March 28, 2012
Niles Nerd

How to Find Programs Installed on Your Computer and Remove What You Don’t Need

- Nerds On Site The amount of programs installed on a computer is one of the most common causes of sluggish computer performance, and can directly affect the security of your computer, and how reliable it is.
Whether you use the system heavily, or have had it for years, dozens of programs could possibly be installed, some you may use on a regular or daily basis, others that haven’t been used in months or years, and possibly others, such as browser toolbars, that came bundled with software you wanted.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to remove what is no longer needed to clear up valuable hard drive space, and improve performance and other factors.
You can see a list of the programs installed by clicking the ‘Add/Remove Programs’ link in the Control Panel in Windows XP, or the ‘Programs and Features’ link in Windows Vista or Windows 7. You can access the Control Panel in the Start Menu (or Windows logo on the bottom left of your screen).
To remove a program, simply click it, and click ‘uninstall’ or ‘remove’ at the top of the list. If you are unsure of what you should remove, carefully go through the list and think about each one and whether you still need it or will ever use that program again. If you still have data in one of the programs, but still want to remove the program, many applications come with an export feature. If you’re unsure, ask a Nerd.
In some cases, a poorly written application may present security or reliability concerns, or the version installed could be outdated and have known bugs or flaws that are actively being taken advantage of by some viruses and other threats. Some programs may allow you to download the newest version and replace it without making changes to your data or settings. Some will require uninstalling the old version before the new version can be installed. Be sure to export your data first, or have us help you do that.
If you don’t feel comfortable removing anything, and would like some guidance, one of our Nerds would be happy to help as part of a training session or System Cleanup.
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