Business-like, isn't he?


 

 



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 uninstall function...
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 to
show the changes made.

As well, many Windows programs add files to the \WINDOWS and
\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
computer.

First -->Create a directory on your computer to store your UNINSTALL REPORTS.
I called mine C:\REPORT.

Second -->Type the batch file listed below, using a text
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 your
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 normally
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 be
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
changed.
 

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).

@echo off
IF "%1"=="" GOTO END1
ECHO                  Preparing Backup files.  Please wait.........
c:
cd \windows
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
CLS

echo Run your INSTALL program. When it's done, press any key
echo to complete the UNINSTALL REPORT.
pause

ECHO Looking for additions to system .......... Please wait!
ECHO   Results will be found in c:\reports\%1
cd \reports
ECHO. >%1
ECHO Changes made to hard disk by %1 installation >> %1
ECHO. >>%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 line:
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
DEL *.OLD
DEL *.NEW
GOTO END
:END1
CLS
ECHO.
ECHO   Include the FILE name where the report will be stored
ECHO.
ECHO                           Press any key to continue......
Pause >nul
:END
CLS
 

Good luck, and I hope this helps you keep the dread Windows clutter
under better control.
 
 



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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan