how to find if a software has left any traces even after uninstall

By alidabiri
Apr 17, 2006
  1. is there anyway to find out if a software has left any traces of itself, even after you uninstall it?

  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Click start/search and type in the name of the software you`re looking for.

    You can also check in your registry.

    Click start/run and type regedit into the run box and press the enter key.

    Click on the edit tab and select find. Type in the name you`re looking for. It will show you if there are any entries by that name.

    What particular software are you looking for and why?

    Regards Howard :)
  3. Peddant

    Peddant TS Rookie Posts: 1,446

    I gave you THIS link in your last thread on the same subject.
  4. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 441

    i know, but there's a legal problem with leaving a trace of a software in a pc, after it has been uninstalled. which means the client wishes to remove all traces of it forever. leaving a trace amounts to eavesdropping and tresspassing.need more info. to overcome legal problem.
  5. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    A lot of software, leaves traces in the registry. Providing it`s not doing anything untoward, there shouldn`t be a problem.

    For instance. A trial programme might be good for 30 days etc. So after the thirty days, you decide you don`t want it anymore. You uninstall it, but the registry entry that checks to see how long the trial has lasted, will still be there. This is to stop you from simply uninstalling and reinstalling the programme and getting another thirty days trial.

    I`ve got all kinds of entries in my registry, from programmes I uninstalled ages ago. It`s pretty normal really in IMHO.

    Regards Howard :)
  6. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 441

    thanks, howard,
    i think you answered my question. i have to talk to folks to see about developing a "key" for the package.
  7. lewekleonek

    lewekleonek TS Rookie Posts: 55

    You would probably have more luck asking this question in programmers forums. What we usually do is drop the registry key that does not have a company or the utility name in registry. The foolproof way is to make the application call home and register with your server, but this will tick your customers off + if they have a firewall they will run into a host of set-up issues. If you're not afraid to spend money on hardware keys and your software is so dear to you, you may consider a hardware dongle solution (usb or parallel port plug - software will not run without).
    In the end you have to remember that all software can be cracked, so the questions you have ask yourself are:
    How much do you want to spend on security? How will this security approach affect your clients?
    BTW: when you compile your executables make sure you pack them with some kind of encryption so it makes them harder to crack. I'll tell you one thing about writing registry keys - it's easy to trace registry changes. You have to be more creative than that. There are books written about software packaging and protection.
  8. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 441

    thanks lewek,
    i read an article about sony that it's in cour now for "dropping or planting" some "keys" in customers' dvd player/chipset to prevent them from copying the dvd. this has amounted to "tresspassing" or invasion of privacy and has landed them in court. so, this is not legal, even though time-limited shareware are doing it. we can't go that route. and if they can find the key, how can they find it to trace it back to a particular vendor.
  9. ikara

    ikara TS Rookie

    I have noticed that some software vendors have taken a leaf out of Microsofts book, they are using product activation, not imposible to crack but definitly makes things more difficult.
    RoboForm is one that is now doing this.
  10. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 441

    i can understand activation. it's kind of fool proof, even though it is inconvenience to the customer. but dropping a key or a "spy" in your pc is illegal or not? how can one identify the "key" in the registry or wherever?
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,145   +597

    If the *.exe and *.dlls are no longer present, the residuals in the registry are
    immaterial. The program is not capable of running on that machine and there
    can not be any liability for what the 'company provided uninstall' did not remove.
    Good Faith effort implies 'doing what the license owner requested'. if there
    are residuals left on the machine, it is the FAULT of the software provider.
    The end-user can not be held accountable for something the provider was not
    willing to do for itself.
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