How to Remove Unwanted Programs From Your Computer

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Have you ever heard of the term shelfware? This is the term used to describe the software you buy because you think you need it. Instead, you end up not using it; you’ve shelved it. Reportedly, organizations in the United States waste $30 billion on shelfware a year. Each computer in an office has about $259 of unwanted software in it.

There’s also another set of unwanted programs known as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). These programs come as an extra bundle in the software you installed. Unfortunately, they behave almost like malware by slowing down your computer and taking private information. The difference is that you voluntarily installed them. So, how do you remove unwanted programs from your computer and save money?

Removing Unwanted Software on Windows Operating Systems

The first step is to identify all software on your computer. Most times, according to The Real Cost of Unused Software report, 37% of total software installed is unwanted or unused. Certain tools online exist to help do this, such as the AVG free antivirus has a tool known as TuneUp. This is a paid software that identifies programs that you don’t use on your computer, inclusive of junkware, also known as PUPs. You can then choose to uninstall it.

Your Windows operating system also allows you to see and uninstall unwanted programs. The difference with other apps is that no new installation is required, and the process is free. Use the search box at the taskbar to search for “Control Panel.” Depending on the Windows version you’re using, click Programs, then Programs and Features. (If using Windows 10, the process moves from Control Panel to Programs and Features.) Manually go over every installed program and decide if you really don’t use it. Tap or right-click on the software name, then click Uninstall. Remember to cancel billing for paid software by visiting the accounts section of the service provider.

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You can also uninstall programs from the Settings page. Click on the Start Windows icon, go to Settings, Apps, then Apps and Features. Click on the software you’d like uninstalled, and select Uninstall. Some software may require you to restart the computer to complete the process.

Removing Unwanted Software on Apple Operating Systems

Removing unwanted software on an Apple operating system is also simple. Users have two options, either from the Finder or Launchpad. Use the Finder window to access the Applications folder. Look for the software you intend to uninstall, then drag it to the trash. 


Alternatively, select the app, choose the file and then move it to the trash. You can then completely remove the program by emptying the trash. You may also use Launchpad by opening the Applications folder and clicking and holding the app you’d like removed until it jiggles. Press Delete.

Apple users can also use third-party applications. Sometimes this is a better option because of the extra mile they go. These apps not only help identify unwanted and unused programs but also help identify and eliminate issues such as bloatware. (“Bloatware” is the term used to describe software that requires excessive disk and memory space to run effectively.) As a result, device performance is affected, and your computer runs much slower. Worse still, their usefulness depends on available space and memory, and if they’re already slowing the computer down, you’ll not enjoy your computer’s optimal performance while the bloatware is draining your battery life.

Things to Consider Before Removing Shelfware

Ensure that you properly understand what the software is. Don’t delete system files. System files are critical for the proper functioning of a computer system. Fortunately, both Apple and Windows operating systems put these files in properly labeled folders such as System Suitcase for MacOs and System 32 for Windows.

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Consider how many users use the software. Some paid software permits a particular number of users, depending on the plan you’re on. In a three-user plan, you may discover that one out of three users use the software, and uninstalling it will stifle one person’s work. Instead, go for a cheaper plan that supports only one user, and uninstall the software from the other computers. This way, you save money without compromising efficiency and performance.

Save all your files before commencing the process. Since some software will require you to restart your computer to complete the uninstall process, you may lose any work that you’d not already saved.

Before and After Removing Unwanted Programs

Don’t switch off your computer. Ensure that your computer remains on after you’ve initiated an uninstall process. Let the process run until the uninstall is complete or you’re prompted to restart your computer. Switching off your computer before the process is complete will cause the computer to keep files that were meant to be removed during the uninstallation process. Although this isn’t dangerous, you’ll be wasting space, and it’ll eventually slow down your computer.


Use the program’s uninstall and install troubleshooter. You’ll notice that not all installations are straightforward. Some programs may refuse to uninstall. The troubleshooter will automatically sort the problem and repair corrupted registry keys. Windows users need to download a troubleshooter. Mac users can try third-party uninstallers such as AppCleaner, a free software program.

Lastly, check for software leftovers. Unfortunately, not all software is completely deleted during the uninstall process. You may go to the registry and manually sift through the list of installed apps, then delete any remnant files. For example, Windows users may go to Local Disk C, click on the program files folder, sift through to find any software leftovers and manually delete them. Next, remove these files from the recycle bin. Third-party apps may also work well.

Save Money by Removing Shelfware

Unwanted and unused software could be costing you an average of $259. While this isn’t the case if these apps are free to use, you may be unnecessarily filling up your disk space, thereby slowing down your computer. So, save money and space by removing unwanted programs from your PC. You can either use third-party software or use the built-in features in your Windows or Apple operating systems. Do an audit at least twice annually to check apps you no longer use and uninstall them.