Installing programs, no matter what operating system you’re running, is simple. Windows programs generally come with an installer. Mac programs are often drag-and-drop, or some also use an installer. Linux can be a bit trickier, but often you’ll find an installer, otherwise you can generally install from source. Getting rid of those programs, on the other hand, can be difficult. Sure, it’s simple to use the uninstall program in Windows, or drag the program to the trash on a Mac, and Linux users have uninstall utilities as well. But often you aren’t really getting rid of everything. The application may be gone, but configuration files, libraries and empty folders are often left behind. For Windows users, a fantastic program named Revo Uninstaller exists.
I tried out the free version of Revo Uninstaller to see what it was like. The Pro version offers more features (more on that in a bit), but I knew I wasn’t in the market for the $39.25 asking price (less per license if you purchase a 2-computer or 4-computer license pack), and besides, the free version offered up a good slate of features. Really good features, as I found out.
Now, I’ve tried programs like this before on a Mac, and they were super simple to use. It was always best if you had the uninstallation program installed when you first installed the program, because then it would keep track of exactly which files and folders were added to your system, to make sure everything was removed when the program was deleted. Revo Uninstaller is much the same. The Pro version, actually, can monitor installs, but the free version was still very thorough. And that’s probably the best word to describe Revo Uninstaller: thorough.
To uninstall a program, simply click its icon in the list. The program’s normal uninstaller will get rid of the program, then Revo Uninstaller goes after everything the other uninstaller left on your computer. This can be configuration files, empty folders, even registry entries. Anything and everything Revo Uninstaller sees that was left behind, it offers to delete.
But more than that, Revo Uninstaller offers a suite of tools to help protect your privacy and speed up your computer. It offers a suite of 8 tools for this:
Autorun Manager – This allows you to select which programs that want to run at startup are allowed to. This can really speed up startup, especially since many programs install bits of code to ensure “their” program starts up quickly, even if you might not run it.
Windows Tools – A dozen or so tools that are already installed, such as Security Center, System Information and Disk Defragmenter. All can be accessed elsewhere, although some are commandline only. Revo Uninstaller puts them all in one convenient spot.
Browsers Cleaner – Works with Internet Explorer, Opera and Netscape, to clean web history, address bar history, temporary files, cookies and index files.
Microsoft Office Cleaner – For the main five Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and FrontPage), you can get rid of your recent documents history.
Windows Cleaner – Get rid of your “history” on a computer, including recent documents, find file history, start menu usage logs and more. Basically, if you’re worried someone might see things you don’t want them to see (for whatever reason), this tool will make sure that doesn’t happen.
Evidence Remover – Permanently erase items that you have deleted. When a computer “deletes” a file, it’s really just removing its existence from its file directory, but the data is still there. Evidence Remover overwrites it permanently.
Unrecoverable Data – For files you want to delete right now and not be recoverable, this is the tool. Similar to the above tool, except this one deletes files currently on your hard drive.
Optimization – Do you feel like your computer runs slower today than the day you bought it? It probably does. With the built-in optimization tool, Revo Uninstaller is able to get rid of much of the “cruft” that has built up over time.
I was really impressed with all the offerings in the free version of Revo Uninstaller. As mentioned, the Pro version has many more features (a full list can be found on the website), but for me, the free version is plenty powerful enough. But in spite of that powerful, it’s still relatively simple to run, and although it would be possible to delete something important, Revo Uninstaller tries to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you’re worried about coworkers or family members checking up on you, or just want to make sure that your computer is running as well as it could be, give Revo Uninstaller a try; it’s a fantastic tool.