Deleting programs on Windows 10 is a little more complicated than the old method of “dragging it to the recycle bin and hoping it goes away.” If you’ve got Windows apps that need to go, here’s how to uninstall a program in Windows 10, along with automated methods of making sure everything really is gone.
Option 1: Uninstall specific programs
Windows provides a Settings option that allows you to go in and remove individual programs that you do not want. This method is useful if there’s an app or two that are causing trouble (taking up too much space, not working, etc.) and you want to get rid of them entirely. This helps keep Windows 10 efficient and uncluttered, but it works best if you already know the program you want to uninstall. For uninstalling many programs at once, check out option 2.
Step 1: Head to your Start Menu in the lower left-hand corner and open it up. You should see the option for Settings in the primary sidebar, with a gear icon beside it. Select it. If you can’t find Settings in the sidebar, search for it in the search box and it should pop up.
Step 2: Look at the icons in Settings and select the one that says Apps, denoted by a list-like icon. This should open up the Apps & features window.
Step 3: The Apps & features window lists all the programs currently downloaded onto your computer. With the most recent versions of Windows 10, you can look at the top and a search bar, a “Sort by” option, and a “Filter by” option will be there. These are useful tools for finding exactly what apps you want to delete. Yes, you could scroll through the whole list, but if you have downloaded a lot of programs this could take too long. If you know the program name, search for it with the search bar. If you want to filter programs by how much space they take up, by when you installed them, or by where they are located, use the filter options.
Step 4: Select the specific app you want to uninstall. This will show you how much space the app is taking up, who made the app, and when it was downloaded: It will also bring up a large gray button to “Uninstall” the program (next to the “move” option). Select Uninstall, and confirm the process. Windows will then remove the program from your operating system.
Note: Sometimes the Uninstall button will be grayed out. That means the program is a system app that is too important for Windows to just delete. If you see this, double-check that you have picked the right app. If something is going wrong with this program, you need to explore updates or repairs instead of trying to delete it.
Option 2: Batch uninstall bloatware
Sometimes Windows 10 can get bogged down with too much bloatware or too many casually downloaded apps: When they start creating slowdowns or storage issues, it’s time to remove them. The Windows 10 tool isn’t well designed for finding and deleting multiple apps, but fortunately there are many “uninstallers” you can download online to help out (anti-virus software can also be useful here).
Use an uninstaller when you aren’t sure how many apps you want to remove, or when Windows 10 fails to uninstall an app because of internal issues. If you download a lot of apps as a matter of course, you should keep a quality uninstaller handy on Windows 10. Here are a couple of our favorite free picks.
Geek Uninstaller: Geek uninstaller has precisely the features you need to delete any unwanted programs (fully compatible with Windows 10 and Windows Store apps): It will scan your computer for particular files by name, or for bloatware that looks ripe for removing. When you remove programs it will also scan for “leftovers” or related files that no longer have relevance, so you can clear even more space. It also has a Force Removal option if a normal uninstall isn’t working. The interface is a little dated, but shouldn’t present any problems, especially if you are looking for a quick batch uninstall option to clear things up.
Wise Program Uninstaller: Wise Program has a slicker, stronger interface than Geek Uninstaller, but also offers features like searching, scans, deleting leftover files, and force uninstall. There are a couple advanced tools for more tinkering, such as organizing apps by review scores, or the ability to enable a right-click to uninstall option on Windows. Wise Program has more to offer as a long-term uninstaller that you will use repeatedly over the life of your computer.
For larger problems, you may want to think about reinstalling Windows 10 completely. For more on apps that you don’t want to delete, check out the best starter apps for your Windows 10 machine!