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How To Completely Remove Software

Every time you install a new program, browse the Web, or create new directories and files on your computer, information is added to the hard disk and the registry. Many times, we install programs on our PC just to check them out. However, we fail to uninstall them if they are of no use to us. What’s worse, is that most of the time we don’t even follow the correct method to uninstall these programs—just select the installation directory and press the Delete button.

Incorrect program uninstall is the worst enemy of your Windows computer. When you install an application, one or more directories are created on the PC to store the files related to the application. Additionally, a number of entries are added to the Windows registry. If you do not uninstall the program by following the correct procedure, many of these orphaned files and registry entries will stay behind and unnecessarily fill up the hard disk and the registry and clutter them. Accumulation of a large amount of this unwanted data eventually affects the performance of your PC and may also generate system errors and cause system freezes. Therefore, to prevent such problems from occurring, it is very important that you follow the correct program uninstall procedures.

Let’s now have a look at some of the common and not-so-common methods that you can use to perform a proper program uninstall.

Uninstall Methods

Depending on the application, there are various methods that you can use to uninstall unwanted applications from your system.

Using Add or Remove Programs

Most of the programs that you install on your Windows computer add an entry in the Add or Remove Programs list. Therefore, when you are trying to remove an application, your first step would be to check Add or Remove Programs and run the uninstall if you find an entry there. To uninstall from Add or Remove Programs, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Open Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2.  Select the Add or Remove Programs link.
  3.  Scroll down the Currently installed programs list and search for the program you want to remove.
  4.  If you find an entry, select it, and select the Change/Remove or the Remove button.
  5.  Follow the screen instructions to complete the uninstallation process.

Program Uninstall Option

Many programs come with their own uninstaller and are not added to the Add or Remove Programs list. To uninstall such programs, perform the following tasks:

  1. Open the Start menu, point to All Programs, and point to the program you want to uninstall to display its submenu.
  2.  If a shortcut with a name similar to Uninstall This Program is available, select it to start the uninstallation process.
  3.  If the shortcut is not there, then open the Search window from the Start menu and perform a search to find out the folder where the installation files of this program are stored.
  4.  Open this folder, and if an uninstall file is available double-click it to start the uninstallation process.

Third-Party Program Uninstall Tools

To help you perform a clean program uninstall, many third-party tools are available that you can use to effectively uninstall unwanted programs from your system. On the websites of many software manufacturers, such as Symantec and MacAfee, you can find removal tools that you can use to uninstall applications.

Whichever method you choose, to ensure complete removal, it is important that you follow up your uninstallation process with a registry scan to check for any left over orphaned registry entries. The simplest and most efficient method to do this is to use a registry cleaner tool. These tools are simple to use and they make the task of registry cleanup quite easy.

Thus, next time you want to uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader, uninstall Windows Media Player, or uninstall toolbars that are plugged into your Web browser, remember to follow the correct program uninstall methods discussed here. And finally, to ensure a complete uninstall, after the uninstallation process is complete, run a registry scan to weed out any left over entries.