program like App Zapper?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by insan56, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. insan56 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    #1
    i am looking for a program similar to App Zapper in the fact that it will easily uninsall applictions but i dont want to pay for it! does anyone know of a good free alternative?
     
  2. maxrobertson macrumors 6502a

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  3. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    #4
    Just drag the app to your Trash and you're done! Easy and free!
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #5
    ...And maybe use Spotlight for the extras, if you're feeling fastidious (whoever he might be). :)
     
  5. crazycat macrumors 65816

    crazycat

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    #6
    keep downloading it before it runs out of trial.
     
  6. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

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    Nov 26, 2003
    #7
    That will still leave lots of files on your system, like in the following places:

    ~/Library/Application Support/

    ~/Library/Preferences/

    ~/Library/Caches/

    /Library/Documentation/

    It may not bother everyone, but it will bother some people.
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #8
    The size of the data in those locations is miniscule relative to the size of most hard drives.
     
  8. reubs macrumors 68000

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #9
    Usually I'm not one to buy software (love the freeware), but app-zapper looks a lot sleeker than app-delete. May give it a whirl, though.
     
  9. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    compost heap
    #10
    No, no, no no no!!! This is one of the destructive myths about OS X which has brought people endless headaches.

    You must, *must* delete the leftover files for many programs, or you'll have serious problems.

    Just one example. I downloaded a program called "1password" which is meant to make your password handling easier for the various internet sites etc. It is a well liked program and many folks recommend it. After using it for a couple of weeks, I realized it wasn't for me - I prefer a different piece of software. So I decided to get rid of it. That's when problems began.

    The app does not have its own uninstaller, so I just did as dejo and so many others disastrously advise - just dragged the 1passover app folder from the application folder to trash and emptied trash.

    O-oh. Bad, bad move. I couldn't even open a browser window without a stupid dialogue box popping up asking me for my "1password" password! It was a nightmare! I did everything I could to try to get rid of it, I used spotlight to search for any remanants of the software (for the record, I hate Spotlight, it's a POS that never works for me, it rarely finds a systems file I search for). I emptied all browser caches, browser history, and as elppa so rightly advises:

    /Library/Application Support/

    ~/Library/Preferences/

    ~/Library/Caches/

    /Library/Documentation/

    And still no dice - that idiotic dialogue box kept coming up. Finally, I found a plist file hidden inside the keychain preferences(!), got rid of that, and after 2 days, I was finally, finally liberated from the horrific ghost of 1password that was incapacitating my laptop.

    So, anybody who tells you to just drag the app from the app folder into trash, is talking out of their, well, lack of knowledge to put it diplomatically.

    And don't think that it's only an obscure app that has this problem, or only certain class of apps. Wrong. What if you want to make a totally fresh install of Firefox? Can you just trash the app? NOPE!!! Unless you go in and trash all preferences associated with the browser, you'll still get the old settings. Or how about Toast? Or any number of apps that do horrible damage to your system and make it behave weirdly unless get rid of every last file associated with that software?

    So, you must take off and nuke it from the orbit - that's the only way to make sure.

    In fact, this is bad design on the part of Apple. There is no system wide uninstaller - XP has one (problem is, it's poor). Given how many problems occur Apple really should have an uninstaller - it is unconcionable that users have to go on treasure hunts for hours to pull up all the weeds. BAD DESIGN APPLE!!!

    And bad advice from folks about how to uninstall apps in OSX.

    And btw. it's not very smart to suggest that the only reason folks want to get rid of the toxic leftovers in various Library folders is they want to save space... nope, not anymore than getting rid of leftover dlls is about space on XP.
     
  10. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #11
    Mate, that's just one example and it was remedied quite quickly. If a similar situation arises, you'll probably get it fixed even quicker. Thanks for posting it though, because you raise a good point: apps that are buggy should be completely removed.

    You mention reinstalling Firefox too. Well, the great thing about OSX is that simply removing those PLIST files you mentioned has roughly the same effect as reinstalling (in most cases), but without necessarily losing any data or settings if it doesn't work the first time. :)
     
  11. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

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    #12
    i have seen something along the lines of uApp.
     
  12. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #13
    Sorry, but you're wrong. It is not "just one example". There are many apps where you do want to remove the plist files, because they are corrupted. I had to do it when I was re-installing Final Cut Pro 4.5. There are tons of such apps, where it is vital to remove other files.

    Fact is, that those files can become corrupted. Or you DO NOT WANT to have the old settings for a program (like Firefox) - so you MUST remove the plist files.

    Point is - when you have to go rummaging about in Library files and hunt for stray files, well, buddy it means that:

    UNINSTALLING APPS IN OSX IS NOT SIMPLY DRAGGING THE APP TO TRASH.

    You must hunt for all the other files. Easily remedied or not, again it is NOT TRUE, that you only need to drag the app folder to trash like you said. WRONG!!!
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #14
    I still agree that if you're reinstalling an app because it's playing up, then you should remove all traces of the app beforehand. However, I also think that quite often the total reinstall process is unnecessary because removing these corrupt PLIST files that you mentioned has the same effect but takes barely a fraction of the time.

    I might just be lucky, but I've uninstalled plenty of apps in my time, and haven't been burnt by old PLIST files. Having said that, I don't install just anything on my systems.

    I believe for this reason, OSX's way of handling app uninstallation is superior to Windows. I haven't used enough other operating systems to compare with anything but Windows though. In Windows, the uninstaller gives the impression of removing everything but usually leaves files behind and avoids reapplying the default registry settings before something is removed. The registry is far more difficult to navigate than the Preferences folder and unlike OSX, you can do some serious damage in there. For the computer novice, I still think the OSX method is relatively better.
     
  14. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 20, 2005
    #15
    1Passwd has explicit uninstall instructions accessible through the app's Help menu.

    If an application has an uninstaller or instructions on how to uninstall the application, you should obviously follow those. But if not, it's almost always fine to delete the program just by dragging the app to the Trash. If it's a program you're not going to use again, the preference files do no harm just sitting around. If it's a program that you're trying to reinstall because of a corrupted preference file, it's usually simpler and better just to manually delete the preference file and save yourself the reinstallation.

    There are obviously occasional exceptions, but the vast majority of the time it's fine to just Trash the app. If it's more complicated than that, the developer almost always provides you with the tools you need in order to do it. (If they don't, their support people hear about it real quick.)
     
  15. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #16
    Well, that's the whole point though. The blanket advice that uninstalling involves just trashing the app is WRONG ADVICE. The correct advice is to say that you need to remove the various Library files, because they CAN cause problems... how many here have done this: uninstalled an app, then a few months later installed a newer version of the app - and BAM! You get bitten by an old plist file. It is ALWAYS safer to remove all files associated with an app, as you never know when it may cause a problem. Same as with certain polyps or growth on your skin - they may or may not turn cancerous, so you are ALWAYS better off removing them. No sane doctor would tell you otherwise. Practice good file hygiene, and you're more likely to have a good clean system. Do the quick and dirty and soon you're wallowing in filth, infections and problems of unknown origin. KEEP IT CLEAN.
     
  16. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

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    #17
    I would agree with this, which is why I usually point people to our own Mac Guide that goes into a bit more detail than I care to type out in a post.

    dejo said to just trash the app. You said, "You must, *must* delete the leftover files for many programs, or you'll have serious problems."

    The truth (or at least my opinion of it) lies somewhere in the middle. The vast majority of the time, simply dragging an app (that doesn't have an uninstaller or other specific instructions) to the Trash is just fine. I have installed and deleted hundreds of applications on my Macs and have never run into a real problem with the uninstallation. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, as I know it does, but you'll almost always be fine leaving those preference files behind.
     
  17. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #18
    OK, WildCowboy, I can go along with that, but the problem is that you can't always know for 100% which app will cause a problem and which not, which is why I prefer to just nuke all files on principle... maybe unnecessary most of the time, but hey, it's safer that way. I mean, why do you think there's a market for apps like AppZapper in the first place? I know you'll prolly say it caters to the paranoia of windows refugees and recent mac converts, but I'd say there is a bit more to that. I mean, why not do the safe thing and clean it all out?

    Anyhow, good points you made.

    Peace :)
     
  18. Weaselboy macrumors Core

    Weaselboy

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    Jan 23, 2005
    #19

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