Most of the time, when you uninstall a program, the program will remove all traces of itself from your computer, allowing you to use the freed space for other programs and continue using your computer as you did before you installed that program. However, in some cases, when you uninstall a program, it will leave traces of the program behind on your computer in the form of various related files and folders. It can be confusing trying to figure out why there are still parts of a program you thought you uninstalled floating around on your computer. This article will discuss why you sometimes have to deal with an incomplete uninstall of a program, and how you can make sure that every part of a program is truly removed when you uninstall a program.
One of the most common reasons why extraneous files may not be removed with installation of a program is because programs often create temporary files to save information and aid in retention of user settings while they are in use. Examples of programs that commonly create temporary files are internet browsers, mail clients, and photo, music, and video editing packages. When you decide to uninstall a program, the uninstaller will sometimes delete the folders in which these files reside, but the majority of the time, these files are left for the end user to clean up. Sometimes programs leave temporary files behind in case the user is upgrading rather than uninstalling the program; this way, if you decide to reinstall the program, you will not lose any of your personal information.
Another common reason why extraneous files may not be removed with installation of a program is because something might have gone wrong with the uninstallation or with the installation to begin with. If certain files are removed while the program is in use, some of them might affect the uninstall process and interfere with the program’s methods of cleaning itself off your computer.
A third common reason for an incomplete uninstall is a power interruption. If you lose power to your computer while removing a program, the uninstall will probably not go through to completion. This can create errors and leave lots of files behind. The uninstall will essentially be in limbo, with enough of it completed so trying it again won’t work, but with enough of it incomplete so several files are left.
Now that you are aware of some of the more common reasons why you might uninstall programs but still see related files on your computer, it is time to learn how you can make sure everything is really gone when you uninstall a program.
The easiest way to remove every part of a program during an uninstall is to delete the folder the program resided in after the uninstall. This folder will typically be located in the Program Files folder in My Computer, but it may vary. If this strategy does not work, you will want to search manually for file names related to the program and delete them by hand. They will often be located in or two folders, making the task easier.