Does OSX suffer from "Windows residue" over time?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by btownguy, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. btownguy macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #1
    As a long-time Windows user who is for the first time in his life considering switching to a Mac, I obviously have some questions. I've read quite a bit about how Macs handle software uninstalls. I understand that it's not 100% clean when you delete an application - sometimes some stuff is left hanging around. However, I have a question:

    Does OSX suffer from "Windows residue?" Windows residue is all that crap that builds up in your Windows computer over time as you uninstall applicaitons. All those extra registry entries. All those extra .dll's. All those programs that add processes when your computer starts up (you can see them in msconfig or process monitor). All of this crap slows down your Windows machine over time and prompts a power user to reformat/reinstall at least once a year.

    On OSX, is it just some small configuration files that are left around, or do active processes tend to hang around?
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #2
    Short answer here... no

    To uninstall, just delete the app
    Any leftover is minuscule and does not affect performance

    You can use programs like AppZapper or AppCleaner but it really isn't necessary
    Some Apps come with an uninstaller, and you can use them

    But for the most part, delete the App and don't give it another thought

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #3
    Mac OS X doesn't use a database to store primary information about anything and everything on the computer, so no fear of bloat and corruption there. That type of stuff is generally saved in binary files called .plists.

    Mac OS X doesn't follow Microsoft developer's nasty habit of sharing, editing, and overwriting DLLs. Again, each developer/app (should be, at least) saving it's preferences in .plists.

    That being said, if you install a lot of apps that require kernel extensions, and then you don't remove them properly, over time, they can negatively effect the speed and uptime of your Mac.
    THAT being said, reinstalling Mac OS X is not something one must do periodically or compulsively. Reinstalling should be a last resort when experiencing problems.
     
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    #4
    Better yet, if you do need to reinstall the OS, doing so with Mac OS X is quick and painless. No need to restore files or settings, or to reinstall applications.
     
  5. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

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    Mar 4, 2007
    #5
    Short answer: no

    Long answer: no unless you install lots of stuff that you will not use after a period of time that has startup items and or kernel extensions. I try to reinstall 1-2 times a year. If I had a Core 2 Duo with 4+ GB RAM then I could probably go longer without reinstalling but I have a 4 year old PowerBook with 2 GB RAM.
     
  6. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

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    #6
    After spending a few dreadful years on the PC during the initial OS X rollouts I experience exactly what the OP has. The gradual and not so graceful decline in system responsiveness after too many apps had been installed and deleted with cruft left over.

    I'm happy to report my Mac has had an ass-ton of applications installed (with many being deleted) and I've noticed no slowdown that's not likely cased by my hard drive being too full ( a wholly separate issue)
     
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #7
    There are probably a few people that haven't formatted their drive since they got it, People might live through 2-3 upgrades carrying the user profile intact the entire time.

    Heck they might use the Migration Assistant and pull a user profile though a lot of computers.

    And with Time Machine, and restoring users to new drives... if there was any residue it would the really bad.

    I went System 8.0 to 10.3 dragging the same user and basically most of it is still around on the current computer (though it didn't get migrated, except for e-mail and browser profiles) on the current machine under 10.5.x -- just basically deleted the apps as the OS updates killed them off.

    Edit: if they hadn't killed off classic, likely I'd still be using the same exact user from the System 8 days.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #8
    Plenty of chance to get some libraries, extensions, and preferences that won't go away unless you hunt them down. Any package installer makes me wary if they don't have a script to remove some of that deeper system level stuff.
     
  9. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

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    Jan 28, 2009
    #9
    I know exactly what you mean by Windows residue, and it is absolutely vile. A computer can easily be reduced to 20% of its original speed, simply through the power of time. Luckily this doesn't seem to be the case on OS X for various reasons. However, I generally reformat with each new OS release simply to keep things in tip top shape, which generally has a small performance boost. Whether that is a result of a reformat or of a new OS isn't my place to answer, but it is usually positive.
     
  10. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #10
    DLL's do not get overwriten or shared and has not been since windows 2000 came out. This folder described below exists in windows 2000 and newer MS operating systems.

    "The Winsxs folder, stores multiple copies of dll's in order to let multiple applications run in Windows without any compatibility problem. If you browse inside, you will see what look like a lot of duplicate dlls, each having the same name. These are actually, different versions of the same files which are being stored; as different programs may require different versions."



    Can anyone here actually say "with detail" what builds up over time on a windows box? I suspect nobody can and will. Please no vague answers.

    I can say one thing for sure. Uninstalling an app may leave behined a folder *IF* the folder contained any user files. For example if I install Winamp which is an mp3 player and uninstall it, the folder will be removed. If I install winamp and download skins, then winamp will uninstall and remove all originally installed files except the skins which I installed. IMO that makes more sense because those are MY files and they should NOT be removed. Many applications behave this way.

    SOME applications may leave behind preferences in the registry, but this is absolutely no different than applications in OSX leaving behind plist files after being trashed. You want preferences gone, you have to go somewhere and delete something.

    I fail to see any difference. By the way, there have been multiple tests showing that the size of the windows registry does NOT impact performance one bit. Its not like the registry gets loaded into RAM. You can think of it as a giant and complicated text file that gets accessed for preferences. Thats all. How retarded would it sound if I said that increasing the number of preference files in OSX would slow the computer down. Umm no it wont. Its no different.
     
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #11
    Not quite. Registry gets corrupted, everything is toasted and you start over from your backup. No such core beast in Mac OS X, and .plists are definitely not like that.

    OK, then please offer your reasoning behind the apparent need to reinstall Windows? Why do my functioning drivers suddenly stop working? Why do the applications I run suddenly start crashing?
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #12
    Check your logs and hunt down the errors just like you do when you have driver problems or spontaneously crashing in OS X.
     
  13. iAlexG macrumors 6502

    iAlexG

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    #13
    I use appcleaner just to make sure everything is gone since I have had horrible experiences with Windows machines.

    Btownguy: Just do it GET A MAC you will never regret it certainly haven't yet. 3 weeks and going strong. The switch will be easy as OS X is easy to pick up and mac freeware is 100% better than windows freeware thats what I love :D
     
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #14
    ...AND you don't remove said stuff properly once you start using it, meaning either deleting the corresponding kernel extensions/startup items.

    Frankly, other than Adobe's abomination of a software package (meaning CS3/4, which has one of the worst installers in computing history), there are very few things which require ANYTHING outside of the application itself within the applications folder (plus the aforementioned .plist files and other necessary data storage).

    Leaving aside the argument of whether Windows really suffers as badly from this as its image (though you'd be hard-pressed to make a case that the Registry isn't an abomination, religiously using the correct Windows uninstall control panel should remove pretty much everything but some user prefs), the average even mildly conscientious user just won't need to reinstall OSX, ever.

    I in fact did upgrade installs (NOT archive-and-installs, which maintains user prefs but tosses any system-level additions) of every OS between 10.0 and 10.3 PLUS moved said OS install from a G4 to a G5 tower, and only at 10.3 did I start having any sort of issue, which an archive-and-install of 10.4 fixed. And I'm the sort who does install some pretty low-level stuff.

    Bottom line: Use, be happy, don't even consider an archive-and-reinstall unless you're troubleshooting something, and even then it's kind of a last resort.
     
  15. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #15
    The registry does have a backup and it can be restored through the recovery console.

    As for why your computer messes up...not sure. I dont have those issues at my work place on any of the 40 or so windows servers or the 140+ XP and Vista machines. We even have a few windows 2000 machines in operation. I dont have issues at home either and have computers running such as my home server which is from 2002.

    The first place I'd check is faulty RAM. Bad RAM can cause corruption and instability. Since I do a 24 hour memory test on all machines and servers and know all my machines in operation have good RAM.


     
  16. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #16
    You sir, are a lucky man.
     
  17. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #17
    It'd be a good to learn to manage your user polices.

    Keep your users as standard users regardless of the operating system.
     
  18. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #18
    Isn't there a difference in that OS X doesn't load every preference from every orphaned plist into RAM when it boots, unlike the orphaned preferences in Window's registry?

    As an (apparent) fellow IT professional in a Windows-based shop, I agree with both comments above. However, neither of them really apply to the experience that the average home user is likely to have when something goes wrong on their Windows box.
     
  19. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #19
    I say this of course, after years of having to deal with poor IT at my school. At any time, approximately a quarter of the machines were stuck in a perpetual blue screen, and another quarter would not allow students to login.

    Ha, I quoted myself. :p:rolleyes:
     
  20. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #20
    Nothing lucky at all. Computers are not magic boxes. They do what they are told. The user(s) and administrators either know whats going on or not. Since the network, systems and my personal machines and server are also fine, I'd suspect I've taken the time to learn how to use windows. IMO 99% of problems are user caused either directly or indirectly because they dont know enough about the OS they are working in.


     
  21. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #21
    'Twas a joke. :p
     
  22. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #22
    Schools are not a good example because students dont take ownership of a machine for the whole term. Its a shared machine and chances are your IT department sucked too.

    I used to work as IT in a school that had a a Mac lab of 30 machines teaching adobe products as well a a windows Lab of 20 machines teaching Maya. I had to spend each night troubleshooting and rebuilding machines in both labs. Both were equally a pain in the butt because users dont care about the machines and what they do to them. Even with all that headache, I had the labs ready and working perfectly for each day.



    LOL ok. I never know around here when it comes to windows topics ;)
    Windows doesnt load preferences from the registry into RAM. They are referenced. Think of it as a look up table.

     
  23. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    Well, the only commonalities between my home PCs, my work PCs, my VMs, and my Boot Camp'd Macs are 1) Me, and 2) Windows in various flavors for the last 10 years. Sooooooo, I'm going to go with Windows.
     
  24. contoursvt macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #24
    Well you yourself are also a common factor ;)

    Seriously though, when and how often do you get a bluescreen or have seen a bluescreen on your own machines? The last time I've seen one on my own box was in 2003 and I'm not making it up. In 2003, I set up a P4 3.0C system with OCZ RAM and I was having some slight instability and after tracking things down, I found that the RAM wanted an extra 0.1V. After bumping the voltage up, it was rock solid. After that experience, all my subsequent pieces of memory have been Kingston. I run a UPS on all my machines too as power fluctuations can cause bluescreens (ie voltage sag and the PSU not maintaining the output and thus a bluescreen or reboot).

    Do you build good machines? All these problems can be easily related to poor hardware. You must consider that there are windows servers that run for a long time with no issues. Windows is actually very. Check the idle time one one of our two windows 2003 based exchange servers. Its running 3GB RAM and dual 3.4Ghz Xeons. The idle time is measured in hours.... Ya thats nearly 17000 hours.

    [​IMG]



     
  25. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #25
    Did, and it still does.
     

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