There are as many ways to use a computer or operating system as people. There are those who settle for three or four applications that always use, but some others we love to go testing things every two by three, if only install and uninstall. The latter may cause Windows to be riddled with traces of applications that have not been properly uninstalled.
If this is your case, today we are going to tell you how to remove any traces that have been left in Windows of an application that you have uninstalled. The process we will explain in three steps, the conventional uninstallation, the deletion of leftover files in the operating system folders and the elimination of any remainder in the system registry.
When an uninstall fails or does not perform properly, traces of that program that you have deleted in the registry of your Windows may remain. These debris not only occupy an unnecessary space on your hard drive, but in some cases may interfere with other programs or cause problems when you try to reinstall it.
In the same way, when you uninstall a program, even when there is no problem in doing so, it is possible that the application left residues in the folder in which it was installed, many times so that when you reinstall everything remains as it was. This can also end up taking up too much space, so it’s important to clean it all up when you do not think you’re going to reuse the app.
Most of you will be able to do at least the first two steps almost by heart. But as surely some reader who does not completely dominate Windows, we will explain everything step by step in a basic way as we usually do. Even the simple process of uninstalling an application.
Step 1: Uninstall the application normally
The first step is the simplest of all, the one to uninstall an application as we have done all life . In Windows 10 there are two ways to do it, one through its new configuration panel, and another through Control Panel as it has been done for a lifetime. Therefore, if you have an older version this second method is the one you will need.
But let’s start with the first one, which you will do by opening the Windows 10 configuration. Just press the start button and write Settings to find it. Once in it, go to System , and click on Applications and features. You will see the list with your applications, and you will only have to click on one to highlight it and the option to uninstall appears.
The second method is what you can do with any other version of Windows, perfect for example if you continue with Windows 7. Access to it by right-clicking on an application and clicking on Uninstall or start typing uninstall in the start menu. It will also list all the applications, so you just have to double click on the one you want to start the uninstall process.
With this first step you have uninstalled an application from your computer. But doing so does not imply that all traces of it have disappeared. As I said before, there may be some loose folder on your hard drive or some registry on the system.
Step 2: Remove the debris from your hard drive
The next step you have to take is to remove any leftover folders in the program files and in the AppData folder. To the first folder you can access from the file explorer, going to C: \ Program Files. Meanwhile, to enter the second the fastest way is to go to the address bar of the file explorer and write % appdata% to access directly.
In AppData, you go into the Local and Roaming subfolders to find and delete any folders or files that relate to the application you just deleted. The same exactly will have to do in Program Files . In fact, it is also advisable to search for and delete them in Program Files (x86), which is in C: \ Program Files (x86).
Finally, once you have done this and to complete the cleanup go to the folder C: / Windows / Temp , which you can also access from % temp% . In it you will access the temporary files, where if you have been using the application it is quite possible that there are also some remains.
Step 3: Deleting Traces in the Windows Registry
And finally we are going to the most complicated step of all, to enter the system registry to delete the last references that may remain of the program uninstalled. Here it is important that you know that you are going to be digging into the guts of your operating system, so try not to delete what you should not if you do not want to cause serious errors in Windows.
To access the registry, press the Win + R key combination on your keyboard to open the application launcher, type regedit and press Enter. As soon as you are in the Registry Editor, the first thing you have to do is go to File -> Export … to export the current state . You know, in case something goes wrong you can always go back to the previous state.
Once this is done, go to HKEY_USERS / .DEFAULT / Software and look for any folder or program file that has a name related to the program you have uninstalled, and delete it by right clicking and choosing Delete . Be careful if you have multiple apps from the same developer. For example, do not delete the Adobe folder if you want to delete the InDesign application, since you would also delete Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop or any other program.
Once this is done, you will have to navigate in the registry editor to HKEY CURRENT USER \ Software , HKEY LOCAL MACHINE \ SOFTWARE and HKEY LOCALMACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Wow6432Node to look there also any referenceremaining on the application.
In case you can not find anything, you can also go to the file menu in File -> Search to try to automatically detect related entries using the name of the deleted application. Once you remove these last references from the registry, you have completed the process of removing any traces of an application from your computer.
Tools that can also help you
Okay, if you think you’re going to waste too much time doing these three steps, or you just have a bit of respect when it comes to logging into the system registry editor, you also have the option of opting for third-party tools to perform an uninstallation Complete of a program in your system.
For example, you have plenty of applications known as CCleaner that in their paid versions have the possibility to completely uninstall a program. You can also do it with other payment tools like Revo Uninstaller Pro. In the same way, there are also free alternatives like Absolute Uninstaller or Geek Uninstaller.