2 Replies Latest reply: Feb 25, 2008 8:50 AM by Kappy
nysepete Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
i know this is apretty basic question, but...

when you delete programs on a PC it goes thru this whole uninstall procedure and its kinda like a major production.

but with a mac -- is all you do just find the application in Finder and drag it into Trash?

seems way too easy. [i know i know -- mac vs pc yada yada yada -- of course its easier!]

but seriously -- is that all you do?
or is there something else i should know?

thanks guys

iMac G5, Mac OS X (10.4.10), several iPods / 1 PowerBook G4 / 1 PC laptop / 2 LaCie 250 gig ex-HDs
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (44,455 points)
    Most small programs can have all their components contained within an app package. After running the program will likely install a file in Preferences (either in your user area, or the main preferences, or both). Dragging a program and its preferences to the trash is often all that is needed, or you can use a program like AppDelete to delete these programs. However, most app delete programs will not have an inventory of what is installed -- they just look for files that are clearly associated with the app you are deleting.

    More involved programs (e.g., Office) may install bits and pieces all over the place, like fonts, libraries, etc. The software installer may have an uninstall option, or there may be a separate uninstaller for these. In bad situations you have to hunt around yourself.

    Some programs install invisible files. You can use a utility like Onyx to toggle visibility on your computer and check for invisible files.

    Sometimes programs install files (often hidden) not readily associated with the program and if you're worried about those the only thing to do is a scan before and after installing a program and see what has changed.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,295 points)
    Uninstalling Software: The Basics

    Most OS X applications are completely self-contained "packages" that can be uninstalled by simply dragging the application to the Trash. Most applications create preference files which are stored in the /Home/Library/Preferences/ folder. Although they do nothing once you delete the associated application, they do take up some disk space. If you want you can located them in the above location and delete them, too.

    Some applications may install an uninstaller program that can be used to remove the application. In some cases the uninstaller may be part of the application's installer, and is invoked by clicking on a Customize button that will appear during the install process.

    Some applications may install components in the /Home/Library/Applications Support/ folder. You can also check there to see if the application has created a folder. You can also delete the folder that's in the Applications Support folder. Again, they don't do anything but take up disk space once the application is trashed.

    Some applications may install a startupitem or a Log In item. Startupitems are usually installed in the /Library/StartupItems/ folder and less often in the /Home/Library/StartupItems/ folder. Log In Items are set in the Accounts preferences. Open System Preferences, click on the Accounts icon, then click on the LogIn Items tab. Locate the item in the list for the application you want to remove and click on the "-" button to delete it from the list.

    If an application installs any other files the best way to track them down is to do a Finder search using the application name or the developer name as the search term.

    There are also several shareware utilities that can uninstall applications:
    AppZapper
    CleanApp
    Yank
    SuperPop
    Uninstaller
    Spring Cleaning

    Look for them at www.versiontracker.com or www.mackupdate.com.

    For more information visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on removing software.