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I've learned to be very cautious about the programs I install, not so much because of viruses (thank you ESET), but because of all the random junk that programs tend to generate. They create all sorts of files and folders all over the system, don't care enough to delete them upon uninstallation (assuming the uninstall actually works). I've tried to use sandbox to install programs that I think are going to end up doing this, but they often don't work sanboxed.

How can I install programs without having all the clutter of the registry entries, files, and folders, that they create?

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closed as not constructive by Oliver Salzburg, iglvzx, Nifle, slhck, ChrisF Mar 21 '12 at 16:46

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By that they create I assume you mean that they use –  ta.speot.is Mar 16 '12 at 6:06
    
@ta.speot.is, I don't follow. –  user1125620 Mar 16 '12 at 6:50
    
The files aren't created just for fun. They're there for a reason. –  ta.speot.is Mar 19 '12 at 9:40
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Evaluate the software in a virtual machine first.

If you like it, install it on your main system. If not, roll back to a snapshot you created before installing the software in the VM.

Everything else is pointless. (Un)Installers produce the result they do for a reason.


To be more precise. No application will be able to full track all the breadcrumbs applications leave behind. Unless the tracking application was specific designed to track a specific other application (which is highly unlikely). An application could always find a way to leave garbage behind or, to be more precise, an uninstaller could always decide to leave a bit of information behind that it considers important and which you consider crap.

You soon have to ask yourself, how much time am I willing to invest in uninstalling applications?

So you have to avoid installing applications which you would likely uninstall shortly after anyway. Which is where your virtual machine comes in.

VMWare Player was highly debated upon on the comments. I, personally, like VirtualBox. Both have become so easy to use, there is really nothing to add.

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Consider using the virtual machine, not just for evaluation. VMWare, for example, has a unity feature. You can break the application windows out onto your host desktop. They are virtually part of your host machine. Use snapshot features as well. This will allow you to rollback your virtual machine if you do not like or there are problems with the applications. –  Charlie Wilson Mar 16 '12 at 7:22
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If on Windows, VMWare Player is free. Some do not realize this yet but VMWare Player now lets you build virtual machines, not just "play" them. –  Charlie Wilson Mar 16 '12 at 7:24
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@CharlieWilson - VMWare Player certainly is free on windows, it just cannot as you mention, create a virtual machine. That requires VMWare Workstation. –  Ramhound Mar 16 '12 at 12:38
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@Ramhound Could you please read Charlie Wilson's comment JUST above yours ? –  Shadok Mar 16 '12 at 16:33
    
@Ramhound I am fairly certain that you can now create virtual machines with Player. It is a recently added feature from VMWare. I think it was about the same time they stopped offering VMWare Server for free. –  Charlie Wilson Mar 16 '12 at 18:49
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You may want to consider Revo Uninstaller. This can monitor the changes made to your system during the installation of an application, and so make sure all traces are removed once you uninstall using Revo. It can also fix any failed uninstalls left over from applications.

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Try going for portables. Just googe it and you will get almost any software in portable version. Also you should also consider watching some screen casts about the program you want to install.

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-1 There is no legal version of Photoshop portable. –  iglvzx Mar 16 '12 at 7:03
    
@iglvzx I know that! Its just to give it a try!! I'll correct my answer!! –  Ashutosh Dave Mar 16 '12 at 7:07
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"give it a try" makes it no more legal. –  Charlie Wilson Mar 16 '12 at 7:13
    
@CharlieWilson Yeah!! You are right!! But then most the portables are illegal!! –  Ashutosh Dave Mar 16 '12 at 7:16
    
There shouldn't be anything wrong with making your own portable version of software you legally own –  prusswan Mar 16 '12 at 7:52
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