How to Get Rid of Unwanted Programs on a PC

By Contributing Writer

One of the great things about modern computers is the amount of information they can process and store without slowing down. However, even today's computers--which are 10 times more advanced than their predecessors of even a decade ago--can take a hit when too many programs are left on the machine. If you have a computer that is filled to the brim with unwanted, unused programs and you want to get rid of them, read on to learn how to do it right.

Things You'll Need

  • Antivirus software
  • Windows OS

Step 1

Begin at Start. Some people believe they can just delete a program file from "C://Program Files" and that will be the end of it. Not so. This will take away the ability of the computer to run the program, but it will leave all of the configuration files and other tangent pieces of the program intact. You must go to Start and then to Control Panel.

Step 2

Click on "Add/Remove Programs." This should be featured as an icon in the Control Panel. Double-click on this feature and you will get a blank screen with the words "Please wait while the list is being populated." This will then pull up a comprehensive list of all the programs on your computer that can be removed or altered using this wizard. Clicking on each program's name will tell you the size of the program, the last time you used it and the general frequency of use.

Step 3

Click "Change/Remove" to delete the program. When you come across a program you no longer feel you need or want on your computer, click on "Change/Remove" to delete it from your system. From there, Windows will guide you through the process of uninstalling the program. Caution is advised at this juncture. It is easy for less experienced users to get so caught up in the excitement of freeing up so much disk space that they accidentally delete a program they need. Be very careful with each deletion and make sure that it is a program you truly have no use for.

Step 4

Use spyware-removal software to eliminate tricky programs. Not all programs are quite so easy to get rid of. If you have spyware or malware on your computer, removing it through the above process may be impossible. You will need to download a good spyware-removal program. A couple of good ones are McAfee (available for a price) and Spybot Search and Destroy (which is free). If your computer is very infested, you may need a combination of several programs to get the job done.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your computer of unwanted programs at least twice a year to keep it running smoothly
  • Some spyware-removal programs are actually spyware in disguise. Be careful when downloading anything from the internet.