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Windows Operating Systems Software Bug

Programs Cannot Be Uninstalled In Vista? 469

Posted by kdawson
from the hardly-a-feature dept.
Corson writes "I am surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned this here yet. Possibly after one of the latest updates in Windows Vista, two strange things happened: first, the Uninstall option is no longer available in the Control Panel when you right-click on older programs (most likely, those installed prior to the update in question, because uninstall works fine for recently installed programs — the Uninstall button is also missing on the toolbar at the top); second, some programs are no longer shown on the applications list in Control Panel (e.g., Yahoo Messenger). A Google search returns quite a few hits on this issue (e.g., one, two, three, and four) but everybody seems to be waiting patiently for a sign from Microsoft. But the company seems to have no clue or they would have fixed it already. I am just curious how many of you are experiencing this nuisance."
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Programs Cannot Be Uninstalled In Vista?

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  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:48AM (#19868261)
    Problems like this happen all the time. This is why companies usually have a vetting process for any updates that are released and why no person should download an update for a week or more for these issues to be brought up and found/fixed. I keep automatic updates turned off ever since an update for Win2k corrupted my installation and forced a full re-install.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:24PM (#19868613) Journal

      companies usually have a vetting process for any updates that are released and why no person should download an update for a week or more for these issues to be brought up and found/fixed. I keep automatic updates turned off ever since an update for Win2k corrupted my installation and forced a full re-install.
      I'm a bit confused here. Let's say I'm a sysadmin and I have a few 100 PCs in my network, 90% of them running some flavour of Windows - mostly Win2K and WinXP, 6 new Vista PCs for testing and the rest Linux. (actually I'm no longer a sysadmin but the rest of the above scenario applies in my firm).

      Should we double-guess what Microsoft tells us in their tech notes, and manually check every single patch? Every patch Tuesday, we get about 8 patches on average, how can any end user co. be expected to test out all these on their production networks? How exactly can sysadmins go about checking all these patches themselves? Does it add to their 'experience' or job value? I don't think so, and the sysads can't be bothered to verify what Microsoft ought to know.

      End result - we have a WSUS server which handles all the updates, and that server is set to automatic, sothe sysads get back to their task of configuring new PCs, setting up changed environments based on changing project needs etc.

      A separate vetting process and a delay of a week is insane IMO - with zero day attacks and little info. to work on - sysadmins are better off doing Automatic Updates. The other problem here in India is that there is no direct support from Microsoft even for Corporates who are willing to pay - support issues get routed to some VAR, the engineers there know little better than the sysadmins, and often merely pretend to help out. In reality they couldn't be bothered less.

      Poor Vista adoption will actually accentuate his problem I guess - the smaller userbase will mean lesser bugs reported until it's too late.
      • by rbochan (827946) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:54PM (#19868887) Homepage

        Should we double-guess what Microsoft tells us in their tech notes, and manually check every single patch?

        Absolutely... just as you would with any other vendor patch to a production system.

        Tuesday, we get about 8 patches on average, how can any end user co. be expected to test out all these on their production networks?

        That's not an end user's job. That's the IT staff's job. End users shouldn't be applying patches. Period. End of story. That's what the IT staff is there for.

        ...and the sysads can't be bothered to verify what Microsoft ought to know.

        Those sysads should be retrained or fired.

        ...we have a WSUS server which handles all the updates, and that server is set to automatic...

        If you allow things like that to happen automatically, you're going to have to deal with the consequences.

        ...The other problem here in India is that there is no direct support from Microsoft even for Corporates who are willing to pay

        Find another vendor then. No one forces Microsoft's products on you.

        • Of course this all assumes you have enough staff to have someones primary job being testing updates. Most places unfortunately have just enough IT staff to keep things running. Sure things will occasionally break but and someone will have to work overtime. Sure a good sysadmin should delay patch releases for a few days in case any big news comes out. But thats the about the most you can expect for the average business.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            "Most places unfortunately have just enough IT staff to keep things running."

            And there are two reasons for that:

            1) First, companies won't pay for proactive support and organization of their systems so they fail less. They pay for "damage control" only.

            2) The IT industry produces stuff that is incredibly easy to break due to poor engineering.

            Although, as to the latter, I'd say if we produced bridges that were intended to accept connections from any other device on the planet (like cameras, printers, modems,
            • by slackmaster2000 (820067) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @08:13PM (#19872173)
              Actually, having just enough staff to keep things running sounds very efficient to me.

              Redundant testing of MS patches for the extremely unlikely event of having a patch cause real damage is wasteful. I have had MS patches screw up systems plenty, but the cost of fixing the problem after the fact has actually been considerably less than all the work that would be required putting tests through vague tests of my own design. Consider the bug in the topic post. I wouldn't have caught it, even if I did have time to verify every single patch. What would the procedure be?

              4.3.4.594393 (c) Verify that programs still have uninstall button in Add/Remove programs.

              Now what I've argued here doesn't apply universally. For desktops in what I consider a typical MS environment, however, the amount of time spent fixing problems caused by patches is so low that I could never, ever justify the cost of in-house testing. I read the patch synopsis and caveats, maybe hold off on scarier ones, do a minor amount of verification, and have very few problems.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by TeraCo (410407)
                At a minimum, I'd make sure that the patch you're installing isn't going to BSOD every PC in your enterprise. Because if you've got more than a handful of desktops (say 50,000 like my last job) you're going to end up having a very bad day.

                At a minimum, -any- sysadmin who is doing their job should be setting up a wsus server with all the patches disabled by default. On patch day, the admin then comes in and reviews/installs all the patches on his own PC. Assuming his PC isn't a paperweight by the end of th

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Phroggy (441)

              Having said all that, Microsoft producing a patch that turns off program uninstallation is clearly one of the dumber things they've done lately - even if it only affects 5% of systems. What next? 5% of systems simply go BSOD on the next patch?

              Whoever said that if 5% of any other device failed it would be recalled is correct. Vista was rushed out the door to meet a corporate contract deadline - after it was late by, what, three years? - and clearly it shows.

              The difference is that in a non-software product, if 5% of the units fail, it's often because 5% of the units are actually different than the other 95%, due to shoddy manufacturing. In Microsoft's case, the 95% of copies of Vista that work and the 5% that don't are exactly the same - only the rest of the computer is different, not Microsoft's product. For your average widget, if there's a 5% failure rate, the company needs to do better quality control and maybe test each individual unit for defects or so

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HiThere (15173)
          I don't know just how often MS goofs royally, but you are presuming a kind of overhead that many companies can't afford (or won't).

          I'll grant you that your scenario would be preferable for everything but short-notice attacks...and even for those if a good firewall could keep them out. It would also be more expensive most of the time. Managers notice things like that. Most are willing to tolerate "emergency action", but many of those won't tolerate normal "wasted time", even if the "wasted time" would pre
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HangingChad (677530)

          ..and the sysads can't be bothered to verify what Microsoft ought to know.
          Those sysads should be retrained or fired.

          Agh! Easy for you to say. I'm not sure what experience leads you to so callously dismiss a group of people who are usually understaffed to start with, dealing with seemingly endless stupid user tricks and have to accommodate the buzzword-of-day in IT. I heard a management person say, and this a quote, "I think we should do that SOA thing, don't you?"

          So, no, based on what I've seen wor

        • by Trogre (513942) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:47PM (#19871181) Homepage
          Except if you're a small ma and pa shop then the end user is the IT staff.

          The world isn't always as black and white as we might like it to be.

      • Should we double-guess what Microsoft tells us in their tech notes, and manually check every single patch? Every patch Tuesday, we get about 8 patches on average, how can any end user co. be expected to test out all these on their production networks?

        By planning for it.

        How exactly can sysadmins go about checking all these patches themselves?

        By testing them.

        Does it add to their 'experience' or job value?

        Knowing what is on their systems is part of their job. As is maintaining those systems.

        I don't think so, a

        • by jkrise (535370)
          One thing we need to remember is that there's no 'scientific' way of going about testing patches - which is what I pointed out in my original post. There is absolutely ZERO INFORMATION about what a patch will fix, until it gets released. The information from Microsoft merely states what it (attempts to) fix. In the absence of the source for the patches, users will have to guess what the impact will be - by checking every possible combination - and there are hundreds of things to check out.

          How can someone ev
      • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:06PM (#19869013) Homepage Journal

        A separate vetting process and a delay of a week is insane IMO - with zero day attacks and little info. to work on - sysadmins are better off doing Automatic Updates.

        Not to criticize, but when was the last time Microsoft successfully responded to a 0-day within 24, 48, or 72 hours?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Kawahee (901497)

        The other problem here in India is that there is no direct support from Microsoft even for Corporates who are willing to pay
        Dude, you're in India! We turn to you for support.
      • by EtherMonkey (705611) on Monday July 16, 2007 @01:38AM (#19873743)

        Should we double-guess what Microsoft tells us in their tech notes, and manually check every single patch?
        Yes, absolutely! How manual it needs to be depends on your environment. Do you think Microsoft tests patches against Peoplesoft? SAP? Oracle? Sybase? Java? Cognos? Citrix? Etc??? What about the other non-MS apps that keep your business running? The custom ActiveX modules needed for your proprietary order booking system?

        how can any end user co. be expected to test out all these on their production networks? How exactly can sysadmins go about checking all these patches themselves?

        End users on production networks should be the LAST to see the patches. First, they should go through a quarantined test lab. We use VMWare for that. If that passes, we release via WSUS to our development environment. Every application has an "owner," a person ultimately responsible for the support and maintenance of a particular program, even if it is "off-the-shelf." App owners are also responsible for developing and maintaining a test script that exercises all areas of the app, and running through that script as part of the patch testing process.

        After quarantine (24hrs) and app test, (target 48 hrs), we release to pilot networks using WSUS. After two days with the Pilot users without problems, we release to our production WSUS for general roll-out.

        If your a publicly-traded company in the USA subject to SOX, or ISO-27002/BS7799(Part 2) or PCI-complaint, or if you deal with personally identifiable information related to financial transactions or healthcare, your generally expected to have documented test processes with evidence of control and review that the processes are being followed. Many large, multinational companies require the same standards of all their partners (consultants, development houses, outsourcing Other businesses might not be legally compelled to do this, but depending on your size and the complexity of your environment, you would be foolish to simply throw out patches to "a few 100 PC's" without a bit of due diligence.

        A separate vetting process and a delay of a week is insane IMO - with zero day attacks and little info. to work on - sysadmins are better off doing Automatic Updates.

        The insanity is to make sweeping changes to the fundamental foundation of your entire technology infrastructure without so much as even reading the technical notes for possible counter-indications or caveats. Zero-day attacks are mostly due to poor network security at the border. With perimeter and internal firewalls, transparent proxies, email security gateways, antivirus/antispyware, limited user rights and proper administration, the risks associated with virtually any unpatched vulnerability can be reduced to acceptable levels.

        As far as I'm concerned, you are a trainwreck looking for a place to happen. I hope that your not one of my company's partners in India.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      I keep automatic updates turned off ever since an update for Win2k corrupted my installation and forced a full re-install.

      Me since Windows NT 4. I had a friend of mine who worked for large company call me and say, "don't install the latest fixes! One of them will trash your drive!" Apparently, their IT people were checking the latest hotfixes on their test system, prior to deployment, and discovered the problem. Of course, he tells me this right as I was trying to reboot after having installed them on my
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:57PM (#19868915) Homepage
      Would your "vetting" process have spotted this...?

      I can see how a "vetting process" would spot major problems with a patch but would you honestly have spotted "uninstall button missing for some applications"?

      To me it seems like the sort of thing people only notice weeks or months after an update.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom (822)

      Problems like this happen all the time.

      In some parts of the computing world.

      You would not accept a problem like that with a shrug if it were in your car, or even your television set. Why do we accept computers as inherently faulty? My guess is that a big share of the blame for that goes to Redmond.

      In beta software, in Free Software or in a student's freeware project, failures like that would be acceptable. In a commercial software that is being sold for several hundred bucks, they should not be. None of us would buy a car with several thousand

  • Nope (Score:4, Funny)

    by thornomad (1095985) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:49AM (#19868267)
    I used my uninstall button with Windows a long time ago. No problems since then.
  • other tools (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:50AM (#19868273) Journal
    Does C-Cleaner still work? It's one of many tools out there to help "fix" Windows.
  • Technical support (Score:5, Informative)

    by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:50AM (#19868281)
    Me thinks you need to call technical support instead of writing articles on Slashdot and your blog. Reason? I use Vista and I have an uninstall button for all the programs I have installed - and I've installed all the latest patches.
  • 'All your base belong to us' No uninstall needed!
  • I recently bought a laptop with Vista, and I've already uninstalled stuff after the last patch Tuesday. So, what the hell is the submitter talking about? P.S.: Before the flamewars start, first thing I did was install Ubuntu so I could dual boot. I use Vista only for: a) the occasional game and b) my university's wireless network, since, as of this time, I couldn't get the box to connect (authentication issues). I'll elaborate on this if someone wants me to.
    • by node159 (636992)
      We, as the slashdot collective request a full inquiry and subsequent marching of to the gallows, in par with the US due process.
  • Bashing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dunezone (899268) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:56AM (#19868349) Journal
    Whats with all the comments about switching to another OS or some smart-ass comment about not using Windows?

    When I was younger my best tactic for fixing a computer issue was to format. As I got older I realized that solution is impractical. Just like switching to another OS is impractical for most of us.
    • Re:Bashing? (Score:5, Funny)

      by oztiks (921504) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:15PM (#19868521)

      When I was younger my best tactic for fixing a computer issue was to format. As I got older I realized that solution is impractical. Just like switching to another OS is impractical for most of us.



      So on that train of thought switching from XP to Vista is considered impractical, you'll get no argument from me on that one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lisandro (799651)
      When I was younger my best tactic for fixing a computer issue was to format. As I got older I realized that solution is impractical.

      Yeah, i guess that's why products like this [symantec.com] aren't popular at all with Windows users. Half of our office computers at work had Windows reinstalled atleast once, from scratch. This is all too common with Windows systems, in my experience.

      I know that /. is renowed for it's anti-Windows slant, but sheeze, if it's broken, fix it. An OS that requires a full disc image to get working
      • Yeah, I know. But I have karma to burn.

        And before I hear from all the Windows admins, yeah, I know. But re-imaging a drive is not a real solution. The rest of the industry has moved past that but you people still advocate it. Just because it takes YOU less time to re-image a drive (what? an hour per drive?) than to find the real problem?

        It's "computer SCIENCE". Where is the SCIENCE in "re-format & re-install"?

        Where is the advancement?

        Where is the solution to whatever caused the problem?
    • I could never switch to Vista.

      First of all, it doesn't support my hardware. I'd have to buy an x86 or x86-64 system.

      Then I'd lose my virtual desktops. Working without virtual desktops would be like running a marathon with my shoelaces tied together. It's too horrible to seriously contemplate; keeping 50 to 150 windows open would no longer be practical. I'd have to buy Photoshop ($$$), because gimp is unusable without virtual desktops.

      Rather than using plain text files and shell scripts to get things done, I
    • by fermion (181285)
      Hello, doctor, I have a problem. Every tuesday i go out for ribs with my family and every Wedenesday I am late for to work because I was in so much pain overnight that I could not sleep.

      Which of these does the doctor do

      1. Prescribe a dosage of Nexium, Lunesta, and Tylenol with codeine
      2. tell the patient not to eat ribs anymore

      Clearly the former choice is the only rational one based on kickbacks from profitable drug companies. And while the later would be better for the patient's long term health, such a

  • by megla (859600) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:59AM (#19868385)
    ...and it's not exactly serious either.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's not annoying and I'm not suggesting it's acceptable, but for this to be on the front page of slashdot seems a bit over the top. Why?

    1. There is a known workaround (re-run the installation of the application you want to uninstall - the vast majority of the time you will be propted to select from adding features, repairing features or uninstalling the application)
    2. It's a pretty trivial bug which doesn't affect any critical systems or features
    3. It doesn't affect that many systems - I'm running 3 Vista x64 systems and none of them have this problem
    This all seems a bit knee-jerk.
    • by jkrise (535370)

      There is a known workaround (re-run the installation of the application you want to uninstall - the vast majority of the time you will be propted to select from adding features, repairing features or uninstalling the application)
      It's a pretty trivial bug which doesn't affect any critical systems or features
      It doesn't affect that many systems - I'm running 3 Vista x64 systems and none of them have this problem

      You seem to know so much about this particular issue -- so probably you do tech support for Microsoft. But how would the average sysadmin go about acquiring the info. you just typed above? Which Microsoft certification will ensure that a properly qualified sysadmin has been chosen for the job of administering a Windows network?

      Reading Slashdot and going through every response to every issue can be ery tedious - and counter-productive as well.

      • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:32PM (#19869267) Homepage
        This isn't a Microsoft problem.

        It is stupid application problem.

        If the application screws up the uninstall - something that hasn't really changed since 1995 - then the publisher should be the one blamed and complained to.

        Microsoft built a framework. If the application doesn't follow it and requires you to "reinstall to uninstall" or some such nonsense it is hardly a Microsoft problem.
  • UAC is the cause... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aphrika (756248) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:59AM (#19868391)
    Could be some older programs are incompatible with the newer UAC security model. I've seen something similar in Windows XP whereby certain applications that required Power User or Administrator rights to uninstall had the button missing. Quicktime was a good example.

    Best answer I can give; try logging in as Administrator (proper system administrator on Vista) and seeing if the uninstall buttons are there. Remember, if a program was written pre-UAC, chances are that it might misbehave and need full admin privs to remove. The other option is just to disable UAC for the duration of the uninstall, then re-enable it. I'm assuming you've researched and tried these simple fixes already though. Right?

  • No worse than OS X (Score:4, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:00PM (#19868401) Journal
    One thing that really bothered me on OS X was its complete and total lack of an uninstall feature. This was especially annoying, as I'd hoped that the "drag to trash" was really a fancy GUI for some sort of real package manager.

    I mean, sure, if your app is entirely self-contained, you can just drag it from Applications to Trash and be done with it -- at least that's no worse than Linux, where per-user preferences are left alone, but nobody really cares, since it's only a few K of disk space and doesn't affect anything else.

    But what do you do about the random app that installs kernel extensions, browser extensions, and generally insinuates itself among all your stuff? You know, the cool stuff like Insomnia, the SMS-to-HID driver, or the force-any-window-to-fullscreen extension? Or even multi-desktops, or something as simple as a VPN?

    Often, the uninstall instructions for these are at least as complicated and unnecessary as anything you hear people complaining about for installing software on Linux.

    Oh wait, I forgot -- there's a proud Mac tradition of making you pay $20, $50, or $100 for random bits of third-party software to implement stuff that should have been in the OS to begin with. In the past, it was things like dynamic RAM allocation and swap space [lowendmac.com], and now, it's an uninstaller [lifehacker.com].

    (You could complain that Windows is the same way, needing third-party stuff like anti-virus, but most of what you need on Windows is either bundled with the OS or available for free, often open source. And you don't really need anti-virus. On the Mac, it's always this truly basic functionality that I guess isn't needed by people who want it to "just work".)

    In any case, mod me offtopic if you will, but maybe this proves that Apple was right not to include an uninstaller. Maybe most people just don't need to uninstall anything, ever, so it's too much work to include yet another feature that may confuse grandma, even if it makes us geeks grind our teeth at the mere thought...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Good job of blaming the OS for developer problems. Apple clearly states that any app which is installed via pkg should come with an easy to use uninstaller or be able to be uninstalled via the original pkg. Given the choice between having the OS force a database for all applications or having two choices for application install, dmg (etc...) for self contained-drag and drop install/uninstall and pkg (for things that require elevated privs or scripts), I'd surely take the one with multiple options.
      • by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:59PM (#19868945)
        1. Download cool app
        2. Install cool app
        3. Use cool app... it works, cool
        4. Guess I don't need that installer anymore
        5. Ya know, I don't need this, how do I uninstall it?

        Yeah, it's obvious from the OS that I should go re-download the original installer and hope that it has an uninstaller.

        Pushing the problem to the developer is essentially pushing it to the end user, because the end user has to manage this stuff, and Apple doesn't even trust its users to organize their own Music folders, etc. They've got these amazing frameworks for implementing common parts of most programs, but not tracking which program does what?

        I hope it's just because they're trying for a revolutionary way of tracking these dependencies, or its because of patent licensing or something... and not that they don't think it's necessary
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by juuri (7678)
          So I take it you throw out media to any applications you actually purchase which come on such?

          It's your fault for getting rid of the installer if that is the way the developer specifies for an uninstall. Your step 4 is a breakdown in the application cycle at the user level. What if you ever had to reinstall that app, you would download it again? What if that specific version didn't exist anymore? Or the entire app was pulled?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by delire (809063)
        In that case perhaps OS/X has a useability issue here.

        We turn on and off services and administer other aspects of OS/X using OS provided tools in most other respects, so why not manage software in the same way? Even if a package should "come with an easy to use uninstaller" perhaps this uninstaller should be exposed to a central software management facility so it can be easily found. I say this as people typically delete the installer once the application has been installed, so the idea that users should
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:23PM (#19869183) Journal

        Good job of blaming the OS for developer problems.

        You sound like the type who, back before OS X, when a single app could bring down the whole system because there was no memory segmentation, would say "Good job of blaming the OS for developer problems." While meanwhile I'd be sitting over on Windows or Linux or even Solaris, watching the same "developer problems" simply result in a segfault or illegal operation, crashing that one app.

        Apple clearly states that any app which is installed via pkg should come with an easy to use uninstaller or be able to be uninstalled via the original pkg.

        Easy to use doesn't mean standard. On Windows or Linux, I can open up a central list of installed packages and uninstall from there. Apple's encouraging the old Windows way of doing this, which is to have a separate uninstall program -- hopefully somewhere near where the app is installed -- that's developed along with the app, or licensed from a third party (InstallShield)...

        You know, maybe you should think about why the pkg format exists in the first place. Why have a standard format?

        Well, it's simple: When I get any OS X app, in any form, unless it's some crazy custom script, I know that to install it, I either doubleclick on the .pkg, or open the .dmg/.zip/whatever and drag the .app to Applications.

        But when I uninstall, if I can uninstall at all, I have to think about where I put the .pkg (if there is one), or hunt around for an uninstaller, or drag the .app to Trash and go hunting around for whatever crap it left behind.

        Compare that to Linux, or even Windows -- add/remove programs, click "uninstall". Done.

        Given the choice between having the OS force a database for all applications or having two choices for application install, dmg (etc...) for self contained-drag and drop install/uninstall and pkg (for things that require elevated privs or scripts), I'd surely take the one with multiple options.

        Given that no OS I know of actually enforces one option over the other, I'd say you're talking out your ass.

        I'd much rather have the choice of an OS-maintained, or at least common, database of installed apps and how to uninstall them -- without having to keep the original pkg around (how retarded is it that you have to pop in the original install disc in order to uninstall? Maybe the whole REASON you want to uninstall is that you lost the disc needed to run the app?)

    • There's also OSXPM [macupdate.com] which is free GPL software and Desinstaller [macupdate.com] which is also freeware. Both use Apple's own package management system which leaves all the relevant information for uninstalls in /Libray/Receipts/. It is interesting that Apple has done everything but create a standard front end for uninstalls. Perhaps they have plans for a drag-and-drop uninstaller like you suggest but haven't gotten quite all the bugs out of it yet.
    • No worse than OS X? (Score:5, Informative)

      by astrosmash (3561) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:37PM (#19869305) Journal
      No worse than OS X, huh?

      I recently went through my old PC to remove the unused software it has collected over the years. Not only was this a long and painful process involving questions about shared DLLs that no end-user is even remotely qualified to answer, but nearly half of the uninstallers failed out-right. On top of that, my PC was still littered with registry settings, program files, and cache files from applications that were supposedly uninstalled successfully.

      Do you think the App-Zapper people will develop a version for Windows? I'd pay $20 for that!

      The reality is that most Windows uninstallers do little more than what is accomplished from dragging an application bundle to the trash. The reason it works on OS X (and NEXTSTEP) is because the program files and system configuration settings are contained entirely within the application bundle, as opposed to being scattered throughout the file system and registry. That is why Windows needs an uninstaller.

      The reason the situation is better on OS X is because OS X doesn't obfuscate the file system the way Windows does. For people who are paranoid about a clean computer it's relatively trivial to go into ~/Library/Caches, ~/Library/Application Support, and ~/Library/Preferences and clear out stuff. Average users do this, and it's this simplicity that allows programs like App-zapper to exist. Writing such a tool for Windows would be practically impossible.

      Given the choice between Application/Framework Bundles vs. requiring an installer/uninstaller program for even the simplest application, I'll choose bundles every time. It's a valid point that OS X could include a catalog of legitimate uninstallers for applications that do provide them, but on the other hand, I've been getting along just fine with /Library/Receipts for the two and a half years I've been using OS X. You know that you can select 'File->Show Files' from an OS X installer packages to view all files contained within the package, right? Another feature I wish Windows had.

      But if that's all too much for Grandma then perhaps she should stick with Windows.

      (By the way AppTrap [versiontracker.com] does what App-Zapper does, and it's free and open source.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by myowntrueself (607117)
        The reason it works on OS X (and NEXTSTEP) is because the program files and system configuration settings are contained entirely within the application bundle, as opposed to being scattered throughout the file system and registry.

        Thats how it is supposed to be.

        Thats not how it is, even for the Apple-produced iLife apps. Garageband is a great example. If you drop the application bundle in the trash you are still left with a few gigs of (now useless) files 'scattered' throughout the filesystem. Ok 'scattered'
  • by bernywork (57298) *
    I got an uninstall button
  • I have all the latest patches, and mine works fine. Nothing to see here move along.... As a side note. I have been running Vista Ultimate since the day I could purchase it. I upgraded my primary computer from Windows XP and have yet to have it crash once. I leave it running almost 24 hours a day. I have never had an issue with Windows since I got away from the ME edition, which was the worst OS ever. My guess is most people who have computer issues also download every toolbar form the internet, and s
  • Power (Score:4, Informative)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:15PM (#19868519) Homepage Journal
    "everybody seems to be waiting patiently for a sign from Microsoft."

    This is one of the major problems with proprietary software. You're entirely dependent on the copyright holder and need to wait for them to find and fix any bugs. If you run Windows, you don't even have control over the basic functionality of your software.

    Free software empowers users. We all know that if you're a coder, you can fix free software yourself, but more importantly, if you run an organization that depends on the software, you can pay someone to fix it. When university department heads and corporate IT managers start realizing how they can get what they need done, when they need it, they'll make the switch. Waiting for a monopoly to get it's shit together means billions in lost revenue. Letting several companies bid and compete to find the fastest, cheapest, and most effective solutions means a more efficient IT industry as a whole.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      Ha ha ha. If you are "a coder" you too can spend six months studying the code to figure out how to add a trivial feature or fix some obvious bug.

      If you aren't then you can pay someone full-time to learn the code enough to fix a trivial bug. That is, assuming they aren't already very, very familar with it. Then you have other requirements that may be involved, such as interfacing with other hardware or software.

      No, it isn't as easy as "just pay someone". You might have to find them first, or pay for them
  • FUD Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fanboys_Suck_Dick (1128411) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:20PM (#19868563)

    A Google search returns quite a few hits on this issue

    Translation: a grand total of 5 users say they are experiencing this problem, probably including the author of this story.

    After reading the posts linked in the article it seems the problem might be related to Yahoo toolbar crapware being installed on the PCs. You can use use system restore to fix the problem. Stop clicking "accept" when UAC warns you not to install crapware. Stop posting Vista FUD stories to Slashdot. Thank you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RobFlynn (127703)
      I did manage to get this problem to happen on a system, but it was only when the system had a lot of applications in its original XP form and was upgraded to Vista. Most of the applications could be removed. There were a few, however, that couldn't. In fact, running the installer for those programs would either crash or would simply re-install it.

      I killed the install, reinstalled only vista and haven't seen it happen since.
  • Like VMware or Parallels. Snapshot before any update, if you don't like the result just restore to the snapshot image.

    Also handles pesky issues like the claimed inability to really wipe data ... you can always blow away virtual disk images.
  • The uninstall button appears when you click on the application you want to uninstall.
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tweedle100 (1077409)
    And I'm surprised how a support question ends up on a news site!
  • If the install does not include provisions for uninstall, then no standard uninstall is possible.

    If the information for uninstall is deleted from the registry, then no uninstall is possible.

    Sure, Microsoft might have some secret agenda whereby Yahoo Messenger and other "uninstall" information is silently deleted but that makes about as much sense as saying under Linux there isn't an Uninstall button.

    How about Yahoo screwing up with their latest installer so the Uninstall option isn't there anymore?
  • by omibus (116064) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:50PM (#19869883) Homepage Journal
    I can make an install for ANY windows machine that has no uninstall -- this has been trivial since the days of Win95.
    Just because a program has an installer is NO guarantee that it will have an uninstaller. And frankly, this is not Microsoft's fault. Some programs have a legitimate reason to not be uninstallable (DirectX is a good example of a program NOT to uninstall) because it would destabilize the machine.
  • by boarder (41071) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @03:13PM (#19870051) Homepage
    But the company seems to have no clue or they would have fixed it already.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    You do realize you are talking about a monolithic block of code for an OS from a gigantic software company and not a small, open source app, right? Things don't just change on the fly, especially not small inconveniences such as this. They've probably known about it for months and just haven't taken the time to fix it, since there are many other pressing issues out there.

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