Removing crapware from my Mac

This content is 14 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been rebuilding my MacBook after an increasing number of “spinning beachballs of death” (the Mac equivalent of a Windows hourglass/doughnut/halo…).  Unfortunately, its not just PCs that come supplied with “crapware” – it may only be a couple of items but my OS X 10.5 installation also includes the Office for Mac 2004 Test Drive and iWork ’08 Trial.  As it happens, I do have a copy of Office for Mac 2008 but I don’t need it on this PC – indeed the whole reason for wiping clean and starting again was to have a lean, clean system for my photography, with the minimum of unnecessary clutter.

“What’s the problem?”, I hear you say, “isn’t uninstalling an application on a Mac as simple as dragging it to the trash?”  Well, in a word: no. Some apps for OS X are that simple to remove but many leave behind application support and preference files.  Some OS X apps have installers, just as on Windows PCs.

I ran the Remove Office application to remove the Office for Mac Test Drive and, after searching for installed copies of Office, it decided there were none, leaving Remove Office log.txt file on the desktop with the details of its search:

Found these items:
OFC2004_TD_FOLDERS: /Applications/Office 2004 for Mac Test Drive

It seems that, if you’ve not attempted to run any of the Test Drive apps (e.g. by opening an Office document), they are not actually installed.  Diane Ross has more details on her blog post on the subject but, basically, it’s safe to drag the Test Drive files and folders to the trash.

With Office for Mac out of the way, I turned my attention to the iWork ’08 Trial.  This does not have an uninstaller – the application files and folders for Keynote, Numbers and Pages can be dragged to the trash but there is another consideration – there are some iWork ’08 application support files in /Library/Application Support/ that may be removed too.

These resources might not be taking much space on my disk, but I don’t like the idea of remnants of an application hanging around – a clean system is a reliable system.  At least, that’s my experience on Windows and it shouldn’t be any different on a Mac.

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