How to Get Rid of Unwanted Computer Programs
Whenever you install any program on your computer, the installation copies the required files into the designated location and makes changes in the registry as required for the functioning of the program.
Deleting the files that make up the program does not get rid of them, as the registry values remain unchanged thereby resulting in errors and sometimes even causing the system to crash.
Follow the steps given below and you should be rid of unwanted computer programs in a jiffy.
Windows has a list of all installed programs on it. This list can be found at:
Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
In the Control Panel, select Add or Remove Programs. If you open this, it displays the list of all the programs that have been installed on your computer. Select the program that you want to remove and click Uninstall. This opens the “Confirm Uninstall” dialog box. If you accept to removing the program again then it is uninstalled. Windows removes all the files associated with the program and removes all the changes the installation had made to the registry during installation.
Most programs usually include an uninstaller. If you know the location where a particular program has been installed then you can directly remove the program from that location. Use Windows Explorer and go to the folder where the program has been installed. In that folder search for the “Uninstall” file. Double clicking on it opens the uninstaller for that program. Again, the program asks for confirmation before removing the program from the computer and undoing all registry changes.
Now if you have already deleted the files associated with the program instead of uninstalling it, then the registry needs to be updated correspondingly. Here is what you do for that. These steps may damage your computer and cause it to crash if done incorrectly.
Click Start -> Run.
Type “regedit” in the textbox and click OK.
Move to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE” in the opened window and locate the key for the program you want to remove. Delete the corresponding folder.
Move to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE” next and locate the key for the unwanted program. Delete the corresponding folder here again.
Next move to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\- CurrentVersion\Uninstall” and locate the key for the program. Delete the program’s folder.
Move to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services”, find and delete the program’s key.
Move to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows” and delete the program’s key.
Any of the above entries may not exist in the registry depending on what was deleted in the beginning. So just skip those steps when you cannot find the corresponding entries.
Alternately there are a variety of software available online, both free and paid that can do the job of cleaning up your registry when they are run by checking the registry and the corresponding location to find if the program exists.
Some of these software also check if a certain program you are about to install is a Trojan, a virus or a worm and inform you beforehand before you install such programs.
Though all these options are available, it is always wiser to determine if you need a certain program before you set out to install it. These programs take up space on your computer and also slow it down. Therefore, exercise caution and care before you install any program on you computer.