Program Uninstallers (Programs that uninstall other programs)

 

“Uninstallers” are programs that uninstall other programs, like Windows “Add or Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” does.  These programs are replacements for Windows “Add or Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features”.

My fav is ZSoft Uninstaller.

CAVEAT: ZSoft Uninstaller and another popular choice, “Total Uninstall” both have what’s called a “snapshot method.”  The “snapshot method” works by taking a picture of your registry and your files before and after the install of a program.  So, yes, you have to be alert to this before you install the program.  If your program is already installed, you have to use ZSoft’s more benign method, or Revo Uninstaller (which i also like and used for a while).

I think Steven Avery at DonationCoder.com phrased it extremely well:

1) One caution on the snapshot method.  Installs sometimes go ahead and install .Net components or Visual Basic or Visual C++ or maybe other semi-system components, perhaps Java as well.  A snapshot method would by default go back and try to undo those parts of the install, which can cause problems.

My take — note carefully during the install whether anything like this occurs and if so — note this carefully where you won’t forget (perhaps a dummy folder name) — the simplest is uninstall in the more generic Revo-style way, rather than the snapshot way. Or if you do the snapshot method anyway, come up with your plan on how to handle this.  (e.g. Java is less of a problem because you could use JavaRa and then reinstall).  However I think you would normally simply not use the snapshot method if such external components are installed. Some of our accomplished Total Commander users might share with us their experiences on this aspect.

That aside, ZSoft Uninstaller can be very helpful in cleaning up after an install.  Revo Uninstaller can do this too.  I ALWAYS check to make sure what I’m deleting is ok to delete.  When in doubt, i leave it.  So this feature is for somewhat advanced users.

I also think Steven Avery (still at DonationCoder.com) gave a really good summary of the options available:

Uninstaller roundup, with the emphasis on 3 solid in-depth programs.

Revo Uninstaller, Total Uninstaller and ZSoft Uninstaller.

And 7 more down below.  Half of the 10 are freeware.  Ok, on recount there are 11, 6 free, but we can consider FARR a special case. From the System Restore thread :

Revo Uninstaller
http://www.revouninstaller.com/  (no forum)

is very good, far, far better than Windows Add/Remove (its a shell around Add/Remove, giving additional features and better searching.) And it is what I use, although I rarely uninstall.

If you ever need to have “closest to 100%” uninstallation then you go to :

Total Uninstall – powerful installation monitor and advanced uninstaller – $30
http://www.martau.com/tu.php
Forum
http://www.martau.com/forums/
Last Freeware Version
http://www.aplusfreeware….tegories/util/uninst.html

And the third major player.

ZSoft – freeware
http://www.zsoft.dk/index/software_details/4
Forum
http://forum.zsoft.dk/
Zsoft Uninstaller  (10/2007)
http://www.donationcoder….m/index.php?topic=10333.0

Here are solid discussions of the three, with some other mentions.

http://forum.piriform.com…index.php?showtopic=15858
Total Uninstall or Revo Uninstaller, Which is best (which should i keep) (Piriform Forums)

http://www.techsupportale…-program-un-installer.htm
Best Free Program Un-installer – Gizmo

http://www.lifehacker.com…windows_systems_on_the_g/
Clean Windows Systems on the Go with Revo Uninstaller Portable

http://www.lifehacker.com…_crapware_from_your_pc-2/
ZSoft Uninstaller Removes Crapware from Your PC

(Note the developer’s informative comments at bottom, acknowledging lacks as well as new features. I’ll chop ’em up.)

“Total Uninstall … takes snapshots before and after …the best way … ZSoft Uninstaller can do this too … Revo searches for leftovers .. the current version of ZSoft Uninstaller doesn’t do this …the newest beta … does have this feature – search the desktop, start-menu, send-to menu, application data folder, ‘application main folder’, and registry for leftovers (if you tell it to)”

The problem with Total Uninstall (which I used awhile) and any before-and-after-snapshot style is that it can make the installation far more cumbersome.  Who wants to do that for anything but the most complicated installs ? (Maybe some sort of Visual Studio or Dreamweaver or a complicated virtual sandbox pseudo-defense system.)  Or an install that you really have doubts about.  (Does TU work very well in a simple no-snapshot mode ?  Dunno, there are a couple of reviews on onsite and here and there.) With Revo and ZSoft around for free .. most don’t want to purchase a program that is only marginally better.  However, since you may only want a Total in specialty cases, the humoungous installs,  it might be good to at least have the last freeware Total version ready, or use ZSoft snapshot.

Note that ZSoft is used in both modes, so if he is truly enhancing his “clean-up after” mode, as in the comments above, ZSoft becomes a very interesting freeware alternative.  I haven’t checked for any comparisons after his new release went the post-remove cleanup route.  Maybe in his forum there are some discussions.

In here I have included most of the dedicated Donationcoder uninstaller threads for a couple of years, but there are some goodies around 2005-2006, especially about Total Uninstaller.

Seven more with solid reps:

farruninstall – FarrUninstall plugin for Find and Run Robot
http://code.google.com/p/farruninstall/
FARR Uninstall Plug
http://www.donationcoder….um/index.php?topic=9246.0

MyUninstaller – Nirsoft (freeware)
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/myuninst.html
My Uninstaller – Donationcoder 2008/02
http://www.donationcoder….m/index.php?topic=12406.0
Remove Item In “Add/Remove Programs” 03/2009
http://www.donationcoder….m/index.php?topic=17637.0

Absolute Uninstaller – Glarysoft – freeware
http://www.glarysoft.com/absolute-uninstaller/

Safarp – Open Source – Freeware (2005) – lite, fast
http://wistinga.online.fr/safarp/
Forum – http://wistinga.sourceforge.net/forums/  some activity 2007-2008

Advanced Uninstaller Pro – $40
http://www.innovative-sol…com/uninstaller/index.htm
Forum
http://www.innovative-sol…92f287f4f&showforum=4

Your Uninstaller – $40 (bundle deal some like)
http://www.ursoftware.com/product/uninstaller/
Your Unistaller 2008 just released.
http://www.donationcoder….m/index.php?topic=11254.0

Uninstall Tool – $25
http://www.crystalidea.co…=show_page&name=utool

Smarty Uninstaller – $20
http://www.winnertweak.com/uninstaller/

================================================================

As I rethought this, I made my own decision (sort of a recommendation).  Everyone should consider having two programs handy.  One like Revo for the basic uninstall situation.  Revo is the unqualified leader, ZSoft is just trying now to be right there in the mix, and a bunch of others are definitely very good, with their own style and advantages, if you are using them and happy — clap your hands. You can stick with them fine.  Even Windows Add/Remove alone is .. usually .. sometimes .. ok.  Most of this is not mission critical.

And in the back holster we have the snapshot program.
Which generally is either :

Total Uninstall $30
Total Uninstall Last Free Version
ZSoft

(Putting aside some possible techie possibilities that are less automated like RegShot, that might be helpful, at least for visibility.  And  probably for some people the two programs will be one.  ZSoft being the only one, perhaps, with both snapshot for the toughies .. and post-dinner cleanup for the regular .. a feature which many like .. and also free.)

You may use this snapshot install-uninstall once every few months, or never, but when you get that humoungous program that you are taking on a demo, or that problematic program that you want to try out .. the one that is known to leave hundreds of registry entries and little .dlls everywhere .. then you load up TU or ZSoft !

So we have successfully bifurcated the uninstalling suggestions !

Shalom,
Steven Avery

« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 01:00:24 PM by Steven Avery »



References

“Uninstaller Roundup – Revo – Total – ZSoft & the less magnificent seven” at DonationCoder.com

“Best Free Program Uninstaller” at techsupportalert.com

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