Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Sometimes, it's difficult to tell what kind of components are shared by installed programs, so it is wise to be cautious.
I no longer use Winfax. When I try to delete it from Program Files, a message says, "Renaming, moving, or deleting Winfax could make some programs not work." It takes up about 50 MB, but will removing it affect the computer's operation?
In this excerpt from Answercast #12, I look at how programs share files and suggest the safe route to go when un-installing programs.
The short answer is "maybe." The real answer is probably not.
The reason those programs (or many programs) will give that kind of a warning is that they often install components (or are comprised of components) that could be used by other programs. In a case like Winfax, my assumption is that the components relating to faxing could be used by other programs installed on Windows.
Typically, they are other programs by the same manufacturer. The installer really has no way to know if those programs exist or if there is some other dependency on the program.
So, "Probably not." But let's be safe about this.
It's very easy to do this in a safe manner. Before uninstalling the program, take a system image. Take a complete backup of your machine.
That will backup absolutely everything as it is right now. Then uninstall the program.
After you've uninstalled the program, use your system for a little bit, and if everything's working great, you know that you haven't really run into a problem.
If you do run into a problem, if there is some component that suddenly stops working because it relied on a component from Winfax, then you can immediately restore to that system image and be exactly in the same place that you were before you performed the uninstall.
The other approach, of course, is if you have the Winfax installation CDs.
If you've got the original installation media, you could (perhaps) safely uninstall without doing the image backup first - realizing that if there is something that depends on it, you may simply need to reinstall once you determine that there was a failure.
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