“Third-party uninstaller? Doesn’t Windows already have an uninstaller in the control panel?” Yes, it does, and it’s horrible. While I’m not exactly sure whether Windows 8 has fixed all the problems with uninstallation processes prevalent in previous versions, I’m certain enough that the procedure has remained quite the same. If there’s something pervasive in Windows, it’s negligence; not on behalf of the operating system itself, but on behalf of developers who don’t understand how to use the operating system to their advantage. I’ll let you know exactly what I mean below.
How Windows Uninstalls Programs
To understand why you need a third-party uninstaller, you should first understand how Windows uninstalls programs in the first place. The process starts when you either double-click the “Uninstall” icon in a program folder or click “Remove” in the “Add/Remove Programs” area of your control panel. Once you do that, the program’s own uninstaller fires up Windows Installer, an internal operating system application that has existed in every Windows version since 1999.
Windows Installer then scans a special manifest originally created by the program’s installation and removes everything within it. Viola! Your program is gone.
But not quite…
What’s The Problem?
Sometimes, when Windows Installer quickly erases everything the program exposed to it, some things still stick around. Registry entries, program folders, and even some essential files still remain untouched. This happens because the program didn’t instruct Windows Installer to remove it. Sometimes, this happens on purpose, especially when a program comes with a license. Other times, it happens because of pure incompetence from the developers. Either way, it’s a problem.
To prevent this problem from happening, you need an uninstaller that looks through every crack and crevice of your computer for signs of life that the program doesn’t let Windows Installer see. Third-party uninstallers are exceedingly good at doing this.
What Should I Use?
It depends on your taste. If you’re the kind of person that hates installing things in the first place, you should try IObit Uninstaller 2. It comes as a portable EXE file that you just open and uninstall programs with. It’s easy to use and wastes very little time. Resource usage on your computer is minimal. There’s little not to like about this program. (Check out our review)
If you want something that goes deep into the jungle and nips the program right in the bud, you should get Revo Uninstaller. It performs deep scans of your hard drive and registry for any remnants of the program, which is useful if you already tried uninstalling it through Windows Installer.
But by far, the fastest piece of work out there (and the most comprehensive) is Comodo Programs Manager.
What Should Microsoft Do?
Ideally, applications should be wrapped up in their own little bubbles and interact only when the user allows them to. This way, all you would have to do is delete an application and it wipes itself cleanly off your system. Android and Mac are known for doing this, and it’s worked so well!
It seems like Microsoft is going in that direction with the release of Windows 8, but many people are frustrated with its ugly front end. It seems like it’s very difficult to get out of the predicament it got itself into in the first place. Microsoft seems to have learned from its mistakes a little too late in the game now, giving it a lot of catching up to do.
If you have any other thoughts, leave them below in a comment!