Saturday, May 12, 2007

Spanning Sync: the uninstall

Spanning sync had worked pretty well in my limited testing, but I couldn't solve the rest of my gCal sync challenge. Without the whole solution Spanning Sync just didn't offer enough.

Time to uninstall. But wait -- how to uninstall? Uninstalling the very best OS X apps is a drag-and-drop operation, but Spanning Sync includes a PrefPane. I started looking for uninstall directions.

At first things looked bad. The Spanning Sync FAQ doesn't mention uninstalling. One blog post suggested the process is pretty ugly. A search on the Spanning Sync site for "uninstall" returned four irrelevant hits.

I downloaded 1.04 again, and that's where I found an uninstaller. It seems to have worked. So they have one, even if they don't document it.

OS X really ought to have an uninstaller, even if most apps can be uninstalled by deleting them. (Though apps typically leave support data scattered around, you can use spotlight to find them. In the case of an app like Spanning Sync, you need to switch to each user's account and run a search if you want a full cleanup.)

Update 9/4/08: The iPhone made me a Spanning Sync customer after all. Meanwhile, a year or so after I posted this, Spanning Sync finally added a note to their FAQ about uninstalling. I'm glad they relented, but why did that take a year?


Larry Hendricks said...

Sorry to hear Spanning Sync wasn't a full solution for you, Gordon. The uninstaller is in fact documented on page 4 of the user's guide:

"The Spanning Sync download package includes an Uninstaller which will completely uninstall Spanning Sync, should you ever need to do so."

It's also the one of the buttons you can press when the "trial expired" window appears.

Larry Hendricks

John Gordon said...

User's guide? Gee, why would I look there?

Seriously, most of us are used to running a google search to answer questions. If you add 'how do i uninstall' to your FAQ the google search would work.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I looked in the user guide, and when I didnt see "uninstall" in the table of contents (most likely because some Marketing guy said not to put it in there) I search on Google. Thats how I came across this page. So, good job John. I am a registered user of Spanning Sync, and you've answered my question. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You guys should make it easier to uninstall. I've had the same problem... Documenting how to uninstall on page 4 of a user manual isn't the solution, considering the majority of mac users are accustomed to uninstalling via a simple drag and drop.

simon.chercka said...

I agree with the complaints. It doesn't make sense to have the uninstaller with the installer package.
I expect most people will try what I did - cmd drag the prefpane from the System preferences, and expect to never hear from it again.

Having to re-download the program to uninstall, simply doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gordon for investing your time on this matter. I don't think the people at spanning sync want us to have an easy way of uninstalling the damn program.

Charlie said...

To be clear, it's pretty easy to uninstall--just run the Uninstaller. But we could certainly make finding that app easier, so I've added it to the FAQ.

Spanning Sync

John Gordon said...

it took a while, but ok glad it's finally in the FAq. Google now sends people here as well

simon.chercka said...

Charlie, I agree - the uninstall is very easy once you have the uninstaller. It just goes against basic usability logic to have to add a program to remove another.

Wednesday Next said...

I ran the uninstaller yesterday,but here I am with 18 new calendars generated in ical,and 165 sync conflicts involving, and I can't get rid of the *&^%## thing.

Chris said...

I think its terrible that it is so hard to uninstall. It kind of like spam software in my opinion.

Gary Comstock said...

I agree. I've spent several hours trying to uninstall. When I try to download the program in order to uninstall it, I get an error message saying "unable to load sync preferences pane." so now i can't run it, can't update it, can't open it, and surely can't uninstall it. yet it keeps interrupting my work with popup windows saying it wants to help me sync my work. aaargh. this is malicious software!

Anonymous said...

This uninstall process is a joke. It is laughable that this is defended by the people at Spanning (Spamming) Sync. It is a pain in the neck.

Anonymous said...

I have done the following and spent over an hour attempting to uninstall Spanning Sync:

- Downloaded/installed a newer version (3_0_4.dmg)
- Tried to launch the 'Uninstall' icon (does not launch)
- Tried to use the 'Terminal' instructions (they do not work)

What is the PHONE NUMBER of the person whose time I can take alongside mine to walk through the uninstall process until this is done? I want to speak to someone directly and I want Spanning Sync to be accountable (in time spent) helping a very frustrated (and soon-to-be former) user of their software unwind this annoying application.

Please respond to cphenner (at) gmail (dot) com with the phone number I can call.


Thomas said...

By the hairy crack of Zeus!

Spanning sync shafted my macbook pro solidly. It would freeze the machine and require me to press the power button. This happened enough times to corrupt my harddrive and I had to do a full recovery on my OS Leopard install.

Then once I timed the pressing of my shift button by trial and error to when the power beep would have been I could get into safe mode and redownload the accursed program, so I could gain access to the uninstall.

This whole exorcism process took probably 10 hours of frustrating Mac time, spread over some weeks so my fury could temper between attempts.

Boo to Spanning sync! boo I say! boo!