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How to erase any trace in the Windows registry of an uninstalled program

27 mayo, 2021

There are as many ways to use a computer or operating system as there are people. There are those who are satisfied with three or four applications that they always use, but some of us love to try things every two by three, even if it is only to install and uninstall. The latter can cause Windows get littered with app leftovers that have not been properly uninstalled.

If this is your case, today we are going to tell you how to eliminate all traces that have been left in Windows of an application that you have uninstalled. We will explain the process in three steps, conventional uninstallation, deletion of leftover files in operating system folders, and removal of any remainder in the system registry.

When an uninstallation fails or is not carried out properly, traces of that program that you have deleted may remain in your Windows registry. These remains not only take up unnecessary space on your hard drive, but in some cases they can 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 doing so, the application may leave remains in the folder in which it was installed, many times so that when you reinstall everything is as it was. This can also end up taking up more space, so it is important to clean everything when you do not think you will use the application again.

Most of you will know how to do at least the first two steps almost from memory. But as surely a reader who does not fully master Windows will arrive, we are going to explain everything step by step in a basic way as we usually do. Even the simple process of uninstalling an application.

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Step 1: uninstall the app normally

Applications and Features

The first step is the simplest of all, that of uninstall an application as we have done all our lives. In Windows 10 there are two ways to do it, one through its new settings panel, and the other through Control Panel as has been done all life. 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. You just have to press the start button and type Setting to find it. Once in it, go to System, and inside 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 bring up the uninstall option.

Uninstall

The second method is the one you can do with any other version of Windows, perfect for example if you continue with Windows 7. You access it by right-clicking on an application and clicking on Uninstall or by starting to type uninstall in the start menu. It will also list all the applications, so that you just have to double click on which you want to start the uninstallation process.

With this first step you will have uninstalled an application from your computer. But doing it does not imply that all traces of her have disappeared. As I have told you before, it is possible that there is a loose folder on your hard drive or a registry in the system.

Step 2: remove the remains of your hard drive

Appdata

The next step you have to take is to delete any leftover folders in the program files and in the AppData folder. You can access the first folder from the file explorer, by 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 type % appdata% to access directly.

In AppData, go into the subfolders Local Y Roaming in order to find and delete any related folder or file with the app you just removed. The exact same thing you will have to do in Program files. In fact, it is also advisable to search and delete them in Program Files (x86), which is in C: Program Files (x86).

Finally, once you have done this and to complete the cleaning 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

Regedit

And finally we are going to the most complicated step of all, that of entering the system registry to delete the last remaining references uninstalled program. Here it is important that you know that you are going to be digging into the bowels 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 key combination Win + R on your keyboard to open the application launcher, type regedit and hit 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.

This done, enter HKEY_USERS / .DEFAULT / Software and search any folder or program file that has a related name with the program that you have uninstalled, and remove it by right-clicking and choosing the option Get rid of. Be careful if you have multiple applications from the same developer. For example, don’t delete the Adobe folder if you want to delete the InDesign application, as 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 HKEYCURRENTUSER Software, HKEYLOCALMACHINE SOFTWARE Y HKEYLOCALMACHINE SOFTWARE Wow6432Node in order to look there also for any reference that remains on the application.

In the event that you do not find anything, you can also go in the program menu to File -> Search To try to automatically detect related entries using the name of the removed application. Once you have removed these last references from the registry, you will have completed the process of removing any traces of an application from your computer.

Tools that can also be useful to you

Ok, if you think that you are going to waste too much time doing these three steps, or you just have a little respect when entering the system registry editor, you also have the option to opt for third-party tools to perform a complete uninstall of a program on your system.

For example, you have plenty of applications known as CCleaner that in their paid versions have the ability to completely uninstall a program. You can also do it with other paid tools like Revo Uninstaller Pro. In the same way, there are also free alternatives like Absolute Uninstaller or Geek Uninstaller.

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