I installed a bunch of software.

Then I removed most of it.

I used a variety of methods. AppCleaner for some things,

mdfind -name 'Adobe Flash' |parallel rm -rf {} 

for others.

I removed app store software in by clicking on the little "x", and then manually cleaned out all the stuff that did not get removed.

I've gone after the receipts and .bom files.

I enabled locate, in order to get it all.

However, the Installations option in "System Information" continues to display software that is gone.

I find this disheartening, and confusing.

What strategies do I need to employ to perform the equivalent of say,

aptitude purge foo


The software is gone. I can reinstall it via App Store or other methods. Where have I missed? Pls advise.

1 Answer 1


The flat files method of saving receipts was ended in 10.5 Leopard.

For Snow Leopard systems and later, the package receipts are stored in a database at /Library/Packages/db, so you'll want to use pkgutil to query and manipulate the receipts inside the database. It's probably a sqlite store, but the man page and all books I've read strongly recommend using pkgutil

 pkgutil --packages #to list the installed packages

And once you've assembled a list of packaged to delete you can pass them into the tool and instruct it to forget those packages.

 pkgutil --forget com.apple.pkg.HP_Chuckwalla

Reading in the pkgutil man page as well as Peachpit Advanced System Administration book should cover any options I forgot to mention.

  • I am all over this, I'll get that book today. Very much appreciated sir!
    – chiggsy
    Nov 15, 2012 at 3:08
  • Hmm, this actually raises another question.
    – chiggsy
    Nov 15, 2012 at 3:51

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