Best Free Program Uninstaller

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Introduction

     

     From the very first moment that you own a personal computer your operating system is mostly preloaded with various software applications for general purpose usage. More often than not, many of these sofwares are bloatware that you necessarily don't require for your daily computational habits. Sadly, this is not the end, because over time as you continue to use your personal computer you install different softwares when the need arises. However, when these applications have served their purpose, they simply reside on your system taking up valuable disk space. Some of these applications might also run in the background, if they have installed any drivers or services that runs on startup, that consumes your system memory and utilitzes processor cores, which slows down your system. 

     Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system in the world mainly because of the software ecosystem that it delivers to its users. An end user is provided with a multitude of softwares that can be downloaded from the internet or transferred to your sysem through external drives. To use them, they need to be either be installed on your system or used as a portable application usually by extracting the zip file where the program resides.

     Now if you don't require an application anymore, you can simply delete it's folder for a portable application to remove it completely. However if the program is installed on your system, this task cannot be replicated to remove it completely. Thankfully, Windows provide a built-in uninstaller to remove applications that are installed on your operating system. But this does not completely remove the application because it still leaves various associated files or folders, registry entries and so on that are related to the application. Below I have listed various reasons as to why a third party uninstaller is useful on your system. 

 

Why use a 3rd party uninstaller?

 

     1. Leftover cleaning - Unlike package managers in Linux which keeps its own list of files it installs, installers on Windows are free to do any changes on the host system once they are elevated to admin priviledges. This usually starts with creating files in Windows program files directory, adding registry keys and values, creating desktop shortcuts, storing program settings, integration with various file extensions, dumping DLL's, installing system services & drivers, introducing additional registry entries during it's lifecycle, creating/overwriting files during updates and so on. 

     Ideally uninstalling the program using Windows control panel must remove all the files, folders, shortcuts, regsitry entries, services, drivers, DLL's that comes associated with it. Most software developers provides an uninstaller for their application that is registered in Windows apps & features menu to quickly uninstall their app. Sadly, most of them does not do a thorough job at detecting and deleting all components associated with their program during installation and usage. This results in leftovers or remnants on your host system. 3rd party uninstallers do a much better job at deleting these leftovers by using advanced scans after it calls the application uninstaller to remove the program. 

     2. Batch & Silent uninstall programs - Apps & features menu in Windows 10 allows you to remove only one application at a time. Imagine you have so much bloatware on your system that you need to get rid of, and manually going through the uninstall process one by one? A 3rd party uninstaller allows you to select all the application through a checkbox that you want to remove and invokes each uninstaller one after another. A good one also let's you to silently uninstall each program in the background without requiring user input. 

     3. Uninstall various components - A 3rd party uninstaller not only let's you uninstall normal Windows application but also apps installed from Windows store, remove unnecessary or problematic Windows updates, disable or remove browser extensions & toolbars, select individual program components for uninstall and so on. 

     4. Forced & manual uninstall programs - At times application uninstallers can get broken or corrupted, and in this situation it's not easy to remove the program using normal means. A 3rd party uninstaller allows you to remove these programs and their leftovers without calling their default associated uninstaler. 

     5. Various uninstall modes - Apart from the normal, batch, silent, forced and manual uninstall discussed above, a 3rd party uninstaller also lets you to easily remove programs by letting you uninstall through right click context menu, hunter mode uninstall by simply clicking on the program shortcut or .exe file, or draging and dropping the program into uninstall window. 

     6. Additional features - Softwares from HiBit & Revo goes beyond their basic feature of simply uninstalling programs by providing you useful advanced tools to optimize your system that are discussed in their respective sections below. 

 

Detailed comparison

     

     For this review nine free uninstallers were tested and compared against each other. The uninstallers included (in alphabetical order) and their overall ranking and rating in brackets:

     Leftover files cleaning was tested by installing 11 different Windows applications namely: - CCleaner, Google Chrome, KMPlayer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, uTorrent, Adobe Flash Player, WinRAR, Internet Download Manager, YTD Video Downloader, ImgBurn, Media Player Codec Pack. (Note: some of the softwares tested with are commerial apps).

PS: Sorry if the layout doesn't look decent as it's a screenshot from my spreadsheet software, I didn't get time to finish some tests. 

 

Application Uninstallers

 

After extensive testing for about a month or so, here is my review of the Top 3 free uninstallers. For detailed reviews, click on the Read full review button.  

HiBit Uninstaller  

An amazing tune-up suite that masquerades as a simple program uninstaller


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free
Supports many different uninstall modes - batch, force, manual, context menu, silent, drag n drop etc., Powerful scanning and removal of leftovers with auto-clean feature, Monitor program installers manually for thorough removal, Continue uninstall process after reboot, Create restore points & registry backups to undo if required, Browser extension and Windows updates manager, Has many optimization tools available - junk files, empty folder, registry, disk cleaner, processes, startup, services, context menu manager etc., Supports skins & themes, Portable version available
Developed by a single author - FAQ's, forums, user manuals are unavailable, No automatic real time monitoring - only manual program installer monitoring, Doesn't support concurrent program uninstalls like BCU
Read full review...

Bulk Crap Uninstaller  

A geek's dream uninstaller software that boasts advanced features


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Open source)
Supports uninstall of concurrent programs & hunter mode, Beautiful colored legends separating uninstallers with verified & unverified certificates, having missing uninstallers, orphaned apps & Windows store apps, Allows you to filter system components, hidden/protected items & even program updates for uninstall, Cleans leftover files of programs uninstalled by other 3rd party uninstaller, Advanced search feature to filter programs, through comparison methods & target properties, Create custom rules, scripts & tweaks for install/uninstall programs and adding entries
Leftover removal not as good as HiBit or Revo application, Complex UI & uninstall screens that are better suited for power users rather than newbies, Slow startup to generate detailed information on installed components
Read full review...

Revo Uninstaller  

A popular uninstaller that works better than most in finding leftovers


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Hunter mode to easily uninstall programs, Powerful leftover files cleaning, Different scan modes for leftover files for safe, moderate, advance use, Various useful optimization tools - autorun manager, junk files cleaner, Windows & MS office cleaner etc., Well documented user manuals, video tutorials, FAQ and Email support, Portable version available
Various features restricted in free version - no batch uninstall or force uninstall or real time monitoring of system changes, Lacks other uninstall modes like context menu, silent uninstall, manual or concurrent program uninstall, No option to uninstall Windows updates or browser extensions Doesn't support resuming uninstall after system reboot
Read full review...

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Editor

This software review is maintained by volunteer editor George.J. Registered members can contact the editor with any questions or comments they might have by clicking here.

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Comments

Finally this category has been updated from scratch and we have a new top pick. 

I have been using Comodo Program Manager for years. It automatically monitors installs and also gives you a option to backup the program you are uninstalling if it has monitored the install. I lets you choose additional leftovers after the uninstall is complete. I always chouse all and have never had a problem,

Auto-monitoring software installs looks good, which is a feature that free version of IOBit also provides. Would like to test it later, however the program hasn't been updated for nearly a decade. 

There's a new kid on the block called Bulk Crap Uninstaller (in short BCUninstaller or BCU). Any comments/reviews on that? It's totally free and can be found at: https://www.bcuninstaller.com/
I can't remember whether it's okay to include the link to free software, so pardon me if that's a no-no.

Tested it, brilliant application. However it's more suited to power users, nevertheless it's the most advanced power uninstaller I've seen. 

Revo Uninstaller 2.0.0 has been released; the free version now detects and removes 64-bit applications. Here is the full changelog:

August 4th, 2016

Added: Full 64-bit support.
Added: Details Panel about selected program in Icon view.
Added: Export command(for the list of installed programs and leftovers).
Improved: User Interface.
Improved: Hunter Mode.
Improved: all 8 additional tools. (Appears not to be available in the free version)
Many minor improvements.

Softpedia offer a free portable version: http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Enhancements/Portable-Revo-Uninstaller.shtml .

AppRemover security uninstaller
I was asked to fix a computer for a friend of my brother, the computer was a complete mess, no password for windows , restore turned off ,windows corrupted. The main problem was trying to remove avast 5 which was completely corrupted, repair did nothing , avast removal tool couldn't run, install over also blocked. The uninstaller was missing I would have just started the computer over again but was worried I would lose the webcam software for the laptop. I planned to give up and put the computer away for him to use just to copy his photos Then I found AppRemover this products only job is to search for installed security programs list them and then offer to uninstall. To my surprise AppRemover saw avast 5 ( as no other remover did) and successfully removed this corrupted version . C Clean showed it left only 2 reg leftovers that were unimportant and now a new anti virus could be installed / AppRemover is now part of my repair toolbox . 5 stars

From the listed uninstallers I tried GeekUninstaller because it looked simple, clean and unbundled with other tools that I have covered with other programs (I'm not a fan of all-in-one solutions, because they are rarely equaly good at different tasks). In a few test uninstalls GeekUninstaller did the job and cleaned leftovers. But I missed extra security of backing up the deleted registry entries. So I tried Wise Uninstaller that I saw mentioned in the comments. It offers almost the same experience as GeekUninstaller, if not nicer interface. And it does keep backup of the deleted registry entries automatically (in the Log section). Also, I'm just prepearing my old computer for the move into my office and unlike GeekUninstaller (free version) it is allowed for use in bussiness setting. I did lots of uninstalls with Wise and didn't have any problems. Note that I did rarely found empty folders of uninstalled apps in User/AppData/Roaming. Don't know if that ever happens with GeekUninstaller, but I can live with that because I have backups of deleted registry enties and that seems more important to me than occasional empty folder.

I just installed GeekUninstaller Free version (1.3.4.52) on a Windows 8.1 system. After using it to uninstall a program, I noticed that the Geek window did not auto-refresh to show that the now-uninstalled program was now uninstalled. Then I used it to uninstall a second program, and this time it did auto-refresh. Have others seen this happen?

advanced uninstaller pro (which is a freeware, called pro). it can scan for left overs like revo, or monitor an install (before and after snapshot). it has 64 bit support. snap shot seems more thorough than others i've used (or slower), but very useful if trying out an antivirus or something potentially BSODish.

it seems to have opencandy bundled with it (according to malwarebytes pro) - which is not a biggy for such a complete free offering. just scan with malwarebytes free after to clean it up.

http://www.advanceduninstaller.com/

COMODO Programs Manager is the best!

because it monitors the installation process.

i didn't think they still made that? is it still in development?

IObit bundled with (Magic Barrage) third party software??? That sounds very strange to me. Where did you download it from??? I have been using IObit Uninstaller for over 2 years and have never had any issues and have upgraded also many time without any issues.... I currently have IObit v 5.0.0.49 Beta and all is good.

Has anyone happened to check this out recently (a 2014 comment from another site)?

"Based on advice in this thread, I installed IObit Uninstaller. I did not see any options during either download or installation offering additional programs. However, after several days, I started to see a popup appearing offering s game called Magic Barrage. I HATE such popups, because I assume they indicate some from of infection. After checking for malware, I googled Magic Barrage, and found indications that it was related in some way to IObit. I therefore uninstalled IObit Uninstaller, and the popups stopped appearing.

Am I correct in connecting these two? If so, be warned!"
_____________________________________________________________________________

P.S. Might be nice if the 'quick' recommendation of free Revo were amended to point out that the free one is 32-bit and does not remove 64-bit stuff.

You are right. I too searched about Magic Barrage, and found forums complaining about it, and in the end, it was found to be associated with IObit products. Also, someone spotted Magic Barrage being on IObit page, listed as partner or something. I did not find that now, but it was there earlier probably. Anyways, IObit products did seem to install some kind of update file in AppData folder in temp, which used to show pop-ups for Magic Barrage.

Strange as it sounds, but it seems to be true that it's associated with IObit products.

I myself downloaded and installed IObit Uninstaller in Sandboxie, and when I chose Custom, I was just provided the option to change the install directory, and nothing else. So, it looks like IObit are trying to sneak in adware on the users' computers, without giving them an option about it. And any adware that shows such pop-ups comes under malware IMO.

Sad to see that IObit have not taken lesson from their debacle years ago. I am sort of glad that editors do not feature much of their products on Gizmo's.

BTW, where did you download it from?

You are correct in that Revo Free does not support 64 bit software. IObit and Geek do.... and also free....

Geek.exe works just fine for me over about the last two years. The current version is 1.3.3.46

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.

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