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Clean Out the Applications Folder

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/16/2008

Getting rid of programs you no longer want begins by cleaning out your Mac’s Applications folder.

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    When you’re ready to get rid of programs you no longer need, you can start by using these steps to clean out the Applications folder (a likely place to find programs you don’t need):

    1. Open the Macintosh HD.

    2. Open the Applications folder. (After you’ve worked through these steps, return here, open the Applications (Mac OS 9) Folder if you have one, and repeat the steps again to clean out that folder.)

    3. Expand the folder to show all of the applications. You can also use the View>As Columns option to see the applications in column view. (Press Option+Command+D to hide the Dock so you can see the entire window.)

    4. Browse through the applications that you installed or that came preinstalled on your Mac, noting third-party applications only.

    5. Open any program you are not familiar with so you can determine what it is and if you need it.

    6. For now, only delete the third-party applications you don’t want. Don’t delete iCal, iDVD, iPhoto, or anything similar. Also, don’t delete items you might confuse for third-party applications such as Address Book, Font Book, Internet Connect, Preview, and TextEdit. As an example (and for the purpose of helping you choose which programs to delete), I got rid of the following applications on previously purchased Macs:

    · Deimos Rising--This is a game that came installed with my eMac. I don’t want to play this game and can therefore delete it. It also generated a crash report when I tried to quit the program after playing a short game to verify that I wasn’t interested.

    · Graphic Converter US X--This program always prompts me to buy the program when I open it. I would buy it if I want to continue using it, just to be fair to the makers of the application. I haven’t used it in two months and plan to buy Photoshop next week.

    · Microsoft Office --This is a trial version of the program and includes Microsoft Entourage, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, MSN Messenger, and more. I don’t plan to purchase this software, and it has expired. (Even when it was in its trial version if offered limited functionality.)

    · PepperKeeper--I used this program to keep track of my child’s homework assignments a while ago. I don’t use it anymore.

    · Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4--I’m 40 years old. ‘Nuff said.

    · Zinio--I didn’t even know what this is. Upon opening the program and accepting the license agreement though, I see it’s a magazine reader application. I’m not planning on reading magazines on my Mac, so I can delete this.

    Get the idea? Just delete the items you don’t want and don’t need. At this particular juncture you only want to delete third-party applications that you recognize and no longer want.

    Tip: Some programs have uninstall options inside the folder. Microsoft Office X, the trial version on my computer, has an icon to “Remove Test Drive.” If that’s available, use it, and then drag the whole folder to the Trash when the uninstall routine is finished.

Fine-Tune Your Mac by Uninstalling Programs you Don’t Need and Tweaking Ones you Do

You can micromanage your Mac by uninstalling everything you deem unnecessary and fine-tuning everything else. Beware - This series is not for the faint of heart!
  1. Find Programs on Your Mac That You Don’t Want or Need
  2. Clean Out the Applications Folder
  3. Tweak Programs You Want to Keep