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  1. #1
    honestone33
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    Removing Applications
    I would be interested in knowing what folks do whenever they want to remove an application (third party) from their Macs. Here is what I do:

    1. I have the excellent freeware application AppCleaner:

    AppCleaner

    I launch it, drag the icon of the application I want to remove onto AppCleaner, and then shows a list of all the files it can find associated with the app (including the application itself). I then click remove, and they are gone.

    2. While AppCleaner is very good, it does not catch everything. So, I then launch another excellent freeware application I have, EasyFind:

    DEVONtechnologies | Download (listed under Freeware)

    I then put in the application name in the Search term, and it finds additional files/folders, etc., which I then remove.

    I'd appreciate any comments, information, etc., and also what other folks do.

  2. #2
    Removing Applications
    krs's Avatar
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    I actually remove very few applications, even ones I have not used for a long time.
    All they do is use up a little bit of disk space - and I have plenty of that.

    When I do remove one, I either use the uninstall option if there is one or just move the application to the trash.
    I don't worry about little pieces of the app possibly being left behind.

    Easy Find I assume i similar to Find Any File....these are great to find files that in my case the find option in the Finder doesn't find, however....
    How do you know that a file/folder that is found that just happens to have part of the name the same as the app you want to remove is actually part of the app and not something totally different.
    In worst case a file some other app or the Mac needs.
    I'm always very careful when I remove anything where I'm not 100% sure I know what it is.
    I rather have a few extra files kicking around than find out I deleted something that then causes a problem - maybe only weeks or months later.

  3. #3
    Removing Applications
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    I also use AppCleaner, but I don’t launch it, as it will open once you move the App to the Trashcan. After AppCleaner opens, I scroll through the additional files it Found, and sometimes some of those are not “checked” for removal, so I check those as well.

    In AppCleaner do you have all the options enabled in the Preferences?


    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  4. #4
    Removing Applications
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    I just delete the app by dragging to the Trash. Sometimes I use AppCleaner, but most of the time not. The debris left by most things is trivial space. I do use uninstaller when the developer provides one and I always use uninstaller for Microsoft products. MS sprinkles files all over the place, reuses some of them so AppCleaner is dangerous for them. I've been burned before by that. Have not deleted anything from Adobe, yet, but will run their uninstaller when I do. Another "file sprinkler" company.
    Jake

  5. #5
    honestone33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    I also use AppCleaner, but I don’t launch it, as it will open once you move the App to the Trashcan. After AppCleaner opens, I scroll through the additional files it Found, and sometimes some of those are not “checked” for removal, so I check those as well.

    In AppCleaner do you have all the options enabled in the Preferences?


    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    Hmm, never knew that about AppCleaner. As the old saying goes, learn something new every day. Thanks for that.

    And yes, the list generated by AppCleaner sometimes leaves some of the files it finds unchecked. I also check them, and then click Remove.

  6. #6
    honestone33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    I just delete the app by dragging to the Trash. Sometimes I use AppCleaner, but most of the time not. The debris left by most things is trivial space. I do use uninstaller when the developer provides one and I always use uninstaller for Microsoft products. MS sprinkles files all over the place, reuses some of them so AppCleaner is dangerous for them. I've been burned before by that. Have not deleted anything from Adobe, yet, but will run their uninstaller when I do. Another "file sprinkler" company.
    I've actually never had an issue with removing files found by EasyFind that "seem" to be associated with an app. Sometimes, though, some of those files can't be removed.

    And while the disk space used by many apps is trivial, I still don't want them around. It's like cleaning our place or our cars. I do not want to do an incomplete job.

  7. #7
    Removing Applications
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestone33 View Post
    I would be interested in knowing what folks do whenever they want to remove an application (third party) from their Macs.
    The overwhelming majority of Macintosh applications should be un-installable simply by dragging their program icon, or their program folder, to the Trash. For those that can't be uninstalled that way, the developer should either have provided an uninstall feature as part of the original installer, or have made an uninstaller available separately. (Microsoft Office must be uninstalled using an uninstaller application installed in the application's folder. Microsoft also makes a separate uninstaller program available for download on their Web site.)

    Just about every application for the Macintosh, if you uninstall it by dragging its application icon, or application folder, to the trash, will leave behind a file or two. Usually, at the minimum, a preferences file. Maybe also a cache folder and/or a support file. Unlike Windows, these files are not "stay resident" files. They don't get loaded into RAM in the absence of the application, so their presence doesn't slow down your Mac, use up RAM, or destabilize your Mac. Since these files tend to be small, usually tiny, they can just be left in place and ignored. There is little point in tracking them down and deleting them. Some folks are manic about doing this, but they aren't really accomplishing much by doing so.

    On the other hand, there are a very small number of applications for the Macintosh that are different. *Always* these programs were originally installed using an installer program. You can't delete them by simply dragging them to the Trash. They may not even let you partially delete them that way. If you delete them, they may leave "stay resident" files, or they may leave invisible files that will keep you from installing updated versions of the software. I've encountered these sorts of problems with software from Microsoft (Office), Symantec (Norton products), just about any fully interactive anti-virus program, and Parallels.

    I've yet to come across this latter type of software that did not have an associated uninstaller available from the developer. If you have a problem uninstalling a particular application, check the program's installer for an uninstall feature, or check for an uninstaller on the developer's Web site. If all else fails, contact the developer for assistance. (I've only ever had to resort to doing the latter with Parallels, myself.)

    There *are* application uninstaller programs (that is, general uninstaller utilities, not specific uninstallers for individual applications) for the Macintosh. And every year I hear from one or two folks who have badly damaged their software setup using such utilities. Application uninstaller programs aren't necessary, and in my humble opinion they aren't worth the risk.

    While uninstalling software can be a big deal under Windows, its not at all a big deal on the Macintosh. You can almost always just drag an application or its folder to the Trash and then forget about it. There is no reason to get compulsive about what an application might have left behind.
    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
    Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

  8. #8
    Removing Applications
    IWT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    I also use AppCleaner, but I don’t launch it, as it will open once you move the App to the Trashcan. After AppCleaner opens, I scroll through the additional files it Found, and sometimes some of those are not “checked” for removal, so I check those as well.

    In AppCleaner do you have all the options enabled in the Preferences?


    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    I think this might be what you were referring to, Bob - Smart Delete in Preferences

    Screenshot 2019-09-29 at 12.28.03 pm?.png

    I hardly ever use this App any more. I generally follow the practice set out by Randy.

    Ian
    Ian

  9. #9
    honestone33
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    Appreciate the post, Randy. And you make some excellent points. But it is just as easy to use a program like AppCleaner to get rid of unnecessary, left over junk. It is real easy to use, and effective. I've never had an issue with having the files, folders, etc. it finds removed.

    Similarly, when I use EasyFind to dig up some more tuff with the application I just removed, again never had an issue, There are times where some files found by EasyFind cannot be removed, and I suspect they are intimately tied to the Mac OS. That's fine.

    So, once again, I hope we can "agree to disagree". Yes, I am a stickler for managing disk space. But in all my years of owning Apple computer products, such an approach has been successful, rarely, if ever, having any issues.

  10. #10
    Removing Applications
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    honestone33, please don't take this personally, but when I hear anybody say "I do X and it's never hurt me," I am reminded of the joke about the fellow who fell off of the Empire State building. Passing the fourth floor, he thought to himself, "Well, 96 down and I'm fine so far!"

    No doubt there are thousands of anecdotal stories of using those techniques to delete files where it all worked well for the user. But as Randy said,
    And every year I hear from one or two folks who have badly damaged their software setup using such utilities. Application uninstaller programs aren't necessary, and in my humble opinion they aren't worth the risk.

    While uninstalling software can be a big deal under Windows, its not at all a big deal on the Macintosh. You can almost always just drag an application or its folder to the Trash and then forget about it. There is no reason to get compulsive about what an application might have left behind.
    I am happy that you have "dodged the bullet" in your approach, but just be aware being safe after 96 floors does not mean you will be safe forever.
    Jake

  11. #11
    honestone33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    honestone33, please don't take this personally, but when I hear anybody say "I do X and it's never hurt me," I am reminded of the joke about the fellow who fell off of the Empire State building. Passing the fourth floor, he thought to himself, "Well, 96 down and I'm fine so far!"

    No doubt there are thousands of anecdotal stories of using those techniques to delete files where it all worked well for the user. But as Randy said, I am happy that you have "dodged the bullet" in your approach, but just be aware being safe after 96 floors does not mean you will be safe forever.
    I'm sure there are things all of us do that "dodge the bullet" many, many times, even though it goes against the norm. And I have been dodging the bullet for so many years. But I understand what you are saying. I am willing to bet, though, that there are just as many stories about using AppCleaner that are always positive.

  12. #12
    Removing Applications
    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestone33 View Post
    I am willing to bet, though, that there are just as many stories about using AppCleaner that are always positive.
    And, once again, using a general uninstaller program like AppCleaner is entirely unnecessary. You can delete hundreds of preferences files and reclaim, what, about one megabyte of hard drive space? That's inconsequential.

    Weigh that against accidentally trashing something that your system needs to run properly, and the necessity to then have to go and try and get your Mac work properly again.

    I've most often seen this this problem crop up with users using Microsoft and Adobe products. Since those companies often sell you multiple applications at once, they use "shared libraries". If you delete one shared library when you uninstall one program, it can cause multiple mission critical apps to fail. Even worse, the Mac OS itself uses shared libraries.

    There are folks here with lots of knowledge, and feedback from thousands of users, trying to give you the benefit of that, for free. The fact that it is free may cause you to feel that it isn't worth anything, but I assure you that it is. We can't make you listen. But it might be in your best interests to.
    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
    Mac OS X Routine Maintenance • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

  13. #13
    Removing Applications
    krs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
    And, once again, using a general uninstaller program like AppCleaner is entirely unnecessary. You can delete hundreds of preferences files and reclaim, what, about one megabyte of hard drive space? That's inconsequential.

    Weigh that against accidentally trashing something that your system needs to run properly, and the necessity to then have to go and try and get your Mac work properly again.

    I've most often seen this this problem crop up with users using Microsoft and Adobe products. Since those companies often sell you multiple applications at once, they use "shared libraries". If you delete one shared library when you uninstall one program, it can cause multiple mission critical apps to fail. Even worse, the Mac OS itself uses shared libraries.

    There are folks here with lots of knowledge, and feedback from thousands of users, trying to give you the benefit of that, for free. The fact that it is free may cause you to feel that it isn't worth anything, but I assure you that it is. We can't make you listen. But it might be in your best interests to.
    I couldn't agree more

  14. #14
    honestone33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy B. Singer View Post
    And, once again, using a general uninstaller program like AppCleaner is entirely unnecessary. You can delete hundreds of preferences files and reclaim, what, about one megabyte of hard drive space? That's inconsequential.

    Weigh that against accidentally trashing something that your system needs to run properly, and the necessity to then have to go and try and get your Mac work properly again.

    I've most often seen this this problem crop up with users using Microsoft and Adobe products. Since those companies often sell you multiple applications at once, they use "shared libraries". If you delete one shared library when you uninstall one program, it can cause multiple mission critical apps to fail. Even worse, the Mac OS itself uses shared libraries.

    There are folks here with lots of knowledge, and feedback from thousands of users, trying to give you the benefit of that, for free. The fact that it is free may cause you to feel that it isn't worth anything, but I assure you that it is. We can't make you listen. But it might be in your best interests to.
    I of course appreciate the comments, advice, suggestions, etc. I am not aware of saying anything opposite to that.

    I still use Adobe Acrobat Pro, but no more Microsoft stuff. I had been using Office 2016, but an issue arose with Outlook 2016, and I switched to Thunderbird and LibreOffice. Using AppCleaner and EasyFind to remove all the files, folders, etc. associate with Office 2016 has yet to cause any issues with me.

    For any other application that I have used AppCleaner and EasyFind to remove as many files, folders, etc. allowed, again have had no issues.

    In actuality, this is the first discussion site where I have seen negative statements about using something like AppCleaner. Some other sites I have been on had a number of very experienced users, and nary a negative comment about this.

  15. #15
    Removing Applications
    Slydude's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone is suggesting that AppCleaner and EasyFind are bad programs in an of themselves. Having said that I think there are a few things we can take away from this discussion:

    1. Using this type of program it is entirely possible to delete files that your Mac needs to function properly. Numerous forum members, especially those new to the Mac, have made this very mistake. Even as an experienced Mac user I'm reluctant to remove the kinds of files we're discussing. The cryptic names and shared libraries only complicate matters.

    2. Unless one of these support files has become corrupted, removing them reclaims a negligible amount of hard drive space with little/no improvement in overall performance.

    3. While this might have been worth the effort in an era of smaller capacity hard drives, the risk vs. reward factor just doesn't add up. Your opinion may vary of course.
    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
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