How to Totally Uninstall Applications
By on September 15th, 2009

Recently Techie-Buzz published an article about Revo Uninstaller. It allows you to do a better job cleaning up the junk files, folders and registry entries that a typical Windows Add/Remove session often leaves behind.

The use of third party uninstall utilities like Revo is primarily based on the idea that software authors may not put much effort into uninstallers. Sure they provide you an uninstall option, but do they really care if they leave some garbage behind? In many cases, I’d guess that they aren’t very concerned. After all, you’ve already decided that you didn’t like their software, right?

Besides Revo Unistaller, there is a class of uninstall utilities that work a little differently. Sometimes they can do an even better job of removing unwanted files and registry keys. I’ll tell you about two that I use often.

One of my favorites is the last freeware version of Total Uninstall.

tun-screenshot

The other is Zsoft Uninstaller.

zsoft_shot

Today I tried the Seven Remix XP program. After using it’s built in uninstaller, I was still left with a strange Vista boot splash. Fortunately I’d used Total Uninstall to watch over the installation. I was able to run it and remove all the changes it had made. By the way, I really did like the Seven Remix program even though I decided not to keep it.

Both Total Uninstall (TUN) and Zsoft work by allowing you to monitoryour system during a program installation. Before you start the actual installation of a new program, you will run TUN or Zsoft to take a snapshot of all the system files and registry settings. Next they allow you to perform the new program installation. Finally, once the new installation is finished, they prompt you to take a final snapshot of the system files and registry settings.

The before and after snapshots are compared so that TUN and Zsoft can record the exact changes that the new program installation made to your system. Later you can fire up TUN or Zsoft to reverse all of the changes that were made. In other words, you have totallyuninstalled the program.

Here’s quick comparison of features. It’s not complete but it will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Zsoft

TUN-lfv

Lists all installed programs

Yes

No

Provides other cleanup tools

Yes

No

Lists programs it monitored

Yes

Yes

Outputs Installation log

Yes

Yes

Options to select monitored registry hives

Yes

Yes

Options to ignore selected registry areas

Yes

Yes

Options to ignore selected files and folders

Yes

Yes

Tree view of registry keys and files

No

Yes

Easy removal of sections of install log

No

Yes

Here are a few more details about these two programs.

Zsoft is a currently supported freeware program and continues to improve in speed and reliability. The version of Total Uninstall that I use is the last freeware version and it’s currently not supported. The author of Total Uninstall has a great shareware version that is considered to be one of the best around. I’d recommend it to anyone who can afford it.

Here are a few tips on usage for uninstallers that monitor (analyze) installations.

  1. These programs cannot track any changes made to your system after you’ve taken the last snapshot. They only monitor changes made between the before and after snapshots. They may not be able to help you recover from problems you encounter long after you’ve installed an application.
  2. Don’t expect these applications to do a good job of uninstalling an application that was not monitored with a before and after system snapshot. If you don’t use the monitor functions, they’ll only do as good as Windows Add/Remove does. In fact the freeware version of TUN will only list applications that it’s monitored. Zsoft will list everything installed on your system but you’ll have to go to the Analyzedtab to find the applications that it monitored.
  3. These programs are best used on software that you aren’t sure you want to keep. They work best if you can decide quickly if you want to uninstall. I’ve even used them to install adware and spyware programs for testing and then removal. The log files that TUN and Zsoft generate can be very valuable in finding out what sneaky programs have been up to.
  4. You can even use these programs to monitor guests on your PC. Log in as administrator then run a beforesnapshot. Close the program and log out. Now you can let other users have the PC. Later, you can log back in as admin and run the aftersnapshot to examine any changes they’ve made to the system and reverse them if you’d like to.

I hope this article has taught you a few more tricks for keeping your PC running more safely and cleanly. Be careful out there and have a nice day.

Download Total Uninstall or Download Zsoft Uninstaller

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
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Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
 
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