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I'm mostly interested in mac, but would be interested to see if it is different on Windows or other unix OS's.

I am an app addict and love trying out new applications. Every time I reinstall my operating system or get a new computer I try to resist the urge to download apps that I might not use. I do this because I think it will slow my system down even if I eventually delete them using a tool like AppCleaner.

Is this something I should be worrying about or is there no real basis to believe this?

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closed as not a real question by Xavierjazz, BBlake, Indrek, allquixotic, 8088 Sep 19 '12 at 23:12

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What good is a computer if you don't install the applications you want to use. Besides the performance loss is hardly can even be measured in most cases. – Ramhound Sep 19 '12 at 16:11
There is some basis on Windows -- dunno about Mac. One Windows you're relying on the uninstaller to undo registry changes that were made on install (or after), and that's frequently an imperfect process. Additionally, apps tend to stash files in various places (such as <user>\AppData) where it is likely to not be cleaned up and never discovered as "garbage", so the disk slowly fills with clutter. But the cluttered registry is the main performance bottleneck, most likely. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 19 '12 at 16:14
A "cluttered" registry causes absolutely no performance decrease whatsoever. – Keltari Sep 19 '12 at 16:25
@Keltari: It make it bigger than necessary, which has to have some impact. Whether you'd notice it is another question. – martineau Sep 19 '12 at 16:52
possible duplicate of this which was a possible duplicate of this. Between the two, you'll probably find your answer – JoshP Sep 19 '12 at 18:11
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There shouldn't be any negative long term effects so long as they uninstall cleanly, however there are far too many programs leave dlls, registry entries etc. around. A cleaner as you suggested would normally sort these out.

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Leaving behind traces is bad, however it does not affect performance. Leaving behind DLLs is bad practice, but if they are never loaded or called, then there is no loss in performance. And unless the uninstall breaks the registry in someway, having extra entries in the registry causes no performance loss. – Keltari Sep 19 '12 at 16:29
There seems to be a widespread myth about unused registry entries causing performance degradation. Anyway, leaving user configuration intact on uninstallation is the preferred behavior, not a failing. – kreemoweet Sep 19 '12 at 16:37
@kreemoweet: Preferred by whom? – martineau Sep 19 '12 at 16:53
Yeah, that's what I thought. I guess its just a matter of how much it bothers you to have small remnants of deleted programs linger. Because no matter what I do or what precautions I take there always seems to be some remnants of some program that I deleted. – Jason Sep 19 '12 at 22:10

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