Windows' built-in Add/Remove Programs frequently fails to completely uninstall programs, leaving behind widowed files and registry entries to crud up your hard drives and clutter your system registry. Enter the uninstaller, a category of programs that aid users in cleanly removing junk files and ensuring that uninstallation completely removes programs, files, and registry entries. Here are seven of the best uninstallers out on the market to keep your system clean and trim.
Revo Uninstaller is frequently called the best third-party uninstaller out there, and with good reason. This tool hunts down widowed files and registry entries, giving you a cleaner uninstallation, even without monitoring the original installation. In addition, a Hunter Mode allows you to uninstall programs by clicking on open windows and dragging program icons. Unfortunately, the freeware version lacks 64-bit support, which comes with the Pro version ($39.25) along with loads of other features.
A powerful uninstaller option for 32- and 64-bit systems, Comodo Programs Manager monitors your system activity, tracking changes made to your system by installations. Then, when you want to uninstall a monitored program, Comodo Programs Manager neatly steps in to cleanly remove all changes it observed. Besides clean uninstalls, CPM also allows you to uninstall drivers and Windows features, batch uninstall, and more. Of course, CPM can only monitor programs after it's been installed, so it's not as useful for preexisting installations.
A powerful, portable uninstall utility, IOBit Uninstaller 2 is a great addition to your toolkit. IOBit Uninstaller 2 is designed to uninstall programs and search for widowed files and registry entries, even without installation monitoring. Helpfully, IOBit Uninstaller allows you to classify programs by install date, as toolbars, etc, making it easy to track down a particular program. Additionally, this tool's portable nature lets you keep it on a USB drive so you can take it with you anywhere. It bundles a lot of programs, so pay attention during install.
Advanced Uninstaller Pro bills itself as a "Swiss Army Knife for PC Users." AUP provides both uninstall scan and real-time installation monitoring, as well as a whole slew of other features. Startup manager, file shredder, and registry cleaner are among the extra tools bundled with the uninstaller. Ironically, AUP typically comes with bloatware during install, so pay attention during setup. AUP supports both 32- and 64-bit systems.
GeekUninstaller is a freely available uninstaller that provides after-uninstall scanning of leftover files and registry entries on 32- and 64-bit PCs. A "Force Removal" feature is available for stubborn or botched (un)installations. GeekUninstaller is a portable program, requiring no installation itself, and is light on features. If you're looking for a no-fuss uninstaller without extra stuff, GeekUninstaller is worth a try.
Ashampoo Uninstaller 5 is a full-featured uninstaller built around active installation monitoring. This program pays attention to newly installed programs, creating logs to make it easy to do clean uninstalls. In addition to the active monitoring, Ashampoo Uninstaller provides a slew of extra tools, such as a Startup manager, font management, and powerful and customizable backup features that work with System Restore.
CrystalIdea's Uninstall Tool is a portable uninstaller that provides both active install monitoring and an uninstall scanner. A Force Removal mode is available for stubborn programs, and batch removal helps you remove programs in bulk. Uninstall Tool also includes a startup manager to help trim down your system. Last but not least, Uninstall Tool includes a portable mode, allowing you to bring it anywhere on a USB stick.