TechBite: Pry Loose Stubborn Programs

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By Steve Bass

Here’s a quiz: When’s a program a permanent fixture on your desktop? When you can’t find a way to uninstall it.

You’ve probably noticed that some programs you install never make it to the Windows Add/Remove applet; others simply disappear from the list. (I know, it couldn’t be anything you’ve done, like maybe delete the app’s directory….)

Making things worse is that some well-known apps don’t create uninstallers on the local machine. For instance, AVG Free, an antivirus program, puts its uninstaller into the downloaded installation package — something many users zap right after they have a successful install. So to uninstall AVG, you’d need to download and install the program again, then select uninstall from the installation options list. (Ain’t computing fun?) One thing to try is Googling the program’s name with the word uninstall. (Like this: “[program name] uninstall”). You may bump into a third-party program or script that’ll do the dirty work for you.

If you can’t see a program in Add/Remove, it makes uninstalling it a real pain in the Bass (also known as a PITA). I ran into the problem on Judy’s PC recently with Apple’s iTunes and QuickTime; it cost me a few beers and a couple of hours of troubleshooting.

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