Saturday, June 13, 2009

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Remove Installed Software Using Brute-Force Method

In the old days of computing, things were different. When you installed a program under the DOS system it went into a single folder, and life was wonderful. If you needed to delete the program, you just deleted the directory. Everything related to the program was deleted from your system in one swoop.
Not so any more. Today, only rarely are programs installed in a single place on your hard drive. Instead, Modern installation programs often place program pieces not only in the program directory, but also in your system folder, your profile folder, a drivers folder, and various other places.

In addition, programs add things to the Registry, that central repository of all things most important to Windowsdom. Thus, to delete a modern program from a Windows system involves two very important steps:
  1. Locate the files that make it work.
  2. Clean up the Registry.
There were Five ways by which you can remove any installed software. 
  1. Use the application’s uninstall command. (Most Common Way)
  2. Use the Windows Control Panel "Add Or Remove Programs". And If you are using Windows Vista, using My Computer, Add Or Remove Programs
  3. Use third-party removal software.
  4. Use brute force to wrench it from your system.
I recommend that you try each method, beginning with the first and moving  toward the last. The best method to use for removing programs is the one  that is successful for you, with the least amount of work necessary.
The brute-force removal method should be the last way that you try to remove programs. Often programs install pieces of themselves in multiple places on your hard drive. Just because you delete the main program file and remove it from the Registry does not mean that all the far-flung pieces and parts have been removed. The orphan pieces likely won’t interfere with the operation of your other programs, but they do 'over time clutter up' your hard drive and occupy disk space. Therefore, brute-force removal involve three steps: doing away with the bits and pieces.

Locating and removing the program
You might be familiar with Program Files folder. This folder is the traditional place where programs are installed on a Windows system. 

To locate an unwanted program and then remove it by brute force, follow these steps:
1. Right-click shortcuts or menu items and choose Properties (Screen Shot 1 shows an example of the Properties dialog box that is displayed.). You should be able to see where the shortcuts point. Pay particular attention to the Target field. This field normally shows the complete path and program name executed by the shortcut or menu item.
2. Write down (or copy) the full path so that you have it after closing the dialog box. Don’t waste trees unless you have to. Open a Notepad window and copy the contents of the Target field to the Notepad window. That way you don’t have to worry about transcription errors.
3. When you’re satisfied that you located the folder containing the program files, open that folder.
4. Remember (Or Note in your Notepad window) all the program names in that folder. You need those filenames when you clean up the Registry.
5. Delete the items in the folder that are related to the program you want to remove. If the entire folder is used for the program, delete the entire folder. 
"If in doubt concerning what you’re about to delete, don’t delete it. Instead, move it to a different place on your hard drive or rename it."Doing so allows you to see whether your change makes any difference to Windows. If you run into problems, you can always move back the file or folder or give it its original name.
You’ve completed the first part of brute-force removal. Continue the process with the next step.

Cleaning Up The Registry
You must clean up the Registry after deleting program files. The idea is to get rid of all Registry references to the deleted program. You do this by using the Registry Editor (regedit) to search through the Registry. 

Editing the Registry is, by nature, pretty technical. You’ve no way around it, though. If you’re going to remove a program manually (that is, by brute force) from Windows, you must go through the Registry and remove it there, as well.
Manually cleaning the Registry in this way is a perilous adventure, but one you can easily complete if you’re very careful. Make sure you delete only those things that you’re sure should be deleted and make sure you have a backup of the Registry in case a problem crops up.
Grab the list of programs that you created in the previous step and follow the steps given here:
1. Choose Run from the Start menu. Windows displays the Run dialog box.
2. Enter regedit in the Open field and click OK. The Registry Editor starts, opening a window like what is shown in screen shot 2 .
3. In the left window, collapse the Registry tree by clicking any My Computer subfolder minus signs. The tree may already be collapsed, in which case you’re done with this step. When collapsed, the tree should look like what’s shown above.
4. Select My Computer at the left side of the screen and press Ctrl+F. The Find dialog box is displayed, as shown in Screen Shot 3.
5. In the Find What field, enter the program name you want to search for. Enter the program name from the list you compiled in the previous section.

Enter just the program name along with any filename extension, such as .exe, .dll, or the like. Don’t enter the full path name for the program. You should also leave the Keys, Values, and Data checkboxes selected in the Find dialog box.
6. Click Find Next. If the Registry Editor finds a match, it expands the tree in the left window to show where it found the match. It displays the matching data in the right window.
7. Delete the information located, if appropriate. Before deleting, examine the information, as well as other information in the key where the match was found. You can delete the item by pressing the Delete key.

8. Press F3 to find the next occurrence of the program name. If the Registry Editor finds a match, it expands the tree in the left window and displays the matching data in the right window.
9. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until you find no more program references to delete.
10. Repeat Steps 3 through 8 for each program that you listed in the previous section.
11. Close the Registry Editor.

Congratulations! You are through two steps. Now, the final step, Sweeping Away... 

Sweeping away loose ends
A good cleaning job is never done. Work, work, work — it never ends! In order to finish up, you have a couple of other things to “sweep up.” Specifically, you need to delete any shortcuts , desktop or menu,  that point to the programs you just deleted.
  • To delete a desktop shortcut: Click the shortcut once (to highlight it) and press Delete. Alternatively, right-click it and choose Delete.
  • To delete a menu item: Right-click the menu item and choose Delete.
Deleting a shortcut from the desktop, or removing an option from a menu, does not delete the whole program. You’ve only removed a way of accessing the program, not the program itself.

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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1 comments:

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 8, 2010 at 3:36 PM delete

Well written and very clearly explained, you must be a gifted teacher and that quality is not with just everyone. Shall try to contact you for more help
Pinnock

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