Best Free Program Uninstaller

 
Introduction

The Windows Add/Remove Programs applet in the control panel constantly annoys more advanced users with its limitations. Its load time and lack of features are parts of the problems to say the least.

Thankfully, many freeware programs have emerged that allow for full deletion of programs, including those files, folders, shortcuts and registry entries that are left behind.

Here is a list of my favorites, divided into two sub classes: application uninstallers and Windows uninstaller replacements.

 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion
Application Uninstallers:

Revo UninstallerThe top pick for me is Revo Uninstaller, an uninstaller that works more uniquely than others. It can uninstall a program without the need to monitor its installation.

It works by scanning a hard drive and registry for files that would otherwise be left behind. It removes all the program's files, auto start entries and all noticeable registry entries. When you ask Revo to uninstall a program, it first looks for the products uninstall program and will run that program if it is found. Only if the search fails will it try to remove files and registry entries itself.

However, it's possible that a few registry entries and files can sometimes be left over after the process is finished. I ran some tests by getting Revo to uninstall a product whose installation I had monitored using ZSoft Uninstaller (discussed below) to see that all files are accounted for during the uninstallation. Revo did a fine job, though not quite as well as an able user would do manually. There were still some files remaining, notably files stored in the user/local settings folder, but they did no harm other than taking up disk space, and they certainly would not interfere with the normal operation of the PC.

Revo can also act as a before and after uninstaller, but frankly this is not its forte. The freeware utility ZSoft Uninstaller is a better choice for this.

That said, I was very impressed by Revo. It is the only freeware product I know of that will make a decent job of cleaning up a failed install. Next time you encounter a failed install, remember Revo. It does a fine job in most circumstances and offers a lifeline to average users, even though it's not perfect in its un-installation.

 

GeekuninstallerLike Revo, GeekUninstaller works without needing to be installed before a program to monitor it, which for the average user is what they are looking for as many users will only reach for an uninstaller with extra features to the Windows built in add/ remove option when they have a stubborn/ broken program they are already having trouble removing.
 
GeekUninstaller is very lightweight as it doesn't install another program on your system it downloads as a zip file, just extract the files, once extracted just run the EXE, but it's not light on features. Like the Windows built in add/ remove option GeekUninstaller has a basic remove / modify option and for them stubborn programs it has force removal feature Revo free does not have this option. 
 
If you have a lot of programs installed there is a search bar built in to GeekUninstaller to search through your installed programs for the one you want to un-install. 
 
The features that really impressed me is the ability to select a program and view the registry entry for it. The user can also select a program and and access it's homepage directly from GeekUninstaller. In case you are unsure of a program name that's listed as installed on your system you can select the query program and do a Google search directly from GeekUninstaller. If you need a list of all your installed programs GeekUninstaller can export a list of them all with details of the program name, size and date installed to a HTML file saved on your PC.
 
When uninstalling using GeekUninstaller Geek runs the programs you wish to uninstall built-in uninstaller ( unless you choose force removal option )  and then Geek scans for leftover files and registry items so the user can get more of a cleaner uninstall than just using the Windows built-in option. In my experience of testing both Revo and Geek Revo seemed to scan and find more registry items but that was when I was scanning using the moderate and advanced mode in Revo rather than the safe-mode which is the mode recommended to the average user and the mode I usually use, as we all know deleting registry items willy nilly is not a good idea. When using Revo safe-mode Revo and Geek preformed about the same in finding and deleting leftovers, Geek only has one scan mode.
 
Although Revo will work on a 64bit system the free version doesn't fully support  64bit, whereas GeekUninstaller supports and works on both 32 and 64bit and when running on 64bit Windows system GeekUninstaller is runs as a native 64bit application. One last point to mention GeekUninstaller doesn't automatically create a system restore point before uninstalling a program so it may be an idea for the user to remember to do that themselves when they intend to uninstall a program see here on how to create a system restore point.
 

ZSoft UninstallerA further viable selection is ZSoft Uninstaller. Like many programs in this class, you need to tell ZSoft Uninstaller to monitor an installation before you do the install otherwise the uninstaller doesn't know what has changed. ZSoft Uninstaller does this by taking a file and registry snapshot both before and after the install and then does a comparison to find what's changed.

Another choice is Total Uninstall, which has turned into a commercial product but the last free version is still available from some download sites. It is quite capable but a little slow compared to ZSoft.

The before and after approach used by these products is not foolproof as other files may change in your system during the install which are unrelated to the installation. If you then uninstall, these changes will also be reversed with possible harmful consequences. It's not likely but possible. That's why I recommend using this kind of uninstaller only when the uninstaller provided with the program fails. There's no point risking problems when you don't have to.

Windows Uninstaller Replacements:

MyUninstallerMyUninstaller is a more capable product than the Windows version. It gives you much more information about each installed program including product name, company, version, uninstall string, installation folder and Windows Registry details. It also allows you to delete orphaned and obsolete entries from the list, as well as the ability to save a list of all installed applications into a text or html file.

My favorite feature is the ability to sort programs by the date installed which is great for quickly uninstalling programs you are just trying out. As no installation is required, it can be run from a CD or USB drive which makes it an excellent addition to your diagnostic toolkit.

SafarpAn alternative that offers similar functionality is Safarp. Its great strength is its speed - it loads in a flash. Safarp can be run as a standalone program or installed and integrated into the Control Panel.

Of course, none of these programs can remove leftover registry entries, DLLs and files that belong to defunct programs. To do this you need an application uninstaller, i.e. a program that scans or even monitors the original install so that it can work out more exactly what changes are made during installation, as discussed in the article.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Revo Uninstaller
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Removes leftovers without needing to monitor before an installation, only product that is good at cleaning failed install, small footprint.
Can remove other unrelated files with disastrous consequences, can be slow in scanning.
http://www.revouninstaller.com/
1.95
2.5 MB
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
XP, Vista, 7, 8
GeekUninstaller
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very lightweight, 64 bit support
Does not list the program developer name under the list of 'installed programs'.
http://www.geekuninstaller.com/
1.2.1.29
2.3 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8
ZSoft Uninstaller
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Monitors before and after installation to remove files and registry entries.
Need to tell the program to monitor an installation before you do the install.
2.5
1.2 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7

Will run on a 64 bit system and uninstall 32 bit programs from it, but does not support 64 bit removal.

MyUninstaller
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Provides detailed information, delete orphaned and obsolete entries, save a list of all installed applications into a text or html file. No installation is required.
Not as fully featured as other application uninstallers.
1.74
45 KB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7
Safarp
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Loads in a flash, can be run as a standalone program or installed and integrated into the Control Panel.
Not as fully featured as other application uninstallers.
http://wistinga.online.fr/safarp/
0.5
131 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
2000 - Vista
Total Uninstall
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Monitors before and after installation to remove files and registry entries.
Slower than ZSoft Uninstaller.
2.35 (Last free version)
685 KB
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
98 - XP

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Glyn Burgess. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

Windows uninstaller replacement, application uninstaller, program uninstaller, install and uninstall programs.

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Comments

by krall trott on 14. February 2014 - 9:26  (114471)

Please review decrap.

by zep321 on 4. February 2014 - 10:16  (114237)

Just a thought:

I've recently switched from revo to geek. As stated by others revo does not support
64 bit in the free version. Geek seems to do a great job in removing the program and the associated entries.
What I do ,and I'm sure many others also do,is run ccleaner after uninstalling, especially a large program with tentacles scattered throughout your hard drive.
It's like those guys that follow the elephants at the circus cleaning up after them with a shovel and dustpan. ccleaner gets the rest of the garbage.

by Epsilon on 2. July 2014 - 0:33  (117070)

Really love your anal ogy. A bit of colour in comments makes them more enjoyable to read.

Cheers.

by AJNorth on 7. February 2014 - 17:34  (112445)

Advanced Uninstaller Pro (also free, x64-compatible and offers additional functionality) has been updated to version 11.32 (2014.02.07); Softpedia review - http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/Advanced-Uninstaller... .

Geek Uninstaller (Free Edition) now stands at version 1.2.1.25 (2014.01.09).

by AJNorth on 29. October 2013 - 14:11  (111859)

Wise Program Uninstaller has been updated to version 1.57.76 (2013.10.28; 1.78 MB).

by Paxmilitaris on 25. September 2013 - 2:52  (110981)

Have IObit Uninstaller and Wise Program Uninstaller been evaluated?
http://www.iobit.com/advanceduninstaller.html
http://wisecleaner.com/wiseuninstallerfree.html

by johanlinden on 3. September 2013 - 19:58  (110492)

This software has been unchanged for as long as this site has existed. Or so it feels.

Time to check out some new things soon?

Well, this one got high grades at Cnet:
[cnet download link replaced with one to a clean source: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/Advanced-Uninstaller...
More information in the article below:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/cnet-downloadcom-wrapped-install...
Beware of the bundled unwanted software included with Advanced Uninstaller Pro anyway. Care is needed during the install process. MC - Site Manager]
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/what-else-have-you-just-download...

by melen on 24. July 2013 - 2:25  (109537)

I have used REVO and COMODO uninstallers and they do perform very well but I was wondering, have you ever done a review on IObit Uninstaller? I am currently using this software and it seems to do it's job very well. Have to say that the reviews on the software you guys do is very thorough and explained in such an understandable manner that even I, which I'm not a GEEK, can understand. Thanks for the time you guys put into the reviews.

by MidnightCowboy on 24. July 2013 - 5:43  (109541)

We are less than impressed with the operational ethics of IObit, including their attempts to spam this site, which is one of the reasons why some editors choose not to feature their products. MC - Site Manager.

by Panzer on 17. July 2013 - 15:43  (109340)

dUninstaller is stand-alone, portable, definition based automatic application uninstall utility. Based on d7′s Auto Uninstall feature, it functions in the exactly same way, and utilizes the same definition file; however it has the additional ability to run silently uninstalling what it can, and reporting what it cannot uninstall automatically, as it can generate a log file and/or send an email with the results.

The intent of dUninstaller is to push out via group policy to workstations, or to managed PCs from remote monitoring / managed services software such as Kaseya, nAble, Level Platforms, GFI, etc. etc.:
http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/duninstaller/

by zdub on 8. May 2013 - 1:51  (107540)

Revo Uninstaller free does not uninstall or even show 64-bit programs! And you really gave it 10 stars???

by MidnightCowboy on 8. May 2013 - 4:22  (107542)

As you can see from the review, it currently has no editor and needs updating. Maybe you would like to take this on and give something constructive back to the freeware community? MC - Site Manager.

by EduardTsoy on 18. April 2013 - 11:00  (107167)

Looks like Revo Uninstaller's free edition is stuck at 1.94 version, which has many bugs (very often doesn't see some installed programs, occasionally hangs when uninstalling, etc.).
(on WinXPSP3 and Win7 Home Basic)

by George.J on 15. April 2013 - 6:28  (107108)

One of the major cons in Geek Uninstaller is that, when a new version is released (according to a specific time period), the current version becomes inactive, and you won't be able to use it. It forces the user to update to the latest version.

This isn't happy news for those who want to use it on offline computers. I believe that it's not according to the release of the newer version that the current version becomes inactive, but it depends on a set time period. Because, the program refused to start-up hinting that the current version is expired, on my laptop which is never connected to the internet.

by MidnightCowboy on 8. May 2013 - 4:20  (107541)

The developer has now removed this feature with the latest release. MC - Site Manager.

by Prof. Jewell on 14. March 2013 - 17:43  (106245)

"ZSoft Uninstaller
Our rating:
9
Product type: Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Pros:
...
*64 Bit compatibility: 32 and 64 bit versions available*
License type: Unrestricted freeware
Portable version available: A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
System requirements: 95 - Vista/7"

From the ZSoft site:

"A little about 64-bit support
*Let it be known: ZSoft Uninstaller v2.5 still does not really support a 64-bit OS.*
Further explanation: ZSoft Uninstaller v2.5 will run and work fine, for uninstalling, analyzing and whatnot, 32-bit programs on a 64-bit system. As a 32-bit program itself, it cannot (as standard) 'see', for instance, the 64-bit part of the registry -- but neither can other 32-bit programs, so it shouldn't be that big of a problem.
As said, this 'blindness' is 'as standard', and hopefully I'll be able to release a '64-bit-aware' version at some point."

by MidnightCowboy on 14. March 2013 - 23:54  (106255)

Many thanks for pointing this out. I have amended the product details accordingly. MC - Site Manager.

by TimeServed on 29. January 2013 - 23:08  (104948)

Revo is a first-class program, as is Geek.exe. I've used both for some time now with (cross fingers!) no mishaps. Altho' I do, of course, back up the registry before using either of them.

by karadzha on 24. January 2013 - 10:59  (104778)

Geek Uninstaller and Wise Program Uninstaller are very, very good&pleasant apps.
I present them in BG sites and people are satisfied of them.

by JohnMorgan on 7. December 2012 - 1:20  (103409)

These programs all work well when using it on a programs, but I have started using AppRemover and they have a large Antivirus list and worked really well when I accidently downloaded two.

by MidnightCowboy on 7. December 2012 - 2:13  (103411)

AppRemover is an excellent tool but before using it, it is vital to check that the program version number you are trying to remove and your operating system are both supported. MC - Site Manager.
http://www.appremover.com/supported-applications

by vamkikoka (not verified) on 1. December 2012 - 21:00  (103180)

Comodo Programs manager is quite cool too.

by godel on 5. November 2012 - 2:04  (101894)

Add to the list Advanced Uninstaller Pro 11.

I was most impressed with the range of functions offered.

My only qualm is it gives less information on just what it is deleting, after the deleted program's uninstaller has done its work, compared to Revo. I believe this was a full commercial program which went freeware.

Some have bitched about the AVG task bar being offered during installation, but the custom, no-crapware option is available with one mouse click, so I don't count this as a problem. My version was installed in June 2012 and was a ~19MB download.
[Commercial references removed]

by Panzer on 17. September 2012 - 9:09  (99366)

Wise Program Uninstaller helps you uninstall your unwanted programs or forcibly uninstall the program you can't uninstall by Windows or other programs. Moreover, it also can remove the residual entries which may drive you mad. The much-anticipated Wise Program Uninstaller has many attractive advantages such as easy to use, simple but elegant GUI, etc., but most of all, it is compatible with Win 8 and free of charge.
Features:

* Free of charge
* Support of Win 8
* Able to search more leftovers after an uninstall than other programs
* More thorough and complete removal
* Combined Safe Uninstall and Forced Uninstall together
* Added program repair feature
* Support of multiple languages
* Provided online help documents

http://www.wisecleaner.com/wiseuninstallerfree.html

by Marius Dejess (not verified) on 6. November 2012 - 11:10  (101942)

I removed it completely because when I used it, it required me to do a lot of steps which are intended to compel you to buy something from them.

But their registry cleaner is good and definitely free, so also their disk cleaner.

I am very disappointed with their trick in their free uninstaller, compelling you to buy with requiring you to supposedly register, etc., but afterwards it turns out they want you to buy else no further advance in their program to start the real work of uninstalling.

Marius Dejess
Nov. 6, 2012 1909 hours

by Marius Dejess (not verified) on 6. November 2012 - 11:24  (101943)

I must apologize.

I was talking about this Wise uninstaller which is downloaded as this file,WiseUninstaller_Setup.exe.

I just downloaded the one with this file name, WPUSetup.exe, which is okay, and it got rid of Microsoft Net Framework which resisted uninstalling.

Sorry.

I wonder now whether the other one which tries to trick users to buy from them is really from the Wise people.

Marius Dejess
Nov. 6, 2012 1923 hours

by Arda (not verified) on 11. October 2012 - 11:56  (100636)

There's also a multi-uninstaller programs especially for news PCs

PC Decrapifier
SlimComputer (has a unique feature: it can scan suspicious startup files/services etc with many antivirus software plus user comments about that file)
click for others

http://alternativeto.net/software/pc-decrapifier/

by Panzer on 24. August 2012 - 6:20  (98233)

" ... Install Monitor allows you to see the impact installing an application has and fully remove it when you decide to uninstall. It can help solve problems that are caused when a program does not uninstall properly. The result is a cleaner and more efficient system.

Install Monitor works by monitoring what resources such as file and registry are created when a program is installed. This allows you to see what impact installing a program has and helps you to remove it if necessary ..."

http://www.mirekusoft.com/products

by Sylvester (not verified) on 22. August 2012 - 22:44  (98170)

I want to thank you good folks for enlightening a novice like myself. Never thought computing was that "dirty". I have a question and hope someone can help. CCleaner has an uninstaller section - how good does it stack up against your recommendations. Have always used Microsoft's program, but still find plenty of stuff left back, especially in the Registry. Thanking you in advance and do keep up the good work.

by qwertu on 16. August 2012 - 8:29  (97776)

A very good freeware I point to is Geek Uninstaller (http://www.geekuninstaller.com), the others 'free' are crappy

[Moderator's note : Shareware/commercial programs not allowed to be posted on the site. The site is about freeware, please respect that.]

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