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I'm uninstalling Microsoft Office 2011 from a rather new MacBook running 10.8.4, and Microsoft's website says to delete (among others) all files beginning with com.microsoft located in /private/var/db/receipts/.

I've read that in general it's inadvisable to delete such files (.bom's and .plist's) from your receipts folder willy-nilly, since it could affect other software or the OS. But since I'm not running any other Microsoft software on this machine, and since Microsoft recommends deleting them, I suppose it's safe in this case.

However, I found what appear to be duplicates of those files (same names, permissions, sizes, etc.) located in /var/db/receipts/, which Microsoft's site doesn't mention. I'm wondering if it's safe to delete (or even move) these as well, and I'd be curious to know the purpose of these two different directories.

For reference, the files Microsoft says to delete (abridged list, there are 76 in total):

$ ls -l /private/var/db/receipts/ | grep "microsoft"
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     53798 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.mau.all.autoupdate.pkg.2.3.3.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       395 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.mau.all.autoupdate.pkg.2.3.3.plist
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel    159800 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.merp.all.errorreporting.pkg.2.2.8.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       405 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.merp.all.errorreporting.pkg.2.2.8.plist
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     35959 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.all.clipart_search9.pkg.14.2.0.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       423 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.all.clipart_search9.pkg.14.2.0.plist
...
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     38552 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.en.word_wizards.pkg.14.2.0.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       415 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.en.word_wizards.pkg.14.2.0.plist

The files they didn't mention (again, there are 76 total):

$ ls -l /var/db/receipts/ | grep "microsoft"
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     53798 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.mau.all.autoupdate.pkg.2.3.3.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       395 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.mau.all.autoupdate.pkg.2.3.3.plist
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel    159800 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.merp.all.errorreporting.pkg.2.2.8.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       405 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.merp.all.errorreporting.pkg.2.2.8.plist
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     35959 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.all.clipart_search9.pkg.14.2.0.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       423 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.all.clipart_search9.pkg.14.2.0.plist
...
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel     38552 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.en.word_wizards.pkg.14.2.0.bom
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel       415 Sep 10 21:54 com.microsoft.office.en.word_wizards.pkg.14.2.0.plist

And I stumbled across another unmentioned location, which I wonder about (what it is and is it safe to remove it?):

$ ls -l /private/tmp/ | grep "Microsoft"
drwxrwxrwx  3 root             wheel  102 Apr  2  2012 Microsoft

$ ls -l /private/tmp/Microsoft/
total 8
-rwxrwxrwx  1 root  wheel  6 Apr  2  2012 launch

Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

7

The files are not duplicates, but, linked.

At the top level of the hard drive, /var is linked to /private/var; and, /tmp to /private/tmp

So, /var/anydirectory would also show up as /private/var/anydirectory. Deleting one will also delete the other.

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