How do you delete programs in OSX?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by PHARAOHk, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. PHARAOHk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    #1
    Obviously I'm a switcher. Is deleting the folder in the program file all there is to it?
    (((k)))
     
  2. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes California
    #2
    Just drag it to the Trash and Empty the Trash. That's all there is to it. Welcome to the Mac World. :D



    irmongoose
     
  3. maradong macrumors 65816

    maradong

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    Luxembourg
    #3
    dragging them in the trash should do the work

    btw, is there a way to purge the files you have installed ? I mean just kicking all the config files off the disc when you uninstall the software ?
    thx
     
  4. Quark macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    #4
    Good Question!

    I switched about 1.5 years ago and the answers I have gotten are not entirely accurate.

    Basically I received the same responses as you are getting here, but we all know there is more to it than just deleting the program file.

    Several programs install .plist files and other files in various directories (folders). I have yet to get a good answer to this question and the reason may just be that there isn't one.

    What I suggest doing is deleting the program and the folder that contains the program. Then do a search of your file system for any files containing the name(s) of the program. Some programs have a name and then have other names associated with it.

    I have found that searching for and deleting these .plist files will save you many headaches in the future.

    You may even need to search the content of files in a directory(folder) that may contain the program name -- because the program name may not be in the file name.

    Good luck!

    This is my second biggest gripe with OS X, but it is a very, very low concern, just a little annoying. I have no real gripes with OS X at all.

    Enjoy your new experience with Apple and the Mac. Be sure to tell/show all your friends the wonderful things you can do with it.

    Take care,
    Quark
     
  5. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #5
    some apps (very few) have an "uninstall" option under the custom install tab...

    bigger apps mainly (i believe i saw it on maya 4.5 at least)
     
  6. pEZ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
    #6
    I agree with Quark here (I NEVER thought I would say that.....), and I'm not a switcher, I've been using Apple-made computers since 1988.

    Just drag the application to the trash, but then run a search from the file menu -> find or press command-f. Type in the name of the program - for the sake of example lets call that program Internet Explorer. With one word names, that's the word you search for. Two word names, it's best to search for what the app usually goes by, if referred to in one word. In our example, this word is 'explorer', because IE defines the program, not the internet itself :D

    So type in 'explorer' in the find box and you see a bunch of crap that just pops up that you never knew you had on your computer. The main file you'll delete would be 'com.microsoft.explorer.plist', or 'com.company.programname.plist' as these are the preference files the program creates. And in this example, there is also an entire folder dedicated to the program located in the preferences folder. That should also go. And finally, if there is a receipt from the program, such as 'InternetExplorer5.2.3.pkg' or 'name+version.pkg', you can delete that too. This just tells your computer that you have it installed, so you don't accidentally install it again - but if you're deleting it, you won't need that feature.

    It also might be easier, before you run a search, to just go to Library -> Preferences and Library -> Receipts and delete these files and the original program, and THEN run a search - there will obviously be fewer results to clutter up the find window.

    Does that help - need clarifications?
     
  7. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #7
    good tip pez, he should also make sure he does this in thel ibrary of each user that opened the program

    Its a really good way to get to know your user library, I also check user/libary/ app support for preferences files, once you know where all these are it will help you to make good and sometimes smaller backups
     
  8. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #8
    i always try to trash any related .pref files after i trash an application. it's not necessary and having them on your HD won't do anything but if you're a neat freak then you'll want to toss 'em. usually i'll trash the app then i'll do a little search for any files containing the name of the app. that's plenty.
     
  9. Das macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    #9
    Re: Good Question!

    And people think that the windows world is too complicated. Where's that uninstall wizard again?

    Anyhoo, this is the number one question that I get about macs, besides where the Windows start button is located. If you aren't that computer literate, I'd make sure that you back up before you go deleting files. The best route for new mac users is just to delete the application's folder and consider it gone.
     
  10. gopher macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    #10
    The plist files are just preference files and probably should be deleted unless you plan on reinstalling the same application at a later time.

    Now some naughty system modification programs do install items in Login Items and panels in the System Preferences .prefpane files. Applications which install menubar items have a .menu file.
    Use Find in the File menu of the Finder to locate such nasty things. Beauty of Find is no wildcards are necessary. Just look for a file whose name contains, and it will find all the files that do. You can drag the results you want to drag to the trash.
     
  11. seesaw macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2003
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    Oz
  12. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Corvallis, OR
    #12
    Personally, I've never had any problems from leaving old preference files or .plist files around. I've found that, usually, there are three classes of applications. First, there is the majority of the apps that simply dragging them to the trash is enough to completely get rid of it. Second, there is the class that needs a bit more work to delete, but have been intelligently designed with an 'Uninstall Application' icon in the app's folder, or something similar. Finally, there is the class of apps (which are, by far, the minority in my experience) which take more work and leave it entirely to the user.

    As to the Windows 'Uninstaller', I'd say that it's not all that it's cracked up to be. I've had to chase down files that were left behind by the Uninstaller and doing bad things on system.
     
  13. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #13
    Re: Re: Good Question!

    in windows, some system related files, (registry, dll library, etc.) usually get modified when you install a program. this is much more serious than a preference list being left behind, in case os x, which does no harm to the system files.

    even with windows uninstall program, i don't think all the system related modifications are completely undone.
     
  14. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #14
    I'm a neat freak and I always clean up all traces after trashing an application. I've heard people say "I've heard that leaving library and preference files around can cause trouble later" but I've never heard anyone say "I personally left library and preference files around and had trouble later". Is there really evidence that you must be so tidy?
     
  15. gopher macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    #15
    The only evidence is with programs that work at the system level to modify the System Preferences, Login Items (in system preferences), menubar, or dock. The rest of the programs are pretty harmless.
     
  16. Schiffi macrumors 6502a

    Schiffi

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    #16
    Is there any equivilent to Windows "Disk Cleanup" on the Mac? You know, something that could delete left over plists if a related app couldn't be found, clearing the recent server list, clearing other temp files...

    That's probably the only fact about windows that I liked. A Temp folder where all temporary files go.

    Or a better Mac solution would be for Apps to have their own folders inside the Library. Kinda like Application Support, only plists and other files would be in the folder with them.
     
  17. gopher macrumors 65816

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    Mar 31, 2002
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    #17
    There is a program called Spring Cleaning, but a simpler better cleanup is a backup firewire hard drive, Carbon Copy Cloner, verify the backup is bootable, remove the plist files, make sure the backup drive still works fine with all your primary apps, and then reformat the internal and recover from the backup.
     
  18. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes California
    #18
    I've never had problems leaving the plist files there. Quit being so picky and just trash the program!

    :D ;)



    irmongoose
     
  19. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #19
    I haven't dragged anything to the trash in a long time. I'm an Open Apple+delete kind of guy.
     
  20. Datazoid macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    #20
    Agreed, dragging to trash is one of the most utterly useless moves possible. Apple-Delete all the way!
     
  21. VIREBEL661 macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2003
  22. Foocha macrumors 6502a

    Foocha

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2001
    Location:
    London
    #22
    This is one of the few areas where Windows XP is clearly superior to Mac OS X.

    With the old Mac OS there weren't so many shared libraries & file permission issues. Back then, it was almost true that you only needed to drag the application folder into the trash.

    Mac OS X is a much more advanced operating system, and unistalling applications is rarely so simple.

    Two things on my wish list for Panther (which XP already has):

    1. A system preference pane for removing software which maintains a database of all installed software and enables point & click uninstalls. (Presumably this would require all software developers to support it with their installers, since many still use Vise rather than the official Mac OS X installer).

    2. System Restore functionality which enables you to roll-back your system to an earlier state (e.g. prior to installing something nasty).

    These two features would be worth $129 in themselves.
     
  23. pEZ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
    #23
    Foocha - the thing is, this would be insanely difficult on OS X - most programs I have on my computer don't even need "installation" per se, you simply copy the program to the apps folder or wherever I want it. Everything the program needs is created after I use the program, and this would completely bypass a central "applications I have installed on my computer" preference pane a la XP. In my limited use of XP, i never really liked that feature anyway, I kinda wished I could just drag the program to the trash, and only chase after the other stuff if I really felt like it, because most likely the stuff left behind wouldn't be detrimental to the system.

    And as for forcing developers to use a specified installation method - wow, that's a few years off at best, even if Apple wanted to do that. Some use stuffit (.sit), some use Vise as you pointed out, some already use disk images (.dmg). I'd rather just get the program ON my computer as easily as possible.

    Read my above post - removing the preferences and reciepts are all you need.
     
  24. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #24
    Here's how a universal system might work: Applications that install files in locations other than their own folder within the Applications folder, and which don't have their own uninstaller program, create a property list, stored in /Library/Receipts/myapplication.pkg, that identifies those files. That way, an uninstaller can read the /Library/Receipts/myapplication.pkg file and remove the files it points at.

    This takes care of

    * Applications that need no files outside their own folder. They need do nothing.

    * Applications that have their own files elsewhere, which will create the property list file when they are installed or first launched.

    A system like this would need to be a little smarter than I've described in order to handle two other cases:

    * Applications that share files with other applications, e.g., a dictionary resource file that is used by multiple applications from the same company and shouldn't be deleted until the last of these applications is uninstalled.

    * Applications that modify existing system files rather than create new files.
     
  25. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Corvallis, OR
    #25
    A little off topic...

    I haven't heard the command key referred to as 'Open Apple' in years. It reminds me of the "good old days" of the Apple ][e when there were two different Apple keys, one open and one closed...

    My mom now knows the command key as the 'splat'.
     

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