Friday, February 17, 2006

Removing Dead Applications

I'm always surprised to discover perfectly obvious holes in perfectly wonderful operating systems. Mac OS X, for instance, uses the old drag-into-the-trash metaphor for uninstalling applications that have no built-in uninstaller, but the tactic requires the user to know where every last file is installed. Those files can be--and usually are--tucked away in every corner of the hard drive, with the result that most uninstall routines leave bits and pieces of the program behind, which can be a pain if, like me, you like to try out software and wind up frequently discarding programs that don't make the cut. (In all this grumbling, I hasten to add that at least Mac users don't have to deal with the dreaded Windows registry.)

Enter an elegant, entirely necessary gap-filler: AppZapper, a little utility that rounds up each and every file installed with a new application and, at the user's discretion, zaps them, complete with satisfying sound effects. One of the developers remarks that the AppZapper team wanted to put a smile on the user's face whenever the application was put into action, and it does--not least because, at US$12.95, the price is unusually right.