July 31, 2007

Uninstaller Madness (updated August 7th)

Posted in Application Launchers, Beginner at 6:22 pm by gloriouscomputing

Uninstalling programs is quite the burden… by default. Thankfully, we have alternatives.

There are really two main reasons for uninstalling programs.

  1. You don’t like a particular program and wish to rid yourself of it.
  2. You realize you have way too many unused programs on your PC, and you want to go window shopping for free-space and performance. You may have forgotten a lot of the programs you installed.

So in either of these two scenarios, who are you gonne’ call? Well, the simple answer is: 1) Net Tools Uninstaller, and 2) Revo Uninstaller.
Both of these are free to use forever, so if you are a busy person: Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

If you have the time, let me explain my decision for you. First, there is your default choice.

Windows Add/Remove Programs
Unless you managed to never install anything, it takes a good eternity for the list of installed programs to populate. I would only use this if I had to, which I never do on my own computers. Once you install either/both of the other tools I recommend, you too should never have to come back to this.

Net Tools Uninstaller
This uninstaller is the underdog of windows software uninstallers. You probably never heard of it. The reason it goes under radar is that it is bundled with the Net Tools software package, which is entirely free. Net Tools feature some amazingly useful networking tools for intermediate to advanced PC users, but that is another matter, and you don’t even have to look at these if you don’t want to.

Make no mistake, Net Tools Uninstaller is the fastest* way to uninstall a program, unless you already have the program’s specific uninstaller handy.

Net tools

Running NetTools Uninstaller and waiting for the list of installed programs to populate takes under 3 seconds. As you can tell, that’s 215 programs that I have installed.

Also, unlike Windows’s default uninstaller, you can press letters on the Keyboard, and get to the first program with that letter. So I can press “C” to get to “Calculater Powertoy”.

Very good, overall. If you simply wish to uninstall things quickly, this is your program*.

PS: It’s a bit hard to get to by default after you installed Net Tools. However, if you use an application finder, such as Launchy, you can pull it up simply by typing “Uninstaller”.

Revo Uninstaller
Excellent program, again. It is much more feature-rich than Net Tools Uninstaller, but that comes with a cost of taking longer to load. I won’t be too critical here though, because it’s still light years faster than the Windows default.

All the bells and whistles you could want for an Uninstaller are here. A great feature is that it will hunt down some files/registry keys that a program’s uninstaller may have forgotten to remove. Again, this comes with a price of time.

Overall, it’s a wonderful program, and I’d recommend it to anyone. But don’t take my word for it

Enjoy getting rid of software you downloaded while under the influence. I know I do. 😉

*Update August 7th, 2007: A new challenger has arrived!

When I wrote this article, I declared Net Tools Uninstaller the winner of the fastest way to uninstall a program. This program still remains an excellent choice, certainly. However, I have discovered an even faster and more elegant way: FARRv2.

Yes, our good ole’ friend, the Find And Run Robot (Application Launcher) is about to get an update to version 2. Yes, I did say “is about”. FARRv2 is not technically released yet, although you will have little trouble getting the program (a simple email to the author will almost guarantee you a link to the FARRv2 release candidate).

I am trying really hard not to dwell on the general awesomeness that is FARRv2. This is an article about Uninstallers after all. I will say, however, that it has won me over, to the point that I have uninstalled Launchy (using FARRv2, to add insult to injury). It’s that good.

Using FARRv2 to Uninstall

  1. Hit Alt+Space to invoke FARRv2 (or whatever keyboard shortcut you set up)
  2. Type “un “, and start typing the name of the program that you want to uninstall.
  3. Hit Enter once it is found

That’s it. The uninstaller of that program will be launched. Here’s a picture

Yup. Simply amazing.

Summary

If you don’t trust a program to uninstall itself, or you simply wish to obliterate it, use Revo Uninstaller. (Revo was the only program able to uninstall iTunes properly for me)

If you just want to uninstall something quickly, use FARRv2, if that’s your application launcher anyway. If it is not, your best option for a speedy uninstall is Net Tools Uninstaller.

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1 Comment »

  1. gloriouscomputing said,

    Another option for a fast uninstaller is CCleaner.

    It doesn’t feel as good (and requires an extra button click to get to Tools>Uninstaller from the main program), but it’s about on-par with Net Tools Uninstaller other than that.

    http://www.ccleaner.com/download/builds.aspx


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