Computing for the beginner: With Colin Cartmell-Browne

ONE of the main problems when buying a new computer is the amount of unwanted software already installed.

This ‘free’ software is often a trial version of something the manufacture wants you to buy.

It will either be a watered down version of the program with only a few working features or so full of adverts that it is almost unusable.

Uninstalling these programs is relatively straight forward.

However a note of caution: Only remove the software if you are 100% certain you don’t want it or that you know is not connected to any other program or ‘behind the scenes’ functionality that may cause problems later on.

These instructions were written using my own laptop running Windows 7. All of the steps should apply to other versions of Windows but some of the menu items may not appear exactly as shown in the diagrams.

Step 1: First you need to open the ‘Control Panel’.

To do this:

● Click on the Windows ‘Start’ icon: widows icon2
● Click on Control Panel (circled in figure 1)

Figure 1

Figure 1

The ‘Control Panel’ will now open and you will be presented with various options for changing how your computer works (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2

There are quite a few options here that you will never need to touch.

Some you might want to play around with, such as appearance and personalisation (where you can increase the size of icons and text on your computer should you need to, more of that in a future column).

Step 2: This is where things could get slightly tricky. Underneath the word ‘Programs’ you should have an option ‘uninstall a program’.

However it may be that you need to click on Program first and then click the uninstall option on the next screen. (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3

Once you have clicked on ‘uninstall a program’ Windows will start making a list of all the programs and services installed on your computer. This may take some time depending on how many programs you have installed. Be patient!

Once the list has finished populating you should see something like this (Figure 4):

Figure 4

Figure 4







The list is alphabetical, mine seems to always default to starting with Chinese characters and then the W’s, yours may start with A.

It doesn’t matter as clicking on the column heading ‘name’ will change the list anyway into alphabetical order.

You can also order the programs by publisher, memory usage or the date it was installed on your computer.

Probably easier, for now, to stick with name order.

Step 3: Scroll down the list until you find the program you want to uninstall.

Double click on the name and the installer will now guide you through the process.

After a brief pause you should see a box similar to Figure 5.

Figure 5

Figure 5








In my example I am removing Photoshop Elements from my computer, a free trial which has expired.

Simply click next as each screen comes up, although its worth reading the information carefully.

One of the screens will ask whether you want to remove ALL traces of the program.

Most of the time you can tick this box as you will not need any of the ‘bits’ of the program on your computer once you have removed the software.

Keep clicking through until you get to the final option which will say something like ‘Click Remove to remove all traces of this program …’

Once clicked Windows should now uninstall the unwanted program. Sometimes the computer will need to be restarted before the uninstallation can be complete. You won’t need to do this straight away but Windows has a habit of ‘nagging you’ until it is done.

A few notes of caution:

  1. Only uninstall a program if you are sure you don’t need it.
  2. There will be lots of programs listed in the programs and features list from step 2 – most of which are background tasks or services which are essential to run the computer. Be careful on what you click on! If in doubt you can always use Google to check whether your computer will need a particular piece of software or not but most ‘technical’ websites can be a bit of a minefield of contradictory information and confusion!
  3. It is good practice to make regular backups of your computer – then should something go wrong you have something with which to recover any lost information.

Finally, this computing column is here to help you …

If there is an element of computing you’d like help with then you can contact me via:


Or letters can be dropped off at the Lowes Court Gallery on Egremont High Street (please note this is a drop off point only)

I welcome feedback with regards these computing advice columns.