How to Completely Uninstall Unwanted Applications on Your PC
A brand new computer performs great and runs smoothly, with no freezing episodes, application errors, or system crashes. Once it has been used for a time, however, and programs have been installed and uninstalled, files and documents are added and deleted, and the Internet surfed, files and applications start to clutter up the hard disk.
Most of the files on the hard disk are needed because these are the user and system files, but some of them are orphan and junk files and entries that just take up valuable hard disk space. If this space is cleaned out, system performance will drastically improve.
What Causes a Hard Disk to Become Cluttered?
When a program is uninstalled, oftentimes, orphan files are left behind on the hard disk and in the registry. After a lot of programs have been installed and then uninstalled, there can be a substantial amount of junk files on the hard disk, and this will cause a cluttered disk.
In truth, this problem is usually caused by improper programming. Most software programmers use install and uninstall programs, like InstallShield, and if this program is modified at all by the programmer the end result may be orphan files on the hard disk. It is possible to manually search the registry and hard disk for orphan files, but this is very time consuming and can be extremely risky.
Sometimes orphan files are deliberately left by programmers, and this may be the case if demos and trial versions are installed and then removed. The programmer wants to make sure that the application is not reinstalled and used beyond the trial period. System crashes and shutdowns during the process of uninstalling a program may also cause orphan files to remain.
How to Remove Orphan Files Left Behind by Uninstalled Software
It is not possible to prevent or remove all orphan files, but it is possible to minimize them to protect PC space. Use the Add or Remove Programs utility of Windows to remove programs that are included in the list, to ensure that all files are removed.
Go to the Start menu, then choose Control Panel. Now simply click twice on the icon for Add or Remove Programs to open up the installed program list. Click on the unwanted program, then choose Remove. Follow the instructions that appear to completely remove the program from the system.
Unfortunately, some programs are not added to the Add or Remove Program list, and with these it may be necessary to uninstall them a different way. Click on Start, then choose All Programs. Find the program to be removed and put the mouse over it to open any submenu. Look on the submenu to see if there is an uninstall option. If there is, click it to remove the program.
If neither method works, it may become necessary to find the folder where the program files are stored, and look through this folder for the uninstall option. If orphan files are the result of a system crash during the uninstall process, simply install the program again and then uninstall it.
If all this seems a tad troublesome to you, then usage of a third party uninstall software program is your best choice. What these applications do is that they aim to uninstall EVERYTHING related to the software you want to remove, including related entries in the Windows registry.
This not only solves the issue of removing unwanted software but also ensures that your PC is not suffering from junk files left behind – deliberately or not – by the unwanted application.