If you’re reading this, I assume you’re logged into your Windows 7 system. Congrats! Now, let’s continue where we left off last time; in case you’re wondering, that was after you removed the virtual private network (VPN) network interface from your system. Now you have to figure out how to get rid of the remaining traces of VPN Network and the software that came with it. This article will walk you through a simple process of removing VPN Network from your system and reeducating Windows to never ask for VPN credentials ever again. It should only take about 15 minutes of your time, so sit back, relax, and get ready to #DeleteVpn.
Remove VPN Network and related artifacts from your system
Since we last left off, you’ve removed the VPN interface from your system and uninstalled the VPN application. This is a critical first step in the process of eradicating VPN Network from your system. As you’ve likely guessed, since you installed the OpenVPN client as part of the VPN process, this also uninstalled a ton of related software from your system. Specifically, this includes:
- The OpenVPN client.
- PIA’s (Private Internet Access) VPN software (if you activated their service during setup).
- And most importantly, the Windows VPN drivers.
These items are no longer needed, and removing them will help free up valuable hard drive space for you and your family. It might also mean a slight speed improvement in your system.
Clean out your computer’s registry
Before we begin reeducating your system, it’s important to clean out the registry of your computer. You can do this by pressing the Windows key + R key on your keyboard to open the “Run” dialog box. Then type: regedit and click OK. A registry cleaner like Neos, for example, will automatically find and remove unused registry keys that are no longer needed. Trust me; this will help make your computer faster and more stable. It also prevents certain issues that could arise from software conflicts. So do yourself a favor and run a registry cleaner every once in a while.
Remove unused applications
Speaking of cleaning out your computer’s registry, another important thing you can do is to remove unused applications from your system. Unused applications take up a ton of hard drive space, and it’s a good idea to keep your hard drive space as free as possible so you have room for new apps, games, and stuff like that. To do this, simply click on the Start button, click on the Settings icon (it looks like a gear), and then click on the Apps & Features tab. From here you can see a list of all the applications that were installed on your system by default, as well as any others you’ve installed yourself. To remove an application, simply right-click on it and then click on the Uninstall option. This will remove the application and all of its related components (like the registry keys) from your system. Plus, you’ll get rid of the entry in the Apps & Features list too. So don’t hesitate to remove applications you no longer need or want.
Disable system restore
You never know what could happen if you run out of hard drive space or accidentally delete something important. Thankfully, System Restore allows you to go back to a time machine-like state, where your computer is clean and stable. To use System Restore, you need to first enable it by navigating to the Startup tab in the Task Manager and then clicking on the Settings button. Next, you need to make sure that System Restore is enabled while you’re in Safe Mode, which you can access by pressing the F8 key after your computer boots. If it isn’t already, now is a good time to install System Restore. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually configure your Windows installation each time you turn it on (which is what you want to avoid).
Once you’ve done that, you can use System Restore to quickly revert your system to a previous state. This means you can get your PC back to a time when it was operating smoothly and there were fewer problems. This is a great option for when you accidentally delete something or run out of space on your hard drive. Just boot up into Safe Mode and then click on the System Restore button to bring up a list of previous configurations. Since System Restore is built into Windows, there’s no need to download and install a third-party application to use it. Plus, it removes the guesswork from the equation—you know exactly what version of Windows you’re going to be rolling back to because it will be the same version that was on your system when you started the process. You could also choose to restore only the last session or even create a restore point before you started having problems.
Make sure all your hardware is compatible with Windows 7
In case you’re curious, System Restore can only restore your system to a point prior to any hardware or driver upgrades. So if you’ve upgraded your hardware (like a memory card or hard drive) or drivers (like for your video card or sound card) since the last time your PC was restored, you’ll have to do some research to figure out if the new hardware or drivers will work with your existing system. Luckily, this is usually pretty easy to determine, as long as you’re not planning on using any of the advanced features of the new hardware/driver. Just make sure that your computer is physically capable of running Windows 7—for example, if it’s an older version of Windows that can’t handle newer hardware or drivers, it won’t be able to run Windows 7 without a few problems. (Note: if you’re looking for a guide to installing a specific piece of hardware on your computer, check out our How to Install a Hardware Device guide. That will walk you through the process of installing all the necessary drivers for the hardware you have in your computer. Just remember that it could take a while depending on your particular hardware and how long it takes to download and install the drivers.)
Disable Windows search
Another piece of software you might want to get rid of is Windows search. This feature allows your computer to search for text inside files, emails, web pages, and more. Since we’re removing a ton of applications and items from our system (including file search), disabling Windows search is a great way to save some space. Just navigate to the Start Menu and click on the Settings icon. Then click on the Search tab and uncheck the Auto-Search box. (You can also select which types of files you want to search in the drop-down menu.) Once you’ve done that, you can click on the OK button to save the change. You won’t be able to search for files anymore, but at least your computer will be a little faster because fewer files are taking up space on your hard drive. (Tip: if you ever wonder if an application (like Windows Search) is using too much space on your hard drive, you can right click on the application in your Start Menu and then select Properties from the menu. This will bring up the application’s properties window. From here you can see a list of all the files stored on your system and how much space each one takes up. This is also a good place to see if there are any updates available for the application.)
Hide unused Windows folders and drives
If you’re not using a specific drive or folder any longer, it’s a good idea to hide it from view so it doesn’t eat up any additional room on your hard drive. Navigate to the Start Menu and then click on the Settings icon. This will bring up the Settings menu, where you can choose to show or hide various system components—like the Recycle Bin, Desktop, and more. To access the hidden folders and drives, you’ll have to search for them in the Start Menu or use the Explore feature in the Windows 7 File Explorer. Since they’re not listed in your My Computer or Devices menu, it’s likely they don’t have any items stored on them. So it’s best to keep them hidden until you either need them or decide to purge them (delete them permanently).
If you want to remove all the traces of VPN Network from your system, you should be able to get back to a state where your PC is as clean as it was the day you first installed it. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment below. Good luck!