How to Uninstall Apps on Windows 10

Relative to its predecessors, Windows 10 is both praised and reviled for its extreme emphasis on a smoothly-flowing user interface-based experience that tucks the technicalities of administration over computers out of the user's sight. Despite the user-friendliness, Win 10 doesn't do anything for reducing the need to track how much hard drive space one has left or which programs are best for one's computer. Users who've decided to pull the metaphorical trigger on removing a program can delete it through multiple, Microsoft-endorsed methods.

For users who don't have an overflow of installed programs, the Start menu provides the fastest way of removing one. Left-click the Start button on the bottom-left of the taskbar (assuming the default taskbar position) and scroll through the alphabetized list of program shortcuts on the right side of the menu. The program can be inside of a folder (indicated by a downwards-pointing arrow icon). Once you find it, right-click it and click the 'Uninstall' option. The option will not appear for all programs; for example, since Microsoft considers the Edge browser 'essential,' it doesn't provide an uninstalling option. Users can remove or unpin the shortcuts from the Start menu, but this doesn't remove the associated program.

Alternately, users can access lists of installed programs from the Control Panel or the Windows Settings area. Type 'Add or remove programs' in the taskbar's search area. Clicking the first result brings up a searchable list of installed programs, with optional filters (such as hard drive location, installation date, or name). Scroll down (or type the name in the search bar) until you find the program, left-click it, and, once again, choose Uninstall.

The Control Panel option is very similar to the previous paragraph. Open the Control Panel (by typing it in the taskbar search or other means) and click the 'Uninstall' link in the 'Programs' section. This program list lacks some of the former features, but users can adjust the icon size for visibility from the 'More Options' menu on the window's right side. This menu also includes a useful Details feature that displays each program's installation size, version, and other details. Right-click the software you want to remove and select Uninstall.

During any of these uninstall routines, users may see UAC or User Access Control prompts, AKA 'Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?' This feature prevents unauthorized users from making threatening system changes, such as removing or adding software without appropriate consent. Feel free to click 'Yes' if you see this prompt. Windows 10 provides different options for controlling when the UAC prompt appears for users who feel it's too frequent (or not frequent enough).

While users also could manually delete program files, experts discourage doing so as a casual habit or alternative to the above steps. Deleting files doesn't remove related Registry settings, which can cause unexpected issues with the computer. Additionally, inappropriate editing of the Registry even can harm the Windows OS and necessitate extensive recovery steps. Always follow the company's guidelines for software removal to give your PC the stability, security, and long-term health it deserves.