Tech Education Series: How to Uninstall Unused Programs

Dump That Program

Windows 10 Control Panel

It happens all the time. You’ve decided to remove a program from your computer​ because it’s unusable, outdated, or plain old unnecessary. What now?There are two ways to dump the unwanted program. One is to open the uninstall function or program that may have come with your application. The standard Windows way, however, is to use the “Add or Remove Programs” function from the Control Panel, and that’s what we’ll cover today.

Navigate to the Add or Remove Programs Utility

Screenshot of uninstalling programs in windows

Uninstalling is an easy task to perform. To carry it out you’ll need to know how to access the “Add or Remove Programs” utility, and a small amount of time (depending on the size of the application you want to remove and the speed of your computer). This procedure is written for Windows 7 and up; however, Windows 10 users have other methods for removing programs that we’ll cover at the end of this tutorial. To get started you need to open the Control Panel for your version of Windows. Once the Control Panel is open look in the top right corner. Make sure the View by option is set to Large icons from the drop-down menu. Next, click Programs and Features.

Select an Application to Delete

Screenshot of uninstalling a program in windows

Now you’ll see a list of all the programs installed on your PC. For Windows 10 users this only applies to desktop programs, not Windows Store apps. Scroll down the list of programs until you find the one you want to uninstall — the list is arranged alphabetically. In this example, we will remove an old browser called Maelstrom that we no longer need. Select the program with a single left-click so that it’s highlighted. Towards the top of the program list, click the Uninstall button that appears

Remove and Confirm Selection

Screenshot of Uninstalling Maelstrom from Windows

If a pop-up button appears, it is usually asking whether or not you really want to uninstall the program. Left-click whatever the affirmative option is. Usually, this is Yes, Uninstall, or in some cases Execute.

Application Removed

Screenshot of list of apps in windows

How long it takes for the program to disappear depends on what you’re uninstalling. Simpler programs will disappear in a few seconds. Others may require you to go through an uninstaller program that leads you through the removal of the program. When the uninstallation is complete, you will see the list of programs currently installed on your computer, minus the program you just uninstalled. There will not necessarily be a confirmation message that the program has been uninstalled, but there often is. If the program doesn’t disappear from the Control Panel list right away give it a few minutes.

Windows 10: Two New Methods

Line of people standing in Windows store next to sign that says Windows 10

In Windows 10, there are also two other ways to delete programs that are a little bit simpler than the Control Panel method.

The Start Menu Option

Screenshot of Uninstalling Windows 10

The first way is the simplest. Click on Start, find the program you want to uninstall by scrolling down the All Apps list. When you find the program or Windows Store app you want to get rid of, hover over it with your mouse, and right-click. From the menu that appears select Uninstall. Then follow the same method to get rid of the program as if you’d clicked “Uninstall” in the Control Panel. Windows 8 and 8.1 users can also use this method. Instead of right-clicking a program in the Start menu, however, you’d right-click from the Start or All Apps screens.

The Settings App Option

Screenshot of Windows 10 Settings app

Another option is to follow the Settings app method. Get started by navigating to Start > Settings > System > Apps & features. A list of all the installed Windows Store apps and desktop programs will populate on this screen of the Settings app. Scroll down the list until you find the program you want to remove. Left-click the program and two buttons will appear: ​Modify and Uninstall. Most of the time Modify won’t be available to use, but the option you want is Uninstall anyway. Once you click that button it’s just like selecting “Uninstall” from the Control Panel. Continue from this point as you would using that method.