There are lots of different tools around designed to uninstall software from your PC, but a program’s own uninstaller should always be your first choice. Go to ‘Programs and Features’ in the Control Panel (‘Add or Remove Programs’ in XP) and find the program you want from the list.
The exceptions to this rule are IObit Uninstaller and Revo Uninstaller, which run the application’s uninstaller first, if they can, then scan your PC for leftover files and Registry entries, and remove them. These sometimes do a better job than the program’s uninstaller on its own.
Stop software running
Some programs automatically start with Windows and run in the background. A running program can’t be uninstalled and, although the uninstaller should be able to stop it before removing it, it’s better to stop it running before starting the uninstaller. There may be an option in the program’s configuration settings or an icon in the notification area at the right side of the Taskbar. Right-clicking the icon should displays a menu with Quit or Exit options.
Look for leftoversUninstallers rarely remove everything. You should check your hard disk or files and folders used by the application you removed. Open Windows Explorer and go to:
If you can’t see the folder, press Alt, click Tools, Folder Options, View and select ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’. AppData contains Local, LocalLow and Roaming. Look in each folder named after the program you uninstalled and delete them.
Reinstall the programIf something goes wrong when a program is being uninstalled, the computer can be left in a state of limbo. The software hasn’t been removed completely, yet it no longer functions properly and might not appear in ‘Programs and Features’. If this happens, try installing the program again. This repairs the uninstaller and you can re-run it from ‘Programs and Features’ or use an uninstaller utility.
Use an install monitorAn install monitor is a tool that detects the changes made to the hard drive, Registry and other parts of your PC when software is installed. Armed with this information, all the changes made by a program can be undone when it’s uninstalled. There are several utilities that can do this and Mirekusoft Install Monitor is a good example. It runs in the background, waiting for you to install programs, and monitoring them when you do.
When you want to uninstall a program, you can run Install Monitor, select the unwanted program from the list and click Uninstall. The Contents tab shows all the changes that were made during the installation, and you can select any or all of them, then remove them with the Clean Up button.
Many programs create files when they are running. An install monitor won’t remove any files that were created days or weeks after installation, so you’ll still have to manually hunt around your hard drive for leftovers, as described above.