Problems uninstalling? Here's some advice.

Yes, it can be both tedious and difficult to uninstall software manually. This page will give you some advice that hopefully will help you in the process of deleting both legitimate and potentially unwanted software.

Advice 1 - Be careful

Be careful. Take your time when going through the manual removal procedure. If you skip one uninstall steps, or if you do not delete all registry keys or files mentioned, in most cases the uninstall procedure will fail and Bazooka will continue to report the potentially unwanted application.
On the other hand, it is also important that you do not delete anything else than the items mentioned in the uninstall instructions. That might damage your system.

Advice 2 - Understand the variables

The uninstall instructions often use %variables% to point out the location of the files and folders that should be deleted from your hard drive. For example, in the uninstall instructions you might find something that looks like this:

  1. Start Windows Explorer and delete:
    Note: %WinDir% is a variable (?). By default, this is C:\Windows (Windows 95/98/Me/XP) or C:\WINNT (Windows NT/2000).

This doesn't mean that there is something named %WinDir% on your hard drive. %WinDir% is a "nickname" for the Windows installation directory, which may be different depending on the operating system you are running (but also other factors). The Windows installation directory is most likely C:\Windows (Windows 95/98/ME/XP) or C:\Winnt (Windows NT/2000).

You can read more about the variables here.

Advice 3 - Show hidden files and the extension

Most installations of Windows is by default configured not to show hidden or protected files. The same goes for known file types, such as .exe and .txt, which by default are not shown either. The manual uninstall procedures assumes that you can see all files and their extensions. Symantec offers a guide how to change these settings.

Advice 4 - Safe Mode

"Error Deleting File or Folder - Cannot delete X: Access is denied. Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use."

Does this look familiar? In most cases you can delete the file or folder if you reboot into safe mode.

Advice 5 - The search functions

Both Windows Explorer and the Registry Editor have a search function that come in handy when you want to find a file on the hard drive or something in the registry.
To search for a value in the registry editor: Start the editor, select the root in the left pane, click Edit and choose Find.
To search for a file or folder in Windows Explorer: Start Windows Explorer, right-click My Computer and choose Search.

Advice 6 - The Bazooka log

If you are sure you have removed all items that are mentioned in the uninstall instructions, but that darn Bazooka scanner still report the potentially unwanted application, you can look in the Bazooka log to find out why Bazooka still nags about it. The log is actually not meant for the end-user and it is hard to interpret, but I think that it after all might offer some help.

To look in the log, click the "Generate Log" button in the Bazooka dialog, save it on disk, open the log in a text editor, scroll down to "Result when scanning". The information there might offer some help.

Related links

Bazooka - Free scan for spyware, adware, trojan horses, keyloggers, etc. Detects more than 500 potentially unwanted applications. Freeware!

The File Database - Search the file database for more information. Free!

PopUp Blocker Test - Find out if your pop-up killer can handle all pop-ups. Free!

Kephyr Labs - Find out what is going on at Kephyr. Try products in an early stage of development.

Read more about FreeFixer, Kephyr's latest spyware removal tool.
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