The complexities of today's programs means it is almost impossible to manually remove every vestige of their existence once they are firmly ensconced in your system registry and on your hard-disk drive. In this instance, the add/remove utility is your friend and with a bit of time and effort it will serve you efficiently.
Found in the Control Panel, the Add/Remove Programs utility has three modes for managing the programs that reside on your hard drive, the first of which is the Change or Remove Programs mode. It contains a simple interface which, as well as letting you install and remove programs, will also allow you to sort all the programs on your hard drive by either name, frequency of use, size or even by the date it was last used. These details can also be viewed for each application by simply clicking on it, and can help you decide whether or not you really need that 200MB hard disk hog that you only use once in a blue moon. As well, a Change/Remove button is provided for each individual application when it is highlighted, and when pressed will bring up the application's uninstall program.
Removing an application
We tried this feature by removing Microsoft's Office 97 Professional from our system. We selected it from the list of applications, and clicked on its Change/Remove button. This immediately brought up the program's own uninstaller, which proceeded to ask for the original CD-ROM to be inserted in order for the application to be removed. After the uninstall process the computer was rebooted, and the list of applications in the Change or Remove Programs windows was, as expected, missing Microsoft Office 97 Professional. For Windows 95/98, many third-party utilities were created to allow program names to be removed from the Add/Remove Program listings. This was necessary because once an application had been uninstalled, its name was kept in the add/remove list, providing users with misleading information about what was residing on their hard drive. With this in mind, we proceeded to uninstall all of our applications to see if the same problem arose. We were left with an empty window, bar the software DVD player, which could not be removed due to a missing file.
Installing an application
We installed various shareware applications from the December PC World CD-ROM, including Paint Shop Pro and Eudora. To install an application, the Add New Programs mode must be selected, and this will allow you to properly install from either a floppy or CD-ROM, while it also gives you the option to connect to Microsoft's Web site via the Windows Update button. Windows Update can be used to download new Windows features, as well as all the latest device drivers and system updates. If you are connected to a network, this mode will also show a list of applications that your administrator has provided for installation over the network.
To install an application located on a CD-ROM, the first thing you need to do is click on the CD or Floppy button. The computer will automatically look for a setup program from your floppy drive first and then from your CD-ROM drive. If it fails to find one, the Browse button will allow you to manually find the program's setup file. Once you have located your application's setup file, execute it and follow its on-screen installation instructions. We navigated to the essentials' folder on the CD and executed the files we needed. When installation of both applications was complete, both programs were listed in the Add/Remove Programs windows.
Changing Windows components
The third mode in the Add/Remove Programs utility is Add/Remove Windows Components. In Windows 98 and 95, this allows you to remove or add components ranging from games to system utilities. In Windows 2000, slightly more complex components are listed in the component window. Mostly, networking and Web tools are listed. Most components have sub components, which can be selected or removed, and these are viewed by clicking on the details button of the selected component. To install a component, it is simply a matter of placing a check mark in the box next to it and inserting the Windows 2000 CD-ROM disk. By the same token, components can easily be uninstalled by removing the check mark from their corresponding box.