How to Know What Programs You Can Delete
By Isaiah Turning
Every program you install on your computer takes up space on your hard drive. In addition, various vendors enter into agreements with computer manufacturers to have their products installed on new computers. As space on your hard drive dwindles or your computer begins to exhibit problems after installing a new program, you may need to remove programs from your computer. In order to safely remove programs, you need to know how to identify which programs are safe to eliminate.
Create a list of programs you use every day.
Check your Start menu for programs you do not recognize. Note these on your list; most likely, they are safe to delete.
Click "Control Panel" in the Start menu and select "Uninstall a program" if you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click "Add or remove programs" if you are using Windows XP.
Ignore the programs on your list or any other programs you see that you use often. Click on programs that you installed yourself but no longer use. You can safely uninstall them by using the "Uninstall" option.
Open the "Program files" folder from the Start menu and locate the folder of the program you are unfamiliar with. Sometimes the program is contained in a folder for the creator of the software. For example, all Adobe programs are installed inside a folder labeled "Adobe." Open the program's folder.
Locate the program's executable file, which is a file that ends with ".exe." Right-click on the file and select "Properties." Click the "Details" tab in the properties screen to view a detailed description of the program. Determine whether you have used the program recently. If not, return to the Control Panel and uninstall it.
- Some programs may warn you that it is about to delete a shared file. Always choose not to delete the shared file in case that file is being used by another program.
Isaiah Turning is a freelance writer living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa. In his three-year career, Turning has written computer and technology articles for a number of websites, most recently eHow.com.