Whether you’re running out of space in your hard drive or just want to tidy things up, it’s a good idea to uninstall apps and games you’re not using anymore.
Removing applications from your PC—either in bulk or one-by-one—is easy, but there are different ways to do it depending on what OS version you’re using. There are specific steps you’ll need to follow if your machine is running Windows 11 or 10, and for older computers, there’s also a method that will work with any version of Microsoft’s operating system.
But built-in options are not always the most convenient approach, especially if there’s a lot in your hard drive you want to get rid of in one fell swoop. If that’s the case, there are useful tools that will allow you to uninstall multiple applications without having to babysit your computer.
How to uninstall apps on Windows 11 and 10
To remove apps from a Windows 11 computer, start by opening the Settings app. You can find it pinned to the top of the start menu, where it’s located by default. But if for whatever reason you don’t see it there, you can also look for it in the search bar. Once the app is open, click Apps in the left panel and choose Apps and Features to see a list of every program on your computer.
To uninstall an app click the three dots to the right of its name, choose Uninstall on the drop-down menu, and follow the instructions on the screen. It’s going to be a little different for every application but generally, you just need to click Next a bunch of times. Repeat the process for every app you want to remove.
Uninstalling programs on Windows 10 is similar. In this version of the OS, you’ll find the Settings app in the shape of a gear icon in the left panel of the start menu, but if you can’t find it, you can always use the search bar. Open the utility and go to Apps to find a list of every program on your computer. Click on an item on the list and you’ll see an Uninstall button—click it to launch the app’s uninstaller and just follow the instructions.
How to uninstall Windows applications using the Control Panel
Control Panel has been around since at least Windows 95, and you can still use it to uninstall software on your PC, if you like. The process is the same for Windows versions going back to Vista, XP, and probably even earlier.
Just like you would any other Windows utility, you can look for Control Panel in the start menu search bar. Once you’re there, click Uninstall a program and you’ll see a list of applications—double-click any of them to launch the uninstaller. As before, you’ll need to follow the on-screen instructions, which will be different depending on the program you’re hoping to get rid of.
How to uninstall Windows applications in bulk
All of the above options have one major downside: you have to run the uninstallers yourself. And to make matters worse, you can’t run multiple uninstallers at the same time, meaning if there’s a bunch of software you want to remove, you’re going to be sitting at your computer for a while.
This is where BCU (which stands for Bulk Crap Uninstaller) comes in handy. This app is free and open source, meaning it’s maintained by a community and is broadly considered trustworthy. The BCU program can scan your computer for applications you can remove, and uninstall them for you in bulk. This means you can set a number of processes and walk away while the software does the heavy lifting for you.
Once BCU shows you a list of the apps on your computer, you can check which ones you want to delete. If you don’t see checkboxes next to each item, just click the Select using checkboxes in the left panel. Once you’ve made your selection, click Uninstall quietly at the top. The software will ask you if you’re sure—take this as an opportunity to double-check you haven’t accidentally added an app you want to keep to the list. If everything looks good, confirm your choices and sit back while BCU does the work.
Deleting programs in bulk may be scary, but rest assured that before this software starts uninstalling the applications you marked, it will create a restore point. This will allow you to roll back any changes in case something goes wrong.
Downloading an external app to uninstall programs in bulk is a great approach to getting rid of the bloatware that tends to come with a new computer. It’s also helpful to remove applications you’ve tried out but decided were not good enough to keep. Just about any person could use a tool like BCU from time to time to do a thorough system cleaning.