Uninstalling apps in OS X = chaos?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by qtip919, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. qtip919 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #1
    Ive looked over a few posts in here and I see that people basically dont need to "think" much about uninstalling programs.

    However, I am running into a bit of a jam. I am installing apps left and right to experiment with the amazing amount of free/share-ware that is available for mac, and I am cluttering up my apps folder. I can only imagine that a few other files are being strewn around my hard drive.

    Now, WinXP provides and excellent "add/remove programs" UI that allows me to manage all of this and systematically uninstall software from my machine in an organized way. Why is there no such thing in mac os x?

    Secondly, is there any shareware that assits in this process? ;)
     
  2. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a

    cooknwitha

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Just drag it into the trash and delete. If you're concerned about preferences etc. just use "Find File" or Spotlight and delete them that way. Just make sure they are linked to that program!
     
  3. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #3
    Because that little folder/app in your applications folder is all there is to the program. The application may install and use a preference file that will be contained in the preferences folder. Actually these are called .plist now? I don't know because I haven't touched a preference file for years now. They are usually a single digit K, and do nt harm as they are essentially a text file that stores other-than-default settings about the app.

    Actually they are useful to have around if you ever install the program again and want to start the app up as if it was never deleted.

    But Plists pose no problem what-so-ever. So just delete the Application and folder and be done with it. This aint Windows after all, Apple doesn't think the process of deleting a program should be complicated. Do you need to hire* someone else to take papers off your desk and put them in the trash for you?
    Welcome to OSX :)

    ~Earendil

    ps
    *I apologize if you are someone that does, and wish you the best.
     
  4. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Mac OS X apps are generally good at keeping to themselves.

    The only other files that apps usually leave are preference files that don't really muck with each other, and that don't save that much room when deleted.

    The reason that nobody has really built an uninstaller is because it hasn't really been necessary. Even complex apps like Photoshop CS2 generally stay well behaved in the apps folder, with one or two pref files.

    You'll do fine with drag-delete + Spotlight for those pesky pref files.
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #5

    True, Windows offers an Add/Remove feature, but it leaves behind way more random files than simply dragging a Mac app to the trash.

    Generally speaking, if the app was installed with an installer, then it will come with an uninstaller that can be used to get rid of it. As for apps that don't come with an uninstaller, they can simply be dragged to the trash and forgotten about. As others have said though, you can trash the preferences if you like. This means that when/if you ever reinstall the app, it will not remember your settings and it will install like new. However, keeping these preferences generally means that if ever you choose to reinstall the app you will keep all your old preferences. Yay. :)
     
  6. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #6
    The other advantage of the Mac preferences system is that if an app screws up, you can just delete its prefs file to fix it (doesn't always work, but usually does) :)
     
  7. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #7
    Another place to look for left over files after deleting an app is in<yourhomedirectory>/Libraray/Appplication Support. Usually the folders in there have obvious names, so you'll know what to delete, if anything.

    Another wonderful thing about apps in OS X is that if you -do- say, accidentally delete a plist file or a folder in /Application Support for an app that you still use, it rarely if ever causes any problems other than losing some preferences, and the app will happily regenerate the deleted files the next time you run it. I could probably trash my whole Application Support folder right now and never notice any difference.

    And to echo someone else's point, the WinXP Add/Remove function is FAR from excellent. It routinely leaves files all over the place and likes to prompt you about deleting files that there's no way anyone could know the actual purpose of. If it doesn't know whether it can delete MSVCRT60.DLL, I don't know what makes it think I will. Plus at least 60% of the time you have to restart afterwards...and then there's searching through the registry to remove listing for programs that get stuck in the add/remove list after a failed removal. I switched completely about 4 months ago, and I have to say I don't miss that at all.
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #8
    Yeah, the main reason Windows has all that nice Add/Delete business is the good ol' Registry, which is all but user un-editable. App installers also seem remarkably good at spreading files around, though that's not always the case. On the other hand, I do appreciate that for the ability to (at least in theory) remove hotfixes and the like, and for the fact that it keeps a list of what's theoretically installed.

    Then again, just dropping an app in the trash is a pretty darned simple method of uninstallation, and plist/Application support files are rarely worth bothering with.

    Answering the "How do I install/uninstall?" question is always my favorite for new Mac users. Few find it easy to believe it's as simple as it is.
     
  9. qtip919 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #9
    thanks everyone...even though I see now the simplicity of the "trashing" of an application to uninstall it, there is still something quite unnerving about the manual management of this process.
     
  10. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #10
    It's no more manual than Windows. Think of it this way, instead of Apple writing a separate app to do this task (al-la Windows), Apple has it built into the OS. It's actually fewer steps then windows uninstall process, so perhaps window's is more of a human manual management system?

    ~Earendil
     
  11. savar macrumors 68000

    savar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #11
    Yeah, Apple thinks this is "good design"...I wish at least when you dragged an app to the trash it would ask if you wanted to delete its pref files and whatever other items it has created.
     
  12. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #12
    At least your application files are generally all in one place as opposed to Windows where you have crap all over your hard drive and registry. That combined with spyware programs that refuse to be uninstalled or folders that won't be removed. Count your blessings :cool:
     
  13. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    #13
    I felt the same way when i had just switched (over 3 years ago now).
    Now i drop a application into the trash like its hot, and never look back.

    You just have to de-program yourself from the Windows way of thinking, however do not worry, it is painless. :p

    So remember, to get rid of an application just; drop it like its hot, drop it like its hot, drop it like its hot.....into the trash.

    (my apologies for the snoop dog song usage)

    -cameron
     
  14. NEENAHBOY macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    #14
    Isn't it possible to do it "the Windows way" in the About This Mac section by clicking the Applications tab?
     
  15. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #15
    This is OS X. I don't have to think about stuff like that. I just do it. In this case trashing the apps.

    Yep, when I do this on my PC the registry gets screwed up and five other applications don't work anymore.

    uninstall in every single case either did not delete all of the program or screwed up other programs. or, if you try to reinstall it gives you problems there.

    being able to remove programs is one of the great things about os x. uninstall tools is one of the things that suck in windows. these uninstall things only work if one user is on one computer with no network, virusprotection, firewall, copy restrictions installed. in a nutshell, they don't work.

    accept it, there is nothing creepy about removing a unwanted program yourself.
     
  16. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I can vouch for how untidy and unreliable the windows uninstall method is. I used to install lots of apps - There are folders and files all over the place - One time I used the uninstaller to remove an app - and it said at the end it couldn't uninstall a number of files - it came up with a list ofabout 20 in all lol
     
  17. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #17

    I can only view them. How do you uninstall them from the System Profiler?
     

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