Best Free Program Uninstaller

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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.

 
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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 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 ideal 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.

 
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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.
1.95
2.5 MB
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.

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'.
1.2.1.29
2.3 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.

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

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.
0.5
131 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.

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.

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.
 
 
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

Uninstallers are all potential system corrupters. When I tried various ones, I found and manually fixed problems that they found and didn't fix or didn't even find.

For example, install an application--even using an uninstaller that takes a pre-install snapshot--and then install more applications, and then try to uninstall that first application you used the with the pre-install snapshop uninstaller. The result is often such a mess, including breaking the subsequent applications, that you may be better off not uninstalling that first program. I have seen uninstaller use resulting in having to reinstall the entire OS and applications.

If you are going to install a big application (Microsoft Office, Adobe suites, CAD tools, etc.), you should consider creating and saving an image of your C: drive first. If you discover the big application causes conflicts or you don't like it, restore the C: image--you will lose any applications you installed between the image creation and restore, but the system will not have been corrupted by the big install. To be safer, you can even create incremental images before every application installation--a 4TB drive can hold a LOT of incremental images--and then you have a choice of when in time you want to restore back to.

P.S. If you use an uninstaller, be sure it has the option to find what it thinks are things to change, but allows you to approve/disapprove--or manually fix--each one individually.

What happened to IObit Uninstaller? Why isn't it even mentioned? REVO is a very good uninstaller but it will not uninstall 64 bit software unless you use the paid version while IObit, I find, is better removing "left over" files and registry input from the uninstalled program and I'm talking about the FREE IObit Uninstaller. I also use GEEK Uninstaller which I consider to be better than REVO.

The IObit product was removed some time ago due to their persistently spamming this site. I am only acting as caretaker for this category so nothing will be radically changed, or added, until someone volunteers to take it over. MC - Site Manager.

Hi MidnightCowboy or anyone that might like to respond.

Sorry in advance if this is getting redundant, but I landed here looking for an alternative to the (free) Revo because I'm so fed up with it after a few years of being fine with it (seems like the latest free Revo has remained the worst). Ever since my forced upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1, my Vaio is way too slow, & Revo can't seem to 'see' half the stuff Windows uninstaller can 'see' & vice versa.

I was gonna try IObit - only because it was used in a YouTube video I used to successfully fix Firefox on an old Acer (running XP) that Revo very recently basically destroyed (I was trying to update it for a friend/make some room).
SO my main question is re: the Revo review & comment after UNHAPPY FACE: "Can remove other unrelated files with disastrous consequences..."

Since it's #1-ish - is there another free one you would recommend that's Revo-ish without the "...disastrous consequences..." for someone that doesn't know which files to save or put back & more 64-bit friendly? THANK YOU!

One issue is probably that you are now running 64-bit Windows 8 and installing 64-bit applications which Revo Uninstaller Free cannot see because it is 32-bit. The paid Pro version does provide 64-bit compatibility but at a price. The Best Free Program Uninstaller article tells you this but the comment is under GeekUninstaller which sounds like it would be your best option to try: 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 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 ideal for the user to remember to do that themselves when they intend to uninstall a program.

Hi MidnightCowboy...

Thanks for the comment. I was not aware of that issue. I have used IObit Uninstaller for more than 2 years with excellent results and no issues so far. Maybe you should try posting IObit Uninstaller again. I'm sure that you might not have that issue again. IObit's Uninstaller is really an excellent tool and GIZMO'S readers should have info and access to IObit's software.

I use Revo and ZSoft also Geek Uninstaller as I change programs frequently as many dis appoint or install pups or try to. The problem with free programs is that they dont uninstall every register entry and some even re-instate themselves.Like a poster above I use other programs to show up those registry entries one of which is Everything thats can show if it is really removed or still lurking in the registry.Leaving those alone is not a good choice as they often come back and hit you. This also helps with the speed of your system

Revo takes so much time to load the entire list, not for someone who install/uninstall apps regularly.Use it only if you have a program which you can't remove using any other Uninstaller

ZSoft :- don't know why it is here.it's search functionality is poor.Not at ll user friendly.

Geek uninstaller: I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It's fast, portable and easy to use. Resource friendly too.

I would recommend Advanced uninstaller, IObit uninstaller and Wise uninstaller also.

It takes longer - cause with default setting it displays a more detailed info about the installed applications (app name, install date, version, size, company,website,comment, uninstall string, registry key) compared to Geek Uninstaller (app name, size and install date).

You can make Revo load faster while still displaying that info - by disabling icon appearance. Go to Revo "Options" - click Uninstaller tab and check "Enable fast loading mode".

I have tested various versions of Revo over the last few years, and I've given up using it or recommending it because other apps and the os (XP or 7) start to mess up after a while of using it with the default settings. I install and test apps and games constantly, and I can't waste time scanning every list of left-overs before I allow an uninstaller program to clean up. Of course I do analyze the results for more intensely integrated or tricky installations, so I'm referring to 'normal' apps and games that aren't trying to do anything too fancy or transparent.
I've had very few problems with Advanced Uninstaller Pro [beware of unwanted bundled components] for the last year since I learned that it is basically free. It is loaded with tools and tweaks, but I perform most of those additional functions with special apps. It has been a very reliable uninstaller, and I highly recommend that anyone try it out.
[Commercial reference removed]

Please update the review for Geek: everyone saying it's incompatible with 64 bit is *wrong*. I've been using it on a 64 bit system for over a year.

I used Revo before that and to be fair I'd never go back to it: Geek finds as many leftovers as Revo, is less heavy on unnecessary stuff and is much faster.

I remain convinced that Geek is not fully x64 bit compatible, at least in the free version. See this from their own developer: http://forums.crystalidea.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=464 It was always the case that the program (free version) would "run" in x64 bit systems but would only support the clean removal of x32 bit programs installed in it. There is no mention of any changes to x64 bit related performance in their log for the free version: http://www.geekuninstaller.com/download Only for the pro version: http://www.crystalidea.com/uninstall-tool-version-history?ref=geek What it says is "Compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/XP/Vista/2003/2008", without specifying if this relates to x64 as well as x32. IMO this whole issue is a fudge on behalf of the developers who also chose not to respond to a contact I sent regarding this ages ago. Until they make the information on their site more clear, we will still be listing it as is. MC - Site Manager.
I'll be really disappointed if it's not as I was hoping to try it out for the best free Windows 64-bit uninstaller. Comodo Programs Manager is no longer being developed. :( Anyway, I will be testing it in a couple of weeks.

Please review decrap.

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.

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

Cheers.

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).

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

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...

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.

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.
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/

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

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.

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)

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

"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."

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