How to Uninstall VirtualBox

Virtual Machines are priceless for those who know their uses, as the repetitive theme of VM-detection features in backdoors and file-locking Trojans assert readily. Even so, not everyone wants or needs a VM and may change their mind about the presence of tools like Oracle's VirtualBox program. A thorough, manual uninstall of VirtualBox isn't always as easy as with less-technically-oriented applications, but most users should handle it with very little work.

Depending on the operating system, users require different steps for removing VirtualBox completely. However, most installers for VirtualBox also include a 'remove installation' option. Run the installer and choose to remove it. The installer version should match that of the VirtualBox installation. Some users of out-of-date versions may ironically require updating VirtualBox before the 'remove' option appears in the installer.

Still, users who prefer or require different removal options have them. For example, Linux users can delete VirtualBox with a terminal command:

sudo apt-get purge virtualbox*

The above command consists of a term for root privileges (sudo or 'superuser do'), a package-removal phrase (apt-get purge; apt-get also has other uses, such as installation), and the program's name with an asterisk. The asterisk is a 'wild card' that stands in for any or no other characters. Although it looks complicated, the syntax is simple for users with an understanding of the individual terms.

Windows users can remove VirtualBox by clicking the Start menu, scrolling down the right side until they see the VirtualBox icon, right-click it and choose Uninstall. Another option, more comfortable in some cases, is opening the Control Panel's application list by typing 'Add or remove programs' in the taskbar and clicking the top result. Left-click instead of right-clicking the VirtualBox entry near the bottom (the list is in alphabetical order). Uninstall as usual.

During the uninstall routine, users may see an unusual prompt asking about changes to the computer. This feature is the UAC or User Account Control, which prevents unwanted entities from making unauthorized changes to the system's software – either installing or removing it. Select 'Yes' and proceed with the rest of the uninstall process. Users seeing these pop-up warnings too often or too infrequently can change them from the Windows UAC Settings menu.

In the macOS branch, users have a dedicated removal tool. Open the 'VirtualBox_Uninstall.tool' after mounting the VirtualBox disk image file. There should be a yes/no prompt for removing the program. Type 'yes,' press enter, and wait for the uninstall routine's completion before you close the window.

More in-depth, manual removal of software usually is possible but is practical or safe for the average user rarely. Experts recommend reserving manual removal of VirtualBox for a final solution after testing all other options. Users should note that VirtualBox includes numerous dependencies in various locations ('usr/local/bin,' 'Library/Python,' and 'Library/Application' are some general examples), all of which require deletion for a full uninstall.

Fortunately, VirtualBox isn't aggressive about its installation or system persistence practices. Most users can remove the program without ever needing anything more than its bundled tool or the most basic UI navigation.

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