Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do Uninstallers Work?

Joe Kissell:

The problem is, none of these methods are fool-proof. Even uninstallers that rely on lists of files provided by the developer. And the fact that an application created or modified a file doesn’t necessarily mean it owns that file, or that it’s safe to delete.

Whenever I read about one of these utilities, I wonder what problems they might cause by partially removing some software or by removing too many files. The effects are not necessarily easily detectable right away. If the goal is to reclaim disk space, Spotlight is probably sufficient. If you don’t know how to use Spotlight and interpret its results, I’d look for a product-specific uninstaller or instructions. Absent those, my general recommendation would be to leave the software installed.

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That reminds me of the HUUUUUGE difference between my last Palm and my iPhone. Palm applications constantly installed side-crap like libraries that were left behind when you removed the app, and since they were possibly used by several applications, you didn’t know if you could remove them. I wonder if it’s the same with Android.

"If the goal is to reclaim disk space, Spotlight is probably sufficient."

Meh. The Coke to your Pepsi did good here. EasyFind is the way to go. And like Spotlight, it's free.

Find everything with the app name and/or company name, find invisible files, find files inside packages, display 'em properly, and have no 'excluded zones' like Spotlight does. It makes a quick and total uninstall easy.

@Chucky I said Spotlight because everyone has that installed. Personally, I would probably use Path Finder for this sort of thing.

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