How to Uninstall Left Over Program Files

By Emilio Alvarez

It's not uncommon for users to find left over program files even when the uninstalled application is no longer present. This can happen even when a program is removed through the Windows "Add/Remove Programs" utility. This old software references remain in your system as a result of malfunctioning uninstallers, or caused by removing an application incorrectly. In any case, these orphan references can significantly slow down your system in the long run. To remove them from your system completely, you will need to edit the "Registry." Proceed with caution when making changes in the Registry Editor, since deleting an incorrect key could potentially jeopardize the stability of your system.

Uninstall through the Registry

Step 1

Click on the "Start" menu, click on "Run" then type "regedit" at the command line. The Registry Editor window opens up.For Windows Vista and 7 users click on the Start Orb button, type "regedit" in the "Start Search" text field and press Enter.

Step 2

Click on the "+" sign that corresponds to the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" hive.

Step 3

Expand the following sub-folders: "SOFTWARE" > "Microsoft" > "Windows" > "CurrentVersion" > "Uninstall" folder.

Step 4

Locate the sub-key or folder that corresponds to the application's left over program files, within the "Uninstall" folder.

Step 5

Right-click on the sub-key (folder) or values (files) you want to delete and select "Delete" from the drop-down menu.

Step 6

Restart your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Microsoft recommends backing-up the "Registry" prior to making any changes.