In Ubuntu I installed Node and accidentally removed the folder where I built the program. Now I have node installed, but I have no way of uninstalling it. I looked around online but couldn't find anything that really applied. Is there a clear cut way to remove built programs without their uninstaller?

  • With a different approach, is it bad to go directly into /usr/local/ and remove all related files to the program I want to uninstall? I've tried that (before reading these new suggestions) and I'm not sure what the repercussions are. – David Jul 22 '14 at 16:34

I experienced the exact same thing a while ago. What I did was download & build it again with same settings, reinstall and then uninstall from there.


There probably isn't if you installed directly from sources. But you can try a few thing if you know what you're doing:

  • Rebuild it the way you did it the first time. If an uninstaller is available with the sources, then there is no problem. However, most of the time, there is no uninstaller so you've to remove files manually. Install it another time to see which files are installed in your filesystem. You can also try to specify a DESTDIR="/tmp/app" on the make install command line with autotools build system, this way you'll have the full tree of the installed files in /tmp/app.
  • Similar to the first point, make a package for your distribution from these sources then uninstall it.

The following points assume the install prefix is /usr and you followed the convention of your distribution for the various installation directories (/var/lib, /usr/share, etc…).

To avoid this problem you should, whenever you can, let your package manager manages the files, using available packages on your distribution or making your own. (And if this case happens frequently, you should consider changing distribution, for one which provides the packages you want to use or allow you to make them more easily.)

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