I did not notice any difference between them.

I was hoping "completely remove" will remove all hidden configuration files in the home directories, but it is not doing that.

So, what actually is the difference between them? And is it possible to remove also all configuration files when uninstalling an application?


3 Answers 3


To add a little bit to what Rinzwind and nickguletskii said, completely remove will remove configuration files in /etc directory, but never touch personal configuration files in your home folder, that can only be removed by hand.

  • Conclusion: files in home dir are not part of the package! +1 enzotib
    – Rinzwind
    Jun 21, 2011 at 17:12
  • thanks for the answer, the conf. files in /etc, what they stand for? what type of configuration is that? thanks again
    – suli8
    Jun 21, 2011 at 18:53
  • The short answer is: in /etc are stored all files that the administrator can edit to modify the operating system behavior, independently of the user. For some more information see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_Hierarchy_Standard.
    – enzotib
    Jun 21, 2011 at 20:32

The 'complete removal' option instructs Synaptic to remove any configuration files associated with the package as well.

Source: community wiki

Normal removal is equivalent to sudo apt-get remove application using terminal.

Complete removal is equivalent to sudo apt-get remove --purge application.

Files in your home folder are not part of the package so they will stay on your system until you remove them yourself.

  • your answer is formally correct, +1, but not completely clear for the average user, so i added my answer.
    – enzotib
    Jun 21, 2011 at 17:14
  • 1
    Ill make it more newbie friendly :-D
    – Rinzwind
    Jun 21, 2011 at 17:19

Removal will remove the package. Complete removal will remove the package and also remove configurations associated with the package.

So if you remove and then install a package, your settings will still be there. If you completely remove and install a package, your settings will be kept.

However, this will only remove configurations in the /etc directory, so that no personal information gets lost. Thanks to @enzotib for the clarification!

  • thanks for the answer which is the same as above. that clarify the thing. thanks again:)
    – suli8
    Jun 21, 2011 at 18:56
  • @suli8 I posted 30 seconds before Rinzwind :) Jun 21, 2011 at 19:19
  • @ nickguletskii lol...see i did not know that. thanks :-)
    – suli8
    Jun 21, 2011 at 21:02

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