Does Uninstalling R Remove Packages

R Programming

Uninstalling software can be a tricky process, especially when it comes to package management. Recently, I encountered a puzzling situation where I uninstalled the R programming language from my system, and I was left wondering whether it removed all related packages as well. Let’s delve into the details to understand what happens when you uninstall R and whether it effectively removes all associated packages.

Understanding Package Management in R

Before we dive into the specifics of uninstalling R, it’s essential to understand how package management works in the R environment. In R, packages are the fundamental units of reproducible R code, comprising R functions, data, and compiled code in a well-defined format. These packages can be installed, updated, and removed using specific functions and commands within the R console or integrated development environment (IDE).

Uninstalling R: Does it Remove Packages?

When I decided to uninstall R from my system, I assumed that it would also remove all the packages I had installed. However, to my surprise, this wasn’t the case. Upon uninstalling R, the packages remained intact in my library directory. This prompted me to investigate further into the behavior of the uninstallation process.

Uninstalling R typically removes the core R programming language and associated binaries from the system. However, it does not automatically remove any packages that were installed during the usage of R. These packages are stored in a separate library directory, and they are not removed by the standard R uninstallation process.

Manually Removing Packages

Now that we’ve established that uninstalling R does not remove the installed packages, it becomes necessary to address the lingering packages independently. To remove them, you can use the remove.packages() function within the R environment. This function allows you to specify the packages you want to remove, and it will cleanly uninstall them from your system.


In conclusion, the act of uninstalling the R programming language from your system does not automatically remove the associated packages. It is important to be aware of this behavior, especially when aiming for a clean removal of the R environment. Additionally, after uninstalling R, it is advisable to manually remove any packages that are no longer needed using the remove.packages() function within the R environment.