How To Uninstall A Program From Your Computer

So you've downloaded that cool new app everyone's talking about, but it isn't all it's cracked up to be. Here's how to remove it from your computer.

Removing a program from your programs menu won't actually get rid of it. When you install a program, it leaves files all around your system. To get rid of them fully, you have to go through an uninstallation process.

On Windows

On Windows, sometimes you can find an uninstaller next to the program in the Start Menu. However, if you can't, all you need to do is:

  1. Head to Start Menu > Control Panel.
  2. Click on "Uninstall a Program" under the "Programs" section.
  3. From there, find the program you want to uninstall and click on it. You should see an "Uninstall" button show up at the top of the pane. Click on that, and it'll open up that program's uninstaller. Hit next, and when it finishes, the program will be completely removed from your system.

On a Mac

On a Mac, you can just drag a file to the trash and it will delete that program from your machine. It will leave the preference files behind, though, which can be a good thing. If you ever decide to install that program again, it'll keep all your settings from when you first installed it so you don't have to set it up again. If you want to remove all the system files as well, though, apps like AppCleaner will do it for you:

  1. After downloading AppCleaner, start it up and hit the Applications tab. You should see a list of all your installed applications.
  2. Check the applications you want to remove and hit the Search button. It should come up with a list containing those applications and related system files.
  3. Hit the delete button to remove all those files from your system. When you're done, just close AppCleaner and empty the trash.

That's it! You should now be free of those programs, freeing up a bit of hard drive space and a bit of clutter from your programs menu.


    And to do it properly use the freeware version of Revo Uninstaller

      My thoughts exactly!! Most programs installed on Widows will leave a pile of rubbish in the registry and various other locations. "Revo Uninstaller" Freeware, will clean up the vast majority of it. However their are some programs that don't have an uninstaller, so Whitson's method is good there, but if you use "Ccleaner" it will find and uninstall them without going through the start menu. Sorry Whitson! #]

        Revo and CCleaner are indeed both great options. Because Lifehacker 101 pieces are aimed at beginners, I suspect Whitson didn't want to overly confuse them.

          Yeah I hadn't thought of it as a learning tool, It is important for the uninitiated to understand how their box of bits actually works! Still if you're not interested in how the box works,.. there are alternatives!! #]

      IObit uninstaller is simpler and subjectively better. Though fairly easy to also uninstall the wrong thing.

    I find TrashMe to be the best app remover on Mac. I think Gizmodo did a review of it a while back.

    Uninstallers, pah. None of them will do a perfect job no matter what.

    The true solution is to use Windows restore points. Create one before you install a new program, and restore from it if you're not happy.

    Control Panel -> System and Security -> Restore your computer to an earlier time

    It's articles like this that remind me that while I have grown up from computers with just a few KB of RAM with no "proper" operating system, all through the Windows versions; other people have not and they really don't know how to do these simple tasks.

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