How to remove software leftovers on Windows?

By Alexandra Bagratian | April 25, 2018 |

greater than 4 minutes

‘If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean’
Ray Kroc

Why should you keep your PC clean?

We are pretty sure a computer is an environment that must be kept neat and tidy – otherwise, it may fall apart from neglect. Indeed, junk makes your PC slow, unresponsive, and even vulnerable to multiple threats. Thus, if your machine seems suspiciously sluggish and acts weird, the chances are it is stuffed full of clutter.

Why does your computer become cluttered?

But where does that all garbage come from? Surprising though it may sound, your software generates it. The point is, the unwanted programs you delete do not vanish into thin air: their leftovers stay behind and clog your operating system, which turns your computer into a total mess.

Undoubtedly, such an outcome is undesirable, since your PC is not a rubbish dump. Thus, it is essential to know how to remove apps’ leftovers from your computer. The good news is, you have come to the right place: we will help you declutter your device and skyrocket its performance.

Ways how to remove apps’ leftovers from your PC

To begin with, there are basically two ways to sweep out the software debris from your machine. First, you can use special software to automate the process. Another method is to do the cleaning manually.

Employ a special tool

This approach will save you a lot of time and effort, as a thorough clean-up requires skill, precision, and a lot of resources. As such, we recommend you to find a reliable third-party tool for this purpose. For example, you can use Auslogics BoostSpeed: this powerful utility will check your Windows for junk, registry problems, speed-reducing issues, and vulnerabilities, and then it will tweak your OS for maximum performance.

Auslogics BoostSpeed will speed up your PC and remove software leftovers from your system.

Wipe software leftovers off your PC manually

If you want to take matters into your own hands, you are free to clean up your system yourself. Here is our detailed guide on how to delete software leftovers:

Step 1. Use Control Panel to uninstall a program

  1. Open your Start menu and locate the Control Panel option.
  2. Click on Control Panel. Navigate to Programs.
  3. Click on Programs and Features.
  4. Locate the piece of software you wish to uninstall.Uninstall your apps from Control Panel.
  5. Click on Uninstall. Wait for the uninstallation process to finish.
  6. Get the all-clear to proceed and exit Control Panel.

Step 2. Check the Program Files and AppData folders

  1. Press the Windows logo key + S shortcut on your keyboard.
  2. Type %programfiles% into the Search box.
  3. The Program Files folder will open.
  4. See if there are any folders there that have the name of the uninstalled software. Delete such folders.
  5. Insert %appdata% into Search. You will be taken to the AppData folder.
  6. Repeat the step 4 from this list.

Step 3. Clean your Windows Registry

Please keep in mind that you should be very careful when modifying your registry, since one false move is enough to cause your system to go haywire. Therefore, we strongly advise you to use a reliable registry care utility. For instance, Auslogics Registry Cleaner is a free tool that will remove all the leftover keys and entries from your system registry so that you can enjoy a noticeably faster computer.

Purge leftovers from your Windows Registry with free Auslogics Registry Cleaner.

Nonetheless, if you still wish to edit the registry yourself, make sure to back up all your important data – just in case. Saving your files to an external storage device or migrating them to another computer are among the easiest ways to prevent permanent data loss.

You should also back up your registry – things do not always go as planned, you know. Here is how you can perform a registry backup:

  1. Press the Windows logo and S keys simultaneously.
  2. Type ‘regedit.exe’ (without quotes) into Search. Then Press Enter.
  3. Once you are in Registry Editor, select what you want to back up.
  4. Click on File. Then select Export.Back up your registry to prevent stability issues.
  5. You should give your backup file a name.
  6. Choose the location to which you wish to save the file.

To restore your registry, do the following:

  1. Go to your Registry Editor and click on File.
  2. Select the Import option. Locate and restore your backup file.

Now it is time to remove unneeded keys from your Windows Registry:

  1. Open your Registry Editor.
  2. Locate the following keys:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE
    • HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software
    • If your PC runs a 64-bit version of Windows, you will need to check the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node key as well.
  3. Explore the keys mentioned above and see if you can find any keys with the name of the program you uninstalled. Delete such keys.

When trying to delete a key in Registry Editor, you may receive the following message: “Cannot delete key: Error while deleting key”. Do not worry, since you can easily tackle this issue. What you need to do is take the ownership of the key in question, and we will show you how to do that:

  1. Right-click on the key you failed to delete and select Permissions.
  2. Then select the Advanced option.
  3. If you are a Windows 7 user:
    • Go to the Owner tab.
    • Locate the ‘Change owner to:’ section and select your username.
    • In addition, check ‘Replace owner on subcontainers and objects’.
    • Click Apply and OK to save your changes.
  4. Those who run Windows 10:
    • Navigate to the Owner section and click on Change.
    • Once in the Select user or group window, go to the ‘Enter the object name to select’ area and enter your username.
    • Make sure to click on the Check Names button. Then click OK.
    • The Permissions for Display window will open. Once in the Security tab, go to the Group or user names box and select your username from the list.
    • Go to the Permissions for Administrators section. Check Allow for Full Control.
    • Click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Now you can delete the registry key you have taken the ownership of.

Step 4. Remove the temporary files left on your computer

To do this, you should empty the Temp folders:

  1. Open the Search box by pressing the Windows logo key + S shortcut.
  2. Type ‘%temp%’ (without quotes) into Search. Press Enter. Empty the folder.
  3. Then type ‘temp’ (no quotes) into the Search bar. Hit Enter. Empty this folder as well.
  4. This is it. There are no traces of the deleted software left in your system.

Have our tips proved useful?

We are looking forward to your feedback!

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