Duplicate Programs in User Folder

The installation of Snow Leopard prompted me to do something semi-dangerous — delete a bunch of duplicate programs.

These duplicate programs resided in my “Users” folder under the folder “Adam” (the other folder is “shared”).  Because I have this inane trust in Apple, I assumed that these programs were supposed to be there and that they were not in fact true duplicates.  I thought that they were just a link to the main file.

I was wrong.

Snow Leopard made me look at my old Mac programs, which I thought would have been deleted during Snow Leopard installation.  The old Mac programs were not deleted.  I copied to new Snow Leopard Mac program version into my “Apple” folder.

I then looked at the “user –> Adam” folder.  All the programs in that file were the older (sometimes much older) version of the most recent version of a given program.  The most up-to-date version of the program resided in my “Application” folder.

I have no idea how these programs came to reside in this location.  I never directed them to install here.  My guess is that they installed in this location at the same time of the original program installation.  As I updated the file that also resided in the “application folder” these files did not change or update.  My assumption (giving Apple the benefit of the doubt) is that these files reside here as a backup in case your main application version becomes corrupted somehow.  This is smart except for one problem — if you do a spotlight search for a program, it is not clear which version is the updated one and you may end up using the older one.  Apple should delineate the the backup file as such.  Of course, this is only speculation.  Maybe this is something that is wrong with my machine.

With that said, I have Time Machine so I deleted away.  I deleted 90% of the programs (about 80 files).  I recovered about 3 gigs of space.  My computer is still running fine without any issues (yet). If you are worried about doing this, don’t worry too much.  No problems here thus far.

Next time I install a file, I will check to see if it copies to the “user –> Adam” folder.

Has anyone else seen this occur?  Is this normal?  Is there a way to turn this off?

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