How do you completely remove an application from a Windows machine? (Warning: this post will give Mac users a gratuitous chance to gloat.)
Windows has a tendency to scatter apps to the four corners of your hard drive when you install (see this). Installing some apps is roughly akin to firing a shotgun through a bag of granulated sugar onto deep pile carpeting. The question then becomes, how do you impersonate a vacuum cleaner?
When I want to make sure I’ve really gotten rid of a Windows app, here’s what I do:
- Uninstall from Add/Remove Programs
- Run “msconfig” and look for anything that might be related to the program that auto-starts, including Windows Services
- Search for and delete the Program Files folder
- Search for and delete any related folders in the “Local Settings” and “Application Data” folders in my profile
- Search for and delete any related registry keys
- Search for and delete any related environment variables
- Search for and delete any related Start Menu items
Anyone else want to offer suggestions?