How To Uninstall Applications Efficiently And Remove Obsolete Files

cleanIf there’s something Windows and Mac users share, it’s the problem of uninstalling applications – and removing the debris left over.

Most uninstallers on Windows don’t remove everything, and often times they leave behind orphaned registry keys, file type associations, icons or even entire folders.

If Mac users have it easy, a simple drag and drop into the AppCleaner, there are lots of alternatives for Windows users which range from ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’.

I’ve found two that are – just nice.

Piriform CCleaner


Piriform CCleaner, available as freeware, scores high points all around with a simple interface and a complete set of features. CCleaner will:

Ads by Google

  • Search the computer and remove obsolete system files.
  • Delete browser history, cookies and cache for all the major browsers.
  • Search the registry for problems, back it up and fix it.
  • Uninstall applications, rename and remove entries from “˜Add/Remove Applications’.
  • Remove or disable start-up items.
  • Automatically update itself if you allow it.

CCleaner is in my opinion, the best choice at the moment if you’re looking for an application to keep the cruft under control. I run CCleaner on my Windows XP SP3 machine almost weekly and every time I do, it removes at least 50MB of unnecessary files as well as a few registry keys.

Revo Uninstaller


Revo Uninstaller, although it has a more advanced uninstaller routine, comes in second because the interface is slightly clunky when compared to CCleaner. In addition to removing applications and cleaning the registry, Revo Uninstaller also has:

  • “˜Browser Cleaner’ that removes traces of web surfing.
  • “˜Microsoft Office Cleaner’ that clears the recent documents history.
  • “˜Windows Cleaner’ that removes cache and history files from Explorer, such as Recent Documents.
  • “˜Evidence Remover’ that overwrites free space to clean tracks of already deleted files and an “˜Unrecoverable Delete’.

The “˜Hunter Mode’, specific to Revo Uninstaller, enables you to choose the application you want to remove with the mouse – which is useful if the program you’re trying to remove doesn’t show up in the Add/Remove Programs list.

In order to write this article, I’ve also tested Absolute Uninstaller, Safarp, Perfect Uninstaller and MyUninstaller. I didn’t include these alternatives in the article because they’re not worth your time – either they’re worse than the integrated Windows application or they require you to upgrade to the so-called premium version.

Not impressed by either apps? At MakeUseOf, there’s always another choice. Check out these articles for other popular uninstallers and security apps:

  • Ncleaner – The App That Tells CCleaner To Take A Hike
  • 10 Most Downloaded Free Security AND PC Care Programs
  • Keeping Under the Radar and Securing Your PC Files

As always, I’d like to hear from you in the comments. Which application do you think is better? None? Suggest one for us then!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *