Clean-up Your PC
Tips and Information on how to properly maintain your Windows system.
Installing an application is an easy task for most users. But what about
uninstalling? Do you know how to completely remove an application from your
system? Did you know that most applications leave permanent files or registry
entries on your system?
In order to keep your system clean, you need to properly install and uninstall
applications. Correctly uninstalling an application can ensure that it will not
cause you any problems in the future. The right way to uninstall software is
definitely not the delete key. And it's not always the familiar Add/Remove
Programs dialog. In many cases, you need to follow a series of steps in order to
completely remove a program from your system.
Many applications tend to leave permanent files laying around on your hard disk.
Your system does not need these files and so, apart from wasting space,
sometimes they may adversely affect the performance of your system (e.g. an
older version of a library may cause compatibility issues with newer applications).
On the other hand, there are also programs that leave useless registry entries
on your Windows registry that can cause similar problems. Using the following
Windows tools, however, will certainly help you in keeping your system cleaner
and in better shape!
Add/Remove Programs: This is the familiar application you can find on your
Control Panel. It is (obviously) the most important tool that you use to remove
an application. It is primarily intended for applications that don't offer an
Uninstall program on their own as we'll see below. Most of the times however, it
can be safely used to uninstall these applications as well, since their own
uninstall program will be started by the Add/Remove Programs dialog. It can be
found at Start | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs.
Uninstall Software: Many software applications offer their own uninstall
program. It can usually be found inside the application folder on the start
menu, just go to Start - Program X - Uninstall. Just because they exist, these
uninstall programs doesn't mean they rid you of all the old and unnecessary
files the application might leave behind or any of the registry entries.
Disk Cleanup: Although you will probably not see amazing gains in terms of speed
and storage space, Disk Cleanup can help rid your PC of all kinds of useless
files, temporary files or shortcuts. It can be found at Start | Programs |
Accessories | Systems Tools | Disk Clean Up.
Program Files: It is often the case that removed applications don't delete the
folders where their executable or other files used to live. Bear in mind, that
this is not the only place an application may have "forgotten" some of it's
files. If it was, things would be so much easier, but unfortunately many
applications tend to place files inside the windows/system or other system
directories and just leave them there. Still, it's a good idea to delete the
empty folders you may find in the Program Files directory, which can be found at
Start | My Computer | C: | Program Files.
Registry Editor: You can use your registry editor to search for entries
created by an application you have decided to uninstall. Applications also hold uninstall
information in the registry, so you should start searching and deleting registry
entries only AFTER you have actually uninstalled the application. The registry
editor does not exist anywhere in the start menu. You have to run it yourself.
Just go to Start | Run and enter "regedit.exe" in the option box.
Alternatively, you can also use a registry cleaner, which is a software program
specifically designed for cleaning up your registry.
No need to clean up your PC manually. Check out the Best
Registry Cleaners out there!