How to uninstall applications cleanly? Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by AppleWorking, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. AppleWorking macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #1
    I have a question, which may seem lame, but I was just curious about something… I'm going to be getting a new Mac soon and I was looking into backup applications and uninstall programs. I'm going to be installing about fifteen to twenty applications as demos just so I can see which ones suit my work best. Then I was planning to delete the applications I won't be using, and pay to unlock the ones that I will. My problem, though, is that I can’t stand left over garbage left by applications that no longer exist! (pet peeve)

    So I was thinking, maybe I’ll use a good program to make a back up image of the hard disk, and when I'm done figuring out which apps to keep and which ones to uninstall, I can simply restore the entire drive from the image. Then I’ll have a clean slate all over again. I was thinking maybe I should use SuperDuper to do this? What do you think?

    I also looked into uninstall applications that seem pretty good. I found one called Clean-App and another called AppCleaner. After reading about them, it seems either they are too over zealous as in the case of Clean-App, or too passive like AppCleaner, which may leave files behind.

    Anyway, after all of this back and forth, I was wondering what about Time Machine? Wouldn’t this work? Couldn’t I just attach a new drive, let it make the initial backup, and then detach it. Here I can go about installing everything under the sun to test drive it all, and when I finally make my decision on which apps to use, I can restore the entire disk to the way it was before I began?

    Doesn’t time machine work like system restore in Vista? Where anything installed after the restore point disappears cleanly as if by magic? (I hate comparing anything Mac to Windows, but it’s the only comparison I know.) Will this work? Do you think this is the best way to go about it (using Time Machine)? Should I use SuperDuper instead? Or should I just use a uninstall application and stop being so damn anal? :eek:
     
  2. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Location:
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    #2
    Wow... that was a novel.

    I will attempt to answer some.

    1.I suggest using super duper to make an exact clone of your hard drive, or CCC they both work excellently.

    2. Appcleaner works great if you open it before hand and pick/drag the application you want to uninstall, instead of dragging it to the trash and hoping it comes up (which it usually doesn't)

    3. You could do that, but it takes a long time time to completely restore everything. I don't trust time machine for full restores. I would stick with CCC or SuperDuper.

    4. Just use the uninstall programs they work great. And if for some reason they leave behind a file that you will never find anyways it's no big deal. :)
     
  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #3
    You don't say if this will be your first Mac, but if it is, you might want to use this opportunity to stop thinking like a Windows user. The bottom line is, you don't need to do any of this on a Mac. As you point out yourself, these third-party "system cleaners" can cause problems. They are a solution in search of a problem. As the man said, "don't worry, be happy."
     
  4. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Location:
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    #4
    I've never encountered any problems using those types of programs. What problems can arise? The only thing I can think of is it deleting plist files that might be important? :confused:
     
  5. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502

    reclusivemonkey

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK
    #5
    AppCleaner has worked great for me and picked up things the pay for App Zapper didn't get.
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #6
    I've seen people posting problems resulting from using these cleaner applications. I can see how they might cause issues by removing support files common to multiple applications. Since there's effectively very little actual value or purpose behind them, I recommend removing applications the Apple way.
     
  7. ihabime macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #7
    I've never used any of the zapper type products, but keeping your Mac clean is pretty easy to do yourself.

    The first rule is if a program has an installer it probably has an uninstaller, make sure you keep that and make sure you keep it in a place you will remember to check before tossing the app in the garbage. Always use the uninstaller.

    The second rule is, programs that are drag and drop installed and don't require a password only have access to things in your home directory, specifically ~/Library/ . Most OSX apps don't leave much in there, but it's worth checking the Application Support, Caches and Preferences folders if you want to be really picky.

    The third rule is, if an App has special steps to install, (drag this here, authenticate, type this into terminal), make a note of those steps and keep them with your uninstallers.

    I install tons of crap on my Mac to test things out and even when I'm not particularly tidy about cleanup it's not nearly as bad as on windows, with its registry problems and every app installing startup programs and system tray icons.
     

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