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  1. #1
    Star Lounger jgstanley's Avatar
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    Last edited by jgstanley; 2012-04-17 at 23:46.

  2. #2
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    I respectfully disagree on some points.

    Quote Originally Posted by jgstanley View Post

    Typically, the uninstaller available in the Windows Control Panel is effective; otherwise the program developers offer full uninstallers on their websites, especially for first-tier developers like Corel, McAfee, Norton, Microsoft, etc.
    Typically its not. The very fact that the AV vendors have to offer a separate uninstaller on their web sites speaks volumes about how invasive these things really are. And how poor their uninstall routines are written. Their expectation is that you will always upgrade and never uninstall. Hence, Add/Remove doesn't/can't remove all of the program. Most other vendors really don't offer much beyond what's in Add/Remove Programs.

    Before making changes to your system, you should have a good backup, preferably with a good disk image.
    This is always good advice.

    Most of the flotsam/jetsam left behind is unconsequencial to system health.
    Sometimes that's true, often its not. I've seen far too many programs improperly uninstall themselves leaving behind little bits that interfere with WMI, installed certificates, and other system functions that can be VERY hard to root out after the fact.

    Third, check the developers site for full uninstallers if the Control Panel uninstaller is not effective.
    As said above, relatively few actually have "full" uninstall utilities beyond what's in Add/Remove.

    Use third-party uninstallers as a last resort; they often remove more files than they should, and often cause conflicts with dependencies.
    I don't completely disagree with this statement. The first part anyway. I've never really had trouble with Revo removing more than its supposed to. And I've never seen "conflicts with dependencies". I'm thinking this might happen when attempting to remove software that integrates itself with other like software from the same company (Adobe products and MS Office come to mind). In those cases, its a simple matter to run a repair or reinstall the "dependent" software to rebuild the damaged components. One really horrible piece of software I can think of that I've NEVER had good success uninstalling is Crystal Reports. And the vendor has NO other way to do it other than Add/Remove.

    I personally will never use Revo Uninstaller ever again, and I won't use most other third-party uninstallers, because they break too many dependencies. Most modern software uninstalls correctly via the Control Panel. If not, write to the developer instead of relying upon third-parties...
    Your choice. But I can tell that many members here swear by Revo and a few other like products. As you said above, I also view it as a last resort, but I'm not at all afraid to use it. I've been able to root out some pretty nasty debris left behind by poor uninstall rountines.

    Believe or not, software installs aren't fundamentally different than they were in the days of DOS. The difference between modern Windows installs and DOS is that most of the files needed in a DOS program were simply dumped in one directory. All a modern Windows install is doing is dropping files in various locations, making registry edits, and maybe installing a service (which is nothing more than an automatic launch of a sofware componant). That said, I've been successful manually removing files and regedits, but a tool makes it so much faster and simpler.

    BTW, welcomew to the lounge!
    Last edited by Doc Brown; 2012-04-06 at 17:49.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Ditto to all of what Chuck just said. Can't really say it better.
    Have a Great Day! Ted

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  4. #4
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    I think the title pretty much sums up how I see it - use it as a last resort option. Totally agree.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    ...adding to what Doc said...

    It should also be said that one should not totally rely on any particular uninstaller;
    1 If you have a peice of software that are, particularly, from first-tier developers, exercise some caution and disable [not delete] the active and running
    service and process components for that specific software in question prior to an uninstall. You'll want to give the uninstaller
    all the extra help you can in order to effect a smoother transition to a problem free post uninstall state.
    If the uninstaller is written well, it will take this into consideration, but unless one has experience with the software in question, it's not to be totally relied upon.
    Pay particular attention to complex networking or complex multipurpose AV/AM/firewall software that may leave changes, or gaping holes,
    in realtime functional operating system components/services/processes when they are uninstalled.
    2 Do a physical check on all the softwares install & user locations, you can do this both before and after to note what changes are made.
    3 A registry cleaner may be needed to clear out the few entries that remain within the registry. (optional)

    I too don't care for uninstaller's like Revo, doing this with some manual technique, with just a few helpful tools, gets the job done just as well.
    ...In most instances.
    Sometimes your just going to end up being screwed, and will be forced to rely on a drive image to get back to
    a clean state prior to the software in question.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-04-06 at 19:41.

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
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    I use Revo Uninstaller Pro and its first step is to use the apps built-in uninstaller.
    It then moves to a second step where it scans for any left over files, folders or registry entries.

    If an app is well written with a good uninstaller this step often returns the message 'No items found', and the job is done.

    If, as often happens, there are residual items found, these are all listed and you have to choose what to delete.
    I have found these lists to be useful and very rarely do I need to remove any items from them.

    I subscribe to the regular imaging regime, which makes system restore totally unnecessary, and I set Revo to not make registry saves.

    I can honestly say I've never had a problem.

    (with uninstalling, I should say!)
    Last edited by A1ex; 2012-04-07 at 07:35.

  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Haven't found a nickel's worth of difference using Revo occasionally myself, its probably a very gentle reg scanner because the last thing it needs to do is get anything even hinting at being occasionally destructive to the registry, hence my never finding anything additional that was cleaned up making any difference in the long run, though there were some initial differences, such as the interrupts and state reached of something like a reinstall.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    What really should be done when installing new software is to take a "before" image of your system (all files, the registry, etc etc), install the new software, then do an "after" image of your system. Then run a v. clever program which compares both images and thus can list precisely what was added and what was changed (plus what was deleted, which shouldn't happen, of course!). Thus you know precisely what needs to be uninstalled/modified if the new software needs to be uninstalled. (When I was involved with rolling out thousands of NT PCs, many, many, years ago, I seem to remember this program was called WinInstall.)

    Mission: identify what we do best and find more ways of doing less of it better

  9. #9
    Star Lounger jgstanley's Avatar
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    At least there is a conversation on this subject.

    I have seen a few posts in this and other forums saying they (the users) have used third-party uninstallers to remove software from their computers without trying the standard methods first (probably because they don't work as expected), and then experiencing problems with unrelated software, possibly with version or dependency conflicts. Likewise, I have seen other flotsam/jetsam left behind that requires the use of SC, REGSVR32, and registry and file scans to actually remove services, DirectShow codecs, temp files, orphan remnants, etc. that should have been removed with a good uninstaller. The end-user really shouldn't be expected to perform advanced forensics to fix problems with the installers/uninstallers, nor should there be a reliance on third-party cleaners to fix their inadequacies.

    I have even had conflicts when installing software that sometime rely upon legacy runtimes (that would normally be handled via WinSxS) that don't recognize that newer versions of runtimes (that supersede required dependencies) have already been installed properly. I have had conflicts with ActiveX files, troublesome codecs, display drivers and other things that really shouldn't be problems for modern developers, even from first-tier developers.

    I guess my goal to starting this conversation was to petition developers to create better standard uninstallers that do a more thorough job. The installers/uninstallers I have personally scripted for software I created for myself handle dependencies, registry entries, et al; I expect more from first-tier developers.

    The more one fixes problems enhanced for system-wide interoperability, the more complex the solution becomes; yet the more complex the solution becomes, the more problems for interoperability are introduced. It's a vicious cycle...

    P.S. Thanks, Doc Brown (Chuck) for welcoming me to the lounge. Glad to be here. I sometimes post to start conversations, albeit sometimes controversial. I stand by my original post, for the most part, but I welcome input from others; I don't expect everyone to agree with me on every subject, otherwise I won't learn anything...

    P.P.S. Sorry I misspelled uninstallers as uinstallers in the thread title; I really need to learn how to type properly and spell-check before I post...
    Last edited by jgstanley; 2012-04-07 at 21:27.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Brown View Post
    The very fact that the AV vendors have to offer a separate uninstaller on their web sites speaks volumes about how invasive these things really are. And how poor their uninstall routines are written. Their expectation is that you will always upgrade and never uninstall. Hence, Add/Remove doesn't/can't remove all of the program. Most other vendors really don't offer much beyond what's in Add/Remove Programs.
    I think AV programs have to latch deeply into the system (be invasive?) in order to protect all parts of it. An AV program also need to protect itself from malware that might attempt remove or disable it. A downside to this is that AV programs won't be (or shouldn't be) easy to completely remove using any software remover. If legitimate software can do it, it's not beyond possibility that malware could do it too, or at least enough to stop an AV program from working. It can take a bit of manual deep cleaning (search the C: drive and Registry) to remove AV programs but I believe this is how things ought to be.

    I haven't used Revo. I'll usually keep a disk image made before the AV program was installed. Reverting the system using this can mean quite a bit of updating but at least I know there is no trace of the AV program/security suite I want removed.

  11. #11
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    There are times when an uninstaller is necessary but, this is rare & usually should be product specific. Myself, being an IT Pro, I only use these, when necessary, for removing Norton & other AVs. For example... I recently had a client & couldn't find any AV in their machine. In time, found AVG on the Programs & Features list but, nowhere else. Using Uninstall @ the P&F list did nothing. An AVG Removal Tool had to be used. Other than this particular type of scenario it is a 'Best Practice' to not use the generic uninstallers. If something 'stubborn' needs removing, use the Microsoft Software Removal Tool. OR things can be removed via Regedit, using FIND.


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