In order to uninstall a package from Emacs I read that I must delete the specific folder from the elpa folder. As the .emacs file is being written by itself when I install a package does that mean that it will also delete itself when I uninstall a package or I must delete specific entries by myself? Also I installed an auto complete package and inside elpa folder I found a folder with the name popup-20141002.320. Why was that folder in there? Can packages install other packages? If so then when I uninstall the first package I must uninstall also the one it installed by itself?

  • Installing packages via package-install should not alter your init file. And yes, the package manager will install dependencies for packages you install. So popup is a dependency for auto-complete.
    – nispio
    Oct 25, 2014 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


When you uninstall a package, it is deleted for you. This is actually the entirety of the uninstall operation (see the package-delete function). Deletion can also be done manually by removing it from the installation directory (defaulting to .emacs.d/elpa/ for user-installed packages). This manual deletion does not have any adverse side-effects on the package-management system, which simplifies recovery should things go wrong.

Packages may depend on other packages in order to function properly. These dependencies are automatically installed when you install a package through the built-in package manager (package.el). If you are using M-x package-list-packages to view available packages, then you can see what packages will be installed (if they are not present) by pressing RET or clicking on a package name.

Uninstalling a package through the interface does not remove dependencies. This information is not documented ăs far as I can tell. You can see for yourself by reading through the package-menu-execute and package-delete functions or by installing a package with a dependency that you do not have installed, then removing the main package and observing the dependency's status.

Update Since emacs 25.1 there is a command package-autoremove that deletes packages no longer needed because they were only installed as a dependency of deleted package. If you delete an installed package from the package list, then emacs pops up a suggestion to run this command when appropriate.

  • 1
    Also I wouldn't try to delete the dependency packages as more than one package might be depending on them, not just the one you are trying to delete. Oct 25, 2014 at 12:53
  • Any symbols loaded into Emacs appear to remain in Emacs until you restart Emacs… Feb 27, 2022 at 14:55

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