reload my addresses from my PDA--takes less than 60 seconds.

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Asking about your ghost drive
by melvin40 / May 25, 2006 5:23 PM PDT

Your idea of splitting the hard drive is great. Can you tell me how much space you would give to the c: drive. As well, what do you ghost on the c: drive? Just the windows install before adding any other programs, or windows and your basic programs, or....?

My guess is when you reformat, the ghost drive quickly writes over the c:drive and wipes out all your programs but your basic initial setup.


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Uninstall down to the bottom line
by ssggrkin / May 24, 2005 4:43 PM PDT

I start with add/remove. Reboot(then check the desktop for any leftovers) Then the program files on the desktop, next go into my "C" drive and into the program folder there. And finally do a regedit(be careful here, know what your looking for). And usually that does it.

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I just posted mine--before reading anyone elses--I delete em
by jpjones / May 24, 2005 4:50 PM PDT

I delete em just like you do--the registry being one of the most important steps. I also look in Services for unwanted additions & don't delete there, I disable em in sevices. In start up, I deselect em then track em down in the registry. You mentioned reboot--I forgot to mention it but I always do it (any system change). I don't shut down too often, I use standby instead.

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