General Mac Usage Questions? Applications and such..

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by nutsnbolts, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. nutsnbolts macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2008
    Excuse my noobness but I just got a Mac coming from a PC and I have installed several application already. I'm still learning how installation and what not works but I do have a couple questions in how Mac handles it versus what I know how the PC handles things.

    1. Uninstalling applications? How do you do it? Just drag and drop into trash?
    2. Keeping it clean:
    On a PC, there are tons of different registry cleaners, this cleaner that cleaner, do I need something similar for a Mac? Please recommend.
    3. Antivirus and Spywares:
    Do I need it? Please recommend.
    4. Office 2008?
    I just learned that it's Office 2008 for Mac, I know that there are others but I prefer to stay with what is the majority and what I'm use to... What are the others?
    5.I'm going to assume "The Finder" is "My Computer" to a PC.
    6. File Associations? How do you change it to something else. If I have one app and also another similar app, how do I choose which app it should load into?
  2. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    1. Dragging the app to the trash is a simplistic way of uninstalling, and the most common way an average user does it. This however doesn't remove the preference files associated with that app. Not really a big deal, especially if you ever reinstall, but for a clean uninstall I recommend a program like AppZapper.
    2. You don't need anything like that on the mac.
    3. You don't need anything like that on the mac, though there are some available if you want that peace of mind. I don't really have any to recommend since I've never used one myself.
    4. I use Office 2008 on both my macs, but you can also use iWork. It's comparable, but my main source of frustration is the inability to simply save as office formats (doc, ppt, etc.) - you have to do an export each time you want to "save".
    5. The finder is the equivalent of any Windows Explorer window, but more specifically the Macintosh HD is like My Computer. It helps you drill down into users and system files.
    6. Right click on a file and choose Get Info (or select it and command + i). From this window you can change the properties, including what program opens those file extensions.

    Hope this helps. :cool:
  3. nutsnbolts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2008
    Very helpful information! Thanks, slowly but surely, transitioning is getting there.
  4. Pomeroy macrumors 6502


    Sep 27, 2008
    Just toss most apps in the trash, unless they came with an uninstaller there will be few if any files left behind. The few files that most apps may leave behind are typically very small 4 kb text files and it would take hundreds if not thousands of them to add up to the size of some of the App uninstallers like (AppZapper = 3.9 MB or AppCleaner = 6.7 MB). Every few months I go to Users/user name/Library/Preferences and delete the .plist files I know I don't use anymore. If I make a mistake and miss a few, so what, I'll get them next time, If I toss one for an app I'm still using, So what, It will recreate a new up to date one next time I run the App.

    In Windows you need the uninstall control panel (which may or may not work)... you have files scattered all over the place for one program, and entries in a registry file. On a Mac everything that the Application needs to run is Bundled inside the app. If you Open your Applications folder, and double click on an app, the app launches just like it does on a windows machine, but if you Right click on the app and select "Show Package Contents", This will let you see all the files that are needed to launch the App. No need for a "Registry" or ".DLL" files scatered all over your computer as all information is kept within the package.

    So for the most part, deleting the App is sufficient and is the standard uninstall for OS X and any residual files are miniscule and are not a problem at all, they take up virtually no HD space and do not affect your system or drain resources.
  5. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Dragging an application into trash doesn't remove the stuff it stores in places like /Library/Receipts, /Library/Application Support or - preferably hidden - in the user's home folder. So there's a reason why there are 3rd party uninstallers even for the Mac. OS X is not as clean as everybody likes to believe. After all, it's still a BSD Unix, although Apple hides most of that under the GUI. For example, most users will never know that there are /usr, /var, /bin and /lib directories in the file system or what's inside them.
  6. nutsnbolts thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2008
    Yes, I didn't think it was going to be that clear cut. Then again, I would have also thought that there was actually an "uninstaller" either by the application or the Mac OS.

    For instance, usually with a PC, when you install something there is usually a link to uninstall. Or if you go to the PC OS, there is a section of "uninstalling" an application.

    I'm not saying that any either of the two are efficient, hence, the birth of 3rd party uninstallers but with the Mac OS, the only thing I can recall back when I was helping a friend out with their mac was I literally would take the folder of the application and move it in and out and it worked fine. Unlike PC's where you move a folder, you can screw things up.

    My point in this is...ok there is no uninstaller and technically to uninstall, you just have to drag and drop the application into the garbage can. We know that this still leaves "fragments" of files.

    So, from a general mac population, what is everyone using? APPZAPPER? If not, any other ones that is well known?

    Or is 90% of the people just dragging and dropping the app in the garbage?\

    Thanks everyone!
  7. mysterytramp macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    I use AppCleaner because it's free. But I also think folks generally get too paranoid about deleting all the stray files an app leaves behind. Preference files are usually quite small, most are 4K or less. Application Support folders can get large relative to the job you're doing. For example, iWork's app support folders will be bigger than say, a newsreader.

    Using AppCleaner or similar software is not a bad thing. But maybe worrying too much about all file fragments can be. To each his own.


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