The Evil Uninstall

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From my wife Amy comes this story, the moral of which is to RTFM!

(Sounds of Vincent Price laughing in the dark recesses of my computer case.)

It started when I went through my 'I hate Microsoft' phase. I was getting disgusted with the hassle of installing MS Office. So on the advice of a friend (thank you ever so much Brad!), I decided to try Corel Office. I installed it with no problems. I fired the program up, played around with it, and after 2 days, decided I didn't like it.

So, I used the uninstall for the program. After it was done, I used Norton's CleanSweep to delete stuff the program missed.  Since I thought I was pretty computer savvy, I didn't pay close enough attention to the questions Norton asked and just said yes to everything.  

I wanted to check some info in my little program that keeps all my user names, passwords, and site info. I fired it up and got this error saying Pass.dat is missing. WHAT! What do you mean it's missing!!! I figured the computer was confused so I fired the program up again. (DUH!) I got the same error message again! So I sat there thinking 'what did this stupid computer do with it?'

Then I said the words countless numbers have spoken, 'Oh sh*t'. I started remembering what happened. During CleanSweep's uninstall of Corel, one of the questions was whether or not I wanted to delete all files associated with the program Corel. I said sure! trash 'em. Well, one of the file types was .dat which is why my program wouldn't work. See, Corel decided to take over some file extensions that were already in use on my computer. Nice of them huh? 

And guess what else was missing? Let me give you some's really, really important...without it Windows won't work...and it's really, really important. Yup, it also deleted my system.dat and user.dat which is the registry!! No registry, no Windows! 

Now I'm in a panic! So I start thinking of a way to get my registry back because if I reboot, there goes Windows. So I opened up CleanSweep and restored Corel from the backup hoping that it would put my registry back. Part of the restore required a reboot so I crossed my fingers and hoped.

(Sounds of screaming with the Psycho screech going on in the background.)

It didn't work. Darn it. Well, there is always a moral to every story. This one has four. First, read all messages carefully. Second, when it doubt, don't delete it. Third, know how to wipe and reinstall when you do something idiotic. And four, don't hate Microsoft.


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Last Revised: 10/20/2000