Did you receive a new Windows PC for Christmas? Enjoy it! There's nothing like a fresh computer. Most new computers are much faster than the systems they replace and also, in the case of Windows, a new computer is the fastest it will ever be. A brand-new Windows computer is free from an overloaded system tray, bloated application installs, and disorganized file structures, right?
Unfortunately that's not always the case. A lot of machines ship with a whole lot of pre-installed software that you didn't ask for and surely don't want. Even worse, many of those unwanted programs load into memory at boot time and then soak up precious processor time forever. Why would you have a program that slows down your computer when you don't ever plan to use that program?
There is a simple answer: uninstall each such program. This should delete the programs and speed up your computer as the undesired programs are no longer wasting processor time. However, when you attempt to uninstall Windows programs, you often find that it is not as simple as you expected.
A second problem occurs with any Windows computer, including older systems. You may want to uninstall a program and then find that you cannot do so. Some programs refuse to uninstall.
Windows ships with a default Add or Remove Programs Tool. To find it in Windows XP, click on START, then select Control Panel, and then click on "Add/Remove Programs." Windows Vista and Windows 7 have the same program although the method of getting to it may be slightly different.
The problem I have found is that the Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool doesn't always remove everything. Many times, "remnants" of a program are left behind. Some programs, especially those that load automatically at boot time, will not remove themselves at all. In many cases, you may find that the program's executable file has been deleted, but the information about that program remains behind in the Windows Registry, where it slows things down. As the Registry grows larger and larger over time, it slows down the operation of Windows. Each operation will take longer and longer to execute as the Registry grows, even if much of the information in the Registry is never used. Ideally, the Registry should be kept as small and efficient as possible although doing so is a task best left to Windows experts. However, removing all information about a defunct program can be a big help and can make your computer run faster.
While the built-in Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool sometimes does not completely remove programs, a free third-party tool does a much better job. Revo Uninstaller is a tool for getting rid of applications and is much superior to the Windows' default Add or Remove Programs Tool. My experience with Revo Uninstaller is that it almost always gets rid of software that shipped with your machine that you don't want or need.
I have also found that Revo Uninstaller will often uninstall viruses when the default Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool fails to do so.
When a Windows program is installed, the programmers who wrote the program create a list of files to be installed and items to be inserted into the Windows Registry. When you attempt to uninstall a program, the Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool looks at that list and removes the files on the list, and then it removes the items in the Windows Registry that were listed by the programmers. In well-behaved Windows applications, this works well. The problem is that not all programs are well-behaved.
Windows viruses deliberately hide files as well as information that is written to the Windows Registry. Even legitimate programs will occasionally create new files or Registry entries that are not on the list supplied by the programmers. When you attempt to uninstall a program using the Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool, only the known files and entries are removed. A lot of junk often remains behind.
Revo Uninstaller uses a different methodology. It looks at the list of files, the same as the Windows Add or Remove Programs Tool, and it does remove everything on the list. However, Revo Uninstaller then performs additional steps. It searches for files and Registry entries that were made by the program being removed, even files that are not on the programmers' list. Revo Uninstaller takes a while to run, but it always does a better "clean up" job.
Revo Uninstaller is not advertised as a virus removal tool and, indeed, it doesn't remove all viruses. However, I have successfully removed some viruses with it. It is also a very simple program to use and works quickly. It also is very good at finding “hidden” Registry entries. Whenever I encounter a PC with viruses, I always try Revo Uninstaller first to see if I can get rid of the virus quickly and easily. If not, I have to resort to more sophisticated virus removal tools.
Revo Uninstaller also includes a number of other tools and utilities:
Auto Start Manager - Stop programs that start automatically on Windows startup in order to speed up loading of Windows.
Windows Tools Manager - Handy and useful tools bundled with every version of Windows; easily find useful system tools and options.
Junk Files Cleaner - Find and remove unnecessary files from your computer; free up disk space by deleting files you do not need.
Browsers History Cleaner - Erase web browser history, visited pages history and temporary internet files of Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Opera web browsers; free up a lot of disk space by deleting temporary internet files like temporary saved videos, temporary flash files, temporary pictures, etc.
Office History Cleaner - Remove the history of most recently used files in Microsoft Office; remove your tracks by deleting the list of last opened MS Office documents.
Windows History Cleaner - Remove the history of recently opened files, delete temporary files, remove usage tracks and other history items that are saved by Windows; remove your tracks saved by Windows for a lot of operations.
Unrecoverable Delete Tool - Erase files and folders forever; be sure that nobody could recover your files and folders after deleting. (Did you know that most "erased files" can be unerased? Revo Uninstaller will permanently erase files.
Evidence Remover - Make sure already deleted files, folders, and other data are unrecoverable; securely erase your data.
Not bad for a free program!
There are two caveats:
- Revo makes two versions of its uninstaller: a free version that I have described and a Pro version that has even more functionality. The company's web site has a lot of information about the $39.25 Pro version at http://www.revouninstaller.com but barely mentions the free version. There is one page on the company's web site that describes the two products in a side-by-side comparison and then provides download links to both versions: http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html.
- The free Revo Uninstaller only works on 32-bit Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, you will need the $39.25 Pro version.
If you need to uninstall any Windows programs, I'd suggest you go to http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html and download Revo Uninstaller. It is a much better tool than the built in Add or Remove Programs Tool that is included with Windows.