Why Can't Microsoft Take out the Trash?

by Preston Gralla

Around my house, my 14-year-old son Gabe has to take out the trash. So why can't Microsoft do the same? I just upgraded to Office 2003 and I was stunned by all the junk the software left behind.

The upgrade went smoothly, but about a day afterwards, I ran one of my favorite pieces of shareware, Registry First Aid. It's a great piece of software that fine-tunes your Registry by finding bad and outdated Registry entries, and then fixing or deleting them. It helps keep your system running at top speed, and in tip-top shape.

You might imagine my surprise when I found dozens and dozens of bad Registry entries left behind by the Office upgrade. For example, in my copy of Office 2003, the new path to Word is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE 11\Winword.exe. For some inexplicable reason, the upgrade didn't bother to get rid of the old, outdated Registry entries that point to the previous Word installation. There were similar Registry entries left behind for old versions of other Office applications, like Excel and Outlook.

There's no need to bore you with the details of other Registry problems, but trust me, there were others as well.

Now, this may not be earth-shaking stuff. After all, my computer still functioned, even with the outdated and incorrect Registry entries. But over time, as your Registry fills with this kind of useless junk, your system slows down, and it's more likely that you'll encounter problems and crashes. That's why I run Registry First Aid once a week.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still glad that I upgraded. If you're an email junkie like me, Outlook 2003 by itself is worth the upgrade.

But is it really too much to ask Microsoft to do some basic housekeeping when it comes to installing software? If an adolescent boy can remember to take out the trash, why can't Microsoft?

Have you encountered similar junk left behind by Microsoft? What should be done about it? Let me know.


2004-02-18 01:33:17
Have you ever developed an application? How cheap it is just to bash Microsoft? You only appeal to anti-Microsoft bashers, and there are other sensible people in this IT industry, most of them are quite about Microsoft bashing, but I am guessing that they are increasingly getting sick of this anti-MS bashing going on. The article just points out that you couldn't find a topic to write about. When you use open office's next version, do you come here and post an article about the ugly user interface?
2004-02-18 05:31:47
I criticize Microsoft when they deserve it, and congratulate them when they deserve it. In fact, as I said in my weblog, I think the Office upgrade itself is well worth it. But it's just plain sloppy to leave so much junk behind when you do an upgrade. There's no reason that after having done such an elegant job of improving Outlook they can't do a simple thing like cleaning up after an installation.
2004-02-18 05:45:48
Totally agree ... but Microsoft aren't the worst
Totally agree that Microsoft should know better than this. However they are at least not as bad as other software houses (albeit embarrassing when this is THEIR OS ... c'mon guys).

You have to start to question whether the registry paradigm is really the essential problem and these issues are actually just the symptoms...