Uninstalling Windows Programs
by Alan Zisman (c)
1993. First published
in Our Computer Player, May 14, 1993
One of the big things missing in Windows is an
While DOS programs typically put all their files in a single
directory, and maybe make a few changes to AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.
SYS, many Windows programs also make changes to WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI
files without permission and without making comments in those files
show the changes made.
As well, many Windows programs add files to the
\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directories that can be hard to trace if you
decide to dump the program. As a software reviewer, I try out a lot
of programs, and only keep a few. But you too may find a problem if
you ever try to get rid of a Windows program. Software companies
seem to assume that their programs are their gifts to humanity, and
that you'd never want to remove or replace them. Not true!
You could buy a $100 utility to help you track the
changes made when
you install Windows programs. But we're here to help you save money.
So here's is a batch file that will help in controlling
Windows program sprawl.
They use the DOS batch commands and the DOS file
FC.COM to compare
your system's setup files and directories to see what changes have
been made. In order for them to work properly, you'll probably need
to modify them to change my directories to ones that will work on your
First -->Create a directory on your computer to
store your UNINSTALL
I called mine C:\REPORT.
Second -->Type the batch file listed below, using a
editor (or a word processor, saving as ASCII text). DOS 5/6 EDIT
works well, or WINDOWS NOTEPAD. You may need to modify them slightly
to use directories on your computer. Save them in the directory of
choice. Open up the Windows PIFEDIT utility, and enter the
information in the picture, using your chosen directory. The
question mark in the OPTIONAL PARAMETERS line is important... this
means you'll be prompted for a name for the uninstall report.
Third -->Create a new program item in your MAIN
program group (or any
other of your choice). Highligh the MAIN group. Go to Program Manager's
FILE menu, choose NEW. Select Program Item. For DESCRIPTION type:
UNINSTALL REPORTER. For COMMAND LINE type REPORT.PIF. You can change
the icon if you want... there are lots to choose from in MOREICON.
DLL or PROGMAN.EXE.
When you want to install a new Windows program, first
click on the
UNINSTALL REPORTER icon. You'll be prompted to type in a filename
for your report. Then a DOS window will open up, making a before-
installation report. When it's done, it will pause, and prompt you
to run your INSTALL program. Do this from Windows or DOS, as you
would. When it is done, return to your DOS window, and press any key.
An after-install report will be created, then the two reports will
compared. The results will be saved under your report name, and will
be shown on the screen. When you're done viewing it, the temporary
files will be deleted, leaving you with a single report showing what's
Here's REPORT.BAT, ready for you to type. As I said,
you'll need to
create a C:\REPORTS directory, and if your WINDOWS or DOS files are
in other directories, you'll need to modify this file to suit your
computer's setup. (By the way, you don't have to pay any attention
to my peculiar mix of capital and small letters).
IF "%1"=="" GOTO END1
files. Please wait.........
TYPE WIN.INI >c:\reports\WIN.OLD
TYPE SYSTEM.INI >c:\reports\SYSTEM.OLD
TYPE C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT > c:\reports\AUTOEXEC.OLD
TYPE C:\CONFIG.SYS > c:\reports\CONFIG.OLD
DIR /A /B /l /-p >c:\reports\WINDIR.OLD
DIR SYSTEM\*.* /A /B /L /-p >c:\reports\SYSDIR.OLD
DIR C:\*.* /A-D /B /l /-p >c:\reports\ROOT.OLD
TREE c:\ /A >c:\reports\TREE-C.OLD
echo Run your INSTALL program. When it's done, press
echo to complete the UNINSTALL REPORT.
ECHO Looking for additions to system .......... Please
ECHO Results will be found in c:\reports\%1
ECHO Changes made to hard disk by %1 installation >> %1
ECHO [ WIN.INI ] >> %1
FC WIN.OLD c:\WINDOWS\WIN.INI >> %1
ECHO [ SYSTEM.INI ] >> %1
FC SYSTEM.OLD c:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI >> %1
ECHO [ AUTOEXEC.BAT ] >> %1
FC AUTOEXEC.OLD C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT >> %1
ECHO [ CONFIG.SYS ] >> %1
FC CONFIG.OLD C:\CONFIG.SYS >> %1
ECHO [ Files in e:\WINDOWS3 ] >> %1
DIR c:\WINDOWS\*.* /A /B /L /-p > WINDIR.NEW
FC WINDIR.OLD WINDIR.NEW >> %1
ECHO [ Files in c:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM ] >> %1
DIR c:\WINDOWS3\SYSTEM\*.* /A /B /L /-p > SYSDIR.NEW
FC SYSDIR.OLD SYSDIR.NEW >> %1
ECHO [ Files in C:\ ] >> %1
DIR C:\*.* /A-D /B /L > ROOT.NEW
FC ROOT.OLD ROOT.NEW >> %1
ECHO [ Directory Tree for c: ] >> %1
TREE c:\ /A > TREE-C.NEW
FC TREE-C.OLD TREE-C.NEW >> %1
rem If you have the wonderful shareware utility LIST.COM, use this
rem (and I hope you've registered LIST--$25)
rem list c:\reports\%1
rem If you don't have LIST.COM, use this line:
MORE < c:\reports\%1
ECHO Include the FILE name where the report will be stored
key to continue......
Good luck, and I hope this helps you keep the dread
under better control.