How to completely delete a program's Registry leftovers
Every time you uninstall a program, some items remain behind, in the Windows Registry. You will want to remove them, though, not just because they take up space, but also because, in time, they will make your computer run slower, as the registry becomes larger and larger.
In order to completely uninstall a program and remove all its tracks from the Registry, you have to uninstall it first, using Add/Remove Programs or the program's own Uninstall option. After you have done that, you can proceed to the first step
- Go to Start, Run, and type regedit.exe in the text box.
- First, create a backup of your registry. Go to File and choose "Export" ("Export Registry" on Windows 98 or Me). Save this file in C:\, naming it registry-backup, regbackup or something easy to remember.
- Now go to Edit, Find and type the program name in the search box, then press F3 to search.
- You will find various items with the name you typed in. As soon as you find one related to the program (you will have to make sure it is really related to the program, so that you don't break anything), delete it (press the Delete key). Press F3 to search for another item, and stop when there are no more items to remove.
Make sure that you do not delete anything else but what you have to delete. A lot of the settings in the Registry can be re-created by the programs who own them, or can just as well go away, but some are vital for your computer's functioning. If you encounter problems (failure to boot, strange errors at boot time or when you log in to your account), you can restore the registry from the backup file you have created. This is why it is important to create that backup.