why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Windows XP


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why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby tonyjeffs » Mon, 05 Feb 2007 20:41:15 GMT

I messed up the settings on a program (audacity), so I uninstalled it
using windows add-remove, and reinstalled it.  The reinstalled version
retained the same messed up settings.
Why doesn't Windows remove all the data when it removes a program? Is
there a way to do this?
Perhaps if I delete all references to the program in the Registry?

Thanks Tony

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby R. McCarty » Mon, 05 Feb 2007 21:18:23 GMT

Not everything is Registry related. You'll find that when you uninstall
a application the "Settings" are retained on a re-install. This isn't 
the Registry at fault. Either within "Common Files" or All Users will be
a settings folder. Also the personalization's can be saved in the profile
for each user. There's more to 100% removal than just Uninstalling.

After doing an Uninstall - do a full System search for either the program
name or the Vendor.  You'll likely find the customization/personalization
folders on your hard drive.

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby Dave Patrick » Mon, 05 Feb 2007 21:21:06 GMT

When you use Control Panel|Add/Remove you're executing an uninstall routine 
that is part of the application so this really isn't a windows issue.



Dave Patrick ....Please no email replies - reply in newsgroup.
Microsoft Certified Professional
Microsoft MVP [Windows]

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby Opinicus » Mon, 05 Feb 2007 21:58:26 GMT

"tonyjeffs" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote

As others have explained this isn't really Windows' fault it's a by-product 
of the software's own installation/removal process.

Before you go mucking about with Registry I suggest you uninstall the 
software and then do a system rollback to a restore point before the botched 
installation. (Hopefully you have one.)

Having been burned myself a couple of times installing/uninstalling 
software, I now make it a point to create a restore point before installing 
anything new. Depending on the software in question (how reliable it is; how 
much I trust it) I may also do the same thing before installing updates, new 
versions, etc.


RE: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby UmVkIFNhcHBoaXJl » Mon, 05 Feb 2007 22:13:00 GMT

If I delete any programs using the add remove program thingy, I always run a 
registry cleaner before reinstall.  Helps tie up loose ends so to speak.  I 
don't understand half of what goes on with this add remove thing, I also end 
up with only half the program gone, and empty folders and the like 
everywhere!  I though remove would mean remove, but obviously not!

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby MaryL » Tue, 06 Feb 2007 00:36:08 GMT

Have you tried using System Restore to go back *before* you *first* 
installed the program?  I usually set a restore point before installing 
anything, but Win-XP regularly sets restore points.


Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby Bruce Chambers » Tue, 06 Feb 2007 01:59:51 GMT

	The problem lies not within Windows, but rather with Audacity's 
uninstall routine.  The Control Panel's Add/Remove Program applet merely 
calls/runs the uninstall utility provided by the manufacturer of each 
software application; there is no "master Windows uninstaller" that 
removes all programs.  If the application's manufacturer doesn't provide 
a clean means of uninstalling its product, then trash gets left behind.

	Yes, that should do the trick, but it wouldn't hurt to also check the 
hard drive to see if any folders got left behind, and delete those, as well.


Bruce Chambers

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Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby Ken Blake, MVP » Tue, 06 Feb 2007 03:14:59 GMT

Bad move, in my view.

I strongly recommend *against* the routine use of registry cleaners. Routine 
cleaning of the registry isn't needed and
is dangerous. Leave the registry alone and don't use a registry cleaner. 
Despite what many people think, and what vendors of registry cleaning 
software try to convince you of, having unused registry entries doesn't 
really hurt you.

The risk of a serious problem caused by a registry cleaner erroneously 
removing an entry you need is far greater than any potential benefit it may 

Ken Blake - Microsoft MVP Windows: Shell/User
Please reply to the newsgroup

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby Rock » Tue, 06 Feb 2007 06:22:54 GMT

"Red Sapphire" <Red  XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote

Unless you are knowledgeable about the registry, know what you are doing, 
and only use a registry cleaner to suggest what entries should be removed, 
then do some research and make some decisions about those suggestions, I 
recommend you do not use a registry cleaner, and especially not in any 
automatic mode.  The cause more problems than they fix.  One insidious 
aspect of it is you might not see the problems manifest immediately.  Then 
when they do you don't think of associating them with the use of the 
cleaner.  Bottom line is don't use one.

Didn't you just post about unexplained problems with Word, Outlook and 
system  restore?

Rock [MVP - User/Shell] 

Re: why doesn't add remove programs completely remove files?

Postby tonyjeffs » Tue, 06 Feb 2007 08:36:33 GMT

I do sometimes use a program called install watch.
It takes a 'snapshot' of the registry and files before and after  a
program installation, and then lists all the files that have been
added/removed changed.
This means I can print out a (huge) list of changes, and go through
them manually to remove all traces of the program after deletion.

It makes installation a long process tho so I only use it on progs I'm
not comfortable with. I hadn't used it on this occasion.

Tips on non-use of registry cleaners appreciated.


Similar Threads:

1.Add/Remove Programs Doesn't Work After Removing AOL

If I have posted this article to any of the incorrect groups, I apologize. 
Also, if this problem has been recently handled, I could not find it in any 
search on Google News (maybe I didn't use the correct keywords), I apologize.

Machine: Toshiba Satellite P25-S670, Pentium4 3.2GHz, 512MB RAM, XP-Media 
Edition, SP-1.

Problem: AOL came installed on machine. Through Control Panel>Add/Remove 
Programs, AOL was removed. Now, Add/Remove brings up screen, and begins survey 
of installed programs, but none ever appear. HDD activity progresses for about 
30 sec, then ceases, and no installed programs appear.

In Safe Mode, Add/Remove works fine, just not in Normal mode.

I've Restarted and Shutdown/Started several times, and the result in Add/
Remove is the same.

Any pointer on Registry entries that might be affecting Add/Remove, would also 
be appreciated.

Help - TIA

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