uninstalling programs


J

Jo-Anne

A number of the programs I've installed on my WinXP computers come with
their own uninstaller programs. To uninstall, is it better to use Windows
Add-Remove Programs or the individual uninstallers?

Thank you!

Jo-Anne
 
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R

Richard in AZ

Typically the uninstall program provided with the software should do the
best job.
 
D

Daave

Jo-Anne said:
A number of the programs I've installed on my WinXP computers come
with their own uninstaller programs. To uninstall, is it better to
use Windows Add-Remove Programs or the individual uninstallers?

Thank you!

Six of one; half-a-dozen of another. :)
 
T

Twayne

In
Jo-Anne said:
A number of the programs I've installed on my WinXP
computers come with their own uninstaller programs. To
uninstall, is it better to use Windows Add-Remove Programs
or the individual uninstallers?
Thank you!

Jo-Anne

Unless they tell you different, use the Add-Remove Programs.
 
V

VanguardLH

Jo-Anne said:
A number of the programs I've installed on my WinXP computers come with
their own uninstaller programs. To uninstall, is it better to use Windows
Add-Remove Programs or the individual uninstallers?

Thank you!

Jo-Anne

The installer used by the program may record an entry in the Uninstall
registry key which you see as an entry in the Add/Remove Programs applet
in Control Panel. So whether you use the uninstall shortcut provided by
the installer or use the Add/Remove Programs applet, both point to the
same command and you end up running the same uninstaller program.

If their installer doesn't show an entry in the Add/Remove Programs
applet then all you have is their shortcut to run their uninstaller.

When you install a program, and after it completes, go check if they
added an entry that shows up in the Add/Remove Programs applet. If you
see it there, it's the same program that their uninstall shortcut will
run. If it doesn't show up there, use the uninstall shortcut they gave
you.

Not all installers provide for a clean uninstall. In fact, most
uninstallations are dirty. Part of that is the developers really don't
want to thoroughly test their uninstaller (I've been in QA long enough
trying to push the Dev group to build a decent uninstaller to know that
they are typically very sloppy about this aspect of their software and
often rely on the uninstaller program to do all the work). Part of why
an uninstall is dirty is that Windows generates registry entries and
creates files after the install has completed, like when you first run
or configure the program which after the install is all done. Part of
why dirty installs happen is that someone (like Marketing) pushes Dev to
only do a partial uninstall because, gee, all their customers must
really want their software so they leave behind settings in the registry
or files that permit a subsequent reinstall to reuse all that data
(i.e., their viewpoint is that you are only doing the uninstall to fix a
problem and will follow with another reinstall). Best is to use a
logger that monitors all registry and file changes made by an install
program. That includes not just monitoring the install of a program but
also loading the program to record its first-use changes to the registry
and any files it creates or modifies. To uninstall, you use their
uninstaller (whether in Add/Remove Programs or their uninstall shortcut)
and then follow with an uninstall (cleanup) by the install logger.

Currently I use Zsoft's Uninstaller but only because it's free. There
might be better uninstallers but I'm not forking out the money for them.
Some uninstallers are guessers: they don't monitor the installs and
instead make guesses as to what additional cleanup might be needed.
They may have some hardcoded rules for cleanup for well-known
applications and some of the versions of them but they don't know how to
cleanup all apps or all versions of the well-known apps. Revo
Uninstaller is one of those. However, no matter that you use the
uninstaller provided by the software or an install logger or a guesser
uninstaller, there will still be remnants left in your registry and
often some files are still left behind so for the most perfect cleanup
you end up doing it - provided you have the expertise to understand the
registry. Even then there may be entries left in the registry simply
because you cannot or should not delete all references to the
uninstalled software. For example, some programs save known algorithms
regarding other software in the registry and you don't want to delete
those references even if you uninstall the referenced software. Those
references may, for example, be indexed and deleting them would screw up
the references used by the program in how it manages conflicts or
behaviors between it and those other programs.

My rule is that you don't install anything that you might consider later
to uninstall. Don't pollute your system and then hope you can get it
completely clean later - unless you're willing to same image backups and
restore to them and lose everything you installed after that image
backup. Test unknown or untrusted software of which you are unsure that
you want to keep inside a virtual machine, or use multi-booting to load
a separate instance of the OS from another partition that you don't care
about polluting (and probably use imaging to revert to a baseline image
for that testing partition).
 
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B

Bob CP

The installer used by the program may record an entry in the Uninstall
registry key which you see as an entry in the Add/Remove Programs applet
in Control Panel. So whether you use the uninstall shortcut provided by
the installer or use the Add/Remove Programs applet, both point to the
same command and you end up running the same uninstaller program.

If their installer doesn't show an entry in the Add/Remove Programs
applet then all you have is their shortcut to run their uninstaller.

When you install a program, and after it completes, go check if they
added an entry that shows up in the Add/Remove Programs applet. If you
see it there, it's the same program that their uninstall shortcut will
run. If it doesn't show up there, use the uninstall shortcut they gave
you.

Not all installers provide for a clean uninstall. In fact, most
uninstallations are dirty. Part of that is the developers really don't
want to thoroughly test their uninstaller (I've been in QA long enough
trying to push the Dev group to build a decent uninstaller to know that
they are typically very sloppy about this aspect of their software and
often rely on the uninstaller program to do all the work). Part of why
an uninstall is dirty is that Windows generates registry entries and
creates files after the install has completed, like when you first run
or configure the program which after the install is all done. Part of
why dirty installs happen is that someone (like Marketing) pushes Dev to
only do a partial uninstall because, gee, all their customers must
really want their software so they leave behind settings in the registry
or files that permit a subsequent reinstall to reuse all that data
(i.e., their viewpoint is that you are only doing the uninstall to fix a
problem and will follow with another reinstall). Best is to use a
logger that monitors all registry and file changes made by an install
program. That includes not just monitoring the install of a program but
also loading the program to record its first-use changes to the registry
and any files it creates or modifies. To uninstall, you use their
uninstaller (whether in Add/Remove Programs or their uninstall shortcut)
and then follow with an uninstall (cleanup) by the install logger.

Currently I use Zsoft's Uninstaller but only because it's free. There
might be better uninstallers but I'm not forking out the money for them.
Some uninstallers are guessers: they don't monitor the installs and
instead make guesses as to what additional cleanup might be needed.
They may have some hardcoded rules for cleanup for well-known
applications and some of the versions of them but they don't know how to
cleanup all apps or all versions of the well-known apps. Revo
Uninstaller is one of those. However, no matter that you use the
uninstaller provided by the software or an install logger or a guesser
uninstaller, there will still be remnants left in your registry and
often some files are still left behind so for the most perfect cleanup
you end up doing it - provided you have the expertise to understand the
registry. Even then there may be entries left in the registry simply
because you cannot or should not delete all references to the
uninstalled software. For example, some programs save known algorithms
regarding other software in the registry and you don't want to delete
those references even if you uninstall the referenced software. Those
references may, for example, be indexed and deleting them would screw up
the references used by the program in how it manages conflicts or
behaviors between it and those other programs.

My rule is that you don't install anything that you might consider later
to uninstall. Don't pollute your system and then hope you can get it
completely clean later - unless you're willing to same image backups and
restore to them and lose everything you installed after that image
backup. Test unknown or untrusted software of which you are unsure that
you want to keep inside a virtual machine, or use multi-booting to load
a separate instance of the OS from another partition that you don't care
about polluting (and probably use imaging to revert to a baseline image
for that testing partition).

Revo Uninstaller works well for me. Will remove every file and every
registry reference to your preferences.
http://download.cnet.com/Revo-Uninstaller/3000-2096_4-10687648.html
 
J

Jo-Anne

VanguardLH said:
The installer used by the program may record an entry in the Uninstall
registry key which you see as an entry in the Add/Remove Programs applet
in Control Panel. So whether you use the uninstall shortcut provided by
the installer or use the Add/Remove Programs applet, both point to the
same command and you end up running the same uninstaller program.

If their installer doesn't show an entry in the Add/Remove Programs
applet then all you have is their shortcut to run their uninstaller.

When you install a program, and after it completes, go check if they
added an entry that shows up in the Add/Remove Programs applet. If you
see it there, it's the same program that their uninstall shortcut will
run. If it doesn't show up there, use the uninstall shortcut they gave
you.

Not all installers provide for a clean uninstall. In fact, most
uninstallations are dirty. Part of that is the developers really don't
want to thoroughly test their uninstaller (I've been in QA long enough
trying to push the Dev group to build a decent uninstaller to know that
they are typically very sloppy about this aspect of their software and
often rely on the uninstaller program to do all the work). Part of why
an uninstall is dirty is that Windows generates registry entries and
creates files after the install has completed, like when you first run
or configure the program which after the install is all done. Part of
why dirty installs happen is that someone (like Marketing) pushes Dev to
only do a partial uninstall because, gee, all their customers must
really want their software so they leave behind settings in the registry
or files that permit a subsequent reinstall to reuse all that data
(i.e., their viewpoint is that you are only doing the uninstall to fix a
problem and will follow with another reinstall). Best is to use a
logger that monitors all registry and file changes made by an install
program. That includes not just monitoring the install of a program but
also loading the program to record its first-use changes to the registry
and any files it creates or modifies. To uninstall, you use their
uninstaller (whether in Add/Remove Programs or their uninstall shortcut)
and then follow with an uninstall (cleanup) by the install logger.

Currently I use Zsoft's Uninstaller but only because it's free. There
might be better uninstallers but I'm not forking out the money for them.
Some uninstallers are guessers: they don't monitor the installs and
instead make guesses as to what additional cleanup might be needed.
They may have some hardcoded rules for cleanup for well-known
applications and some of the versions of them but they don't know how to
cleanup all apps or all versions of the well-known apps. Revo
Uninstaller is one of those. However, no matter that you use the
uninstaller provided by the software or an install logger or a guesser
uninstaller, there will still be remnants left in your registry and
often some files are still left behind so for the most perfect cleanup
you end up doing it - provided you have the expertise to understand the
registry. Even then there may be entries left in the registry simply
because you cannot or should not delete all references to the
uninstalled software. For example, some programs save known algorithms
regarding other software in the registry and you don't want to delete
those references even if you uninstall the referenced software. Those
references may, for example, be indexed and deleting them would screw up
the references used by the program in how it manages conflicts or
behaviors between it and those other programs.

My rule is that you don't install anything that you might consider later
to uninstall. Don't pollute your system and then hope you can get it
completely clean later - unless you're willing to same image backups and
restore to them and lose everything you installed after that image
backup. Test unknown or untrusted software of which you are unsure that
you want to keep inside a virtual machine, or use multi-booting to load
a separate instance of the OS from another partition that you don't care
about polluting (and probably use imaging to revert to a baseline image
for that testing partition).

Thank you, Vanguard, for the education! I've copied your post into my
software file for reference.

I'm pretty careful about what I install, but I've found that on occasion I
need to uninstall a product in order to install a later version. Avira
AntiVir is a case in point. On one of my computers I just upgraded to
version 10 over version 9, as recommended at the Avira website. However, the
program's virus definition updater refused to work. I had to manually update
and then fiddle with it some more before it appeared to begin working--and
I'll be checking it for the next few days. I asked about this on the Avira
forum and was told I needed to uninstall version 9 before installing version
10. I did that on my second computer, and it worked fine.

I try to use only well-known software, but I've also taken to installing new
programs on the computer I use least often and that doesn't have my most
important data on it.

Thank you, again!

Jo-Anne
 
V

VanguardLH

Bob said:
Revo Uninstaller works well for me. Will remove every file and every
registry reference to your preferences.
http://download.cnet.com/Revo-Uninstaller/3000-2096_4-10687648.html

Yep, that is one of the guesser uninstallers. It has a pre-defined set
of actions to commit for well-known applications (but not always for all
versions of those apps). It fails if it is not a pre-defined app in
their database. "Algorithms" and "heuristics" are just another way of
saying "pre-defined rules". That's why you have to update this
uninstaller to get their newest database of rules.

The Pro version of Revo Uninstaller has its real-time install monitor.
This is akin to Zsoft's Uninstaller or other installer loggers. I was
only comparing the free versions. There is a lot of features missing in
the free version; see:

http://www.revouninstaller.com/revo_uninstaller_free_download.html

Revo Uninstaller Pro costs $39. Their free lureware version doesn't
have it. Zsoft Uninstaller is completely free (no payware version and
no lures to one in the free version) and doesn't need rules or updates
for them. It scans your registry and file system to take a snapshot,
you do the install, then you do an analyze which does before and after
snapshots to check for all the changes (and why you really should start
the installed program after installing it to capture all those changes,
too). You could always combine the free versions of Revo Uninstall and
Zsoft Uninstaller but probably won't effect any better cleanup. Zsoft
would remove all the changes that Revo missed in its preset rules.
Zsoft is more like an Undo. The *paid* version of Revo Pro with its
real-time install logger would probably obviate the need for Zsoft. Of
course, reverting to partition image backups would guarantee you return
to the exact prior state (since neither Revo or Zsoft provide exact
reversions to a prior state); however, restoring an image means you lose
ALL changes since the image backup, not just those for one particular
install out of many that may occur are saving the image.

Not all installations use Microsoft's installer (MSI). Some may use a
3rd party installer that totally bypasses all recording performed by
MSI. Others may simply unroll a .zip file and create the shortcuts for
you so they didn't really install but just copied some files onto your
host. Revo won't work for those (unless you pay for the Pro version and
also trigger it to record an install since unzipping files probably
doesn't get recorded as an install). Zsoft won't work unless you log
the installation (take a 'before' snapshot, do the install [and run the
program], then analyze [to create an 'after' snapshot] to do a compare
and record the changes).

I might use Revo (free version) to do uninstalls for those installs that
used MSI or were in Revo's pre-defined app rules. That would eliminate
me accidentally forgetting to log an install using Zsoft. However, if I
remember to log all my installs using Zsoft, I don't need Revo. Having
both installed gives you a choice plus you could use both methods.
 
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D

dadiOH

Jo-Anne said:
A number of the programs I've installed on my WinXP computers come
with their own uninstaller programs. To uninstall, is it better to
use Windows Add-Remove Programs or the individual uninstallers?

Thank you!

Jo-Anne

It doesn't matter. The Windows "uninstaller" uses the one that came with
the program. Many (most?) of those don't dump everything either. If you
want to get rid of all use something like Total Uninstall to monitor the
install and use it to uninstall. Revo Uninstaller is another one.

--

dadiOH
____________________________

dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
 
J

Jo-Anne

dadiOH said:
It doesn't matter. The Windows "uninstaller" uses the one that came with
the program. Many (most?) of those don't dump everything either. If you
want to get rid of all use something like Total Uninstall to monitor the
install and use it to uninstall. Revo Uninstaller is another one.

--

dadiOH
____________________________

dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico

Thank you!

Jo-Anne
 
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D

dadiOH

VanguardLH said:
Total Uninstall is payware.

Right. There is also v2.35 which is the last freeware one, gotta Google for
it.

--

dadiOH
____________________________

dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
 
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