System Restore - but uninstall the undesired program first?


B

Bill in Co.

We've covered some of the relative advantages and disadvantages of using
System Restore and ERUNT here before, but I have a specific question
relating to the usage of System Restore:

Since System Restore tries to keeps track of file and registry *changes* to
your system, and since these changes can really add up, the more you do
*between restore points* (especially for a large program), here is my
question:

Let's suppose you first create a restore point. And then you install a
program you want to try out. And then you decide you don't want that
program, and want to uninstall it *and* have the system returned to as clean
a state as it was before the installation (which means restoring the
previous registry, too, since any program "uninstallation" routines often
leave some things behind there).

So, is it really better to first uninstall the program *before* running
System Restore to the previous set point, OR to just leave the program
installed, and then let System Restore effectively "uninstall" it? In the
latter case, System Restore simply has to reverse *just the changes made
since installation*, and NOT the changes compounded by the original
installation and uninstallation scenario (and that's a lot more total
changes to accurately keep track of to try to reverse - and it may
overburden (and disable) System Restore.
 
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U

Uncle Grumpy

Bill in Co. said:
So, is it really better to first uninstall the program *before* running
System Restore to the previous set point, OR to just leave the program
installed, and then let System Restore effectively "uninstall" it?

I think the answer should be obvious: uninstall the program first.

When did you first get diagnosed as an obsessive-compulsive?
 
B

Bill in Co.

Uncle said:
I think the answer should be obvious: uninstall the program first.

Not quite as obvious as it may seem, if you look a bit further. But yes,
that's the way I've been doing it, up to now.

Then again, there have been those times when System Restore came back and
said "unable to restore your restore point".

I'm sure that's never happened to you, but then again, what's new.
When did you first get diagnosed as an obsessive-compulsive?

Not really. I've just been in the field a bit longer than you have.
 
U

Uncle Grumpy

Bill in Co. said:
Not really. I've just been in the field a bit longer than you have.

While that may be true, your questions don't support that statement.
 
U

Uncle Grumpy

Bill in Co. said:
Not quite as obvious as it may seem, if you look a bit further. But yes,
that's the way I've been doing it, up to now.

Then again, there have been those times when System Restore came back and
said "unable to restore your restore point".

Has nothing to do with uninstalling a program.
 
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B

Bill in Co.

Uncle said:
Has nothing to do with uninstalling a program.

It might, if System Restore was unable to *successfully* keep track of all
the changes incurred during the uninstallation of a large program.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Uncle said:
While that may be true, your questions don't support that statement.

Not may be, is. But some people choose to sit out there on the
bleachers....
 
U

Uncle Grumpy

Bill in Co. said:
It might, if System Restore was unable to *successfully* keep track of all
the changes incurred during the uninstallation of a large program.

<sigh>

System Restore does NOT keep track of program
installation/uninstallation per se.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Uncle said:
<sigh>

System Restore does NOT keep track of program installation/uninstallation
per se.

You're still missing the point. How's the view up there in the
bleachers?
 
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C

Colin Barnhorst

I don't think Grumpy is missing the point. The OP is wondering if
everything that gets installed just disappears if you restore back before
the installation. It doesn't. SR reverses things like settings and
registry entries but it does not remove software. It just unregisters it.
 
U

Uncle Grumpy

Colin Barnhorst said:
I don't think Grumpy is missing the point.

Saying that I'm "missing the point" is Bill's ad-hominem way of
side-stepping having to reply what he either knows is correct, or what
he has no clue about.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Uncle said:
Saying that I'm "missing the point" is Bill's ad-hominem way of
side-stepping having to reply what he either knows is correct, or what
he has no clue about.

Right - like you do. Ad hominems? I thought that was your specialty.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Colin said:
I don't think Grumpy is missing the point.

Yes he is - missing part of it.
The OP is wondering if
everything that gets installed just disappears if you restore back before
the installation. It doesn't. SR reverses things like settings and
registry entries but it does not remove software.

It can - and *does* - remove files, and not JUST the system files.
Perhaps you haven't experienced that, but I certainly have.
It just unregisters it.

No, but that is not ALL System Restore does.
And I never stated that it erased all its files, either, for that matter.

Also, I never stated that it was *equivalent to* "uninstalling" the program,
but the result can be similar, of course (since as far as the previous
registry is concerned, the program never was installed, even though that
program's files (or at least many of them) still exist in its Program Files
directory.
 
D

Daave

Bill said:
We've covered some of the relative advantages and disadvantages of
using System Restore and ERUNT here before, but I have a specific
question relating to the usage of System Restore:

Since System Restore tries to keeps track of file and registry
*changes* to your system, and since these changes can really add up,
the more you do *between restore points* (especially for a large
program), here is my question:

Let's suppose you first create a restore point. And then you
install a program you want to try out. And then you decide you
don't want that program, and want to uninstall it *and* have the
system returned to as clean a state as it was before the installation
(which means restoring the previous registry, too, since any program
"uninstallation" routines often leave some things behind there).

So, is it really better to first uninstall the program *before*
running System Restore to the previous set point, OR to just leave
the program installed, and then let System Restore effectively
"uninstall" it? In the latter case, System Restore simply has to
reverse *just the changes made since installation*, and NOT the
changes compounded by the original installation and uninstallation
scenario (and that's a lot more total changes to accurately keep
track of to try to reverse - and it may overburden (and disable)
System Restore.

You can find out for yourself by conducting the following experiment:

1. Create a restore point.

2. Install your program.

3. Reboot and perform a System Restore to the point you created before
the installation (remember that you can always undo a System Restore).

What is the result?

Note: If you want to be really, really safe, create an image of your
hard drive using Acronis True Image before your experiment.

Personally, I would just uninstall the program and be done with it.
There is only a tiny chance that any leftover registry entries after
uninstalling a program would cause an issue. I suppose for your
experiment, you would need to find a program that when uninstalled
*will* predictably cause problems. Then you could try it both ways (here
is where your image would come in handy) and compare.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that installing and uninstalling a program would
never overburden or disable System Restore!
 
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B

Bill in Co.

Daave said:
You can find out for yourself by conducting the following experiment:

1. Create a restore point.

2. Install your program.

3. Reboot and perform a System Restore to the point you created before
the installation (remember that you can always undo a System Restore).

What is the result?

Note: If you want to be really, really safe, create an image of your
hard drive using Acronis True Image before your experiment.

Personally, I would just uninstall the program and be done with it.
There is only a tiny chance that any leftover registry entries after
uninstalling a program would cause an issue.

Yes, and that is generally the case. (however, there have been a few
exceptions)
I suppose for your
experiment, you would need to find a program that when uninstalled
*will* predictably cause problems. Then you could try it both ways (here
is where your image would come in handy) and compare.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that installing and uninstalling a program would
never overburden or disable System Restore!

If the program is large enough, it might. I've already run into one case
where I did install and then uninstall a program, and then tried using
System Restore to fully get it back to a clean system - and System Restore
balked. (System Restore came back and said it couldn't do the
restoration).

Of course, if I had NOT uninstalled it first and just tried running System
Restore, who knows what the result would have been. (My guess is it might
have been more successful and not balked; that is, it would have
successfully run to completion).

Still, I'd prefer to uninstall the program myself (as you would expect), and
not rely on System Restore to (in effect) do that for me (leaving behind
most of its program files in the process) but removing all registry
references to it.

BTW, that program was a trial edition of an older version of Adobe Audition,
which is a fairly large program.
 
D

Daave

Bill in Co. said:
Yes, and that is generally the case. (however, there have been a few
exceptions)


If the program is large enough, it might. I've already run into one
case where I did install and then uninstall a program, and then tried
using System Restore to fully get it back to a clean system - and
System Restore balked. (System Restore came back and said it
couldn't do the restoration).

Of course, if I had NOT uninstalled it first and just tried running
System Restore, who knows what the result would have been. (My
guess is it might have been more successful and not balked; that is,
it would have successfully run to completion).
Still, I'd prefer to uninstall the program myself (as you would
expect), and not rely on System Restore to (in effect) do that for me
(leaving behind most of its program files in the process) but removing
all registry references to it.

BTW, that program was a trial edition of an older version of Adobe
Audition, which is a fairly large program.

I would still think that simply uninstalling Adobe Audition and leaving
it at that would be all you need to do. I don't see how running System
Restore afterwards would be of any benefit; any leftover registry
entries should not be of any consequence.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Daave said:
I would still think that simply uninstalling Adobe Audition and leaving
it at that would be all you need to do. I don't see how running System
Restore afterwards would be of any benefit; any leftover registry
entries should not be of any consequence.

But as I've said, that is generally true, but not *always* true.

It's not ONLY some registry changes that weren't undone, but occasionally
some changes regarding some DLLs and codecs (as examples).

Of course, ERUNT can completely undo any registry changes, but System
Restore can do a bit more - when it works properly, that is. In addition
to the registry, System Restore keeps track of some other changes on the
system, too. We've already covered that before (like how some monitored
file types can be removed upon a System Restore operation)
 
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D

Daave

Bill said:
But as I've said, that is generally true, but not *always* true.

It's not ONLY some registry changes that weren't undone, but
occasionally some changes regarding some DLLs and codecs (as
examples).

Of course, ERUNT can completely undo any registry changes, but System
Restore can do a bit more - when it works properly, that is. In
addition to the registry, System Restore keeps track of some other
changes on the system, too. We've already covered that before (like
how some monitored file types can be removed upon a System Restore
operation)

Yes, this may not always be true. But it is *almost always* true. So,
since the overwhelming majority of the time, there is no consequence to
leaving a few leftover registry entries after an uninstall, I wouldn't
worry about running System Restore every time following (or in place of)
an uninstall.

In the rare instance there is a problem, then I would be comfortable
running either regedit or Jouni Vuorio's RegCleaner 4.3 (for the purpose
of searching for entries specifically related to the errant program).
Yes, I mentioned a "registry cleaner!" But this one does not do the
typical automatic search and destroy that most "cleaners" do (unless you
tweak it, and this is something I would never recommend, anyway); rather
there are two columns -- Author and Software. And whenever an entry is
right-clicked, the location of the registry keys is revealed. You don't
even need to remove the keys via RegCleaner. If you're paranoid, you can
always just note the location and use regedit to do the deed. That being
said, I would never recommend messing with the registry to *any* newbie.
But for those interested, there are plenty of materials on the Web one
can read to learn about the registry. And ERUNT is an excellent tool for
backing up the registry -- just in case. So, if System Restore doesn't
yield the desired result, there's always ERUNT. (Or imaging the hard
drive regularly can do the trick, too.)
 

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