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
In this excerpt from
Answercast #12, I look at how programs share files and suggest the safe
route to go when un-installing programs.
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Will removing this program harm my computer?
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.
What sort of programs?
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
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
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
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.