Is it safe to uninstall or delete updates to programs after one has
installed them? My add/remove is chock full of updates and I’m thinking
if they’ve been installed or superseded by later updates, I should be
able to uninstall them.
Is it safe? Kinda, sorta, but not really.
Do I think you should do it? Nope.
The updates are there for a reason.
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I do first have to say that since you mention generic “programs”,
this answer has to kind of assume the most common case. I’m certain
that there are programs out there for which it’s perfectly acceptable
to uninstall, for example, version 1.2 if you have version 1.3
installed. It’s bad programming on that application’s part, but it could
be quite ok.
I just have no way to know which programs you have that might fall
into that bucket.
automatically remove any prior updates that are no longer
When updating itself a well behaved program will automatically remove
any prior updates that are no longer necessary. In other words, they do
the work you’re asking about already. You’ll often see this when
installing a new version of a program; it might ask or instruct you to
uninstall the old version first. The same is generally true with
Windows itself typically has a long list of patches. When you
install a service pack, such as XP’s Service Pack 3, you’ll see that
long list get significantly shorter, since all the patches are “rolled
up” into the service pack.
Now, you can uninstall individual patches. The problem is
that you are undoing whatever it was the patch fixed. You might be
re-introducing a security hole or some other kind of bug or
And sometimes you have to. But not for housekeeping. Occasionally, a
patch will have unintended or unexpected side effects, and a temporary
resolution might be to uninstall a specific fix.
So my advice is to leave them be. For the most part, the list of
patches is there on purpose, and you don’t really want to get rid of
any of them.
Uncheck the “Show Updates” box at the top of the
Add/Remove Window to hide them if they get in your way.