How to Uninstall Freeware

November 10, 2009 by
Filed under: PC Maintenance, Uninstall 

uninstall freewareNearly all of us have some commercial software on our PC that we bought or, more accurately, have paid for a license to use it. This type of software may be bought as a boxed product with an installation CD or may increasingly be available for download.

Use of the internet has led to the growth of other types of software, namely open source, shareware and freeware. Many people view these as being the same or similar, when in fact they are all different.

Open source software may be provided free of charge or at a cost, but is freely available to all and the source code is also provided. This means that anyone can modify the source code and redistribute their own version of it. As a result, open source software tends to have a community of developers that share knowledge and provide support.

Shareware is generally developed by an individual or a small company and is often provided in this form because there is no marketing budget. Although you can download for free in order to try it, you are expected to pay if you continue to use it. As an incentive, you will sometimes get something extra when you do pay, such as some documentation or support.

Freeware is, as the name suggests, provided with no payment being expected. Additionally, it is free in the sense that anyone can download, copy and use it without restriction, although the source code is not made available.

Why You Might Want to Uninstall Freeware

Since freeware costs nothing, there is little to prevent people downloading it and giving it a try. If they then decide not to use it, nothing has been lost. The result, however, may be that you have an awful lot of freeware sitting on your PC, most of which you probably never use. This does tend to fill up your disk unnecessarily and should be cleared down periodically, if only to keep things tidy.

Freeware tends to be produced by individuals, often as a hobby or a sideline. As a result, it probably won’t have any documentation provided, may not have any clear instructions and almost certainly won’t have any community to provide support. In other words, with freeware, you’re largely on your own.

A freeware product will usually be a small program, often a utility rather than anything large or complex. Since it is not professionally produced, it may not work as expected or do anything remotely useful. You should take care before using a freeware program on anything that is important.

One of the problems with downloading and installing freeware is that it may compromise your computer’s security. Freeware often comes with adware and spyware so that, when you install it, you get rather more than you expected. The problem then is that, when you come to remove freeware from your PC, you may still be left with the adware or spyware that installed at the same time.

How to Uninstall Freeware

Freeware should install like all other software and so be capable of being uninstalled in the same way. To do this, select Programs and Features or Add or Remove Programs (depending on your operating system version). A list of programs that are currently installed on your PC will be displayed. Find the freeware program you want to get rid of, click on it and choose to uninstall or remove it.

Given that it is generally produced by an enthusiast, there is no guarantee that, when you delete freeware, you will get rid of everything. You will likely be left with registry entries and system files, and may need to run a cleanup utility to remove these.

You can also try to remove it using SecureUninstaller!


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