You promised me this wouldn't happen!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by inlimbo, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia

    I have a minor bone to pick. With windows, when u delete a program it leaves all sorts of file behind in the registry and so on. I remember reading that this doesn't happen with macs. Which seems to be true most of the time. But sometimes files are left behind the preferences folder etc...

    For example I just moved the application file for iGetMovies into the trash. But it has left behind 2 files:
    iGetMovies in __MACOSX and iGetMovies Preferences.plist in Preferences.

    What are these files? Can I trash em? Should I worry about them? Should I trash em? I ran macjanitor but it didn't delete them (but maybe its not meant to).

    Thanx Im new to mac so please re-educate me. :)
  2. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    They are just preference files and can be trashed if you want. They can also be left where they are if you're not in need of the space ;)
  3. Bern macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2004
    :eek: We need to hunt down the swine that made you such a promise and subject her to a public flogging.
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    The difference with a Mac is that there aren't any processes that still get run when you delete an app in this way. You don't lose CPU cycles, just a little HD space.
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Macjanitor is just for running the cron jobs. It's not supposed to go hunting preference files to delete.

    Having the preference files separate from the app does actually make sense since it means that if you delete an application bundle before installing a newer version, you don't lose all your preferences. They take up very small amounts of space and aren't interfering with anything else, contacting anyone etc so it's pretty safe to leave them where they are. Unlike in Windows, where the application will have written dll files to the Registry which can't necessarily be safely removed since other applications may need to use them and there's little way of telling that's the case until you've borked up something else.
  6. GodBless macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    Yeah, the only files that are usually left behind are the preference files. Occasionally (usually for trial software only) a file or two might be left behind somewhere else.

    As for Microsoft Office which also installs fonts, it comes with an uninstaller. Uninstallers aren't usually necessary though because they are a waste of time and preference files don't waste too much space.

    If you think about it, it is good that the preference files are left there in case you decide to use the software that you deleted again. It is also good for the times you need to delete (or overwrite) an application to update it (as mentioned in the previous post). This way you won't need to reconfigure your desired preferences again.
  7. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    For those curious about __MACOSX, it's a special directory created inside ZIP archives made with the archiving utility that debuted in Panther used to hold resource fork information that would otherwise be lost (yes, I know - very LONG sentence).
  8. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    Yeah, and some apps store things in the Library if it needs to (iComic stores all the images it downloads into an iComic folder in the library). It's not insanely bad - and if the app it isn't too big of a deal. With Windows since everything is stored into the registry, all prefs are loaded at startup - even uninstalled apps.
  9. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Cheers. I appreciate the info. I now understand why they are left behind in prefs directory.

    So I can delete a file thats left over in '__MACOSX' ? The same?
  10. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I'm not a Windows fan, but I do have to deal with it a fair bit - and this statement isn't really true. A properly configured application that uses the Windows Installer will remove everything - including registry entries - when it is uninstalled.

    Some apps do their own thing when it comes to installation, and with those you never know what's going to be left behind. But heck, that can be true on OS X as well.
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Yeah, that's definitely true. I don't like the idea of writing files to the windows or system folder, in principle, because it can endanger stability. I don't think installers should have rights to do that on either OS, and I would like Windows software to do without it. *BUT* in an ideal world, I like Windows' ability to centrally manage removing software from the control panel (assuming it worked all the time, instead of rarely as is the case now).

    To me, I don't care for the Apple idea that the installer package can be used to uninstall the software, because the installer package is not always readily available when you want to uninstall -- most of us delete downloaded package files after installing them, and the older version we installed might not still be available by the time we want to uninstall, in order to use it to do the uninstall.

    It would be nice if there was a simple way to track Library contents by the installing program and delete them, if so desired.
  12. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    Yes app's in OS X will leave behind file, but these files are tiny (1k) compared to the dll that windows apps will leave behind (typically megabytes).
  13. aloofman macrumors 68020


    Dec 17, 2002
    And if you really want to delete the little preference files left behind, you can do a search for the name of the application and trash them manually.
  14. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004

    We lied! :D

    (note: I didn't even read your post first - this was just the natural answer to your statement. :))
  15. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    You might as well leave them alone. Suppose you re-installed the software. You will retain all your old preferences.

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