IT for Donuts: how to uninstall a piece of software

By: John McGarvey

Date: 3 April 2014

How to uninstall software{{}}IT for donuts is our regular Friday feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This week: how do you remove unwanted software from your computer?

How to uninstall software

Most people only use a few pieces of software regularly.

Typically, you'll use your web browser to access the internet, Microsoft Office for documents, spreadsheets and presentations — and maybe one or two other programs, depending on what you need to do day to day.

However, most people's computers have lots of pieces of software on them. Mostly, these programs just sit there. They don't get used, but they don't really get in the way, either.

Sometimes it's a good idea to remove some software from your computer. For instance, perhaps:

  • Your computer's hard drive is running out of space, so you need to free up room.
  • A program that you don't use is interfering with one that you do need to use.
  • You want to replace one piece of software with another (like when you move to new security software).

It's usually quite easy to remove a program from your computer. Here are instructions for Windows 7 and Windows 8:

Uninstall software on Windows 7

When you're signed in to Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Start button
  2. Choose Control Panel
  3. Then choose Programs
  4. Then select Programs and Features
  5. You might have to wait a moment for the list of programs to appear
  6. Once it does, find the program you want to remove
  7. Select it, then select Uninstall
  8. Follow any further instructions to remove this piece of software

Uninstall software on Windows 8

If you use Windows 8, it's best to follow these instructions:

  1. Point your mouse to the top-right corner of the screen, move the pointer down, then select Search (If you use a touch screen, swipe in from the edge and choose Search)
  2. Enter Control Panel into the search box
  3. Select Control Panel when it appears in the search results
  4. Under View by, select Large Icons
  5. Select Programs and features
  6. You might have to wait a moment for the list of programs to appear
  7. Once it does, find the program you want to remove
  8. Select it, then select Uninstall
  9. Follow any further instructions to remove this piece of software

These instructions will work in most circumstances. However, some pieces of software include their own 'uninstaller' programs, which you can run from your desktop or Start menu to remove the software automatically.

Other IT for Donuts tips:

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