Uninstalling a Program

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 5, 2015)

2

To uninstall a program means to remove all traces of it (including its data) from your system. A well-behaved installation will take care of these details when you uninstall the program, but unfortunately many installations are not so well behaved. Ideally, to uninstall a program you should just need to go to the Control Panel and click the Uninstall a Program link in the Programs group. After clicking this link, the Control Panel shows installed programs on your system. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Uninstalling a program through the Control Panel.

Scroll to the program you wish to uninstall and select it by clicking it once. An Uninstall/Change button should appear near the top of the dialog box, just to the right of the Organize button. To uninstall the selected program, just click the Uninstall/Change button and follow any on-screen directions. (In many cases the program is immediately uninstalled without the need for any further action on your part.)

Some programs that get installed may not appear when you've gone through the Control Panel. In these cases, it's likely that the program still has an uninstall facility of its own. For example, I have a program called "DOSBox" on my computer. It does not show up via the Control Panel, so if I display the folder in which the program is located, it does have an uninstall program there. All I need to do is start that program and it will uninstall DOSBox. (Note that not every uninstall application is named "uninstall.exe." There are variations, so you should look for similar names, e.g., "uninst.exe", uninst_app.exe", etc.)

Unfortunately, there are programs that don't even come with their own uninstaller. For these programs you have to manually track down where they reside on disk, where their data is kept, and manually delete the files in the associated folders. These programs may have updated the Registry as well, but without knowing exactly how the program may use the Registry, it's best to leave it alone.

 This tip (12559) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Passing Parameters to a PowerShell Script

Like the older batch-file processor, PowerShell can accept parameters. This allows for flexibility in your script. This ...

Discover More

Understanding the Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager is a great utility for a variety of reasons. Understanding it will prove beneficial towards an ...

Discover More

Configuring Windows to Do Backups on a Schedule

Performing regular backups of your system offers you peace of mind because you don't have to worry about data loss in the ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Hiding Fonts

Windows makes it easy to manage the fonts installed on your system. One of the lesser-known options is one that allows ...

Discover More

Adjusting the Mouse Double-Click Speed

Sometimes your finger is either too fast or too slow to get the proper response from a mouse double click. This tip tells ...

Discover More

Understanding the Control Panel

The Control Panel is the heart of Windows. It allows you to change how Windows operates and how it communicates with the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two more than 9?

2015-10-09 08:59:08

Shanker

@Henry

Thanks for adding your tip!


2015-10-05 10:03:36

Henry Noble

The first choice for removing a program probably should be Revo Uninstaller. http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html .

After running the program's own uninstaller, Revo checks for registry entries and files left behind. It's not perfect, but more thorough than Windows' uninstaller. Works with all versions of Windows.

Tip: If the program's uninstaller says it wants to reboot, say 'no'. Otherwise Revo cannot complete its work.


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.