How to Remove Unwanted Programs From Your Computer

Directly deleting a program's directory recovers space on your hard drive, but doesn't properly uninstall the program, and can lead to glitches when Windows or another program expects the deleted application to run. Instead, use the Programs and Features Control Panel in Windows 7 or 8 to uninstall the application, and then clean up residual files if necessary.

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After you confirm an uninstallation, you can't undo the process, short of reinstallation.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Open the Windows 7 Start menu, search for "Programs and Features" and select it from the Control Panel section of the search results. For Windows 8, press "Windows-X" and pick "Programs and Features" from the menu.

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Open Programs and Features
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Sort the program list.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Open the drop-down menu by the "View" button to switch to "Details" view, which shows information about each installed program. To sort the list, click a column heading, such as "Size." Not all programs display every piece of information, however: A program might report no size, even though it takes up a lot of drive space.

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Add other columns.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Right-click any column heading and choose "More" to add additional columns of information. Items such as "Last Used On" help to find programs that you don't need anymore, but -- as with the Size column -- many programs won't correctly report the date of last use.

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Uninstall a program.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Select an unwanted program and press "Uninstall" or "Uninstall/Change" to run its uninstaller. Some programs have custom uninstallers that guide you through a multi-step process, but the standard uninstaller displays a simple "Yes" or "No" dialog box to confirm the removal.

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Change or repair a program.
credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Step

Press "Change" or "Repair" when a selected program offers these options to make changes to an installation rather than remove it entirely. "Change" usually allows you to add or remove specific program components, while "Repair" helps with a malfunctioning program. With many applications, however, both buttons lead to the same window, which offers more specific options.