Unlike Scott, who’s in the process of transitioning to a Mac from Windows, I made that move quite a while ago, but I still struggle with some aspects of the OS occasionally. One thing that irks me is that there’s no uninstall tool. And since most applications also hide files (preferences, temporary files, etc.) on your system, cleanly uninstalling an app is not as simple as just dragging it to the trash. Unlike Windows, which has a fairly robust (though not perfect) built-in uninstaller in the Add/Remove Programs utility, Macs come with no such tool.
Such an absence was just a minor annoyance for me until recently, when I upgraded to Snow Leopard and it broke one of the apps I’d installed so that every time I booted up my computer I’d be issued with a bunch of warnings about it. Totally removing the offending app was proving tricky, so I looked to see if there was a program available to help — and discovered TrashMe.
It’s very much like what I’d expect OS X’s own uninstall utility to be like, if it had one. Open up TrashMe and you’re presented with a Finder-like window with a large trashcan in the center.
To uninstall an app, drag its icon to TrashMe’s trashcan. TrashMe then presents you with a list of all of the files associated with that application, enabling you to trash them all in one go (by default, TrashMe sends them to the trash, but you can elect to delete them instead).
That’s pretty much all there is to it. If you’ve got into the bad habit of simply dragging applications into the trash, then you might like to enable TrashMe’s “Smart Mode” (disabled by default), which can detect when you do it and automatically suggest related files to delete. There’s also a feature that enables you to detect orphans (files which were used by previously removed applications), although you need to be careful using this feature as you could potentially delete useful files.
I highly recommend TrashMe as it makes cleanly removing applications and all their associated cruft easy. TrashMe is freeware and can be downloaded from the JibApps website.
What do you think of TrashMe? Let us know in the comments!
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