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Removing a Program That You Never Use

Your hard disk isn't an ever-expanding universe on which you can install an unlimited number of programs. As you install programs, create documents, send and receive email messages, and view Web pages, your disk can quickly become overpopulated.

Now It Won't Run!

Some programs allow only a certain number of installations or require you to enter a password or registration number during installation. The installation utility then records this information on the floppy disk. In such cases, you may need to remove write-protection in order to proceed.

One of the best ways to reclaim a hefty chunk of disk space is to remove (uninstall) programs you don't use. Unfortunately, you cannot just nuke the program's main folder to purge it from your system. When you install a Windows program, it commonly installs files not only to the program's folder, but also to the \WINDOWS, WINDOWS\SYSTEM, and other folders. It also edits a complicated system file, called the Windows Registry—if you remove files without removing the lines in the Registry that refer to those files, you may encounter some serious problems. In short, you can't remove a program from your computer simply by deleting the program's files.

The Program's Not Listed

If the name of the program you want to remove does not appear in the Add/Remove Programs list, use the program's own setup utility to remove the program. Search the program's submenu on the Start, Programs menu or in the program's folder for a Setup or Install option.

To remove the program safely and completely, you should use the Windows Add/Remove Programs utility:

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.

  2. Click the Add/Remove Programs icon. The Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box appears (see Figure 10.4).

  3. Click the Install/Uninstall tab if it is not already selected. At the bottom of the window is a list of installed programs.

  4. Click the name of the program you want to remove, as shown in Figure 10.4.

  5. Click the Add/Remove button.

  6. One or more dialog boxes lead you through the uninstall process, asking for your confirmation. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

  7. If the program you removed has a shortcut icon on the desktop, you might have to delete this manually. Right-click the icon, and click Delete.

Figure 10.4 Let Windows remove the program for you.

The Least You Need to Know

  • Without software, computer hardware is nothing more than an oversized, overpriced paperweight. For your computer to do anything useful (or fun), it needs the right software installed. To make sure your computer has the software it needs, you should know the following:

  • Software provides the instructions your computer needs to perform a task.

  • Not all programs run on all computers. Before buying a program, make sure your computer meets the requirements that are printed on the program's box.

  • Alt+double-click My Computer to view important information about your computer.

  • In most cases, you can simply pop a CD-ROM program into your computer's CD-ROM drive to start the installation routine.

  • To install a program, use My Computer to change to the CD-ROM or floppy drive in which the program diskette or CD is loaded and double-click the Setup or Install icon.

  • To remove a program you no longer use, open the Windows Control Panel and double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon.

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