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Uninstalling a Windows program is not nearly as simple as it should be. On Android or Mac, all you need to do is remove or delete the program from the Applications folder. On Windows, you can’t just hit ‘Delete’ — you need to run the software’s uninstaller.

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that the ‘Uninstall a program’ option in the Windows Control Panel does not always completely remove it from your system. Traces like registry files or program folders may remain.

To get rid of an app once and for all, you need to use uninstallers that analyse all of a program’s connections and offer to delete each aspect: the program, its folders and files, and its registry entries. These tools often come with additional features, such as batch uninstalling and program sorting. And they are much easier to use than the Windows program.

There are so many third-party Windows uninstallers to choose from, however, that you might not know which one to get. So here are the right Windows uninstallers for your needs…

Portable, Lightweight & Batch Mode: IObit Uninstaller 2

The irony that most uninstallers need to be installed is not lost on IObit Uninstaller 2. So its developers made sure this app is a portable, lightweight, standalone EXE file. At just 1.47MB, you could easily carry it on a pen drive or even keep it in your Dropbox, as Jeffry suggested in his review How To Force Uninstall Unwanted Windows Programs Using IObit Uninstaller How To Force Uninstall Unwanted Windows Programs Using IObit Uninstaller Read More .

The app is quick to start and list all the programs installed on your Windows machine, arranged by categories: All Programs, Toolbars (a cool feature!), Recently Installed, Large Programs and Windows Updates. You can further sort each category by name, size or install date, as well as search for software.

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IOBit-Uninstaller-Batch-Uninstall-Windows-Portable

IObit Uninstaller 2 shines with its batch uninstall mode, letting you queue up multiple programs to be removed, one after another. The installation procedure first starts the app’s built-in uninstaller, after which you can run the ‘Powerful Scan’ to look for and remove registry entries and other associated files. You can also choose to create a System Restore Point before it starts, in case things go wrong. If the program doesn’t have a built-in uninstaller, you can use ‘Forced Uninstall’ to remove it cleanly.

The downside is that the ‘batch’ mode isn’t automated, so you still have to click through the uninstallation steps as you normally would.

Be aware that IOBit Uninstaller 2 makes you download bloatware if you try to get it through the official website. I advise you head to Softpedia or Majorgeeks and download it there.

To sum up, IObit Uninstaller 2‘s key features are:

  • Portable, no install required
  • Batch uninstaller to speed up process
  • Auto-sorting of programs into categories
  • Easy-to-use interface

As an alternative, you might want to check out Geek Uninstaller, which is a similar portable uninstaller GeekUninstaller Will Uninstall Programs You Thought You Couldn't [Windows] GeekUninstaller Will Uninstall Programs You Thought You Couldn't [Windows] When it comes to third-party uninstallation software, everyone knows of Revo. It's often considered to be the top of that class. However, many alternatives exists and it's great to offer the MUO audience a choice.... Read More that scored high in our review.

Quick, Thorough & Easy: Revo Uninstaller

One of the most popular uninstallers around, Revo Uninstaller is the default choice for many geeks — and rightly so. In my test, I found it was the fastest and most thorough of all the uninstallers that didn’t have a real-time monitor.

Revo’s UI is a little outdated, but you can navigate it easily. When you remove a program, you can choose to run only the built-in uninstaller or also run quick/extended/deep scans of the hard drive and registry. This is at your own risk, but in all my years of using Revo, I have always used the deep-scanning Advanced mode and never once had it delete an important file mistakenly.

Revo-Uninstaller-Hunter-Mode

Revo Uninstaller also has a cool ‘Hunter Mode’ which puts a crosshair on your screen. In case a program isn’t showing up in the list but you can see its icon on your desktop, drag the crosshair to the icon to remove the program cleanly.

The Pro version of Revo Uninstaller contains features like Force Uninstall, Batch Uninstall and Real-Time Scanning. And at $39.25 for a single-computer license, it’s not worth it at all — especially when you see our last and best uninstaller.

To sum up, Revo Uninstaller‘s key features are:

  • Gives users control over how deeply to scan for trace files, and which ones to remove
  • Very good detection values
  • ‘Hunter Mode’ makes it easy to delete programs

Real-Time, Robust: Comodo Programs Manager

Of all the uninstallers I tested for this article, Comodo Programs Manager is my favourite.

It includes an ‘active monitor’, which none of the others have. This means that Comodo is always running in the background and scanning for changes that any installation makes. So when you’re uninstalling an app, it doesn’t have to wait for a deep scan.

In my tests, Comodo was the fastest uninstaller and also found more registry files than its contenders.

Comodo-Programs-Manager-Windows-Uninstaller

Besides, Comodo Programs Manager has an easy-to-use interface that also lets you remove drivers, services and Windows updates. You can also ‘switch off’ built-in Windows features like Games, Microsoft .NET Framework, Internet Explorer, etc. And it has an auto-backup utility to reverse any damage caused by a mistaken uninstallation.

However, Comodo has two disadvantages with its active monitor. You can’t multi-task when installing a new program, or Comodo will associate wrong registry or file changes with it. I ended up losing an image file this way. And the real-time background monitor takes up precious computer resources. That said, these aren’t deal-breakers.

To sum up, Comodo Programs Manager‘s key features are:

  • Real-time monitoring for better speed and accuracy
  • Easy interface
  • Ability to remove or stop built-in Windows services and features

Which One Is Right For You?

The best uninstaller for you depends upon what you want. If you are looking for a quick-fix, IObit Uninstaller 2 is great. If you want to run a deep scan and have some control over which files are deleted, Revo Uninstaller is the way to go. And if you want a robust solution at the cost of little resources and multi-tasking, then Comodo Programs Manager is brilliant.

So which one of these uninstallers seems like the best to you and why? Do you have any others that you would recommend over our solutions?

  1. Revo™
    October 30, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Revo Uninstaller Pro

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:C5D9F71151459B37CC51B595F1BD02CA8776F21B

  2. Revo™
    October 30, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Revo Uninstaller Pro Latest

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:C5D9F71151459B37CC51B595F1BD02CA8776F21B&dn=Revo+Uninstaller+Pro+3.1.7+-+SeuPirate&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.openbittorrent.com%3A80&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.publicbt.com%3A80&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Ftracker.istole.it%3A6969&tr=udp%3A%2F%2Fopen.demonii.com%3A1337

  3. zeroday1
    January 27, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    In reference to the comment about third-party apps messing up Windows and keeping it from running smoothly-------I would have to respectfully disagree with your logic.

    It all depends upon one major fact-------if you know what you are doing and also how to edit the registry, in order to dislodge any remaining left-overs from an uninstallation, then quite frankly, there are some good third-party apps that still do a far better job than the built Windows program module.

    The key point here is this-------if you don't know what you are doing, then you probably shouldn't use these third party apps, but for those of us whom understand how to manage these applications and how they interact with Windows-------the choice is a no-brainer.

    Revo Uninstaller is still far superior to Windows built-in program uninstaller and it even has a junk-file cleaner so that you can do an additional scan of your system to find any other left-overs.

    No one is saying that these applications are perfect, and it's to be expected that some files may still be leftover in your system after an uninstall, but as I mentioned, those whom know what they are doing, know that in addition to the operations performed by these third-party apps, they can also scour the registry themselves to remove any other files which tend to bury themselves pretty deep on a Windows system. To be fair about the whole thing, it is possible to do this.

    As a warning to the average end-user reading this and to all other inexperienced pc-owners whom do not understand how to navigate the registry-------the message is obvious-------don't, lest you actually break something and then need further assistance from an expert whom you should be consulting anyway if you're that concerned about your system and any left-over junk.

    I repeat-------don't mess with the registry if you don't know what you are doing!

    The consequences could be disastrous!

  4. Sergio
    November 30, 2013 at 5:26 am

    The five best uninstallers:
    1. Total Uninstall Professional (shareware)
    2. Comodo Programs Manager (freeware)
    3. Revo Uninstaller (freeware)
    4. Soft Organizer (shareware)
    5. Smarty Uninstaller 2012 v.3.0.1 (shareware)

  5. Nash J
    October 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I use C-Cleaner. Works for what I want it to do.

  6. Mostafa Akhlaghi
    September 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Best Unistaller tools?
    There are none!
    I used IObit but it left some registries and folders. So I shifted to Your Unin-staller!. It's better than the other software - Auslogics or Iobit or even Ccleaner.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Haha, that might be a little extreme, but I get where you're coming from. I agree about IOBit not doing as thorough a job as some would want, which is why I suggested Revo and Comodo. Do try those too, perhaps those might help?

      I tried Your Uninstaller and found the removal percentage to be better in Revo and Comodo both.

  7. Dalsan M
    September 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I have a portable app toolbox, which includes IOBit Uninstaller, Revo Uninstaller, and other software to hunt for orphaned files, folders, and registry items. Revo Uninstaller can be turned into a portable app by copying the Revo Uninstaller program folder onto a portable drive. This way I don't have to download Revo onto a computer I'm working on, then have to uninstall it after I'm done. I don't like leaving traces when working on someone else's computer, so just just about all I use are portable versions of software. I've used the Revo program installation from a Windows Vista 32 bit system and it works on any version of Windows from XP to Win 8, both 64 and 32 bit.

  8. UUUnicorn
    September 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    When you open CCleaner, about the third or fourth tool down the left-hand side is "Tools". One may uninstall software this way.

    I've used it, and I'm happy with it. This being said, though, I'm not certain how thoroughly software is removed.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      Yeah, CCleaner lets you uninstall software much like how Windows itself does. But it doesn't clean out trace files, like Program folders, Appdata folders, or Registry items. You can still clean registry a little with CCleaner (there's a registry cleaner built in), but it's not as thorough and doesn't work on per-app basis.

  9. Theodore F
    September 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Revo is my choice since it has never failed me. I have been tempted to try I Orbit for its ability to run on a flash drive. I also like Revo because they don't bug me to upgrade to the premium version. Speaking of which, I would be willing to pay for a premium version of Revo if it would run on a jump drive.

  10. John
    September 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    The compromise I would try with Comodo is install it, and then disable the background service. Then, when I want to install something, start up the background service, install the new app and then shut off the background service again until the next install. If I then want to uninstall the new app, I would start up the service and tell Comodo to uninstall the app.

    Of course, if Comodo also keeps track of what everything does after installed, then my idea won't work.

  11. Framton G
    September 9, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    I've used Revo for years and never had a problem with it. Programs uninstall cleanly and the "leftovers" removed without any fuss.
    In short - great!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 4:05 am

      Same here, Framton. I had never tried anything apart from Revo for years because it was just doing the job so well. I've switched to Comodo now though, so I'd suggest you give it a shot :)

  12. Sam K
    September 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    U forgot to mention Total Uninstaller

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 4:06 am

      Not sure if Total Uninstall and Total Uninstaller are the same here, but I'm assuming that's what you meant. If yes, then I did try it out. In detection, Total Uninstall was on par with Comodo, slightly outperforming Revo. But the fact that it's paid made it a no-go over Comodo in my books.

    • Sam K
      September 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      @Mihir- Yes, I meant Total Uninstall. Though paid, I believe it is the only software to track application installs that require reboot.

  13. Jay Raahm
    September 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Looks like no one has heard of Total Uninstall!
    It is considered to be the king of all uninstallers by the cognoscenti.
    It's a paid utility, but there is free version available, floating around in the web
    that can be downloaded. Just do a search for it :-)

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 4:04 am

      Oh is it? I did review the trial version of Total Uninstall in this, but considering Comodo and Revo had free options, they won out. In detection, Total Uninstall was on par with Comodo, slightly outperforming Revo. But the fact that it's paid made it a no-go over Comodo in my books.

      If you could link me to the free version, I'd really appreciate it. Might be worth editing the article to include a note about that :)

  14. Matthew Unwin
    September 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I personally use geek uninstaller which you covered in a previous article and it doesn't have many features but is lightweight, portable and works!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 3:59 am

      Matthew, Geek Uninstaller has been covered in this one too :) Look at the last line of the IOBit section

  15. Zach L
    September 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I have used Revo Uninstaller (the free version) in the past and like the job it does. It's simple and I can install it on my relatives' computers to get rid of the crap they've downloaded, and even give a couple of the more savvy ones a lesson in how it works. I particularly like that I can use it to suppress the programs that insist on loading on start-up.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 10, 2013 at 3:59 am

      I'm a fan of Revo too. For a relative's PC, I'd use the same because real-time monitoring isn't important with them. Plus, I don't trust them not to multi-task while installing something, which can screw up a real-time monitor like Comodo :)

  16. Mihir Patkar
    September 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Actually, Shakti, CCleaner doesn't remove trace files :)

    • Jim J
      September 10, 2013 at 4:44 am

      CCleaner does a decent job of uninstalling apps,programs etc & has some other useful features.

  17. SHAKTI SINGH
    September 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    No one is talking about the cc cleaner, it is the leanest and the cleanest of all even lighweight :P

  18. michel
    September 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    None of these are any simpler than Window's built in uninstaller. None of them remove everything. Those that alter the registry are dangerous.

    I've said it before: all my Windows trouble and flakiness disappeared when I stopped using third party utilities. Now that I leave it alone to do its job, Windows is stable, fast and reliable.

  19. Anton M
    September 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I like Soft Organizer. It's very simple and cool!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      I agree, Anton, Soft Organizer was among the ones I tested. And if software updates and installation were criteria, it would have won over IOBit. But since this was pure uninstallation, I found IOBit's removals better and the segregation of apps to be easier for a lay user.

  20. Arun Kumar
    September 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Revo is my No#1. It gives you export list of which all applications do you have in on your computer. So that in case if your computer goes for crash you can still get the names of all the applications which you had installed in your computer.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      I'm with you on the export list, man, purely because as a serial OS-switcher, I'm always formatting my hard drive and it's good to know what I had installed :)

    • Kelsey
      September 11, 2013 at 2:20 am

      Why are the simplest, neatest ideas...the ones I never think of? :)

  21. Eric M
    September 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Tanks for the article, though I've tried many uninstallers and have never been satisfied with any of them.

    I'm a fan of manual control over anything in the Windoze OS, out of hundreds of Windoze clients they are always happy with the performance of their computers after I'm done with them (general clean-up, malware removal, setup, etc.).

    However, I do love using CCleaner as my primary Windoze "roto-rooter" utility.

    Other than that, stick with Mac. :)

  22. Cooper
    September 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I use Soft Organizer (http://www.chemtable.com/soft-organizer.htm). It has a few unique features and very easy to use.

    For example, it has the ability to remove traces later after program removal. In addition, it can check for new versions of installed programs. Best program manager with the ability to completely remove.

  23. bedlamb
    September 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I use Revo uninstaller. Works well.
    Can't imagine wanting an uninstaller which is always running in the background.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Unless you have RAM limitations, Comodo is not that bad. And it manages to catch trace files better than Revo, in my experience. If you've got 6GB of RAM and upwards, I don't think it should cause a problem.

  24. Rob-155
    September 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I like very much Geek Uninstaller (Geek Uninstaller is x64 machines too, while IObit is only x32)

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      I agree, Rob-155. Geek Uninstaller is great. I recommend IOBit over it mainly because of the interface, where it does a far better job of being easier for average users. I'm sure you'll agree that Geek Uninstaller is best left to geeks like us ;)

    • Joel L
      September 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I just gave Geek Uninstaller a try and it's awesome! Intuitive interface, lightweight, and comprehensive removal. A++++. Thanks for the mention.

    • Rob-155
      September 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

      I agree completely

  25. Joo
    September 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    1. IOBit was accused of stealing Malware's database... don't know if it's true but after the news, I prefer some other companies if other choices are good enough.

    2. Heard that the Free version of Revo Uninstaller doesn't work well in 64-bit system? Paid version works though.

    3. Comodo Program Manager is discontinued?

    Thank you for this nice article.

    • Jake B
      September 10, 2013 at 3:08 am

      Yeah, I can't use Revo. It only does x86 programs, and completely ignores x64 ones unless you pay.

      Oh how I wish for the good ol' days.

    • Kelsey
      September 11, 2013 at 2:17 am

      Guys, I'm using the free Revo on a Windows 7 64 bit laptop and desktop, a Vista 32 bit desktop and a Windows 8 64 bit laptop.
      I've had no problems that you've described. Maybe you should give it another shot with the latest version, 1.95 I believe.

  26. Fred
    September 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    None of the above work, they always leave folders/files behind. I currently use iOBit and it never removes all traces, always leaves behind folders in the program files and/or appdata folders. Even in the registry. On Win7. A manual nuke is better.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Fred, I'm sorry if the above didn't work for you, but they did a great job for me. I specifically set up a clean install of Win8 for this test, and monitored each installation and uninstallation with InstallWatch, which tracks registry and file changes. I also manually checked the program files and appdata folders after an uninstallation to make sure they were gone. Perhaps the programs we tried were different? Could you please tell me which software you used and found traces?

    • Bharat
      September 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      iObit -- Good but don't use Registry cleaner ( Iobit uninstaller is a part of ASC which comes with a registry cleaner. )
      Revo Uninstaller - free version is Good .
      Comodo - worst experience .

      Best option Use CCleaner and while cleaning registry ( after the Uninstallprocess )
      uptick Missing Shared DLLs and ActiveX and Class Issues boxes.

    • Kelsey
      September 11, 2013 at 2:08 am

      Ive been using Revo for several years now and maybe it's worth another try for you, Fred. It's the most thorough uninstaller I've ever used, and I've used several.
      Comodo is good, but I don't like the constant resource usage, even on my fast i5. I'm just forgetful enough to try multitasking during an installation (busy peope do that sort of thing, you know) , and I surely dont need corrupt files. Ugh!

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